Best Women’s Insulated Jacket: From The Inside Out

Staying warm in the outdoors is the number one priority for those who choose to get outside. Camping, hiking, trekking, or just walking the dog can all be instances that constitute a need for warmth no matter where you live.

The best women’s insulated jacket will be the key to a comfortable time outside for just a few minutes, a couple hours, or for days at a time. The jacket will be a necessary item to have in the closet or keep packed in the car in case of an emergency.

There are a number of uses and situations that would benefit women by having a good insulated jacket and there are lots of types of jackets out there that would do the job. Which jacket is the best though?

The best insulated jacket will be lightweight, waterproof, offers mobility and flexibility, and is really warm. This is a jacket that is ideal for those in outdoor sports and activities who push their bodies to the limits.

Best Insulated Jackets for Women

Now that we know what we need to look for in a jacket in regards to weight and materials, let’s take time to compare, contrast, and identify which jackets have important features that will help us make a decision on an insulated jacket that will give us the best value for our money.

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Rab Xenon X Hoody

Weight: 13.8 Ounces

Outer Material: Nylon

Insulation: PrimaLoft Gold Insulation

Best Use: Sports & Outdoors, Hiking, Backpacking, Camping

Description: The Rab Xenon X Hoody is made of the ever-strong nylon material which already makes it tough and durable.

The inner and outer fabrics also include a Pretext material to add weather protection. The insulation is in a baffled pattern to ensure the PrimaLoft insulation never bunches or causes cold spots.

This jacket features a helmet hood that can go under or over a helmet which is ideal for climbing sports or cycling sports. A full front zipper features a weather-resistant chin guard to keep your neck and chin warm and covered from the wind.

It has two zipping side pockets and a chest pocket for carrying important items on your person that are easily within reach. One of the side pockets doubles as a stuff sack for easy packing and carrying.

This jacked it slim fit which makes is great looking to wear alone and perfect for layering with other outdoor clothing.

Patagonia Nano-air Hoody

Patagonia Nano-air Hoody

Weight: 12.4 Ounces

Outer Material: Nylon

Insulation: FullRange Insulation

Best Use: Sports & Outdoors, Hiking, Backpacking, Camping

Description: The Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody is designed with FullRange insulation and made with the durable nylon outer material that will keep you warm and dry. This jacket offers great stretch, breathability, and resistance against water.

It is made up of a shell and a liner which gives this jacket a great fit with mobility in the arms and stretching material in the right areas without the loss of heat. The brick quilting pattern helps keep the insulation free-flowing and not bunched up before and after compression.

This helps maintain the loft and shape of the jacket so it will last years. With two hand warming zippered pockets and two chest pockets, this jacket has more storage than most for important items.

The pockets are also built lower than average for use under climbing harnesses or hiking packs. This jacket keeps the heat in where it needs to be with the adjustable draw cord hem at the bottom of the jacket.

Arcteryx Atom LT Hoody

Weight: 12.9 Ounces

Outer Material: Polyester

Insulation: Coreloft Insulation

Best Use: Sports & Outdoors, Hiking, Backpacking, Camping

Description: The Arcteryx Atom LT Hoody is a lightweight and wind-resistant jacket. With warm Coreloft insulation, it uses technology and good quality materials to keep your warm and comfortable.

This jacket is perfect for outdoor sports because it features side panels for ventilation and breathability to keep you warm and cool at appropriate times. With stretchy materials, this jacket is slim fitting and great looking along with it’s great mobility.

It offers an insulated scuba hood that fits under a helmet, making it perfect for outdoor activities. It has two zipping hand pockets and one zipping chest pocket for important items.

It’s got a full-zip front with stretchy wrist cuffs and an adjustable draw cord waist hem to keep the cold air out and the warm air in.

Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket

Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket

Weight: 12 Ounces

Outer Material: Nylon & Polyester

Insulation: Polyester

Best Use: Sports & Outdoors, Hiking, Backpacking, Camping

Description: The Outdoor Research Cathode Jacket is actually made up of dual shells. The outer shell is 100% nylon while the second shell is 100% polyester, making it the best of both worlds.

The insulation is polyester which gives all three layers moisture resistance and warmth. The sides of the jacket feature stretching panels for easy movement and mobility for those in outdoor sports such as climbing, cycling, and more.

The full front zipper has a storm cover and the left hand pocket zips closed and doubles as a stuff sack for easy packing and carrying. It’s got a fully adjustable hood with stretching fabric. At only 12 ounces, this jacket is one of the lightest but will keep you warm with its dual shell layering technology.

The Northface Thermoball Jacket

Weight: 11.5 Ounces

Outer Material: Nylon

Insulation: PrimaLoft Insulation

Best Use: Sports & Outdoors, Hiking, Backpacking, Camping

Description: The Northface Thermoball Jacket is one of the lightest jackets out there. At only 11.5 ounces, this jacket is capable of anything. Made from tough nylon, it will keep out the wind, cold, and moisture while still retaining heat.

It gives the buyer a contoured fit when worn alone and a great base for layering under other clothing. It has an exposed center front zipper and zipping hand pockets it will keep your core warm and comfortable.

