What is the point of wearing a softshell hunting jacket? Some people can’t see the point of wearing these jackets that are not waterproof when the more traditional layering system looks more appropriate.

There are some good reasons why you should include a softshell jacket among your clothing plans.

These jackets provide the technology that is designed to give the insulation you’re looking for against harsh weather conditions in a lightweight fabric. They also give you the wind and weather protection that a hard shell might be able to provide.

The way in which they give you the benefits of a heavier garment is through the tightness of the weave. This tightly woven fabric gives breathability while keeping the fabric quiet. These two qualities alone makes it the perfect type of jacket to use for stealthy hunting conditions.

The list below features 12 of the most highly regarded softshell hunting jackets currently available. They have all been positively praised by hunters when discussing which might be the best softshell hunting jackets. Price is not taken into account when these ratings were made but the recommended prices have been included in the table as a guide.

Following the comparison listing of the jackets is a more detailed overview of each jacket that should provide you with additional information to help decide which one will best suit your needs.

Comparison List of Softshell Hunting Jackets

Make / Model

Sizes

Color

MSRP

XS-XXL

Olive Drab

Black

Tan

Navy

Graphite

$89.99

S-XXXL

Dry Earth

First Lite Fusion

ASAT Camo

Realtree Max-1

Realtree Xtra

$250.00

S-XXXL

Optifade
Dirt
Moss
Open Country

$250.00

S-XXXL

Optifade
Camo

$289.99

S-XXXL

$269.00

S-XXL

Gravel
Black
Dark Navy
Red
Carhartt Brown Coffee

$109.00

S-XXL

Peatmoss, Black, Graphite, Tusk, Mosstone, Collegiate Navy, Boulder, Dark Mountain, Deep Rust

$69.99

M-XXL

Realtree Xtra

$239.95

S-XXXL

$229.95

S-XXL

Black, Army Green, Khaki, Tree Camo

$65.99

S-XXXL

Mossy Oak Break Up Infinity

$229.90

Orvis Upland Hunting Softshell Jacket

S-XXL

Tan/Blaze
Slate

$198.00

There are lots of different makes and models when it comes to hunting jackets and the softshell section is just as crowded. The list below compares the various types of softshell jackets to help you decide which one might suit your hunting needs best.

Condor Summit Softshell Jacket

Features

  • Lined stand-up collar
  • Stow-away hoodie
  • Two shoulder pockets
  • Two 3.5"W x 4"H shoulder patch panels
  • Two internal pockets
  • Two highrise slash chest pockets
  • Forearm pocket
  • Double zipper back pocket
  • Underarm vent zipper
  • Double layer reinforced forearm
  • Drawstring waistband and hood
  • Adjustable wrist cuff
  • Full front YKK zipper with double zipper pull

This is a jacket that has been designed to provide maximum comfort while still providing movable parts in good proportions. This is a three layer shell that contains water resistant fabric to keep you dry while keeping you warm. Temperature control is provided through underarm venting.

There are plenty of pockets both internally and externally and they are zippered closures that are easy to access. The jacket is available in sizes from XS to XXXL and you can get them in one of three colors: olive drab, black or tan.

Positives

Price. This jacket represents tremendous value for money

Plenty of pockets means you have a lot of storage options if you’re carrying equipment

The zipper under the arms is very effective for venting when you are feeling too warm

Negatives

The zippers are not particularly durable

It is not completely waterproof, particularly at the main zipper and at the seams in extreme wet weather conditions

Note that customers report the jacket is smaller than you would expect. If you are planning on wearing a vest underneath you should go a size larger

First Lite North Branch Softshell Jacket

Features

  • Active Particle Technology to remove perspiration
  • 10,000 MVTR Breathability
  • Built-in stretch for complete range of motion
  • Gently tapered forearms keep you agile
  • Constructed with biomechanically accurate Shooter’s sleeves and shoulders
  • All zippers, pockets, closures and adjustments quietly managed on-the-move

This is a versatile jacket that has been designed to be used in many different conditions. The fabric used in this jacket uses Active Particle technology to move perspiration to the outside of the garment. It is a lightweight and durable fabric that is meant for use in all but the most extreme of conditions.

