Survival clothes are more than just fashion items. A survival jacket needs to be durable, functional, and …look absolutely regular.
Whether you are preparing for a weekend in the New England woods or to keep the sun off of you in the desert, choosing the right one can be vital. So, what makes it the right one?
What to Consider Before You Buy
There are several factors to take into consideration before you make your purchase.
In choosing one, the climate is a significant factor in narrowing down your requirements. Will you be facing sub-zero temperatures? Monsoons? Blizzards? Fog? Identifying the climate you will be facing makes it clear what you need it to provide.
The next factor to consider is what you will be doing in it. Lots of running? Hiding in the wilderness? Cutting wood for fires? Fording rivers? The answer to this question will help you decide what features will be most important.
You will also need to consider what you will be wearing underneath. Does it need to provide extra warmth because what’s underneath it is thin? Or will the clothes underneath help keep you dry and toasty? Will the coat need to be comfortable over bulky layers of clothing? Thinking this aspect through will help you choose the right option for you.
What to Look for in a Survival Jacket
Once you have a clear idea of what kind of environment you will be dealing with, there are specific features you need to consider.
Pockets are critical from a survival standpoint. You’ll will need plenty of space to store necessary survival items: tools, weapons, supplies. You will also want at least some of those pockets to be quickly and easily accessed in the case of an emergency, so the placement of the pockets can be as important as their number. It is also essential to consider how they are secured—the last thing you want is to lose your crucial supplies because your pockets don’t zip shut.
Obviously, one of the essential functions is to provide warmth. Here is where all that thinking you did about your environment will come in handy. How much heat do you need it to provide? Are we talking about a slightly frosty evening or Jack London’s “To Build a Fire?” The answer will help you decide what kind of insulation is appropriate.
Unless you’re planning to set up camp in the Ica Desert, selecting a survival jacket with no waterproofing features is a major mistake. Precipitation is inevitable, and you need to prepare for it. Consider the material of which it is constructed and any features that might help seal the coat against the damp. You will be glad you did.
The higher the quality of materials your survival jacket is constructed from, the more effective it will be at keeping out the cold and wet. Don’t skimp on this aspect of your gear and settle for the cheapest garment you can find. It’s an investment. Forking over a little more cash now will definitely pay off later.
Since you will be wearing this outerwear for long periods, make sure it is comfortable. If you’re in an area that will get hot, you’ll need something that allows your skin to breathe. Hours of sitting in muggy sweat will become uncomfortable and unhygienic.
Top Ten Selections
Below is a roundup of some of the best survival jackets on the market. Now that you know what features are most important for the environment in which you will be surviving, you should be able to find the perfect option on this list.
Every item included here is both practical and stylish, so you won’t feel out of place when you wear it out in public.
Big Horn Tactical Jacket With Chest Pockets
- PREMIUM CONSTRUCTION - This jacket is made from fleece and all-weather microfiber shell, providing a durable apparel with long-lasting quality and comfort.
- PROFESSIONAL DESIGN - Features a full zipper front closure so you can easily wear it and quickly take it off, making it ideal for people who are always in a hurry or on the go. It's also added...
- TACTICAL JACKET - This jacket is guaranteed water- and wind-resistant, making it perfect for outdoor activities. It's also integrated with YKK zippers and Prym snaps, allowing you to create the...
The Big Horn garment is microfiber with a fleece lining. It is wind and water resistant but still lightweight and compact. Also, it features an elastic waist, anti-pilling materials, hook-and-loop cuffs, and side pockets.
It lacks a hood but is otherwise suitable for providing warmth and keeping out moisture.
Bear Grylls Men’s Bear Expedition Gore-Tex
Gore-Tex is both breathable and waterproof, making it an excellent choice. Here’s a heavy-duty option is surprisingly lightweight and features multiple pockets, waterproof zippers, a hood with front and back stoppers, and a polyester lining.
Adjustable cuffs and a brushed chin guard add to the comfort.
Carhartt Men’s Sherpa-Lined Sierra Fleece
- Left-chest pocket with zipper closure
- Two inside pockets
- Two sherpa-lined lower-front pockets
The sherpa lining in this one provides plenty of warmth. It also features a drawcord hood, storm cuffs, ergonomically shaped sleeves, and a sturdy cotton duck outer shell.
