|Best for Backpacking||KUIU Women’s Super Down ULTRA Hooded Jacket||SEE IT||
Super lightweight and warm, and packs down impressively
|Best Mid-Weight||Sitka Women's Kelvin Active Jacket||SEE IT||
A quiet, versatile layer that’s lightweight and keeps you warm
|Best Budget||Nomad Women’s Harvester NXT Jacket||SEE IT||
A versatile jacket at an affordable price
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The best hunting jackets don’t just keep you warm, they keep you in the field longer. However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. When investing in a piece of gear, plenty of hunters aim for versatility, but what works well in the early season isn’t always the best for the late season. It’s important to choose a jacket that fits your hunting season and stalking style. I tested the best women’s hunting jackets over the course of Montana’s archery and firearm hunting seasons. They’ve been subjected to wind, rain, heat, and cold. Here are my top picks.
- Best for Backpacking: KUIU Women’s Super Down ULTRA Hooded Jacket
- Best Mid-Weight: Sitka Women’s Kelvin Active Jacket
- Best Pockets: Prois Torai Mid-Weight Jacket
- Best Budget: Nomad Women’s Harvester NXT Jacket
- Best Late Season: DSG Kylie 4.0 3-in-1 Hunting Jacket with Removable Fleece Liner
- Best Soft Shell: First Lite Women’s Catalyst Soft Shell Jacket
Best Women’s Hunting Jacket for Backpacking: KUIU Super Down Ultra Hooded Jacket
Why it Made the Cut
KUIU is a major player in the backpack hunting world, known for its lightweight and technical mountain hunting gear. After starting with a few lifestyle pieces, they finally released technical gear for women including the KUIU Super Down ULTRA Hooded Jacket. While it uses the same insulation and fabric as the men’s version, this fit is tailored for a woman’s shape.
- 6.8 ounces
- 850-plus fill power water-resistant Quixdown insulation
- Nylon 12D ripstop fabric
- Two-way adjustable hood and adjustable hem
- Zipper hand pockets, left pocket doubles as a stuff sack
- Ultra light, yet warm
- Packs down to about the size of a large burrito
- Weather-resistant fabric
- Noisy—not recommended for bowhunting
Super is an appropriate name for the KUIU Super Down ULTRA Hooded Jacket. It’s super light and super warm. When packed into its built-in stuff sack, the jacket resembles the size of a large burrito. At less than a pound, it’s a dream to carry in a pack. The jacket feels too light to carry any real warmth, but don’t let that mislead you.
I wore this jacket as an outer and insulating layer on several November mule deer hunts, and it kept me warm in below-freezing temperatures while 40mph winds whipped me in the face. The wind and water-resistant fabric are great for getting caught in the elements. The fabric makes a little too much noise, however, and I wouldn’t recommend this as an outer layer while bowhunting. For sizing, KUIU’s clothing runs slim and small, so I recommend sizing up to avoid a snug fit.
Best Mid-Weight Hunting Jacket: Sitka Women’s Kelvin Active Jacket
Why it Made the Cut
As one of the leaders in performance hunting clothing, Sitka became one of the first to introduce a fairly robust women’s line. The company released its women’s line in 2017, including the Women’s Kelvin Active Jacket. The jacket is designed to be part of a complete layering system, yet its versatility makes it a powerful stand-alone piece.
- 14.75 ounces
- Polartec Alpha Active, non-migrating lofted insulation offers superior breathability and moisture management
- Durable water repellent resists light precipitation
- Brushed fleece hand packets
- Retails for $289
- Silent fabric
- Warm and breathable
- Elastic cuffs
- Inconsistent sizing
The Sitka Women’s Kelvin Active Jacket has been my go-to jacket for four years. This layer is in my pack, or on my back, during any hunting trip. It’s my favorite layer for bowhunting elk in early fall. The fabric and zippers are incredibly quiet, so this jacket won’t give you away. The elastic cuffs make it quick and easy to get on and off and don’t get in the way of wearing a release comfortably. This comfortable jacket is low-profile and lightweight yet warm. It breathes well for comfortable hiking and keeps you warm during long, glassing sits. The brushed fleece pockets are soft and roomy, and they’ll keep your hands warm on cold mornings.
Best Women’s Hunting Jacket for Hand Warmth: Prois Torai Mid-Weight Jacket
Why it Made the Cut
Prois helped pioneer women’s hunting gear for women, by women. The company launched in 2008, when options for female hunters were scarce. The company has created a comprehensive line up of women’s gear and prides itself on empowering women hunters to have a “unique look without sacrificing comfort or performance in the field.”
