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Best Hardshell Jacket for Women: Keeping You Dry and Warm No Matter What!

How do you know which is the right jacket while going for hiking or skiing? First, it depends on many things, where you are going, how cold it will be, and your budget. Then, you focus on the features of the jacket.

Let’s face it; buying such jacket is not something you do so often since they cost a small fortune. To purchase a highly versatile jacket that can manage to offer you comfort while on outdoor adventures, you will need to carry out a thorough research.

We can help you with explaining the features you should look for. The article also focuses on tips for buying the best Hardshell jacket for woman, as well as the features to look for and functions that make them worthy of your consideration.

Product NameWeightBest UseSpecific FeaturesPrice
Arctryx Beta AR1.4 lbSkiing and snowboardingHelmet-compatible drop hood, fully taped seams, Gore-Tex Pro, underarm zippers, lifetime manufacturer warranty.Check price on Amazon
Ugly Frog 16621.2 lbMountaineering, walking, drifting.Made of polyester, fashionable color, smooth and soft polar fleece, highly durable, ability to maintain warmth even after being washed severally, scratch resistant, and windproof, fluffy and with good elasticity.Check price on Amazon
Zeroxposur Maxine1 lbRunning, everyday use100% polyester, repels both wind and water, suitable for machine wash, offers a lot of comfort and maximum protection against moisture penetration.Check price on Amazon
Mountain Hardwear Torsun1 lbMountaineeringIt’s made of Dry.Q Elite 3L fabric with 100 percent fabric, features two zipped hand pockets, asymmetrical hook, and loop adjustable cuffs, air permeable, wind and waterproof.Check price on Amazon
Outdoor Research Clairvoyant1.5 lbBackpacking and skiingGore-Tex active technology, two large meshed pockets with waterproof zips, small chest pockets, helmet compatible hood, velcro sleeves, soft fabric with a matte appearance.Check price on Amazon
The North Face Resolve2 lbClimbing, casual wear, hikingWaterproof seams, sealed and breathable, adjustable hood stow in the collar, mesh lined, two zipped side pockets, brushed chin guards, hem cinch cord, center zip closure with a velcro closure.Check price on Amazon
Angel Cola KM3C021.1 lbCold weather hiking100 percent polyester, removable hood, drawcord adjustable hem, waterproof fabric, adjustable cuff tabs.Check price on Amazon
Arcteryx A2B Commuter1.7 lbCyclingN40p Gore-Tex fabric, 3L technology for maximum breathability and waterproof, shaped hood, back hem, cuffs has integrated stowable reflective surfaces, fit and articulate.Check price on Amazon

Features To Consider Before Buying

When buying a hardshell jacket, you need to know what are the features that make it so special, so that you know if the model you are looking at is worth the money you are about to spend on it. Therefore, we will help you again and give you an insight in the features that make a hardshell jacket the best.

Each hardshell jacket is made with the strongest fabric, which is further enhanced by highly innovative and waterproof membrane to ensure durability. To achieve this, each jacket comes in three layers, each serving a unique purpose as we are going to see: outer layer, waterproof breathable membrane, and inner layer.

The Outer Layer

The outer layer is what you see on the outside of the jacket and is usually made of either polyester or nylon, closely woven together to provide durability. Different jackets differ in fiber thickness and tightness hence the different qualities.

The-outer-shell-and-down-layer-zip-together-creating-one-jacket.

Additionally, the outer layer different with a durable water resistant, chemical (DWR), which prevents water from penetrating. This chemical causes the water to bead up and fall off once it comes in contact with the jacket.

Waterproof Breathable Membrane

This layer is sandwiched between the outer layer and the inner layer and has both waterproof and breathability features. To achieve these two, the fabric, making it is woven tightly such that water droplets cannot penetrate. At the same time, it has tiny holes which nothing can pass through other than water vapor.

The Inner Layer

The main importance of this layer is increasing durability by protecting the jacket abrasions and body oils. Other functions of this membrane include wicking away the body moisture away from the body.

Here we observe an inner layer that is not welded to the membrane and face fabric

It also helps in reducing the friction allowing the inner garments to move freely.

