If you’re an American guy who needs to be outside as much as possible – even in not-so-friendly weather conditions – then you are going to want to invest in a windbreaker. These versatile products are one of the most popular outdoor lifestyle garments out there, and choosing the right one for you is not always straightforward. There are myriad features to consider, and not all windbreakers really do what they say they do. You’ve got to be discerning.
This is why we’ve put together the below buyers guide, to make sure you have all the information you need to choose from the best products currently available on the U.S. market. After reading through, you will be able to make an informed, intelligent decision when it comes time to make your purchase.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best windbreakers on the U.S. market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about men’s windbreakers
- 3.1 What is a men’s windbreaker exactly?
- 3.2 How do windbreakers actually work?
- 3.3 What are the main features of windbreakers?
- 3.4 What isn’t a windbreaker?
- 3.5 Why should I choose a windbreaker with flexible fabrics and seams?
- 3.6 Why should I opt for a waterproof windbreaker?
- 3.7 What types of men’s windbreakers are available out there?
- 3.8 Why buy a men’s windbreaker?
- 3.9 What are the main advantages and disadvantages of windbreakers?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- A men’s windbreaker is a garment made to stand up to tough weather conditions. Ones that aren’t really weather-resistant aren’t really functional.
- Sometimes you end up wearing the for hours at a time (depending on the weather) so you want to get something that is comfortable and breathes.
- The jacket’s material is one of the most important considerations. You want something that is well-made so you get many years, perhaps even a lifetime’s worth of use out of it.
Ranking: The best windbreakers on the U.S. market
In the section below, we will present you with a curated list of five of the best men’s windbreakers currently available in the United States. Each selection is accompanied by the product’s most important and relevant features, so you know what you are buying, and can make an informed decision.
No. 1: Adidas – Men’s Essentials Wind Jacket
The Adidas Men’s Essentials Wind Jacket is the classic windbreaker by Adidas, and one that you have no doubt seen on many men all over the U.S. This 100 per cent recycled, lightweight polyester windbreaker has front zip pockets, a full-zip front, and an adjustable hood to keep you insulated from wind while outside. The elastic cuffs hug your wrists to make sure no air enters through the sleeves, and the mesh lining makes this an incredibly breathable wind breaker all year round. It comes in classic Adidas black and white, as well as 8 other color combinations, so there is something out there to fit almost any wardrobe.
While perhaps not immediately evident from the title, this jacket is also rainproof, and wicks light rain and moisture off to keep you not only insulated from the wind, but also dry. This is a lightweight, economical windbreaker that gives you everything you need. For the price, it is definitely hard to beat this product if you want something reliable, that is simple, straightforward, and does what it advertises. While not something that is going to protect from the harshest weather conditions out there, definitely a worthwhile investment.
No. 2: Columbia – Men’s Glennaker Lake Front-Zip Rain Jacket
When it comes to outdoor gear, few names carry as much weight as Columbia. Designed to stand up to the elements, Columbia’s Men’s Glennaker Lake Front-Zip Rain Jacket is an ultra lightweight, 100 per cent nylon zip-up windbreaker and rain jacket that is both durable and breathable. It has everything you could possibly want in an affordable, machine washable windbreaker – hydrophobic nylon shell, mesh interior, and zippered pockets. With the jacket’s concealable hood, and adjustable cuffs, this is a great product for when you aren’t sure what the weather is going to end up doing.
Columbia’s Men’s Glennaker Lake Front-Zip Rain Jacket comes in 25 colors and 17 different graduated sizes, so there is something out there for every taste and body type. Whether you need something for those rainy day runs, hikes, fishing, bike rides, or walks to the store, this lightweight, affordable windbreaker is a great deal from a reputable company. This product is hydrophobic (i.e. rain-resistant) to a degree. It is, however, not going to keep you dry during torrential downpours, as that is not what it was designed to do, so keep that in mind.
No. 3: CAMEL CROWN – Men’s Waterproof Jacket
CAMEL CROWN’s Men’s Waterproof Jacket is a dual polyester/fleece-lined jacket that is made to keep you both warm and dry. The outer shell is 100 per cent nylon, which is lightweight and great and wicking away moisture. This windbreaker, compared to many others on the market, with its 10000 mmH2O minimum waterproof rating, is designed to keep you dry in the wettest of conditions. It is also 100 per cent windproof. The hood’s adjustable drawstring is made to ensure that your face is well protected on those cold, wet, windy days.
This is a great all-purpose windbreaker because the hood is easily stored inside the collar when you don’t need it. This jacket is designed with thermoregulation and comfort in mind. The poly mesh liner is extra breathable, so you avoid the claminess and dampness that often comes with wearing a windbreaker in warmer weather conditions (i.e. when the weather suddenly changes). This is definitely a heftier windbreaker than many other models on the market, so bear that in mind.
