Although winter and summer are pretty straightforward seasons as far as dressing is concerned, spring is an entirely different animal. Sure, it’s mild enough temperature-wise in most parts of the world, but when it comes to the weather, it’s a pretty erratic affair. For as soon as you cast off your coat and make the switch to a t-shirt and shorts, next thing you know a nasty cold front will have rolled in overnight. And that’s not even mentioning the constant risk of being caught out in the rain.
The good thing is that even in spite of all of the guesswork, it’s more than possible to dress well on a day-to-day basis while still being prepared for the unexpected. Armed with the right type of lightweight jacket, you’ll stay plenty comfortable in temperate climates and also dry enough in the event of a surprise shower. If you don’t have the time to do the research yourself, don’t fret. From hard-wearing work shirts to DWR-treated technical hoodies, we’ve looked high and low for the best pieces the industry has to offer. Seeing as the season is fast-approaching, do yourself a favor and have a gander at what we’ve picked for the best lightweight spring jackets.
Vuori Ripstop Jacket
Based out of North County San Diego, Vuori is a brand that knows temperate weather inside and out, so it goes without saying that they’d be able to put together some solid spring essentials. Their Ripstop Jacket is a case in point, combining a classic button-down construction with a two-way stretch fabric to deliver an offering that looks good and means business. And because of its Teflon coating, it’s not only extra strong but also impressively stain resistant. If you’re after a jacket that’s great for anything from a lazy afternoon in the park to a chilly morning hike, Vuori has you covered.
Patagonia Houdini Jacket
The Patagonia Houdini sets the standard in light spring jackets, what with its svelte 3.7oz (105g) weight and its included stuff sack for compact carry. However, just because it eschews the added bulk of other options doesn’t mean that it can’t keep April showers at bay. Rather, thanks to an adjustable hood, a drop-tail back, and a durable water-repellent finish, it makes for an iron-clad defense against the elements. But the cherry on top has to be its Fair Trade Certified fabric. Made from 100% recycled nylon, it just goes to show that you can invest in a quality piece of outerwear while also supporting the planet.
Nike Windrunner Windbreaker
Inspired by the original design of the same name from 1978, the Nike Windrunner Windbreaker isn’t just a piece of performance clothing; it’s also an ideal jacket for daily wear. When it comes to technical qualities, it features a mesh lining for breathability, a water-resistant coating to keep you dry, and some ribbed cuffs so that it stays in place. Add to that a classic chevron design on the chest and some bold block colors, and what you have is a jacket that has 70s style in spades. It might be a retro redux, but it’s just as iconic as it was back in the day.
Proof Elements Jacket
If you’re after an offering that’s as hard-wearing as it is handsome, look no further than the Proof Elements Jacket. For instance, it’s crafted from ThermoTech, a premium fabric that actively heats itself as you wear it. In practice, this means that the Elements Jacket is incredibly warm while still being surprisingly lightweight. But that’s not all — it’s also designed to wick moisture away in order to help keep you dry. Sure, it may be somewhat subtle and understated on the outside, but that’s because it doesn’t need flash — slipping it on is proof enough of its superior functionality.
Rhone Lightweight Commuter Shell
At the intersection of fit, form, and function sits Rhone, a brand that has you covered in everything from activewear to office essentials. Their Lightweight Commuter Shell makes for an element-proof offering that keeps you dry and looking good while it’s at it thanks to some water-repellent 2.5L shell fabric and a modern yet minimalist design. What’s more, its 3-panel adjustable hood features a bonded brim, an addition that ensures uninterrupted vision and a face free of rain. Whether you’re wearing it out for a drizzly morning commute or throwing it on for an unexpected shower, the Lightweight Commuter Shell is one jacket that should be on you at all times.
Buck Mason Herringbone CPO Jacket
Committed to producing high-quality American clothing that honors its heritage while keeping with the times, anything from Venice-based Buck Mason is a solid bet. However, when it comes to spring outerwear, the Herringbone CPO Jacket fits the bill perfectly. For starters, it features a silhouette inspired by shirt jackets from World War II, an era when functionality was a top priority and menswear was made to last. Crafted from brushed wool twill and lined with stuffed nylon rip-stop, it’s an essential item for those days when winter seems like it’s decided to stick around just a little while longer.