Wrist Enclosures

Wrist enclosures are important since you can adjust them depending on your wrist size. Most of them come fitted with Velcro. However, you need to check the quality since some do not stick well, while others are too bulky. When checking for this feature, ensure that it shrinks enough to fit on your wrist.

Pockets

Pockets come in handy when you want a place to hold some of your small sized items. Hardshell jackets come stuffed with pockets in various places such as side, interior, hand, breast. Still, others come zipped with waterproof zippers.

a-woman-smiling-in-front-of-a-camera

The most important thing when comparing pockets of various jackets are access convenience. The breast pocket, for instance, is suitable or crossover access while the inner unzipped pocket is suitable for storing bulky items such as gloves.

Draw Cords

Almost every jacket has a draw cord to tighten up the face opening. The difference comes with the placement of the pull tab. Jackets which have the tab placed outside are easier to use than the one placed inside as they require unzipping every time you want to adjust.

Drawcords of a hardshell jacket for woman

The size of the buckle also matters a lot. It should be medium sized to ensure it is easily used while wearing gloves.

Collars

A collared jacket is important when it is cold or storming. A good collar should ride easily up to somewhere under your nose. It should not be too tight to the extent of minimizing the movement of your head in any way. Pay more attention to this feature when choosing your hardshell jacket and ensure it is fitted with a micro-fleece lining to prevent chafing your face.

Zippers

All jackets come with a zipper with most of them being tight and waterproof. You can still make a comparison by checking whether they are two ways or not. Two-way zippers are better than one way as you can easily access the top of your pants and also enhance venting.

Woman wearing a hardshell jacket while skiing

Getting a good hardshell jacket can be a tricky task as you are focusing on desired features while at the same time you are looking at the price. This review should help you deduce which jacket meets your expectations regarding both price and features.

Top Hardshell Jackets For Women Reviews

In this section we will look at the models of hardshell jackets that we consider the best, most durable and ideal for you to choose from for this winter season. Your choice depends a lot on the features and needs, but we made sure these were good quality items that should suit anyone.

Arcteryx Beta AR Arcteryx-Womens-Beta-AR

Price: $350 – $600

Dimensions: 16 x 11 x 3 inches

Weight: 1.4 pounds

Specific features: Helmet-compatible drop hood, fully taped seams, Gore-Tex pro, underarm zippers, lifetime manufacturer warranty.

Best use: Skiing and snowboarding.

Description: This durable, lightweight, and easily packable Arc’teryx Beta AR jacket, is made with Gore seams to help keep off the cold air while at the same time maintaining breathability.

Use of laminated zippers further enhances the weatherproof ability. The N80P-X Gore-Tex Pro ensures maximum durability of the jacket without affecting its weight.

The underarm vents are laminated to ensure smooth and hassles opening. They are also fitted with gussets which increase the jacket comfort. The jacket further features a collar and drop hood sports laminated brim to prevent vision blurring when it’s raining. The Arc’teryx women’s beta-AR jacket gives you confidence every time you are outdoors.

From all the jackets reviewed, this is the most expensive one. Arcteryx is a very reliable and good brand; you can be safe that you will get a good product and great customer service with them. Although you might be paying more, you will get great durability.

PROS:

  • Gore-Tex fabric, the best in the market for waterproof features
  • Helmet compatible hood, ideal for cycling or skiing
  • Incredibly durable

CONS:

  • A bit expensive

Related: The Arcteryx Kitsilano Backpackmight be a good addition to this jacket if you’re planning on wearing it for short hikes or winter day trips. The backpack can fit umbrellas, and it is very comfortable.

Check the price on Amazon

Ugly Frog 1662 Uglyfrog-New-Outdoor-Sports-Women-1662-350x350

Price: $50 – $60

Weight: 1.2 pounds

Sizes: From S to XXL

Specific features: Made of polyester, fashionable color, smooth and soft polar fleece, highly durable, able to maintain warmth even after being washed severally, scratch resistant, and windproof, fluffy and with good elasticity.

Best use: Mountaineering, walking, skiing, drifting, and leisure activities.

Description: The Ugly Frog 1662 hardshell jacket is made of lotus leaf, which improves the jackets waterproof ability. Additionally, it actually exhausts gas, sweat, and heat, to keep you cool when wearing it.

