When the temperatures drop below 40 degrees and the cold weather creeps in, the best lightweight winter jackets provide serious warmth and protect you against the elements without making you overheat. They're also easier to pack and take up less space in an already crowded coat closet, major pluses when your only other alternative is a puffer jacket or a heavy winter coat. But regardless of where you plan on wearing your jacket, there are a few things to know before you buy.
First, the biggest difference between a lightweight winter jacket and just any ole thin coat is the lining. Most jackets will have only a basic inner lining. In contrast, winter-ready lightweight coats will feature actual insulation built into the lining, making them that much warmer. This insulation is usually made from either down feathers or a synthetic, high-tech material that can heat up as you move.
While some lightweight jackets can be pricy, it's worth the investment if you don't want to freeze your butt off anytime you step outside during the winter months.
With that said, take a look at my picks for the three best lightweight winter jackets you can buy. They are all stylish, warm, and seriously great deals.
1. The Overall Best, All Things Considered
It's not hard to understand why this Columbia Mighty Lite™ hooded jacket boasts thousands of rave reviews on Amazon and earned a four-star rating. Made of machine-washable polyester, this coat is both water- and wind-resistant. Plus, the jacket's inner Omni-heat insulation technology allows it to hold up against cold temperatures, heating up the jacket as you move around. It's also designed with an attached hood, an interior security pocket, a soft chin guard that allows you to wear it fully zipped up, and comes in 12 different colors. What more you could want from a lightweight winter jacket? "This is the perfect winter coat!" wrote an Amazon fan. "It is lightweight, but thanks to the Omni-heat, you are toasty warm. I live in Chicago, and it keeps the wind out and the heat in."
- Available sizes: X-Small to 3X
2. The Runner Up
Although it's slightly more expensive than the previous option, this best-selling Orolay women's jacket still has a lot of great features that make it an excellent choice for a lightweight winter jacket. For one, it's built with white duck down insulation that makes this coat warm yet lightweight. The jacket's machine-washable shell is a soft polyester material that's wind- and water-resistant. It also has a hood that's lined in faux lamb fur, and is constructed with six different zippered pockets so you can store anything. Another reason this jacket stands out is its side zippers, which unzip to give you more flexibility to move around. "This jack is super-warm. I've worn this in North Dakota and Washington state in temperatures down to 15 degrees. I've been wearing normal shirts underneath and have been toasty. When we get to sub-zero temps, I'll switch to sweaters underneath and expect the coat to be fine," wrote an Amazon shopper.
- Available sizes: XX-Small to XX-Large
3. The Best Budget Buy
Let's cut to the chase: This Amazon Essentials lightweight puffer is a steal. It has everything you'd want in a lightweight winter jacket for a fraction of the cost of other options: a contoured design, a hood to keep your head warm, zippered pockets, and elasticized cuffs. This product also comes in eight different color options and is made of a water-resistant and machine-washable nylon material with polyester insulation. Best of all, you can fold it to fit inside a small, included carrying bag. Granted, this jacket is cut shorter than the other choices on this list. But for such an affordable price point, losing a few inches in length is a worthwhile tradeoff. Wrote one Amazon reviewer: "This is a great winter jacket. It is warm but so lightweight that it can fit into the bag that it comes with. I wasn't expecting it to be as warm as it was, but it kept me warm on one of the coldest, rainiest November nights we have had in central Virginia."
- Available sizes: X-Small to 2X
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