Prois is a leader in women’s hunting gear, and this mid-weight jacket is warm and comfortable with roomy fleece-lined pockets.
- 27.2 ounces
- Pit zips for ventilation
- Windproof and water resistant
- Bonded microfleece
- Retails for $199
- Super-soft microfleece-lined pockets
- Pit zippers for thermoregulation
- Velcro cuffs
- Tight sleeves
The Prois Torai Mid-Weight Jacket performs well as both an outer layer and insulating piece. The jacket’s athletic fit is very flattering. I appreciate the attention to detail with the pit-zips that provide a quick way to make the jacket more breathable while hiking.
While this jacket is warm, the pockets are warmer. During a mid-November mule deer hunt, these pockets came in clutch while I quartered the buck. As soon as my hands started to go numb, I shoved them into the fleece pockets for quick warmth, so I could get back to dressing the animal. However, the jacket’s cuffs are too tight, which makes it uncomfortable and difficult to layer, and the cuff’s loud velcro isn’t exactly stealthy.
Best on a Budget: Nomad Women’s Harvester NXT Jacket
Why it Made the Cut
The Nomad Women’s Harvester NXT Jacket is one of the company’s most versatile women’s hunting jackets at an affordable price. It’s designed as a mid-season jacket with wind and water-resistant capabilities.
- Four-way stretch
- Wind- and water-resistant
- Zippered chest pocket
- Zippered Sherpa-lined pockets
- High-pile interior
- Retails for $150
- Super soft interior
- Elastic cuffs
- Slightly noisy
- Short in length
The Nomad Women’s Harvester NXT Jacket provides serious competition for companies with higher price points. If you’re looking to purchase gear at a more affordable price, you should consider this jacket. Its design is similar to the Sitka Women’s Kelvin Active Jacket and Prois Torai Mid-Weight Jacket.
The Nomad Women’s Harvester NXT Jacket contains a soft and warm high-pile interior. The soft piling lines the top of the collar, making it extra cozy around the neck and face. On windy days, it felt nice to bury my face into the collar. Overall, this lining provides a lot of warmth, but even with the four-way stretch panels on the sleeves and body, this jacket isn’t as breathable as the Sitka or Prois mid-weight jackets. However, the four-way panel on the sleeve is super soft and won’t rub your nose raw when you wipe away the snot during cold, windy conditions. After multiple uses and washes, the jacket held up.
Best for Late Season Hunting: DSG Kylie 4.0 3-in-1 Hunting Jacket with Removable Fleece Liner
Why it Made the Cut
DSG’s Kylie 4.0 3-in-1 Hunting Jacket is designed for warmth, and its zip-in fleece liner makes this item a bargain for late season conditions.
- 100 grams of thin profile insulation
- A stand-alone outer jacket or zip-in wearable fleece liner for added warmth
- Four outer pockets including large cargo pockets with hidden snap closure flaps and side entry pocket
- Interior lycra wrist gaiter with thumb hole
- Removable hood
- Retails for $199
- Warm for late season sits
- Soft, quiet fabric
- Removable lining turns into an everyday fleece
- Lots of pockets
The majority of my hunting is spot-and-stalk, and I carry a large “puffy” in my pack to wear while glassing, so the DSG Kylie 4.0 3-in-1 Hunting Jacket proved too heavy and bulky for that purpose. However, it quickly became my number one choice for any late-season activity that didn’t involve a lot of hiking.
If you get cold on late season hunts, you won’t while wearing this jacket. It’s superb for those long sits in the treestand or frozen mornings in the duck blind. It kept me toasty warm while laying in a ground blind with temperatures in the teens. A lot of detail went into designing this jacket, and it has enough pockets to hold your cell phone, snacks, extra ammo, and hand warmers. Accessing the pockets is quiet and easy. There’s even a flap on the back of the jacket so you can wear it over your treestand harness.
The removable hood is a nice touch if you’re already wearing hooded base layers. The super-soft fleece liner is easy to add/remove. However, on my second use, when I was pulling my arm out of the sleeve, I broke the snap that keeps the cuff in place. This is easily fixable and didn’t affect wearing the jacket, as it also zips in. I routinely wear the soft, solid black fleece for everyday use. The sizing on this jacket runs big, so I would recommend sizing down even if you plan to wear it over several layers.
Best Soft Shell Jacket: First Lite Women’s Catalyst Soft Shell Jacket
Why it Made the Cut
The merino wool regulates body temperature incredibly well and conceals body odor. This jacket is lightweight and great for throwing over a few layers.
