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The Best Lightweight Running Jackets in 2022

 

In varying weather conditions, a lightweight jacket is one of the most versatile pieces of clothing you can take during a run. They provide protection from wind and light rain. They’ll give you an extra layer of warmth when a running shirt isn’t enough.

Best of all, many of these jackets pack into themselves for easy portability and storage when not wearing them. Some have reflective elements.

If you want a quick answer, our top pick is the Brooks Carbonite Jacket. It’s very lightweight and breathable, has 3 good-sized pockets, and is very reflective.

We’ve tested and reviewed many different lightweight running jackets in a variety of conditions. Here are our top choices…

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Brooks Carbonite Jacket

 

  • Lightweight, breathable fabric
  • 3 spacious pockets
  • Thumb loops
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

Salomon Agile Wind Jacket

 

  • Lightweight
  • Wind and water-resistant
  • Good price
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

Little Donkey Andy Waterproof Jacket with Hood

 

  • Great price
  • Windproof
  • Water resistant
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

Best Overall

1. Brooks Carbonite Jacket

This jacket is lightweight, eye-catching in low light, and of excellent quality. Although it’s not made to endure heavy rain, it’s a great choice for runners who want something sleek and easy to wear.

What We Like

The Brooks Carbonite is a stylish jacket, and it’s super reflective as well. The blocked color design is eye-catching, and 3M tape in 3 places running down the arms make you visible from afar and in 360-degrees.

But apart from how good it looks while wearing it, it’s also an excellent choice for runners who want something light and easy to wear while on the go.

The jacket is made from nylon ripstop which makes it super hardy. It’s also got DriLayer Seal technology, which is effective against wind and very light rain, but probably won’t stand up well to heavier rain.

Despite its light waterproofing, it’s nicely ventilated, with 2 snap closures that allow you to get decent airflow. On the other hand, if you want less air flowing through, you have a chin guard for warmth.

3 pockets (2 at the waist, 1 on the chest) allow you to carry a couple of energy gels, some first aid supplies, or keep your phone safe and sound as you run. They’re zippered so you won’t have to worry about losing anything on your way.

Thumb loops are a nice little addition. We recommend going a size up for the best fit, which will allow for layers underneath.

Why We Like It

The Carbonite jacket looks great, has the perfect amount of wind and rain protection, and adds an extra layer of safety on your early morning or evening runs.

PROS:

  • Lightweight, breathable fabric
  • Strategically-placed reflective strips
  • 3 spacious pockets
  • Thumb loops

CONS:

  • Not meant to be a rain jacket
 

Most Protective

2. Salomon Agile Wind

Need protection from the elements? The Salomon Agile Wind is sleek and good-looking, and you will be too when wearing it.

What We Like

This jacket might look robust, but it’s surprisingly light for its look. Reinforced with durable polyester on the arms, shoulders, and hood, it’s excellent at repelling water and keeping the wind off of your upper body.

On the parts that aren’t reinforced, it consists of a light polyester-elastane blend that’s almost mesh-like and extremely breathable. As well as ventilation, the material gives it a nice bit of stretch that makes movement easy and natural. You should note, though, that the more ventilated areas will be less resistant to wind.

While it keeps you warm in the cold, if you do get too warm, you can simply open up the pockets, which have a super breathable mesh backing and will get more air in.

An elasticated hood with a handy duck brim keeps the water out of your eyes, although you should be aware that it’s not compatible with helmets if you ride!

It also folds up nicely into its own pocket, which is super handy.

Why We Like It

It’s warm, water-resistant, and wind-stopping, all the while being light and easy to wear. It doesn’t hurt that it comes in a bunch of great colors too!

PROS:

  • Windproof, water-resistant soft shell
  • Duckbill hood will keep water out of your eyes
  • Ventilation panels allow for airflow
  • Folds up into a hand pocket

CONS:

  • Not completely windproof
 

Best Value

3. Little Donkey Andy Rain Cycling Bike Windproof Jacket with Hood

Affordable, sleek, and effective, and of course, it has a funky name. This jacket wins our top spot for best value because it will do the job really well – and it’s well priced.

