Warning: it's gonna get cold and nasty soon. But fear not. There's nothing you can't weather in one of these well-made jackets.
Ibex Wool Aire Matrix ($250)
Best for: Casual Outings
The Matrix isn’t quite as warm as down or synthetic-fill jackets, but it’s sleeker, and the panels of breathable merino mix regulate your temperature rather than just raise it. It’s the perfect piece for fall dog walking or just sitting on a drafty barstool.
Fjällräven Keb Eco-Shell ($500)
Best for: Staying Dry with a Conscience
Made with recycled-polyester face and liner fabrics, and treated with fluorocarbon-free waterproofing, the Keb EcoShell may be the greenest hard shell on the market. Of course, you’re more likely to appreciate how well it repels the elements.
Arc’teryx Norvan ($325)
Best for: High-Intensity Mountain Sports
The minimalist Norvan is lightweight (7.5 ounces), has just one internal pocket, and features elastic instead of bulky cinch systems on the cuffs, hem, and hood. But what you’ll notice first is the soft-on-the-skin liner, part of a new three-layer version of Gore-Tex called C-Knit.
Brooks-Range Armor ($500)
Best for: Summit Bids
Armor indeed. DWR-treated Polartec NeoShell fabric easily shrugs off torrential downpours, sleet, and snow. At 1.1 pounds, it’s heavier than many stripped-down jackets, but you get features like two front pockets and six zippered vents—one on each biceps, two on the back, and two on the chest.
Black Diamond Deployment Hybrid ($249)
Best for: Bluebird Days at the Crag
This winter midlayer has enough synthetic insulation to excel on its own in milder conditions. Stretchy nylon and a breathable merino blend allow you to move freely without working up a sweat.
Ultimate Direction Ultra ($179)
Best for: Going Far, Forecast Be Damned
Designed with input from ultrarunner Anton Krupicka, the waterproof-breathable Ultra is intended to get you through the most challenging conditions. It weighs less than six ounces and has smart features like flip-on mitts and vented pits and hood.
Montane Fireball Verso ($149)
Best for: Alpine Starts
On chilly dawn outings, hit the trail with the reversible Fireball’s weather-resistant Pertex layer on the outside to seal in warmth. Then, as the day heats up, switch to the breathable Hypervent fabric.
Swrve Milwaukee ES ($150)
Best for: Stormy Bike Commuting
Despite its clean urban aesthetic, there’s more to this soft shell than meets the eye. It’s loaded with bike-friendly features like a drop tail, reflective hits, pit zips, four-way stretch, a huge zippered stash pocket, and double cuffs to keep drafts out of the sleeves. A light fleece lining and TPU middle layer tolerate wild autumn weather, making for a happier ride and an easier transition to the office.