Choosing the right survival jacket can be a matter of life and death, so you need the best information to be an educated consumer and a safe survivalist. Oxford Languages defines “survivalist” as “a person who practices outdoor survival skills as a sport or hobby” and “a person who tries to ensure their survival or that of their social or national group.”
When you are heading outdoors for camping, climbing, cycling, fishing, hiking, mountaineering, skiing, sleeping, and other activities, survivalists prepare for all kinds of weather, climates, and environments. Survival jackets should be part of your everyday carry, or EDC, essentials.
Your clothes must keep you safe, warm, and dry in extreme cold, rain, and snow when you are on the side of a mountain in winter. Hiking in the desert during the summer would require lighter colours that make more sense to keep you cool and keep you safe.
You need to be comfortable and stay calm under pressure. It would help if you also had an insulated garment to keep your core body temperature warm to survive the elements. It would be best to consider the terrain and environment where they will be taking part in their outdoor activities.
If you dress in layers, consider the bulk and thickness of your jacket. You will need more room inside the jacket to accommodate the extra clothing. That decision will determine whether you select a larger size in your jacket that will serve as the outer layer.
- Our Top Picks for Survival Jackets
- What to Look for in a Survival Jacket
- Final Thoughts
Our Top Picks for Survival Jackets
As you prepare to practice outdoor survival skills as a sport or hobby, consider one of our top recommendations for the best survival jacket.
1) Berghaus Hillwalker
This 100% waterproof Gore-Tex fabric is breathable. If you need to warm up, an interactive zip allows you to add layers. There are also lower hand pockets for warmth. The rip-stop face fabric resists tearing. A convenient roll-away hood mirrors the portability of the entire garment, which easily packs away.
2) Crosshatch Plixxie
This full-zip, double-layer button winter coat is machine washable. With a 100% cotton shell, it features a 100% polyester lining. The jacket’s double collar has a heavy inside rib collar. Elasticized, ribbed sleeves make for a high-quality, comfortable-fitting jacket.
3) TACVASEN Military
This camouflage, soft-shell military jacket has a thermal-warm fleece lining. It’s great for camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, and more outdoor activities. Suitable for multiple seasons and occasions, it has a polyester shell with a durable hood and adjustable wrist cuffs.
4) Mountain Warehouse Fell 3 In 1
It’s perfect for changing weather conditions with an adjustable hood that packs away and a detachable inner fleece jacket. A waterproof coating makes it water-resistant. It has two zippered security pockets in the shell and two zipped pockets in the fleece.
5) MAGCOMSEN Military Tactical
This tactical fleece jacket will keep you warm for camping, climbing, hiking, mountaineering, and training, among other activities. The abrasion-resistant polyester fleece extends the jacket’s durability. Two 4-by-4-inch loop shoulder panels increase the functionality of the garment.
6) Give-koiu Overcoat Reefer Parka
This double-breasted jacket is soft and breathable with reinforced seams for durability. The thick, solid fleece keeps out the wind while serving as a stylish, classic, and lightweight trench coat suitable for daily and casual wear.
7) Kelmon Tactical
This soft-shell jacket has a hood that can be rolled up and velcroed down. Its inner-fleece lining provides a warm and comfortable fit. With a long-sleeve, loose-fit camouflage style, it’s ready for camping, fishing, hunting, and more outdoor activities.
8) donhobo fleece jacket
A soft, thick inner polyester fleece keeps you warm for daily wearing as well as camping, cycling, fishing, mountaineering, and skiing. A waterproof coating will keep you dry on a foggy, rainy, or snowy day. The soft-shell surface with a detachable hood provides extra protection.
What to Look for in a Survival Jacket
A trip into the wild can be fun if you have the right clothing. Understanding your needs before you begin an adventure is essential to finding the proper survival jacket. Safety is a top consideration, and functionality is, too, as you will want to have fun while pursuing your hobbies outdoors.
The colder the weather, the warmer your jacket will need to be. If you are pursuing your passion under a searing sun, you will need something light that protects against wind. Your activities themselves and where you partake in them will lead you to make the right call.
In a PLOS.org-published study cited by the National Center for Biotechnical Information, outdoor survival jackets are a specific method used in “passive heat maintenance” as they “seek to attenuate heat loss.” The jackets had “a reflective surface which acts to block radiated heat and its elastic properties cause the material to clinch to the body which reduces convection.”