What We Like

For its price, this jacket is packing a lot of good stuff. It’s weatherproof, featuring an outer ripstop layer and an interior TPU layer that’s both waterproof and breathable. The best of both worlds!

For even better weatherproofing, the seams are completely sealed and the zippers are also fully waterproofed. An elasticized hem and sleeve cuffs stop breezes from surprising you, and the tail hem is slightly dropped for better coverage.

Despite being weatherproof, the breathability is excellent, helped by air vents in the back of the jacket which allow air to move in and around the body as you move.

Reflective strips keep you visible in all conditions. Two decently-sized pockets give you plenty of storage space, one on the chest and one on the back.

When you need somewhere to store the jacket, it can be packed down into the back pocket and used as a little bag.

Why We Like It

It’s lightweight, weather-resistant, durable, and affordable. What more could you ask for? If you’re on a budget, this could be the best choice for you.

PROS:

  • Weather-resistant TPU lining
  • Two sizable pockets
  • Elasticised drop-tail hem
  • Folds down and can be used as a small bag

CONS:

  • Runs slightly small
 

Top Eco-Friendly

4. Rockay 20four7 Track Jacket

Rockay is a lesser known brand, but they’re doing great things. They specialize in eco-friendly gear, so if you’re interested in saving the planet, we highly recommend trying their products, starting with this jacket.

What We Like

This jacket is made from 58% Q-NOVA recycled nylon, and it’s OEKO-TEX & bluesign-certified, which means it’s about as sustainable as it can get. You can feel proud and confident wearing this jacket, knowing that you’re doing good for the environment.

The other 42% of the fabric is elastane-lycra, which is stretchy and comfortable. The jacket itself has an athletic fit that moves with you and doesn’t restrict your movement.

It’s also sweat-wicking, quick-drying, and uses the brand’s innovative HeiQ Fresh odor control to keep you both looking and smelling good all the time. It’s unique and works like a bomb, smelling like new after a quick air dry.

A reflective stripe on the back and a small high-viz logo on the right cuff keep you visible and safer in low light. There are also two hand pockets and a chest pocket, for storing your valuables while running.

Why We Like It

This jacket is ideal for those who want something light, effective, and that makes them feel good about helping the environment when they wear it.

PROS:

  • Made from recycled nylon
  • Tailored fit that moves with your body
  • Quick-drying fabric
  • Treated with Rockay’s anti-odor technology

CONS:

  • Pricey jacket
 

Best Packable Jacket

5. Patagonia Houdini Jacket

If you’re looking for a jacket that you can pack down into a tiny size and carry with you pretty much anywhere you go, this one would be a great option.

What We Like

Firstly, a large jacket weighs less than 4 ounces, which is one of the lightest we’ve come across!

Not only does it barely weigh anything, but when it’s not hanging off your shoulders, it packs down into a tennis ball-sized chunk that’s easy to stick in a pocket or hang on a backpack.

It also has an exceptional DWR coating (durable water-repellent), keeping you drier for longer in mild to moderate rain. It’s also got impressive wind resistance thanks to the ripstop nylon construction. But don’t think that makes it too warm… It’s fairly breathable too. The all-important trifecta.

That being said, there are no added venting panels, so if you reeeeally work up a sweat, you may need to unzip or roll up the sleeves to cool down.

Why We Like It

It’s great quality, does its job super well, and packs down into almost nothing. Ideal for travelers or just those who like to pack light.

PROS:

  • Packs down to the size of a tennis ball
  • Balanced wind resistance and breathability
  • Ample room for movement
  • Excellent DWR coating

CONS:

  • No venting panels
 

Top Packable Waterproof Jacket

6. Janji Rainrunner Pack Jacket

Sometimes packable and waterproof are mutually exclusive, but not in this case. This jacket is excellent for wearing in wet weather and packing in warm weather.

What We Like

It’s super lightweight but that doesn’t stop it from being incredibly waterproof. You can take a good long run in a steady downpour and stay safe and dry inside this jacket. You won’t overheat either, thanks to open venting panels for excellent ventilation.

A double-layered shell gives it both waterproof and breathable properties. The ripstop fabric is light and moves easily with you, repelling mild to moderate rain. While it’s not the most breathable on its own, they’ve cleverly added venting panels, which do an excellent job of keeping you cool.