Pockets and zippers are designed to be as quiet as possible when being used. The forearms are tapered for a streamlined profile that will not catch or get in the way when drawing a bow. It is a slim fit jacket that will immediately feel comfortable and functional.

Positives

Breathes well and sheds water in damp conditions

Provides great protection when moving through heavy growth

Shooters cut is great and the length also suits seated hunting

Negatives

Suggestions from customers that more pockets including an internal pocket would be appreciated

Pit zips would be appreciated

It does make a small amount of noise, enough to suggest it is not suitable for bowhunting

Sitka Gear Optifade Jetstream Jacket

Features

  • 100% Polyester
  • Men's hunting jacket; offers breathability and protection from wind
  • Made with Gore-Tex Windstopper Soft-Shell
  • Micro-grid fleece liner to seal out cold
  • DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish for added weather resistance
  • Hood; full front zipper; Melco tape accents; fully articulated arms
  • 2 Zippered Chest Pockets
  • Weighs 1.65 pounds; covered by limited warranty

The Jetstream jacket has been made using Gore-Tex Windstopper Soft-Shell fabric that offers both breathability as well as wind stopping protection. The jacket has a smooth finish that will also help protect against light rain with good water resistance. The multi-layer design means it is a good jacket for use in all types of conditions. It will keep you comfortable while allowing plenty of freedom of movement.

Positives

Great wind-blocking jacket

Handy zipped vents to release heat build-up

Plenty of pockets ensures lots of storage and hand warmth

Negatives

The fit is a little tight and you should go one size up

Some people will find it difficult to justify spending this much for a lightweight jacket

Sitka Gear 90% Softshell Jacket

Features

  • Material: Soft shell, polyester face
  • Pockets: 2 chest, 2 hand, 1 sleeve pocket
  • Zipper Type: YKK
  • Body-Mapped Micro grid fleece lining
  • Interior seam taping
  • 2-way stretch
  • Durable Water Repellant finish
  • Weight: 18.4 oz

The new 90% jacket introduces a new lightweight jacket that uses a new fabric that has some enhanced properties. It is three times more wind resistant than earlier versions and avoids overheating through the development of a concept known as the body-mapped microgrid fleece that insulates only where you need it. It is a channel system that works to draw heat away from the body to keep you cool when you’re exerting yourself. The jacket consists of 2 chest pockets, 2 hand pockets and 1 sleeve pocket. Sizes range from Small to XXX Large.

Positives

Fit, finish and quality is outstanding

Great choice as part of a layering system

The material is breathable and comfortable as well as being silent when moving

Negatives

Would like to have Velcro tabs on the cuffs

The jacket sleeves are shorter than some people find comfortable

There is no option for the female hunter

Sitka Gear Early Season Whitetail Softshell Jacket

Features and Specifications

  • Rangefinder Pocket
  • Low-Loft Fleece Lining
  • 4-Way Stretch Fabric
  • Articulated Patterning
  • DWR Finish
  • Stretch-Woven Soft-Shell

The Early Season Whitetail jacket is the lightest jacket in the Sitka Gear range that is both suitable for hunting during the times when the temperatures are rising. It is an incredibly soft and quiet jacket and uses 4-way stretch fabric that allows you to sit, stand, pivot and draw your bow without bunching or pulling. It has been designed, through its low-loft fleece lining, with extreme breathability so that any heat generated by the body will be expelled. The jacket has two chest pockets and two hand pockets. Sizes range from Small to XXX Large.

Positives

Very nice jacket that looks good and performs well with a long sleeve thermal shirt underneath

Negatives

None found

Carhartt Quilted Flannel Lined Jacket

Features & Specifications

  • 12-ounce, 100% ringspun cotton duck canvas
  • Flannel-lined body for comfort;
  • Quilted nylon sleeve lining for warmth and easy on-and-off;
  • Quilted flannel-lined hood for warmth
  • Front-zip jacket with drawstring hood
  • Adjustable hood with drawcord closure
  • Rib-knit cuffs and waist help keep out the cold
  • Two lower-front pockets
  • Two inner pockets
  • Back length: Large regular: 29"; Large tall: 31"
  • Sizes S-XXL
  • Made in the USA

This is a water-repellent and wind resistant jacket that has been designed for anyone who is going to be working outdoors. It is ideal for hunters who are going to need a cold-weather jacket that will retain heat while repelling moisture over an extended period of time.