No. 4: Pinkpum – Men’s Hooded Lightweight Windbreaker
Pinkpum’s Men’s Hooded Lightweight Windbreaker is about as simple and effective a windbreaker as you are likely to find. No flashy colors, just great rain and wind protection. The hood comes with a drawstring buckle, so you can customize the jacket based on the weather. The interior of the jacket features great micro-fleece inserts that are breathable and soft on the skin, so you can wear this jacket with just a t-shirt underneath. What’s more, the Velcro straps on the cuffs help ensure that no wind or water enters the jacket while you are playing sports in the rain.
This jacket is also a great option for urban men because it is made to be both functional, and to look great. It can easily be paired with some jeans and sneakers for a nice casual look that makes sense regardless of the weather conditions. While it is not a windbreaker that is made to keep you warm in the coldest and wettest of conditions out there, it is certainly one that will stand up well to Spring weather conditions in most of the United States.
No. 5: Trailside Supply Co. – Men’s Standard Water Repellent Windbreaker
Trailside Supply Co.’s Men’s Standard Water Repellent Windbreaker is a 100 per cent nylon machine washable extra thin material windbreaker and rain jacket. It comes with everything you would want from an affordable, good quality rain jacket and windbreaker, including secure zipper closure, adjustable Velcro cuffs, and large zippered pockets for keeping your belongings dry. Keep in mind that this jacket was specifically designed not to have a hood, and not to feature the elastic waistband and wrist cuffs that many other jackets have.
This is a fantastic, lightweight, packable product that can be scrunched up small or folded and taken with you on trips, or just kept in the car or bike bag in case the weather turns wet and windy. It comes in 5 different colors and an array of common sizes, all the way to quadruple XL. This is a jacket that you can be quite confident will fit the way it says it will based on the size you order. A well-made, simple, effective windbreaker and rain jacket that will keep you warm and dry in poor weather conditions. What more could you ask for in a windbreaker?
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about men’s windbreakers
There are some fundamental aspects to keep in mind when talking about men’s windbreakers. In the section below, we have laid these out for you, as well as answered some of the most frequently asked consumer questions. Taken together, it should give you a good idea of what to look for, and what to expect.
What is a men’s windbreaker exactly?
A men’s windbreaker is designed to keep you warm and dry in the wind and rain. Some models are really only windproof, and don’t actually feature waterproof material, but many, if not most new ones have both and are dual purpose.
If you are an active guy who needs to be outside regardless of the weather conditions, or you enjoy things like skiing, hiking, and biking rain, sleet, or snow, this is a must-have article of clothing.
How do windbreakers actually work?
If you are out for a run in the rain, or think it might start to rain, put your windbreaker on; you will be glad you did. The lightweight, breathable, waterproof, and windproof fabric is designed to keep your body at a comfortable temperature, when the weather is unfriendly.
As previously mentioned, most men’s windbreakers (especially those made with runners in mind) are both wind and waterproof. They also feature interior mesh lining, and often underarm breathing pockets to make sure that you don’t overheat while exercising, or even just walking around in the elements.
What are the main features of windbreakers?
Made to keep you both dry and warm, windbreakers typically feature a number of common features, without which they would cease to be windbreakers. The below table lays out those qualities for you:
- Light weight: One reason windbreakers are so popular is that they are lightweight. You can wear them without really feeling like you’re being weighed down, making them great for exercise and physical activities.
- Comfort: They are simple to take with you. Most are lightweight, flexible, and can even be stored inside one of the jacket pockets, making it a great travel companion.
- Great variety: There are always new types of this garment hitting the U.S. market, and as they evolve, they are being designed with both functionality, as well as style in mind.
- Diversity of use: The windbreaker really is the perfect all-purpose coat. You don’t need exercise as an excuse to wear a windbreaker. Even just a jaunt around the neighborhood with the dog, or a trip to the local grocery store is a good time to throw on the old windbreaker.
What isn’t a windbreaker?
While windbreakers are made to insulate you from the wind and keep you dry in wet conditions, they have their limits. These jackets aren’t made for arctic expeditions, nor are they made to keep you dry during hurricanes.
Windbreakers shouldn’t be confused with coats. They are purposely designed thin and lightweight, so their thermal capabilities are not on par with something like a parka, or even a large down pea coat.
Why should I choose a windbreaker with flexible fabrics and seams?