One possible downside is the lack of adjustability of the hood, which is elasticated and doesn’t have a drawcord of any kind. On the other hand, something we appreciate quite a bit is the dropped back hem, which provides increased coverage and protection.

3 pockets (including a self-stowing pocket), semi-elastic cuffs, and water-repellent zippers all add to the appeal of this jacket. When you don’t need it to be on you, you can pack it into its own pocket and simply stow it in your car, your bag, or even a large pocket.

And as an even bigger bonus, when you buy one of these, Janji donates 2% of their profits to non-profit organizations in the clean water sector.

Why We Like It

It’s stylish, effective, and for a good cause! Also, it’s super convenient as it can pack down quickly and easily.

PROS:

  • Open venting panels for breathability
  • Packs down into a tiny size
  • Multiple pockets
  • Dropped back hem

CONS:

  • The hood can’t be adjusted
 

Best for Trail Running

7. Salomon Bonatti Trail

This is a trail-designed jacket, made to be able to withstand rough conditions and the elements admirably. And it looks good!

What We Like

The Salomon Bonatti Trail is a great-looking jacket and it comes in a bunch of different colors so there’s something for everyone.

It’s light, featuring 2.5 layers with a waterproof outer shell. Despite its barely-thereness, it handles rain and winds extremely well, keeping you comfortably protected.

It has a great hood, which is elasticated and conforms to the head, leaving out a possibly annoying drawstring but also sitting comfortably even without adjustment.

Unfortunately, the biggest gripe with this jacket is that it’s not too breathable. The interior can become sticky when you sweat, and although there are back vents and a handy chest snap, the underarms can become a hotbed of uncomfortable warmth.

Why We Like It

It’s a great design and highly durable. You also won’t need to worry about being caught in rain, snow, or wind while you’re out on the trail.

PROS:

  • Extremely weather-resistant
  • Two large vents on the back for airflow
  • Hood stays in place while you’re running
  • Wide range of colorways

CONS:

  • Not very breathable
 

Top Wind and Water-Resistant Jacket

8. Asics Accelerate Jacket

If you’re looking for the most element-resistant jacket, this could be it. Simple but stylish, and the weather won’t be able to sneak into this one.

What We Like

You won’t have to worry about any cold water or wind sneaking into your jacket when you’re wearing this one. It’s both waterproof and windproof, keeping you as safe as possible in multiple weather conditions.

While it’s super light, the fabric is also slightly stretchable, moving with you as you exercise so that your range of motion isn’t restricted in any way.

A drawstring on the hood allows you to tighten it as much as you need to around your face for optimal weather resistance. There’s also one at the waist, so you can tighten it nicely to keep out breezes.

Also keeping out the wind but allowing for cool breathability are storm flaps on the zips, which only adds to the great weather-proofing abilities of this apparel.

Reflective details, side pockets, and a dropped hem are the final touches on a really nice, simple, but effective jacket.

Why We Like It

The jacket is super light but somehow still manages to be resistant to both wind and water. And it looks sleek and stylish too.

PROS:

  • Ultralight weather-proof jacket
  • Adjustable dropped hem
  • Sealed seams and storm flaps over the zips
  • Stretchy material moves with you

CONS:

  • Runs slightly snug
 

Best Fast-Drying

9. Patagonia Airshed Pro Running Pullover

If you sweat a lot, run through wet places, or just want a jacket that really doesn’t hold onto water, try the Patagonia Airshed Pro Running Pullover.

What We Like

It looks a tad bulky, but this jacket is actually very lightweight. It’s built for alpine running, which means it’s extremely durable and can handle almost anything you throw at it.

It’s made of a combination of Capilene and nylon, which dries super quickly when it needs to. The sleeves and hood stretch somewhat, thanks to the Capilene, and the nylon body is highly durable. It also has a DWR finish, which stops light rain and humidity from even getting the jacket wet in the first place.

One thing we really like is the double zipper system, which means you can open the zipper for more ventilation but keep the collar tight and protective around your neck.

