Vest Vs Jacket for Hiking

Vest Vs Jacket for Hiking

We get a lot of questions about hiking clothing and what you should wear, so we wanted to share our take on vests vs jackets for hiking. We break down the pros and cons of each and their differences in design and function.

Vests are typically sleeveless tops that help protect your upper body from the elements without having to carry a bulky jacket with you during your hike. Jackets are usually a full-fledged pieces of clothing that protects your upper body from the elements without having to wear a bulky vest.

Both vests and jackets come in many different designs, but some main differences between them are:


Jackets tend to be more versatile than vests. This is because vests are made with stretchy material to go over multiple garments (such as jeans), whereas jackets/jackets are made with more robust material so they can be worn across one garment. Vests are great for layering, but jackets work better alone. Vests can be worn over a jacket if you want to wear more than one piece of clothing (maintaining the sleek look).


Vests tend to be more functional in their design, whereas jackets tend to be more stylish. Jackets stay on better when you’re moving around and hiking up/down mountainsides. Vests can get in the way while hiking if they are not loose-fitting. Jackets cover up less of your body, so you’ll be cooler during warmer months. Vests tend to be better for colder months because they keep your core warm. Jackets tend to be better in the summer because they keep you cooler than vests.


Vests are warmer overall, BUT jackets offer more protection from wind and rain.


Vests are usually made from stretchy material, while jackets are made from more robust material, so vests can be worn over multiple garments while jackets require one garment. Jackets can make you look less bulky and sleeker. Jackets also tend to have better pockets than vests. Jackets are also usually more expensive than vests.

Lack of bulk

Vests fold up small and are usually lightweight, whereas jackets tend to be big, bulky, and have many pockets (which add weight and bulk to your pack).


Vests are more comfortable because they aren’t as restricting as jackets, BUT jackets are still fairly comfortable when worn.

Benefits of Vest When Hiking

Hiking is a great way to enjoy and explore nature. You can venture into the wild and see different sceneries and enjoy the fresh air. Hiking is a good recreational activity and avoid gain weight for everyone. However, it is always good to be prepared for the unexpected. There are times that you may experience dangerous situations that will require you to wear protective hiking boots or clothing like when hiking at night or when hiking in extreme weather conditions such as rain, cold, etc. Therefore, a good thing to consider when hiking is to wear fabrics that can protect you from possible dangers and the weather. One of the things that you should consider buying is a vest. A vest is one of those clothing that hikers need to put on before going out into the wild.

A vest is often made from a high-quality fabric, making it tough and durable. It has enough pockets to store the necessary things that you will need during your hikes such as first aid kits, snacks, raincoats, dressings and more. It also has zippers from the neck to the bottom of the vest so that you can access what you want easily without having to take off the entire vest. It is also popular because it can be used by women since it is not too big or bulky. It will also protect your neck and head from the wind.

Benefits of Jacket When Hiking

Jackets are beneficial especially when hiking with hiking sticks because they are outerwear. Jackets are also essential during a hike and it is also applicable to those with different outdoor activities. Jackets are perfect for people who will be going out on a hike especially if the weather is cold or hot. The jacket is usually thin and flexible. Jackets come in different sizes, making them a versatile type of clothing for anyone to use as protection from the cold and heat. Jackets provide warmth, making it easy for hikers to perform their activities without having any problems along the way. Jackets contain high-quality materials and are perfect for protecting the skin from external conditions such as cold, heat and wind. Jackets also provide maximum flexibility to those who will be performing outdoor activities. Hikers can choose different designs within the jackets especially depending on their preferences. Jackets can be used in any outdoor activity whether it is hiking or biking or even snowboarding. Jackets are also available in different colours making it easy to match up with many types of outfits especially when going out for a hike or activity at a specific location like for example, Oregon and Washington Hiking. Jackets also come in different designs. These designs include different attractive colours that can be worn during outdoor activities such as hiking. Jackets are made of a variety of materials that makes it easy for hikers to choose whichever one they want to depend on its quality and style. Jackets are available at a reasonable amount depending on the type of jacket one is purchasing. Online stores provide quality jackets at an affordable price.

Pros and Cons Of Vest when Hiking


1. Breathability

In the summer months when you are hiking, this will be one of the most important points to consider. When hiking in an area where the temperature can get higher and the humidity can get lower you’ll appreciate that your jacket will loft and allow for an extra layer of breathability. You’ll feel hot, but not as hot. If you’re in a situation where you’ll be in the woods for a long time hanging out with a group of friends, then perhaps you’ll want to use your clothing as a social barrier. Choose colours that are bright or interesting enough to be seen through.

2. Pockets

There’s a pocket for everything and you will need them all. When hiking, one of the most important things is to make sure you have water in a hiking bladder or bottle (and a pack with extra water), food, and a way to cook/eat it, something as simple as a spork or can opener for something like canned food, and even a lighter if possible.

3. Adjustability

This is going to be an important consideration for clothing that you use for hiking. You’ll want something comfortable, but can also be adjusted as the situation warrants. For example, if the weather changes then you’ll probably want to take off your jacket and add on some extra layers or even remove your shirt and change into a windbreaker or even thermal shirt.