The high-quality strong fabrics prevent scratching and anti-laddering, while the double stitch technology further enhances the jacket details and durability.

The jacket was also built to be used in pretty much any activity, from hiking, to climbing, mountaineering, skiing, drifting and running, making it whit might be the ideal all rounder jacket for any winter sports activity.

Considering it is available in different sizes, you need to be careful when choosing the right size. Make sure you know your exact size before ordering, this way you will minimize the chances of getting an unfitting jacket. The jacket also has the advantage that it is available in different colors, therefore giving you an opportunity to match your taste.

PROS:

  • Built for any winter outdoor activity
  • Very affordable price

CONS:

  • Not waterproof

Related: The 4ucylcing 6HJWE Thermal Leg Warmers are the ideal partner for this jacket. Wear them on those days in which you want to go cycling in the wintertime.

Check the price on Amazon

Zeroxposur Maxine Zeroxposur Maxine

Price: $20 – $60

Weight: 1 pound

Specific features: 100% polyester, repels both wind and water, suitable for machine wash, offers a lot of comfort and maximum protection against moisture penetration.

Best use: Running on chilly mornings

Description: The inner fabric of the ZeroXposur Maxine hardshell systems jacket is somehow not slippery and therefore calls for the wearer to hold the sleeves of their shirt to avoid rolling over as they put it on.

The double zip enhances the design when at the same time improving the jacket’s ability to keep you warm. It also comes with an inner liner that if you want, it can detach from the jacket and become a fleece sweater, ideal for those days in which there’s not much wind, water or it isn’t that cold. In a way it is a 2 in 1 jacket, which makes it very good for the price you’re paying for it.

If you compare the features it offers and its price, then you would conclude that it is worth every penny. The jacket is available in different sizes; you only need to pick the one that fits you.

PROS:

  • Inner liner that works as fleece sweater
  • Very good price

CONS:

  • Not as warm as expected
  • A bit small, buying a bigger size is recommended

Related: The Isotoner A21524BLK1SZ Fleece Lined Gloves are a good add-on to this jacket. They are affordable, durable and reliable for any winter activity, just like the jacket.

Check the price on Amazon

Marmot Precip Marmot Precip Jacket

Price: $65 – $180

Weight: 11.4 ounces

Specific features: 100% ripstop nylon, fully seam taped, adjustable roll-up zip, breathable, and waterproof.

Best use: Hiking

Description: The Marmot Precip jacket is a perfect choice for protecting yourself from perspiration while at the same time your perspiration from the breathable material. It is designed to protect you from moisture while going on a trail during the wet season.

It is fully seamed, which ensures that rain drops don’t find their way into your inner clothing. Additionally, it is fitted with a microporous Nanopro membrane with microscopic pores with DRW, which help keep off water drops and let perspiration out.

It is also durable, compressible, and a lightweight, three features that you want on every winter jacket for comfort, portability and investment. It has a DryTouch finish, which gets rid of the skin condensation that would otherwise lead to an uncomfortable sticky feeling. It has a pit zip which allows you to release heat buildup during intense hiking expeditions. It also has a drawcord hem with hook-and-loop adjustments.

PROS:

  • Elastic draw cord for adjustability
  • Roll-up hood with integral collar
  • Packs into an integrated pack pocket

CONS:

  • Very noisy material when walking

Related: This jacket would match perfectly with Marmot 46240 Pants, an ideal match for any hike or outdoors activity.

Check the price on Amazon

Mountain Hardwear Torsun Mountain Hardwear Torsun Jacket

Price: $170 – $350

Weight: 1 pound

Specific features: It’s made of dry-Q elite 3L fabric, features two zipped hand pockets, asymmetrical hook, and loop adjustable cuffs, air permeable, wind and waterproof.

Best use: Mountaineering

Description: The Mountain Hardwear Torsun jacket utilizes a Dry.Q Elite fabric, which is three layered to provide you with maximum protection from wind and rain. At the same time, the material are expels perspiration hence keeping you dry all the time.

About the waterproof feature, it will also keep you dry. Many jackets are often criticized under heavy rain or humid conditions, not this one. It holds strong against heavy rain or wet situations. You can be sure you will be dry.