A snug hood, zippered front pocket, and HeiQ odor-resistant tech round up the useful features of this jacket. Oh, and it’s super packable, fitting into the built-in stuff sack.

Why We Like It

This thing dries quick, if moisture can even get past the DWR coating in the first place. It’s also fairly well-ventilated.

PROS:

  • Soft, quick-drying material
  • Double zipper allows more ventilation
  • Built-in stuff sack
  • Odor control treatment keeps the jacket fresh

CONS:

  • Runs a little snug
 

Top Color Options

10. Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Shell Jacket

If fashion matters to you as much as performance, the Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Shell Jacket will fulfill both of those for you.

What We Like

While it’s super practical, this jacket also comes in a range of cool colors and features something to suit everyone. Choose from bright to dark, depending on your own likes.

It’s very weatherproof. A BD.dry membrane, waterproof zippers, and adjustable hems, cuffs, and hood keep the water out. The wind will stay away too.

But it’s still incredibly breathable. 11-inch long zips in the armpits make a huge difference in keeping you cool. And when it gets too warm to keep on, you can pack it down into a handy stuff sack.

Why We Like It

There’s a color to suit everyone, it’s surprisingly weather-proof, and it stays breathable even when it gets a little warm inside.

PROS:

  • Great colors options
  • Seam-sealed middle zipper
  • 11-inch underarm zips for ventilation
  • Hang loop allows you to clip onto a belt or pack

CONS:

  • Doesn’t pack down very small
 

Buyers Guide – Lightweight Running Jackets

Wind Protection

Wind protection is probably the most important aspect of a running jacket. We’ve all experienced that biting wind that feels like it’s cutting you to the bone, making your run difficult!

If you’re sweating, wind can be exceptionally quick to chill you through and through (called the windchill effect!).

Choosing a jacket that’s windproof will go a long way towards keeping you warmer and more comfortable on your runs.

Water Protection

Waterproof jackets may be a bit more pricey, but they do help keep you nice and dry in light rain. Even those jackets that aren’t completely waterproof often have an element of water-resistance, and will be able to repel snow and light rain.

And we actually prefer water resistance to full-on waterproof. The reason? They are lighter and more breathable.

Visibility

Whether you’re running during the day or in less well-lit conditions, visibility is key. You need to be seen, so choosing a jacket in bright, hi-viz colors and with sewn-in reflective detailing is a really good idea.

Breathability

Your running jacket will keep the cold elements off of you, but as you warm-up, your body still needs to breathe. A breathable jacket will keep you cool and as dry as possible, while still protecting you from rain and wind.

Other Features

Once you’ve ticked all the above boxes, here are a few more things you might want to think about, depending on your preferences.

  • A hood (ergonomic, elasticated or draw-corded)
  • A draw-cord at the waist for adjustability
  • Pockets, always useful to have!

FAQs

Wondering about the purpose, features, or necessity of the best lightweight running jackets? Here are some questions you might be asking before buying.

What Is the Purpose of a Running Jacket?

The purpose of a running jacket is simple: to protect you from the not-to-terribly-bad elements (think light rain, light snow, and wind), while staying breathable enough for you to be cool while you’re running.

How Do I Choose a Running Jacket?

The running jacket you choose should be lightweight and easy to wear and carry with you. Being packable is a bonus, so they don’t hinder you if you need to remove a layer and carry it around with you.

It should protect you from the elements but not restrict your movement. Choose a jacket with an ergonomic design, and obviously, you need to find something that you like the design of!

Should a Running Jacket Be Tight or Loose?

It’s a good idea to go for a slightly more roomy fit. Generally, the fabric running jackets are made of doesn’t stretch, and you don’t want your jacket to restrict your range of motion.

If you can raise your hands above your heads comfortably without your jacket preventing the movement or tightening uncomfortably, you’re good to go.

Are Running Jackets Warm?

Running jackets aren’t very warm, but technically they’re not meant to be. As you run, your body temperature rises, warming you up pretty quickly. As such, most running jackets are quite thin and light, meant to simply keep the wind and light rain off of you.

If you’re looking for warmth, you should pair your jacket with a thicker base layer underneath, which will keep you warm while you’re running.

The Wired Runner
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