A windbreaker needs to be flexible so that you can move comfortably and freely. With this in mind, it is important to make sure you’re buying the right size for you. If you are buying online, pay attention to the reviews and comments that mention how accurately the available sizes match similar sizes in real life. Sometimes people mention that it is better to order a size up or down. You also want to make sure you’re getting flexible fabric and seams to avoid rips and tears.
A waterproof windbreaker is necessary if you are doing things like hiking, climbing, canoeing, or trail running in wet, windy conditions. It will keep you warm and dry enough to actually enjoy being outdoors in ugly weather.
Why should I opt for a waterproof windbreaker?
Waterproof and waterproofed materials and fabrics are necessary if you are doing physical activity outdoors, in isolated areas, during times of the year when hypothermia is a real possibility. Most guys that understand what it takes to be able to exercise outdoors during the winter and early spring know that a waterproof windbreaker is a must.
What types of men’s windbreakers are available out there?
There are generally two different kinds of windbreaker on the market: trail windbreakers, and running windbreakers. Neither are designed to give you the kind of protection you get from a true raincoat, but they are great and what they are designed to do.
Let’s now have a look at the two main types of windbreakers based on running – the sport that most people use them for:
- Running windbreakers: As you might have guessed, these windbreakers are tailor-made for runners. They can also be used to play soccer, basketball, baseball etc. They are reliable garments for outdoor exercise, but they are usually only suitable for training session of two hours or less.
- Trail windbreakers: Trail running is really just running on any uneven terrains or unpaved terrain. Hiking and trekking are very similar activities, although trails require you to run and exert greater effort.
Why buy a men’s windbreaker?
There are numerous good reasons to get yourself a windbreaker. Even if you just plan on walking to the store or taking the dog out year round, that is reason enough to have something that is going to adequately protect you from the wind and rain.
- A windbreaker makes training easier: If you are going to be exerting yourself outdoors in the cold, you want to try and keep your body at as constant a temperature as possible to avoid hypothermia. Windbreakers are lightweight, so they don’t get in the way, but designed to keep your warm and dry.
- They are built to last: A good quality men’s windbreaker is a worthwhile purchase. If you look after it, it should last years. Even one’s worn for intense outdoor training hold up well if properly cared for.
- They can be used as casual clothing: The trend with most clothing that was, at one time, purely functional, is towards hybrid casual wear. This is certainly the case with windbreakers. The form-fitting materials and designs come in nice colors and materials that look good even when it isn’t windy or raining.
What are the main advantages and disadvantages of windbreakers?
At this point, you know quite a lot about windbreakers. In the below table we have summed of the main advantages and disadvantages of this garment so you know what you’re getting before making a purchase:
There are a bunch of important shopping criteria to have in mind when purchasing a windbreaker. The below section lays those out so you can get the best product for you.
- Finishing touches
- Expert opinions
Quality is probably the most important aspect if you want your windbreaker to be both functional and durable. You could spend a bit less, but end up with something that is going to end up falling apart in a short amount of time. You should spend a bit more and get something well-made and high quality. There are affordable models that are well-made.
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Most windbreakers shells are made from either polyester or nylon. They are often reinforced with polyamide to improve flexibility and tear resistance. You don’t want to overlook durability when making your purchase. Some also include elastane or other fabrics that provide greater flexibility and fitting.
These windbreakers are ideal for those who value comfort over everything else. Other materials similar to polyester also provide extra flexibility.
Style is something else to carefully consider. There are tighter fitting models that allow in less wind and will keep you a bit warmer. Wider cut material, however, are more roomy and can be placed over backpacks and other bags more easily. Get one that matches your needs.
It is also ideal if the windbreaker features a pocket that serves as a storage sack for the windbreaker itself. These windbreakers essentially pack into themselves, making them super easy to store, pack, and take with you.
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On top of protecting you from the wind and rain, there are other finishing touches that you might want to look for as well. These includes things like elastic closures on the waist and cuffs, adjustable hoods, visors to prevent rain from falling on your face, chin collars to cover the mouth, or pockets.
Lastly, put some stock in what people who already own the windbreaker you are interested in have to say. If you are buying it for trail running, listen to what your fellow train runners have to say. If you want it for playing ball outside, what do others have to say about its flexibility, breathability etc?
Whatever your reasons, a windbreaker is an essential article of clothing for any guy who refuses to be deterred from outdoor exercise by the weather conditions. True outdoor lovers and athletes won’t let a little wind and rain stop them, but they need the right gear if they are going to keep themselves dry and warm.
If you want to remain active and healthy even when the weather isn’t cooperating, the best purchase you can make is a good quality, waterproof windbreaker. Get out and enjoy the great outdoors on your own terms and protect yourself from whatever mother nature decides to throw at you.
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(Source of featured image: maridav: 35379723/ 123rf.com)