4. Durability

There are a lot of times when you’re out in the wilderness where your clothing will get rained on or washed away with debris. You’ll need to be ready for that. This is especially true if you’re backpacking or camping in a location where there’s a lot of ugliness such as a boring concrete yard or apartment complex.

5. Materials

The type of material is going to be important as well because it will affect what you can do with your clothing including what type of repair you can do on it.


1. Limited Mobility

The jacket can get caught on a branch or even by your own hand. This makes it hard to move around without thinking about where you’re putting your hands or any other part of your body. In a situation where you’re climbing or doing something more dangerous, it’s going to be hard to move around as well because you’re strapped into this material that cannot be removed from the rest of your clothing.

2. Wear-and-Tear

This is going to be one of the most important things to consider with clothing that you want to use for hiking. There are a lot of times where hiking is considered an intense sport and when you’re going to need something that can take the abuse. This is especially true if you’re moving through an area where there’s a lot of underbrush or even rocky outcroppings.

3. Tears

There’s nothing worse than hiking in a jacket that’s torn or ripped at the seams. You’ll have to make sure you don’t do this often because this is going to be something that can get much more annoying and expensive over time. For example, if you’re camping out and you tear it at the seams then you’ll probably want to replace your clothing.

4. Cost

Maybe another important thing to look at with your hiking clothing is cost. If you’re going to save up for new clothes, then you’ll only be purchasing them when you want to use them. On the other hand, if you’re going to purchase a jacket that will last ten or fifteen years, maybe it’s cheaper in the long run.

5. Layering

It’s hard to layer with a jacket because it’s an all or nothing situation. You’re either bundled up or not which means if the weather changes then you’ll have to make some adjustments. This is especially true if you’re moving from one area where it’s warm to another area where it’s not. Perhaps this is why the vest is popularly used today because it gives the extra flexibility that the jacket does not.

Type Of Hiking Vest

1. Outdoor Vest

This vest is made from a soft, mesh-like fabric that will keep you cool on hot days and warm on cold ones. It’s also perfect for adding some flair to your outfit with its bright colours and funky designs.

2. Adhesive hiking vest

An adhesive hiking vest is a handy option for anyone who wants to free up their hands from carrying a bag while still having easy access to all the essentials. It is also ideal for those who find themselves constantly changing gear while hiking or running.

3. Waterproof Hiking Vest

A waterproof hiking vest is the best way to keep dry on a hike or run, but it is also bulky and quite heavy to wear all day. With this type of vest, you stay dry when it rains but can get soaked in a heavy downpour. On the plus side, waterproof hiking vests are highly breathable, so they will keep you cool and comfortable while keeping water out.

4. Tactical Vest

A tactical vest is not necessarily required for every hiker or runner, but it does offer more protection than any other type of vest and can be beneficial as an extra layer of protection in some situations.

A tactical vest has many pockets and can be utilized to hold a lot of equipment, including weapons. A hiker or runner will choose this option if they are carrying a lot of supplies while out on the trail like Kilimanjaro and Inca Trail.

5. Lightweight Vest

Lightweight hiking or running vest is exactly what it sounds like – an extremely lightweight vest that you can wear to keep your hands free when you are out hiking or running. This type of vest is generally made from synthetic materials and does not keep the wearer as dry as other options due to its lack of waterproofing.

A typical “hiking” vest is made from water-resistant nylon, PVC, or polyester that has been treated with a durable finish to increase the waterproofing. The original purpose of these vests was to help hikers take their belongings with them on a hike without worrying about getting them wet.

Lightweight nylon and polyester vests are not bulky and are a good choice for hikers who stick to short day hikes in mild weather. They are also the least expensive. However, nylon vests tend to be less durable than wool or leather, which is why they are more often found on less expensive models. The more expensive hiking vests made of wool or leather are heavier, bulkier, and not as easy to stuff into a pack as a nylon model. They are also more expensive to buy, which is why they are more often found on hiking brands that target hikers who buy their own gear.

The following is a brief comparison of vests made of different materials:

  • Polyester – High-quality polyester vests tend to be very lightweight. They are also highly durable and have the most freedom of movement. However, polyester tends to be more expensive.
  • Nylon – Nylon vests are less expensive than wool or leather. They are also fairly lightweight and highly durable.
  • Wool – The best wool vests are thick and heavy. They tend to be durable, water-resistant, warm in the cold, and provide good protection from insects. However, wool vests are more expensive than models made of different materials.
  • Merino Wool – Merino wool vests and other materials made from this high-quality wool help keep you warm in the cold, provide good protection from biting insects and rain, are extremely lightweight, and are very durable. However, merino wool items are expensive.
  • Patagonia – Patagonia vests tend to be priced higher than other lightweight nylon or polyester vests brands. However, they are highly durable and provide good protection from insects, rain, and cold.
  • Cotton – Cotton is the most commonly found material for making vests. They are not as durable as others, but they are a good choice for people who want to save money by buying their own gear.
  • Silk – Silk vest materials tend to be lightweight with more breathable fabrics that can keep you cool in warm weather. However, silk is not waterproof and cannot protect you against being drenched by a storm in the rain.

These materials boost the performance and the outer protection of the vest to make it suitable for hiking, camping, skiing, hunting, climbing and many other outdoor activities.