Last updated: 17/10/2022

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Sports jackets come in a wide variety of designs and for a wide variety of uses. They are the perfect equipment for any outdoor activity. Whether it’s jogging in the forest, hiking in the mountains or sitting around the campfire on a warm summer night. With a sports jacket for women or men, you are perfectly equipped.

With our sports jacket test 2022 we give you an overview of the different types of sports jackets, show you the most important criteria when choosing a sports jacket and answer the most frequently asked questions about the popular piece of sports clothing. This test will help you find the perfect sports jacket for you.




Summary

  • Sports jackets are a popular garment for any sporting activity in lower temperatures. Whether for hiking, jogging or climbing, there is a sports jacket to suit all your needs.
  • Sports jackets come in a wide variety of styles. The most popular are softshell jackets, hardshell jackets and windbreakers. All of these variants have impressive properties and are suitable for a wide range of uses.
  • When buying a sports jacket, you should consider various criteria. The most important are breathability, freedom of movement and waterproofness.

The Best Sports Jacket: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for sports jackets

Are you looking for the perfect sports jacket and don’t know what to look for when buying?

The criteria you can use to compare sports jackets with each other include:

Below we present these points in more detail to help you find the most suitable sports jacket.

Breathability

Breathability or vapour permeability plays an important role in jackets for sports activities. The more strenuous the sporting activity, the more you will sweat. In these cases, it is important that the sports jacket is breathable and allows some fresh air to reach your body.

Did you know that the vapour permeability of clothing is measured in grams per square metre within 24 hours?

From a vapour permeability of 5,000, sportswear is classified as good in terms of breathability, from 10,000 as very good.

Basically, the thicker and warmer such a sports jacket is, the less breathable it will be. In other words, you have to decide for yourself what is more important to you.

For more strenuous sports, such as jogging, we recommend a sports jacket that is more breathable. For hiking in lower temperatures, breathability will not be as important.

Water column / waterproofness

The waterproofness of your sports jacket could be immensely important. If you are not afraid to leave the house in bad weather, you should pay attention to the water column rating of your clothing.

The waterproofness is given in mm of the water column.

According to the Swiss standard, clothing is waterproof from 4,000 mm of water column and according to the EU standard even from 800 mm. To stay as dry as possible during your outdoor activities, we recommend a water column of at least 10,000 mm for your sports jacket.

If you postpone your sports activity in rainy weather, you do not have to pay attention to the waterproofness.

Areas of application

Basically, you can use all types of sports jackets for all kinds of activities. However, one type of jacket is better suited to a sports activity.

More robust and somewhat thicker sports jackets are perfect for longer hikes, walks or camping holidays.

Slightly thinner sports jackets, such as softshell jackets, are better suited for sports that require faster movements, such as ball sports or jogging.

Therefore, before buying, you should think about the activities you want to use your sports jacket for. If you take all the tips and criteria we provide into account when making your decision, you are sure to find the right sports jacket for you.

Freedom of movement

Depending on what you want to use your sports jacket for, the freedom of movement of the jacket plays a small or large role. If you are going to wear the sports jacket for longer hikes or walks, you should focus more on waterproofing and insulation and not on freedom of movement.

However, if you need the sports jacket for jogging or any ball games, freedom of movement is immensely important. Therefore, before buying, you should think about the occasions for which you need and want to use the sports jacket.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about sports jackets answered in detail

Since you are also interested in sports jackets, we would like to give you answers to the most frequently asked questions. In this guide you will find the most important information about sports jackets.

Who is a sports jacket suitable for?

Sports jackets are versatile and suitable for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are thin, thick, small or tall. Sports jackets come in all styles, sizes and colours. There is something for everyone.

Sports jackets are the ideal equipment for wind and weather. With the right sports jacket, nothing stands in the way of your sporting event. (Image source: Evan Hein / Unsplash)

No matter for which sporting activity and whether for men, women, children, boys or girls. There is a specifically suitable sports jacket for everyone. Even for those who don’t plan to do any sports, there are some with a trendy design.

What can I use a sports jacket for?

You can use sports jackets for almost everything. It doesn’t matter if you go hiking, cycling or jogging. With the right sports jacket you are perfectly equipped for all weather conditions. Whether you’re running, cycling or on a hiking holiday. You should always have your sports jacket at hand when the temperature drops.

Sports jackets are suitable for all outdoor activities.

Depending on the weather and the type of sport, we advise you to choose a different type of sports jacket. For sports where you need to be very mobile, such as jogging or playing football, we recommend sports jackets with a thinner material. Softshell jackets or thinner sports jackets with polyester or cotton would be a better choice.

However, if you need a jacket for a slightly cooler hiking holiday, we recommend a hardshell jacket or an outdoor jacket that is even better suited to cold weather and rain.

