Different Types of Jackets


a family wearing different types of jackets

Although jackets are great layers for all year round, often the first few chilly fall mornings are a reminder that it’s time to dig out our jackets and cold-weather layers. Depending on where you live, you’ll most likely need a few different types of jackets to get you through the changing temperatures and weather, but after having your jackets tucked away for the summer, you may have forgotten that they look a bit worn or out-dated. Before buying a new jacket, make sure you have a better understanding of the different types of jackets.

Lightweight Jackets

Lightweight Jackets with man and woman

Lightweight jackets include a wide variety of different styles of jackets that can be worn for fashion, function, or both. From sporty jackets like windbreakers to more fashionable jackets like bomber jackets or jean jackets, lightweight jackets make the perfect jacket option for any season. With different materials, closures, and pockets, you’re able to find the right lightweight jacket to match your activity level and style. Whether you’re hiking and need a lightweight jacket that’s durable and water-resistant or you need an extra layer for chilly air conditioning at work, a lightweight jacket offers versatility for any occasion. 

Rain Jackets

man and woman wearing rain jackets

Whether you’re going hiking or live in a wet climate, you’ll want to make sure to have a durable yet comfortable rain jacket. The most important factor to pay attention to when looking at a rain jacket is the balance between waterproof protection and breathability. Most rain jackets feature several different layers to prevent rain or snow from reaching the interior of the jacket, while still allowing the moisture vapor from sweat to escape. This design allows you to feel comfortable while staying active outdoors. 

Softshell & Fleece Jackets

Woman wearing a fleece jacket

Softshell and fleece jackets are versatile layering jackets that can be worn all year for different indoor or outdoor activities. Made with soft, durable fabric, fleece jackets are a great layer for summer bonfires or chilly air conditioned offices. Since softshell jackets are made from a special type of material, the shell of the jacket offers windproof and water-resistant protection to shed light snow or rain, while a fleece jacket doesn’t offer this level of protection. Softshell jackets can be worn year-round, but they are perfect for that “in between” weather where it’s too cold for a fleece jacket but too warm for a winter jacket. 

Cold-Weather Jackets

Woman wearing a winter jacket in cold weather

The most popular types of cold-weather jackets are puffers, 3-in-1s, and parkas. These types of cold-weather jackets are often insulated to trap in body heat, keeping you warm as the temperatures start to drop. For protection from harsh weather conditions, the outer shell on these jackets are waterproof, or at the very least water-resistant, and windproof. Other convenient features may include a hood, zippered hand pockets, adjustable wrist cuffs, and a durable zipper closure. Since cold-weather jackets are packed with different technologies and features, you’ll notice that these jackets tend to be more expensive than other types of jackets. For more information about choosing the right cold-weather jacket, check out our guide to kids’ winter coats or our adult jacket buying guide.