The study also found that the jackets “were custom made for athletes; tailored with long sleeves and were of a below the knee length.” Using survival jackets during breaks can “minimize body temperature losses during periods of reduced activity.”
The PLOS.org study found that “Professional Rugby Union players who wore a survival jacket throughout a simulated half-time period experienced lower reduction in core temperature over the 15 min and improved peak power output (PPO) and repeated sprint ability in subsequent exercise.”
Not all of us have the luxury of athletes with custom-made and tailored garments. We can keep these principles in mind, and long sleeves and knee-length jackets, as we select the best coat for our needs in the wild. Weather should be top of mind along with fit, activity, storage, insulation, and a material’s ability to repel moisture.
There are six crucial areas that you should consider when purchasing a survival jacket.
Surviving the elements requires knowing what to expect from the conditions. A cold climate will require layers and insulation, and it can be a dark color to hold in the heat. In a warm environment, you will want to have a lighter color and material that wicks away sweat as you move through your day outdoors.
Either way, you will need to maintain your core body temperature, so make sure to buy, dress, and pack as you prepare for your next adventure.
Layers are an essential consideration for fit, too. The warmer you get, the more you will want to shed a layer. As you cool down, you will want to add more clothing to heat up. Whether you are moving on a hike or sleeping in a tent, you will want to be comfortable.
Consider fabrics that will breathe and allow you to move without restrictions. Keep in mind the fit around the wrists on your sleeves and the hood’s fit over your head. You’ll want it to be snug but not too tight, so you don’t constrict the blood flow.
In addition to weather and fit, your activities will determine what you will want to wear. If you are climbing, pockets should be a consideration. Hiking may be more comfortable with loose-fitting and flowing material. Skiing will require a different range of motion and a need to wick away sweat as you move down the mountain.
Underarm vents could be a consideration, especially if you are active in warmer weather. For sleeping, you may want a layered jacket that allows you to cool down as you warm up, or you may want to add layers as temperatures plunge.
Survivalists seek storage options, so pockets should be a consideration. Fastening pockets, whether with zippers or buttons, will be part of your thought process. Also, stowing your hood in your collar or via a Velcro strap can be more than a convenient feature in a survival jacket.
Internal pockets can keep items warm with your body heat, while external pockets can provide easier and faster access. If you are away from camp for an extended period, storage can be a literal lifesaver as you can carry more supplies on your person and survive.
When it’s you against the elements, a warm layer of fleece will go a long way. Natural materials like down and wool are the best at holding your body heat and keeping your body temperature warm. Your survival can depend on this decision, so make it an essential consideration. Insulation can reduce convection and trap warm, still air to avoid heat loss.
Whether you want to keep out the rain and snow in cold environments or wick away the sweat from your body under hot conditions, repelling wetness will serve you well in the wild. When you look for waterproof or water-resistant materials, understand the difference, and choose wisely.
With the weather, fit, activity, storage, insulation, and repelling moisture in mind, you should have what you need to survive in the outdoors, and you should be comfortable and confident to head out with other survivalists.
Here are some recommendations for survival jackets that put these areas in action.
As you prepare for your next adventure, your purchase of a survival jacket is a critical investment. While you may be camping as a team, you are responsible for your actions as a survivalist. You will need to stay hydrated and protect against hypothermia and starvation.
In the outdoors, you are alone against the elements, and you need to prepare for anything. Planning and preparation are critical before you go out into the wild, and survival jackets are essential items to keep you safe and healthy.
Storage is a consideration as your jacket will serve as your backpack and survival kit when you are away from camp. In times of isolation, insulation will play a significant role in your safety and security on the side of a mountain.
As the rugby study found, jackets with long sleeves that went below knee length served the purpose of “passive heat maintenance.” Keep these features in mind as you sort through survival jackets to make the best and safest choice for your outdoor activity.
Survival jackets for men and survival jackets for women can differ in fit. Some of these options are stylish in addition to being survival jackets. The principles of weather and activity apply to both genders, and you should consider them as you pick the best survival jacket for you.
Remember, survival jackets can be the difference between life and death, so choose wisely. These recommendations should guide you toward the best choice for your outdoor needs as you stay safe with survival in mind.
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