What types of sports jackets are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, there are three different types of sports jackets. There are softshell jackets, hardshell jackets and windbreakers.

In the following paragraphs, we will show you the basic differences:

Softshell Jacket

Softshell jacket

Softshell jackets are very breathable and thin sports jackets. They are perfect for any kind of sport, especially for sports where freedom of movement is important. This is due to their thin textiles.

Advantages
  • Breathable
  • High wearing comfort
Disadvantages
  • Mostly not waterproof
  • Not good wind resistance

However, due to their thin layer, they do not provide as good thermal insulation. Furthermore, most softshell jackets are not suitable for long hikes in heavy rain. They are usually water-repellent, but after a long time in the rain you could get wet.

Hardshell Jacket

Hardshell jacket

Unlike soft shell jackets, hardshell jackets are somewhat thicker sports jackets. They are therefore very suitable for hikes, camping holidays or walks that do not have to be abandoned even in bad weather.

Advantages
  • Warming
  • Perfect for hiking
Disadvantages
  • Little freedom of movement
  • Not very breathable

The disadvantage is the limited breathability, which is reduced by the thicker fabric. Freedom of movement also suffers. However, this may not be a disadvantage for hiking.

Windbreaker

Windbreaker

As the name suggests, the main purpose of windbreakers is to protect the wearer from strong winds. These sports jackets are perfect for windy days and are often also water-repellent.

Advantages
  • Perfectly suited for windy days
  • Often water-repellent
Disadvantages
  • Usually not very warming
  • Not very breathable

These sports jackets usually have a thinner layer. This makes them not very warming. Also, because of the fabric, which does not allow the wind to reach the body, the windbreaker is not very breathable and you sweat more easily.

How much does a sports jacket cost?

There is a wide range of prices for sports jackets. Softshell jackets start at around 20 euros, but can also cost up to 400 euros. Windbreakers are available from around 30 to 450 euros.

Type Price range
Softshell jacket 20 – 400 euros
Hardshell jacket 40 – 1,000 euros
Windbreaker 30 – 450 Euro

Hardshell jackets, on the other hand, are usually a bit more expensive. They start at around 40 euros and can cost up to 1,000 euros. But they are very wind- and weather-resistant. Before buying, you should therefore think carefully about which sports jacket is right for you.

How can I tell if a sports jacket is waterproof?

You can tell if a jacket is waterproof by looking at the water column. According to the EU standard, a jacket is waterproof from 800 mm and according to the Swiss standard from 4,000 mm. However, we advise you to buy outdoor clothing with a water column of at least 10,000 mm to stay dry in wind and weather.

A good sports jacket is essential for hiking. Such a sports jacket should be at your side in wind and weather. (Image source: Jesse Martini / Unsplash)

Many sports jackets, rain jackets, soft or hardshell jackets already have a waterproof rating of 10,000 to 30,000 mm. For example, when hiking and carrying a heavy backpack in rainy weather, we recommend jackets with a higher waterproof rating to stay dry.

How can I tell if a sports jacket is wind resistant?

The wind resistance of a sports jacket is relatively difficult to tell at first glance. Most of the time you have to trust the company’s specifications or test reports.

Windbreakers are usually the best choice if you need a wind-resistant sports jacket. However, many softshell and hardshell jackets are also highly wind-resistant.

What are the alternatives to sports jackets?

Alternatives to the types of sports jackets already mentioned are rain jackets or sports jackets made of polyester. Rain jackets are usually only designed to withstand rain. They are therefore usually hardly warm at all and are usually not as breathable because they are highly waterproof.

The right sports jacket is the perfect equipment for camping holidays. It keeps you protected from wind and rain during the day and keeps you warm in the evening. Alternatives are hard to find. (Image source: Ethan Hu / Unsplash)

An alternative would be a sports jacket made of polyester. These are good for outdoor sports. However, as they are mainly made of polyester, they are not very water and wind resistant.

How can I waterproof a sports jacket?

When impregnating, you should follow the steps below:

  • Wash before impregnating: Before you start to impregnate your sports jacket, wash it first. This will remove all the dirt from the surface and make it easier for the product to spread over the material.
  • Apply the waterproofing agent: After washing, spray the waterproofing agent onto the sports jacket. This works best outside in the fresh air so that the jacket can air out afterwards.
  • Let it soak in: Allow the impregnating agent to soak into the sports jacket. After a few minutes, the excess can be wiped off.
  • Allow to dry: Then leave the sports jacket to dry in a shady place and let the impregnation agent take effect.

Waterproofing plays an important role in waterproof outdoor jackets. Only then can they fully develop their beneficial properties.

Image source: Utouka / 123rf

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