All of these characteristics help keep out the cold and wet. It includes several pockets, including one in the inner left chest.
Rab Infinity Endurance
- Pertex Quantum GL fabric with Pertex Endurance coating outer
- Pertex Endurance hood, outer arms and cuffs
- Pertex Quantum GL inner
The next one is stylish option is made with Pertex, a new lightweight material that is water-resistant and highly breathable, and filled with Hydrophobic European Goose Down, which provides warmth without extra bulk or weight.
The hood is designed to accommodate a helmet, and includes several pockets, including a zippered check pocket, two zippered hand-warming pockets, and an internal security pocket.
Rothco Special Ops Waterproof Softshell
- Versatile Soft Shell Tactical Jacket With Waterproof Polyester Outer Shell
- 3-Layer Construction Deflects Wind, Wicks Away Moisture, And Retains Heat
- 6+ Versatile Zippered Pockets For Storing Essential Gear
Featuring three-layered construction, this survival coat’s polyester outer shell repels cold, wind, and water.
Best of all, it boasts zippered pockets and vent zippers under each arm for perspiration release, making it both handy for storage and comfort. The hood can be folded into a zipper compartment or removed.
Canada Goose Men’s Expedition Parka Coat
Canada Goose coats are designed for the coldest climates. To provide the ultimate warmth, it features a down-filled, adjustable hood with a fur ruff lining, an interior drawstring waistband, a chin guard, mid-thigh length for even more protection, and rib-knit cuffs.
It also provides six exterior pockets.
Concealed Carry Softshell
- Rothco is the foremost supplier of Military, tactical, survival and outdoor products
- Rothco has introduced numerous lines of clothing and product but at the root of each item is our Military Heritage, from our M-65 field Jackets to our Canvas bags, even the folding camping shovel
- Combat tested since 3865
A pocket lover’s dream come true; it has them on the exterior, interior, and pretty much anywhere a pocket could possibly be placed.
One is even specifically designed to carry a pistol. If you can’t find a place to stash a piece of gear in this coat, you’re carrying way too much stuff. It’s also water-proof and features a three-layer design.
Arctix Men’s Performance Tundra
- 120 grams ThermaTech Insulation offers warmth in a lightweight, low bulk garment (keeps you warm at temperatures from 20° to +35°)
- Critical seams are sealed to keep you dry; Reflective webbing provides greater safety and nighttime visiblity
- Microfleece lined removable hood; Adjustable cuff tabs
All of the critical seams in this garment are sealed, making it water-tight. Highly durable and well-insulated yet still lightweight.
It also features heat-trapping microchambers for extra warmth, and rounds out its usefulness with a removable hood, several exterior pockets, and a visibility-aiding reflective lining.
Condor Outdoor Summit Softshell
- OUTDOOR VERSATILITY: Whether in the heat or cold, you will stay protected from the elements. The Summit Zero Jacket is designed to have increased comfort and breathability when in the field....
- LIGHTWEIGHT: The Summit Zero answers the call to carrying all that you need without being bogged down by the weight of the jacket itself.
- PREPARE FOR ANYTHING: Outfitted with two bicep pockets, two upper arm patch panels, two internal pockets, two high-rise slash chest pockets, a forearm pocket, and a double zipper back pocket....
Another pocket-rich option with two chest pockets, two internal pockets, double back pockets, a forearm pocket, and two shoulder pockets.
For warmth and dryness, it features a drawstring waistband and hood, a polyester surface with Dupont Teflon Coating, and adjustable wrist cuffs. It also includes vent zippers under the arms.
Viking Men’s Thor Waterproof Industrial
- Waterproof, breathable and windproof. Features double stitched, taped, and heat-sealed seams to maximize waterproofness
- Tough 300 denier Trilobal rip-stop polyester fabric gives superior abrasion, puncture, rip and snag resistance
- Stormblaster hood reduces wind and rain exposure and features safety tear away design
Considering how sleek this looks, it gives protection against the elements. It is made from Trilobar Rip-Stop Polyester, which is highly resistant to tears and abrasions. All of the seams are triple-sewn and heat-sealed.
It also features a removable inner liner, a double-overlapping storm flap for the front zipper, a removable/adjustable hood, a chin guard, and a comfortable fleece collar.