Stay comfier on outdoor adventures with the best summer jackets

·Contributing Writer
·8-min read

We may receive commission from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change. This content is created by a 3rd party partner for Yahoo.

A man wearing his red jacket in an office
A man wearing his red jacket in an office

On warm summer days, most people usually like wearing light clothing like shorts and T-shirts, but rain and strong winds are still possible, even on the warmest August afternoons. So what should you wear when it’s sunny and bright, but you still need a little extra protection?

Summer jackets are the ideal accessory for these situations. They’re lightweight and breathable, keeping you cool and fresh during the summer, but still offering that extra layer of coverage you might need in rainy or windy weather.

It’s important to choose summer jackets carefully, some are much better-made and more comfortable than others. In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the top summer jackets for 2022, and give you some key information about choosing your next jacket.

Top Picks

Best overall: Columbia Switchback Jacket

The Columbia Women’s Switchback III Waterproof Rain Jacket is a lightweight waterproof rain coat designed to keep you perfectly dry
The Columbia Women’s Switchback III Waterproof Rain Jacket is a lightweight waterproof raincoat designed to keep you perfectly dry

At the top of our list, we have the Switchback Jacket from Columbia, one of the biggest names in the outerwear space. Available in a range of sizes and crafted using quality nylon and polyester, this option is the ideal clothing for summer days. It's fully waterproof to keep you dry when the rain starts to fall, but still impressively lightweight and breathable, so you won't get too hot or sweaty wearing it. It's also a very classy and elegant product, with a clean, neat shape and comfortable range of motion. Thanks to its attractive design, thorough rain protection, and lightweight build, this jacket earns the title of best overall on this list.

Key Features:

  • 40 color options

  • Material: Nylon and polyester

  • Zipper closure

  • Sizes: XS to 3XL

Durable materials: Riders by Lee Denim Jacket

Constructed with comfort in mind, this women's denim jacket has a classic fit and offers give where you need it while still providing a classic straight fit
Constructed with comfort in mind, this women's denim jacket has a classic fit

Next up, we have this fabulous denim jacket from Riders by Lee. Available in many colors and sizes, this is one of the most fashionable and attractive summer options you can find. It's a beautiful little clothing item that ends just above the hips, providing an extra layer of coverage for your arms and shoulders on days when the wind is a little high. It's crafted from a blend of cotton and other materials, offering a nice balance of comfort and protection. This product won't stand up to the rain too well, but it's a classy and casual option to throw over your shoulders on warm summer evenings for walks on the beach or to outdoor events.

Key Features:

  • 10 color options

  • Material: Cotton, polyester, rayon, and spandex

  • Button closure

Most comfortable: Hanes French Terry Zip Hoodie

Zip-front drawstring hoodie in French terry fabric with brushed inside for extra softness
Zip-front drawstring hoodie in French terry fabric with brushed inside for extra softness

If you're looking for something casual and cozy to bring along in your bag on summer beach days, family picnics or some time in the park with your pals, this lovely zip hoodie from Hanes is a great choice. Made from a mixture of cotton and polyester, it's soft and smooth on the skin, but also very lightweight and breathable. This option is also pretty long too, running down to the tops of the thighs to provide a little extra coverage for your body whenever you need it. This hoodie also features a simple zipper along the center as well as pouch pockets on either side for your hands.

Key Features:

  • Four color options

  • Material: Cotton and polyester blend

  • Zipper closure

Perfect for all seasons: London Fog Men’s Golf Jacket

Lightweight zip-front jacket lined in mesh and featuring double-entry hand pockets
Lightweight zip-front jacket lined in mesh and featuring double-entry hand pockets

Next up, we have something designed with men in mind. This golf jacket from London Fog is available in a huge range of sizes, including big and tall options for larger people. It comes in plenty of color options, too, from classic black and cool gray to brighter options like blue, red, and yellow. No matter which color you choose, you'll be getting a classy and comfortable jacket with useful zipper pockets, an elegant collar, and a lightweight body. There's even mesh lining on the inside to promote airflow and keep you cool on summer days, making this an excellent all-season piece of outerwear to add to your collection.

