Shopping for a Jacket this Fall? We’ve Got You Covered

Summer’s coming to an end, and fall is quietly taking its place. It’s a wonderful season for enjoying the outdoors, even if beautiful autumn days come with cooler temperatures. It’s time to adjust your wardrobe, and most importantly, your jacket, to seasonal demands. How much windproofing and waterproofing do you require in a jacket? How important is breathability and insulation for the activities you enjoy? What technical gear will you need?

Read on to discover our tips and tricks for choosing a jacket that will help you get the best out of the most colourful season.

What Makes a Good Fall Jacket?

The main purpose of a fall jacket is to keep you warm and dry at whatever speed you’re moving. Most running jackets and outdoor jackets combine these two features, though to different degrees. Before going any further, here are five questions to answer while shopping:

  • How windproof is the jacket?
  • How waterproof is it?
  • What level of insulation does it have?
  • How breathable is it?
  • What material is it made of?

When shopping for your jacket, take the time to read the tags carefully and tick through the five-item list above. It’s always a good idea to do some research beforehand. Whether for jogging or hiking or any other outdoor fall activity, if you already know your needs, you’ll be far more satisfied—and for much longer.

Fall Running Jacket: The Features to Look For

Do you love running? Keep in mind that once you’ve warmed up, your body will feel much warmer than the temperature outside—so dress strategically.

Insulation: Specialized running jackets are water resistant, but not seam-sealed, ergo, NOT waterproof.

The Hood: The hood is a primary concern, as it adds a great deal of insulation and keeps your head dry in the rain.  It usually contains an elastic, making it easy to adjust.

The Cut: Running jackets are typically form-fitting, which also means they’re streamlined for speed. While trying on the jacket, make sure to move around freely: cross your arms, lift them in the air, sit down, bend over to tie your shoes—whatever you do, make sure you’re comfortable doing it.

Material: Typical running jackets are made of polyester, a breathable material that easily evacuates sweat while conserving heat. They also contain a small amount of insulation (brushed polar and micro polar fleece) to maintain body heat, which makes your post-run recovery easier.

The Bonus: Do you like running early in the morning or late at night? With their reflective bands, these jackets will help you stay safe.

Tip: Early in the season, a water-resistant windbreaker without insulation can be adequate. Toward the end of fall, however, a jacket with a small amount of insulation is recommended.

Fall Outdoor/Hiking Jacket: The Features to Look For

If you love the outdoors, you know that a bad jacket can ruin your day. Don’t let autumn rain or cold winds break your stride, and choose the right gear so that nothing can stop you.

Insulation: The seams of outdoor jackets are sealed. In other words, they’re resistant to wind, rain, and any other unpleasant weather you may have to face, no matter how intense it is.

The Hood: Most outdoor rain jackets come with an adjustable hood, which is a must. A removable hood can be an interesting asset, depending on the type of outdoor activity you’re doing. Some hoods can be worn with a helmet, which is something to consider if you enjoy climbing, for instance. Check the adjustable options as well. A properly fitted hood will shelter you from the wind and allow you to stay focused on the sport at hand.

Material: Look for “4-Way Stretch,” a technology that will give you freedom of movement unlike any other, thanks to form-fitting panels that follow the body’s movement. You should also know that the outside material on rain jackets is porous, meaning microscopic pores guarantee absolute waterproofing, while allowing sweat to easily evaporate.

The Bonus: Your coat adapts to your activity. It will maintain your body heat when you’re doing moderate exercise, then evacuate sweat and regulate your body temperature when you take the athletics up a notch.

Tip: Before swiping your card, take note of where the pockets are located, how well the wrists seal up, the quality of the built-in ventilation around the armpits, the weight of the jacket and how compact it is.

Choose wisely, and think durability. Nothing is more disappointing—and at times harrowing—than discovering that you’re stuck in the middle of a wind and rainstorm on top of a mountain without the right gear.

Have a happy fall in the great outdoors!