It should be noted that although it is water-repellent it is not a waterproof jacket so you should expect some moisture to get in.

The lining of the jacket is quilted flannel in the body and is quilted-nylon in the sleeves. There are two large lower-front pockets as well as two inside pockets for extra storage.

Positives

Customer comments and reviews are almost overwhelmingly on the positive side

Extremely comfortable jacket and the fleece lining is amazing

Continues to perform strongly season after season with numerous wears under the belt

Negatives

When first putting the jacket on it has been noted that the fabric can feel stiff until it has been washed a few times

Some people have had fit issues with the suggestion that you have to order a size bigger than what you might normally wear

Columbia Ascender Softshell Jacket

Features and Specifications

  • Bonded softshell
  • Water/wind resistant
  • Abrasion resistant chin guard
  • Zippered chest pocket
  • Zippered hand pockets
  • Adjustable cuff tabs
  • Modern Classic Fit
  • Drawcord adjustable hem
  • Center back length: 27.5"
  • Imported

The Ascender is a winter jacket that has been designed to be worn as part of a layering system. It provides wind and water resistance and its best use is as a versatile all-weather piece of clothing for windy days in fall or spring.


It has adjustable hems and cuffs and a chin guard to block out the wind that may chap lips. There are zip-up chest and hand pockets that are also very handy for storing small items.

Like other softshell jackets the jacket will be most effective when used as part of a layering system. It should also be noted that this is not specifically designated a hunting jacket so there are no reports on how quietly it performs out in the field.

Positives

This jacket is very effective at keeping out the wind

Has good water resistance properties while not being completely waterproof

Great jacket for the price

Negatives

Thin mesh fabric lining the pockets is uncomfortable and can catch on rough skin

Fit issues, particularly with people finding that it runs small. Many people have reported that the sleeves are too short

Badlands Hybrid Jacket

Features and Specifications

  • Polar fleece and soft shell panels
  • Windproof breathable membrane
  • Hexlite fleece interior with heat channels
  • 4 X scent reduction
  • Kevlar reinforced panels
  • Waterproof zips
  • 100% Polyester

Badlands has created an industry first with the concept behind the Hybrid jacket. In this case they have created a jacket that combines fleece and softshell along with scent management all in the one jacket. As a good softshell jacket should it provides lightweight breathability on the inside and a durable windproof outer layer. This outer layer is the Badlands Biothermic outer layer and it is also designed to keep out the cold. Also importantly is the fact that the jacket is waterproof thanks to the inclusion of DuPont Teflon in the design. Sizes range from Medium to XX Large.

Positives

This jacket has clearly been designed by hunters for hunters

The pocket placements are ideal and the quality of the zips are very good

Negatives

The addition of snap buttons on the sleeves cause snag issues

Kryptek Cadog Shield Jacket

Features and Specifications

  • Windproof liner
  • DWR water resistant
  • Internal sleeve cuffs
  • Chest pockets
  • Arm pockets
  • Pit zips
  • Fleece lined
  • Mechanical Stretch woven fabric
  • Jacket hem pull cords
  • 100% Polyester
  • Colors: Highlander, Typhon
  • Sizes: XS-XXXL

This jacket features mechanical stretch woven soft shell bonded 100% polyester to provide protection form the elements. Not only the wind but moisture and cool temperatures are countered by the durable water repellent (DWR) material Importantly, the jacket is also adept at releasing trapped heat with a ventilation system that will keep the body at a comfortable temperature. Pockets for the hands, at the chest and on the sleeves are all zippered and sit flat to the exterior panels. Jacket sizes range from Medium to 4X Large.

Positives

The jacket is warm and quiet without being bulky or uncomfortable

The jacket is perfect for cool, not cold, conditions. A very good early season jacket

Negatives

Even though the company states that the jacket is waterproof it is not. This is a protective shell from adverse weather such as wind but it will not keep you dry

ReFire Tactical Jacket


Features and Specifications

  • Dintex Soft Shell Fabric
  • Three Dimensionally tailored for sports
  • Good surface stitching
  • Brand YKK double zipper
  • Silica gel adjustable cuff
  • Hidden hoodie
  • Velcro on each arm
  • Groove and hole design for earphone
  • Magnetic in the collar
  • Colors: Black, Army Green, Khaki, Tree Camo
  • Sizes: S-XXL

The Tactical jacket from ReFire Gear has been designed for use either for outdoor sports or city tactical conditions. The jacket is a single-layer windbreaker and will work very well as part of a layering system and on its own in Spring, Summer or Fall.