Grayers Geneva Windbreaker
One of the most difficult aspects of dressing for the season is that it’s constantly a moving target — one that can change by the month, week, or even day. As such, it pays to prepare for any eventuality, because although it could feel moderate one moment, the next thing you know you’re shivering in spring. It’s in these such instances that the Geneva Windbreaker from Grayers is the perfect jacket to have on your person. With its enduring simplicity and spread collar design, it makes for an instant classic well-steeped in vintage style. And thanks to a pair of side hand pockets, an internal drop pouch, and a zippered compartment on the left sleeve, there’s more than enough storage options to keep your carry safe and secure.
Fjallraven Vardag Anorak
After months spent indoors, spring is an ideal time to get outside and enjoy the added freedom that comes with better weather. If you’re the type who finds yourself filling your time with early adventurous outings or weekend camping trips, Fjallraven’s Vardag Anorak is the jacket for you. Made from G-1000 Eco fabric, it’s robust enough to hold up over the long haul while also plenty weather-resistant to keep you dry during those drizzly seasonal showers. Anoraks are always a good call when you’re looking for a versatile piece of outerwear, and Fjallraven’s is no different.
Finisterre Stafford Jacket
Founded in a flat above a surf shop in 2003, British-based Finisterre is well-steeped in making high-quality outerwear suited for even the most unpredictable of English weather. To put it another way — they’re hardly fazed by a slight spring chill. In practice, this means that their Stafford Jacket is well-prepared for transitional weather, with a durable duck canvas fabric construction and some corduroy lining on the collar and inner cuffs. And because its’s part of Finisterre’s hardy Headland Range, you can rest assured that it’ll be with you for years to come.
Todd Snyder Polartec Sherpa Overshirt
Although fleece is typically a material best reserved for Fall, the Polartec Sherpa Overshirt from Todd Snyder is an option that is perfectly suited to spring wear. Made from Polartec fabric, it features a super soft sherpa knit and a roomy overshirt fit — a combination that’s easy for seasonal layering. Accented by a bevy of horn buttons as well as some patch, flap, and lower side entry pockets, it makes for a stylish take on the classic casual fleece. Whether you dress it down for weekend wear or spruce it up for semiformal settings, this jacket is an offering that looks good no matter how you wear it.
Filson Ultra-light Jacket
When it comes to outfitting your seasonal wardrobe for spring, it’s best to look for items that offer a good dose of versatility. Sure, you can equip yourself with a jacket for every occasion, but you’ll only inconvenience yourself as the temperature changes. Instead, grab Filson’s Ultra-light jacket, an offering that’s as comfortable being worn on its own as it is being layered under a shell. Thanks to its PrimaLoft Gold 60g insulation, it’s impressively packable and even warm when wet. Paired with some moleskin-lining for the pockets and collar facing, the result is a jacket that’s as featherweight as it is weatherproof.
lululemon Down For It All Hoodie
While most hoodies are simple cotton garments that’ll get soaked at the slightest drop of moisture, lululemon’s Down For It All Hoodie is an exception to the rule. For instance, it features a responsibly-sourced lightweight goose down to keep you comfortable throughout a range of conditions. So, whether you’re heading out for a morning run or coming home on your daily commute, the Down For It All Hoodie has your back. And since it’s been spun from water-repellent Glyde fabric, it’ll even keep dry should you get caught without an umbrella.
Outerknown Evolution Hooded Jacket
Out of Kelly Slater’s sponsored surfing career comes Outerknown, a brand founded specifically for the purpose of furthering sustainability. The Evolution Hooded Jacket exemplifies his philosophy to a tee, pairing a super-soft 100% recycled polyester fill with a water-resistant ECONYL nylon shell, a material that’s made from discarded fishing nets and similar nylon waste. And it’s much more than a token eco offering, what with its removable hood for a wide range of wear options and some fleece-lined pockets to keep your hands toasty. If there’s one thing we can learn from Slater and the Evolution Hooded Jacket, it’s that style doesn’t have to come at the expense of saving the environment.