The asymmetrical hook and loop are crucial in sealing out drafts and cold spots while at the same time keeping the back of your hands protected. This jacket is also highly articulate, a feature, which enhances mobility during alpine climbing.

It also has a three-way adjustable helmet compatible hood, which has a wire brim to hold it in shape. Additionally, the zipped hand pockets prove useful in securing your valuables.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable

CONS:

  • It could use a few extra pockets

Related: The Mountain Hardware Dynama Pants are a good item to buy alongside the jacket. They are comfortable, will keep you dry and are perfect for hikes or other outdoor activities.

Check the price on Amazon

Outdoor Research Clairvoyant Outdoor Research Women's Clairvoyant Jacket

Price: $240 – $350

Dimensions: 21 x 18 x 2 inches

Weight: 1.5 pounds

Specific features: Gore-Tex active technology, two large meshed pockets with waterproof zips, small chest pockets, helmet compatible hood, velcro sleeves, soft fabric with a matte appearance.

Best use: Backpacking and skiing

Description: The Gore active technology used for making the Outdoor Research Clairvoyant jacket makes it totally breathable and waterproof. The two large pockets are meshed to further enhance the ventilation of this jacket.

The smaller chest pockets are earphones compatible and are perfect for storing other items. Although the zippers are waterproof, it is necessary to take extra caution when storing anything in the pockets.

It also comes with two hand pockets specifically designed to be a bit higher than the hip belt. This is on purpose to make it easier and more comfortable to put your hands and keep them warm, as well as for storing things without them hitting you in the hips all the time.

The Velcro sleeves have ample space to allow easy use while wearing gloves. Zippers are also large enough for easy handling while wearing gloves. Is of high quality material with its durability, giving you years of service.

PROS:

  • Comfortable and stylish
  • Very breathable for when doing sports
  • Comfortable front pockets

CONS:

  • No pit zips

Related: Buy this jacket alongside the Tough Headwear Chunky Beanie to make sure you’ll be warm and comfortable during any winter activity.

Check the price on Amazon

The North Face Resolve The North Face Resolve

Price: $45 – $200

Dimension: 13 x 9 x 3 inches

Weight: 2 pounds

Specific features: Waterproof seams, sealed and breathable, adjustable hood stow in the collar, mesh lined, two zipped side pockets, brushed chin guards, hem cinch cord, center zip closure with a velcro closure.

Best use: Climbing, casual wear, hiking and climbing.

Description: The North Face Resolve jacket is a suitable choice for both hiking and works weekends during the wet seasons. It uses DryVent a 2L fabric that is both breathable and waterproof hence keeping you comfortable even during heavy showers.

It also features a hood stowed in the collar giving you a refined look when walking in the street. The center zipper has a Velcro closure for protecting you from the wind and leaks when it’s training. The interior mesh acts as buffers between your under layers and the outer fabric.

It can be easily machined wash without risk of ruining the fabric, zippers or seams, something that not all jackets can do. It must be taken into account that although this is a warm jacket, it is built for sportswear, when your body is warm and in motion. If used as a winter jacket for an everyday use, you might need to wear something very warm underneath it, as it’s not the best jacket for that purpose.

PROS:

  • Great for winter sportswear
  • Machine washable
  • Great against rain

CONS:

  • Not the warmest jacket

Related: Not being the warmest jacket, The North Face Osito 2 Jacket is a great add-on. Just wear it underneath the Resolve and keep yourself dry, protected against the wind, and warm enough.

Check the price on Amazon

Angel Cola KM3C02 Angel Cola KM3C02

Price: Currently unavailable

Weight: 1.1 pounds

Specific features: 100 percent polyester, removable hood, drawcord adjustable hem, waterproof fabric, adjustable cuff tabs

Best use: Cold weather hiking

Description: The Angel Cola KM3C02 rain jacket is highly waterproof and warm, making it a suitable choice when hiking in wet and cold areas. With two sides zipped pockets, you can securely stuff your valuables.

The hood is removable, adding convenience when it’s not too cold to need a hood. Velcro sleeve makes it easy to adjust and also the Velcro is large enough for easy use when you are wearing gloves.