Key Features:

  • 23 color options

  • Material: Polyester and nylon blend

  • Zipper closure

Perfect for rainy weather: Tommy Hilfiger Men's Waterproof Jacket

The 100% nylon shell gives the jacket water resistant ability
The 100% nylon shell gives the jacket water resistant ability

Sadly, it can't be sunny and dry every single day of summer. Rain sometimes has to fall, but this jacket will keep you nice and dry, allowing you to enjoy your favorite outdoor activities, even in wet conditions. It's made by Tommy Hilfiger, one of the top designer brands in the business, and it lives up to the company's high standards with a fabulous aesthetic and quality construction. Crafted using nylon, it features a strong, resistant outer shell to defend against wind and water, and there’s also a mesh lining inside for added breathability. There’s even a pair of pockets on the side for storing everyday items.

Key Features:

  • 19 color options

  • Material: 100% nylon

  • Zipper closure

How to find your next summer jacket: A buyer’s guide

Next, let’s take a look at some of the key things you should look for in summer jackets as well as how to take care of them.

How are summer jackets different from winter jackets?

Summer jackets are usually different from winter versions in a few ways. For example, summer versions are often much lighter and thinner, letting you wear them in warmer weather without feeling too hot or uncomfortable.

A summer jacket can also include a few summer-oriented features, such as layers of sweat-wicking fabric to soak up moisture as well as mesh panels for promoting airflow and making the interior of the jacket feel cooler.

Overall, these jackets are simply made for warmer weather, so they have various materials and features that make them much more comfortable to wear on sunny days compared to thicker, padded winter coats.

What makes a jacket a summer jacket?

Here are some of the defining characteristics of summer jackets and some of the things you should look for when buying one.

1. Thin and lightweight

While winter jackets are thick and padded, summer jackets are usually very thin and lightweight. They shouldn’t feature any extra padding or cushioned areas, this can make you too hot on warmer days. Instead, they should be very thin to the touch and feel light when you wear them.

2. Breathable and cooling

A good-quality summer jacket should help keep you cool and fresh, even on warmer days. Usually, it should feature some sort of mesh paneling, or lining, to help with breathability. Look for mesh sections on the inside or small mesh panels around the outer layer of a jacket.

3. Pockets

Many people like to store everyday items in their jacket pockets, such as phones, wallets, and keys. So, you may also want to check and see if the summer jacket you’re looking at has any pockets. Look for pockets with zips if you want to keep your items extra safe and secure.

4. Closure system

Some summer jackets have closures, while others are simply left open at all times. The type you choose should depend on your personal preferences. Jackets with closures are useful for rainier and windier days, but open jackets are still great for casual settings and dry summer evenings.

Types of summer jackets

There are several different types of summer jackets. Here are a few options and some explanations of each one:

  • Waterproof or rain jackets: a waterproof summer jacket is something that features water-resistant materials and is designed to be worn in the rain. It will keep you dry during downpours, which is perfect for hikes in the forest or other outdoor activities.

  • Denim jackets: denim jackets are another option to consider for the summer. They’re not the best at withstanding water and rain, but they can help protect you against strong winds and cooler weather. They’re also quite fashionable and are a good choice for people who want some extra summer style.

  • Hoodies: you should also consider hooded summer jackets. These items are usually quite casual and good for wearing with friends and family during walks in the park or on trail runs during cool summer mornings. They also have a hood for protecting your head and usually some sort of zipper closure for extra protection.

Cleaning summer jackets

The correct method for cleaning summer jackets depends on which type of jacket you buy. Many are machine washable, making them super easy to clean without a lot of hassle, but others need to be treated more carefully. Check the label on your jacket to find out more.

People also asked

Q: Which type of jacket is best for summer?

A: Experts recommend lightweight, breathable jackets for summer days to help keep you cool and fresh and prevent overheating.

Q: Can I wear my puffer jacket during summer?

A: You can, but it depends on the conditions. Puffer jackets will usually be too thick and hot for warm and sunny summer days, but they can be useful if the weather is a little cooler or gets windier.

Q: What jacket should I wear with my summer dress?

A: Try lightweight and fashionable jackets like a casual hoodie version or a cropped denim jacket, they will work well with a summer dress.