Taylor Stitch The Lombardi Jacket
Crafted from 7-ounce organic cotton herringbone by Halley Stevensons and treated with some dry wax for weatherproofing, the Taylor Stitch Lombardi jacket makes for a winning combination befitting of its legendary namesake. Its weight is such that it works well when layered or on its own as a standalone staple — an ideal quality to have when dressing for uncertain spring conditions. And because it comes with gusseted arm openings and a lower drawcord closure, it’s great for keeping the heat in and the elements out — whether that’s the wind, water, or some early-season snow. If you’re after a jacket that’s ready to kick ass and take names, do yourself a favor and snag the Lombardi.
Saturdays NYC Lightweight Insulated Jacket
Coaches jackets are an essential item to consider when looking for the best lightweight spring jacket for your needs, and this one from Saturdays NYC is a cut above the rest. Beneath its water-resistant exterior, it features a mid-weight fill for plenty of warmth during transitional weather. What’s more, it comes with some reflective detailing to ensure you stay extra visible — a Saturdays logo on the left hem and a large Slash emblem on the back. So, where other similar offerings are little more than a cut of cotton cloth, the Lightweight Insulated Jacket makes for a piece of outerwear that backs up its style with some performance to suit.
Noah Ranger Jacket
If you’re in the market for some military-inspired outerwear, Noah’s Ranger Jacket is a great buy. Made from 100% cotton twill, it features a pair of flap patch pockets on the chest, each one with its own button closure. And in order to deliver a first-rate fit, it makes use of some adjustable cuffs at the sleeve and a set of cinch straps at the waist. But the best part is that because of Noah’s commitment to ethical fashion practices, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to responsible causes where the quality of life comes before the pursuit of profit. And, as an added bonus, each Ranger Jacket includes a Heaven Sent pin.
Relwen Quilted Tanker
Originally introduced during WWII as a practical piece for American tank crews stationed in Europe, the tanker jacket has stood the test of time and continues to be relevant to this day. Relwen’s Quilted Tanker takes the classic and updates it with modern amenities, including a water-resistant outer, some recycled polyfill, and a peached finish for velvety-smooth softness. So, although it may look like you’re wearing an old family heirloom, in actuality you’ll be enjoying an item that very much keeps with the times. And when you consider that it comes with pocket provisions abounds — from a pair of front zips to some dual quilted utility pouches — it’s never been easier to look good and rock some old school cool.
AllSaints Granthem Bomber
Let’s face it. Even if your activities are more of the everyday variety than they are aviator-worthy, a quality bomber is an important part of any spring wardrobe. Sure, they’re a dime a dozen these days, but the AllSaints Granthem Bomber is an option that stands out from the crowd. Underneath its outer shell, it features a blazer-style inner for a more sartorial spin on the time-tested utilitarian silhouette. And it isn’t just for looks — rather, because its completely removable, it’s a perfect component for layering. As is often the case with AllSaints, this is one jacket that’s in a league of its own.
Aether Griffith Jacket
Equal parts inspiring adventure outlet and stylish clothing collection, Aether was born out of the need for outerwear that looked as good as it performed. Because although ski jackets offer superior warmth and insulation, the reality is that not everyone wants to look like they just stepped out of the lift line. When it comes to the Griffith Jacket, the brand has more than delivered. On the one hand, it’s been cut from a cotton micro-ripstop shell and insulated with 40 grams of PrimaLoft. But on the other hand, it’s been given some vertical quilting around the body and sleeves as well a collar complete with attractive ribbed detailing. So, while it’s plenty capable of keeping you warm, it’s also fashionable enough to wear around town.
Veilance Nemis Jacket
As the high-end urban-inspired offshoot of Arc’teryx, Veilance comes well-prepared to produce a quality technical jacket. For instance, the Nemis is made from a stretch-woven weave that’s 94% nylon and 6% elastane, a combo that’s virtually unmatched in terms of its lightness and comfort. What’s more, it’s been treated with DWR and sewn with taped seams for added water-resistance. And when you consider that it comes with a pair of internal laminated pockets for secure valuable storage, the result is an offering that’s much more than the sum of its parts.
The 15 Best Spring Sneakers For Men
Having found a lightweight jacket well-suited to transitional weather, it’s now time to turn your attention to the rest of your wardrobe. Make sure to check out our guide to the best spring sneakers for men where you’ll find a collection of kicks that offer a welcome relief after the dull days of winter.