The waterproof fabric, although not Gore Tex, is still very high quality, as a matter of fact, this jacket is reviewed as one of the best in the market due to its reliability and it’s incredible waterproof features.

All the different pockets make it ideal to store many things and have them on a close reach whenever you need them. If you decide to go hiking, this jacket might be a very good choice, since it can easily store cameras, items or other things you might need along the walk.

PROS:

  • Many pockets to store many things
  • Great waterproof feature

CONS:

  • A bit tight in the chest and the upper section are if worn with a sweater underneath

Related: This jacket, since used for hiking, can be bought alongside the Runtly Pure Bamboo Fiber Scarf, a warm and stylish scarf to protect your neck during long walks.

Check the price on Amazon

Arcteryx A2B Commuter Arc’teryx A2B Commuter Hardshell Jacket

Price: $210 – $240

Weight: 1.7 pounds

Specific features: N40p Gore-Tex fabric, 3L technology for maximum breathability and waterproof, shaped hood, back hem, cuffs has integrated, stowable, reflective surfaces, fit and articulate.

Best use: Cyclin

Description: The articulation of Arc’teryx A2B Commuter Hardshell Jacket is designed for cycling in rainy urban areas. The elbows are articulated, while the underarms are gusseted to ensure maximum comfort while you are peddling.

The N40p Gore-Tex fabric helps toss off the water when at the same time it is highly breathable and waterproof. The StoowHood perfectly fits under your helmet when the showers are heavy and stay out of your way on mild days.

Additionally, the jacket has two side pockets for securing your phone and wallet. The cuffs and back hem are fitted with reflective bits, which enhance visibility, but they entirely hide when you get into a building.

This jacket is easily folded and can fit in a messenger bag making it convenient since you know how unpredictable the weather can be, and it’s great to have jackets or winter wear that are easy and practical to carry around with you.

PROS:

  • Gore-Tex fabric, best waterproof fabric in the market
  • Durable and lightweight

CONS:

  • Not exactly the warmest of jackets

Related: The Smartwool SW-SC307 Gloves are ideal to use with this jacket. Since your fingers pop out, they are better for grabbing things, or cycling in that matter, you get a better grip.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrapping It Up

When it comes to hiking and involving in outdoor activities, there is no such thing as bad weather, just poor choice of gear. With reputable gear to protect you from harsh weather elements as those discussed above, you have no excuse for having bad gear. The most important and common thing about these jackets is that they will keep you dry, warm, and they weigh less on your luggage.

Woman hiker enjoying a cup of coffee and peace around her

Now that you know which features make these jackets worthy of your consideration, we hope that you will make the right choice and buy the one that is perfect for your needs.

At the end, if you found our article useful, please feel free to share it on social media so that your friends can read it as well. Also, if you have any questions, you can ask them in the comments section below, where you can also share your experiences with hardshell jackets. Thanks for reading!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca J. Crawford
Rebecca J. Crawford

Rebecca lives in USA, but loves hiking all over the world. Her favourite is Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. It usually takes 16 days, but she likes to slow down, enjoy mountains, company of other adventurers and take more pictures, so it took her 28 days last time. Another passion of Rebecca is ocean, so all short and long hikes along the ocean shore bring a lot of joy.

  • Marissa Sava

    Wow! I never heard of the term of a hardshell jacket but I realized that all the jackets I want are these! They’re waterproof and absolutely great, except they’re quite heavy. Are there any hardshell jackets that are light?

    • Henry Silva

      Shell jackets are going to be heavier because of the shell and the padding inside of it. However, there are lighter hard shell jackets out there, you just have to keep an eye out. Generally, if you can find one at a pound or under, then its considered light in weight.

    • Henry Silva

      There are some light weight hard shell jackets out there, but overall they are meant to be heavier because of the shell and insulation. If you can find one at a pound or less, then it will be considered light.

  • Andre Mahe

    I am not sure whether it can be use for every place. I am looking one for my partner and she haven’t used similar one before. Can you recommend something which can be bought for a affordable price?

  • Henry Silva

    If you want quality, you will have to pay for it. While some are more reasonably priced than others, you will have to go to local chain stores to find cheaper items.

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