- 17.3 ounces
- Two-layer softshell material
- Active particle technology maintains body temperature and traps human odor
- Drop-tail hem for glassing
- Retails for $240 ($230 for solids)
- Soft, quiet fabric
- Perfect for layering
- Slim for an outer layer, recommend sizing up
The First Lite Women’s Catalyst Soft Shell Jacket reminds me why a good soft shell might be the best addition to your hunting layering system. If you’re new to hunting, a camouflage softshell is the only piece of camo you need, because you can wear it over baselayers and jackets you use for other activities. Softshells are the most versatile jackets because they have minimal insulation. They can be worn comfortably in warmer weather or layered over insulating jackets for colder weather. The Women’s Catalyst Soft Shell Jacket is form fitting, so I recommend sizing up.
I have the Women’s Catalyst Soft Shell Jacket in Firstlite’s solid conifer color. While I wouldn’t recommend a solid color for bowhunting, I chose this one to wear for other activities like fly-fishing,everyday wear, and rifle hunting. I love this jacket so much that I will probably buy another one in camouflage for bowhunting.
The fabric is soft and weather-resistant. It’s very stretchy and easy to move in, especially the sleeves which provide a full range of motion. The interior fleece is soft as well. I layered this jacket over a baselayer and mid-weight jacket on windy 30-degree hunts ,and felt comfortable while hiking and glassing. It cut the wind well and kept out the elements.
Q: What makes a good hunting jacket?
A good hunting jacket should be lightweight, breathable, and above all, keep you warm. Of course, depending on your hunting situation, some factors might not be as important as others. If you’re hunting whitetails on your family’s farm in a box blind, weight probably isn’t as important as staying warm. On the other hand, if you’re chasing elk in the backcountry, a lightweight, well-ventilated soft shell can mean the difference in punching your tag or going home early.
Q: How long will a hunting jacket last?
How long a hunting jacket lasts depends on the use and care it receives. Style of hunting also plays a role in your jacket’s wear-n-tear. If you’re belly crawling through rocky, brushy terrain, knicks and abrasions are bound to occur. However, if you’re hunting the late season from a treestand or in a place where temperatures occasionally drop below freezing, a heavy jacket like the DSG Kylie 4.0 3-1 might receive little abuse.
Q: How much does a good hunting jacket cost?
The cost of a good hunting jacket varies, but from the list above you can expect to pay $200 or more. Prices of hunting jackets have increased but so has the technology. There are affordable, functional jackets like the Nomad Women’s Harvester NXT, and most higher end jackets like the ones listed above are worth their price. If you’re paying top dollar for a hunting jacket that nails all or most of the necessary components, think of it as an investment in your hunting.
How to Choose a Hunting Jacket
A jacket is one of the most essential pieces of your hunting gear. It’s a critical barrier between your body and the weather. Wearing the wrong jacket can cut your hunt short or worse, put you in danger if you’re not dressed appropriately for weather conditions. When selecting a hunting jacket, first consider the time of year you hunt and the typical weather conditions. You then need to consider your most common style of hunting.
Spot-and-stalk hunting involves hiking and long periods of sitting and glassing. It takes trial and error to figure out the layers for spot-and-stalk hunting. You don’t want to start with too many layers because you’ll quickly work up a sweat, but as soon as you sit down, you’re cold from the moisture and lack of movement. Depending on the weather, you might want two jackets including a lightweight, breathable layer for hiking and a more insulating option for glassing. However, if you’re carrying these jackets all day in steep terrain, you’ll want to balance weight with warmth.
For late season hunts and those with minimal movement like treestands and ground blinds, warmth is key. Traditionally, weight and bulk aren’t much of an issue. You need a jacket that provides enough warmth to keep you comfortable in the elements. If you get too cold, you risk not being able to draw your bow or make the shot.
Quiet fabric is important—especially for bowhunting—when it’s imperative to remain undetected during close range hunts. Fit is also an important consideration. If the sleeves are too long or bulky, they can get in the way of shooting. A jacket should fit slim enough to allow for easy movement, yet roomy enough to wear over one to three layers.
Read Next: Best Puffer Jacket for Men and Women
Final Thoughts on the Best Women’s Hunting Jacket
Five years ago I never would have imagined it possible to write an entire article about women’s hunting jackets. There were just too few on the market.
I picked the best women’s hunting jackets that I felt covered a wide range of situations. Each of these jackets is technical, functional, and flattering. These are not your “pink and shrink it” pieces from the past. In fact, none of them are pink. Any jacket on this list would make an excellent addition to a woman’s hunting wardrobe. It’s just a matter of finding the one that fits your body, budget, climate, and style of hunting.