The outer soft shell is made of DINTEX soft shell fabric which is both effective waterproofing and provides wind breaking properties. It has a medium weight fleece lining for added warmth.

The jacket is made in China and there are some differences in the sizing standard between the two countries. This is something that people looking to buy should be aware of and adjust the size they get accordingly. What most people have noted is that the sizing runs small, so if you usually wear a Large you should move up to at least an XLarge.

Positives

This jacket is both waterproof and windproof

Lots of pockets which makes it extremely useful when carrying small items

Great value for the price

Negatives

Sizing issues. This is a Chinese-made jacket and the advertised size runs small

No wind flap over the front zipper

Zippers and Velcro tabs are not particularly durable

Kuiu Teton Soft Shell Jacket

Features and Specifications

  • 250 g/m² 100% Polyester Toray Sports Division soft shell
  • Soft fleece bonded interior
  • DWR treated for water resistance
  • Wind resistant
  • Single zippered chest pocket
  • Open hand pockets
  • Adjustable hook and loop tab cuffs
  • Chin guard for added comfort
  • YKK zippers
  • Weighs 16oz
  • Sizes: S-3XL

The Teton Soft Shell is an ultralight jacket that has been designed to provide a good combination of warmth and protection from the wind. It is part of a complete layering system so it should be remembered that other clothing items, particularly waterproofing, should also be worn for complete protection.

The jacket consists of a bonded soft shell fabric and has a soft water resistant face that has been bonded to a soft fleece backer. The aim is to provide plenty of comfort in cool weather conditions.

Features that will be appreciated include a zippered chest pocket, adjustable cuffs and articulated sleeves. All of which will maintain body temperature while also providing smooth movement without making noise.

Positives

This jacket provides exceptional warmth when compared to its light weight. It seems too thin to be warm but this is not the case

It fits well, you can depend on the stated sizing

Orvis Upland Hunting Softshell Jacket

Features and Specifications

  • DWR-treated for additional water resistance
  • Soft brushed tricot liner
  • Two flat, napoleon style, ambidextrous shooting pockets
  • Contour cuffs have been extended to protect your hands
  • Wind cuffs keep out the wind and debris
  • Pit zips for added ventilation
  • Adjustable drawstring in hem
  • Polyester
  • Imported
  • Blaze accents increased to over 1000 inches (on size large)
  • Sizes: S-XXL
  • Colors: Tan/Blaze, Slate

This is a jacket that has been developed and improved until it has reached the point where it will serve the hunter in many different ways. It serves the upland hunters by providing a barrier to moisture and protection from briars. It is both breathable and flexible so you can move easily and comfortably.

This is a durable jacket that features a tightly woven shell so that it is tough enough to allow you to push through brush. It is also DWR treated to give it better water resistance.

The tan/blaze version has had the blaze accents increased in size to over 1000 inches so that it is even safer than before. There are external contour cuffs to protect the hands and underarm zips for more ventilation if needed.

Positives

Fantastic early season upland jacket that is extremely wind resistant

The outer fabric allows easy movement and also lets you slip through undergrowth

Good jacket for layering

Negatives

The lower exterior pockets are not designed to carry equipment such as shells, more for gloves or hands

The lack of interior pockets is disappointing

All of the jackets listed above have been given glowing reviews by hunters and outdoorsmen who have worn them when out in the field. They each have benefits that make them stand out and they are also slightly different in the various features they provide. Although every person's needs are going to be slightly different you can be confident with any of the lightweight hunting jackets that have been displayed above.

Staying warm is certainly an important part of keeping comfortable when out in the field. But if the weather were to suddenly deteriorate you are going to need a jacket that will give you waterproof protection.

For the late winter chill you will also need to make sure you are as warm as possible and this is where a good quality insulated jacket will prove invaluable. We have examined a diverse list of the Warmest Insulated Hunting Jackets for you as well.


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