This jacket also has internal elastic wrist cuffs to ensure the heat stays in even while layered. This jacked packs well and is highly compressible without losing shape or loft. It folds into a pocket for easy storage and packability.

Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket

Weight: 10.4 Ounces

Outer Material: Nylon

Insulation: Thermal Q Insulation

Best Use: Sports & Outdoors, Hiking, Backpacking, Camping

Description: The Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket is the lightest jacket you will see on this list at only 10.4 ounces. With a durable nylon outer material and the Thermal Q insulation this jacket is still extremely warm despite its light weight.

It is easily compressible and fits into one of its own hand warming pockets for easy packing on the go. It might be easy to pack away but this jacket doesn’t lose loft or shape after being packed away and stays warm for years.

This jacket is great for layering but also has a fashionable diamond quilting pattern that looks great on its own. It holds in heat well with a dual hem draw cord at the bottom of the jacket and the elastic cuffs on the wrists.

Colombia Kaleidaslope 2 Jacket

Weight: 15.7 Ounces

Outer Material: Polyester

Insulation: Omni-Heat Insulation

Best Use: Sports & Outdoors, Hiking, Backpacking, Camping

Description: The Colombia Kaleidaslope 2 Jacket is a jacket that offers revolutionary heat technology. Coming in at 15.7 ounces, this jacket is heavy but the bulk is not for nothing. With the new Omni-Heat technology, this jacket has changed the way we think about insulation.

With a polyester outer material, it is water-, wind-, and abrasion-resistant and will last for many years.

This jacket also features an overlying shell that is made with elastane and polyester blend to add even more heat control. It has a fashionable diamond quilted pattern and a slimming fit. It has fleece-lined zipping pockets and a secure internal pocket for safe keeping.

The collar is fur-lined and the zipper is covered with a chin guard to keep the cold out for good. This jacket does not compress well because of it’s bulk but offers exceptional heat control for any activity outside.

Arcteryx Atom AR Hoody

Weight: 14.6 Ounces

Outer Material: Cotton

Insulation: Coreloft Insulation

Best Use: Sports & Outdoors, Hiking, Backpacking, Camping

Description: The Arcteryx Atom AR Hoody is similar to it’s counterpart the Atom LT Hoody but does offer a few differences. The Atom AR is heavier, coming in at almost 15 ounces. It is made of cotton which adds to the weight but the warmth is top of the line.

The soft fabric feels great on our skin, but has a tendency to hold in moisture. However, this jacket has been treated with a DWR finish that repels most water on the outside and has also been treated for wind-resistance as well.

These treatments also add extra weight to the jacket. This jacket is still highly durable and offers a helmet-compatible hood for outdoor sports specially designed to aid in head mobility. In addition to the hood, the arms and sides are equipped with stretching material along the side panels and near the elbows for full range of motion.

The front zipper reaches the hood and offers a chin guard for added warmth for your neck and face. It has two zipping hand pockets and a chest pocket for carrying important items with you.

Qualities of The Best Insulated Jackets

Aside from the basics that provide protection from the outside elements, what more does a jacket need to make it the best?

Here are a few more qualities that you should be using to guide you in making a choice about the best insulated jacket:

  • Weight: Weight is an important factor for a number of reasons. A jacket that is light enough to stand alone, be warm, and layers well is an ideal choice. This is a factor especially important for those who are hiking or packing and need to consider weight.
  • Outer Material: The outer material of the jacket will tell you a lot about the quality. There are a few main fabrics that will do the job, but each has its own qualities that could influence your decision.
    • Nylon: Nylon is probably the strongest and most durable of all the fabrics used in outdoor clothing. This material wicks away moisture, which is great if you are planning to take a workout or a hike.
      The fabric is smooth against your skin but it’s also extremely durable. Nylon also has great elasticity. It stretches well and will almost never lose its shape after being washed, worn, or packed away.
      It’s abrasion-resistant and can be easy crushed and bunched up while still maintaining shape and durability. The few cons about nylon are are that it is often more expensive, it is vulnerable to bleaching and fading, and can have reactions with certain cleaning agents, so care must be exercised when cleaning nylon jackets.
    • Polyester: Polyester is one of the few popular materials that makes up a lot of outerwear and is one of the cheapest to make. It is fairly durable, a close second to nylon, and can also be recycled for more uses.
      With very low absorbency properties, polyester can be treated to make it great for moisture-wicking and quick-drying uses. Polyester is also not likely to shrink when cleaned and holds its shape better than other fabrics used.
    • Cotton: Cotton is a crowd favorite. It is one of the softest and most comfortable fabrics to use in clothing because it feels great on our skin. It is one of the most common household fabrics that is used in everyday life, but its uses are not as popular for outerwear for a few reasons.
      One of the best qualities of cotton is that it takes away moisture. It soaks it up and keeps it off of us but it isn’t a material that can get rid of that moisture well or quickly.
      The fabric does a good job of soaking in all moisture but drying the fabric takes a lot longer than other materials, and the moisture can cause the fabric to become quite heavy.
  • Insulation: The main purpose of this jacket is to keep you warm. It will do its job based on what is inside the jacket. This is the insulation of the coat and it’s one of the most important factors to consider before buying a jacket. There are many types of synthetic materials used for insulation both new and old to be discussed:
    • Polyester: Polyester is one of the most popular and most-used types of synthetic insulations in outdoor clothing. It is highly water-resistant and keeps heat very well while wicking moisture away.
      Polyester packs down well and will spring back to life when unpacked and unfolded. This material won’t clump up inside the coat and cause cold spots either. It’s one of the cheaper options for insulation so far, but new research and technology have taken polyester and all other regular synthetic materials to a new level.
    • PrimaLoft: PrimaLoft is a newer synthetic material. It has been labeled as one of the best alternatives to down feathers. This material capitalizes on warmth without added weight. It is also highly water-resistant and will never trap moisture inside the jacket.
      This helps you feel warm even when sweating and will keep you dry by wicking the wetness away so you won’t feel damp either. It’s lightweight and packs extremely well. In addition, the PrimaLoft material boasts being one of the softest of the synthetic fabrics against your skin.
    • FullRange: FullRange is also a relatively new synthetic material that has improved the old fabrics further. This material uses a combination of thick and thin fibers to ensure fullness without weight.
      No spare space on the inside of the jacket is wasted to allow for one of the warmest coats in any conditions. By using thick and thin fibers, this coat is also supposed to provide fuller movement and will stretch while wearing it.
      This is one of the most breathable synthetic fabrics to hit the market and does it’s job on the inside and the outside of the coat.
    • Coreloft: Coreloft is a newer synthetic fabric that promises warmth, comfort, and durability. This is a non-woven insulation that is durable and highly moisture-resistant. With the lightweight qualities it has, it packs easily and still holds in heat well.
      Coreloft dries quickly and is easy to care for over time when washing. The secret behind Coreloft is that polyester fibers inside the coat are of varying lengths and widths and are crimped to help trap more air than regular polyester fibers.
      With the mix of fiber sizes, this material is still packable and compressible but will retain warmth with the larger fibers that resist compaction. This allows for use over long periods of time being packed and worn again and again.
    • Thermal Q: With similar technology to FullRange synthetic material, Thermal Q also uses a combination of various fiber sizes and thicknesses to form the insulation of jackets. The difference in size increases loft and warmth held by the jacket without wasted space.
      This fabric also packs down well with exceptional loft when unpacked because the fiber sizes move around and never crimp or bunch up in parts of the jacket.
      This fabric shares all of the same great qualities of the old original, polyester, including water-resistance, durability and resilience against time and many uses. It’s breathable and flexible for added comfort and mobility to the wearer.
    • Omni-Heat: Omni-Heat is a very new addition to the synthetic family. Aided by lots of technology and research, this material is one-of-a-kind. The Omni-Heat technology has different facets that are said to improve the warmth of your jacket.
      These include a reflective textile and a new type of insulation. The reflective textile on the inside of this jacket is proven to regulate your body temperature while wearing it. Using a specific pattern on this reflective material, it’s made to wick moisture and aid breathability.
      The thermal insulation uses various sizes of fibers to increase inside coverage, increase warmth, and also has incredible lofting technology while still being easily compressed. Their fibers are also said to be made from 50% recycled fibers.

Turn Up The Heat: Choosing Your Jacket

There are only a few key factors to consider when choosing a jacket that needs to be as warm as a winter coat, yet versatile enough for those who are active in sports. Weight is a key factor in both cases.

We need something thick and warm, yet light and durable to allow for travel and packability. Outer material is an essential factor as well. A jacket should be virtually weather proof to keep the cold out and the heat in. The insulation also has a very important job in being full and warm while still being compressible and lightweight.

Choosing the jacket that is best for you is a tough decision but with research and a knowledge of materials, insulations, and features of each jacket, the choice will be easier than ever. This will leave you with an insulated jacket that will keep you warm and comfortable no matter what activity you are doing.

Was this article helpful to you? If so, feel free to comment with your thoughts or experiences you have with insulated jackets and make sure to share this article with your friends.

4 thoughts on “Best Women’s Insulated Jacket: From The Inside Out”

  1. Arcteryx hoody is super warm, especially considering how light it feels. All of their products are very high-quality. Water runs right off of it. Sleeves are wonderful and fully articulated for full range of motion. Also I love the colors! You just can’t go wrong with Arcteryx 🙂

  2. I think the wide range of colors available plus the excellent features make this jacket a standout. It looks like more users are demanding that outdoor gears be stylish, as well. I can’t blame them, though.
    Good choice on the jacket, by the way! 🙂

  3. Looking at buying the Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody but I’m not sure how to get the best use out of it. I’ve was told that it’s a mixture between a puffy jacket and a fleece, in the sense of having the breathability of a fleece but the warmth of a puffy jacket. I’m looking for something to wear under my ski suit more than anything so would this be a good option?

    • This would be great to wear under your ski garment since it’s lightweight and breathable. It protects you from the harsh elements so you can also wear it as is – warmer than fleece, too.


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