When choosing the best MTB jacket for your cycling excursions, the main factors to keep in mind are comfort, performance and durability. A mountain biker needs all of these working together in order to remain warm and dry for extended periods in a variety of riding conditions. So, consider these questions: Will the design allow for movement and breathability? Will its features maximize convenience and momentum? Will its materials protect against the weather and elements?

Meeting these requirements can help you find the right style for hitting those trails. Here at The Adventure Junkies, we’re taking out the guesswork with a breakdown of our favorite MTB outerwear picks. Whether you’re conquering the steep elevation and frigid climate of the Rockies or navigating the rugged desert landscape of Phoenix, we’ve got you covered with the best options available––no matter where that love for nature and passion for mountain biking takes you!

 

QUICK ANSWER: THE BEST MTB JACKET

  1. Showers Pass Elite 2.1
  2. Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Barrier
  3. Marmot 41200 PreCip
  4. Wolfbike Fleece Thermal
  5. REI CoOp Activator SI
  6. Dakine Caliber
  7. Gore Bike Wear Phantom Windstopper
  8. Race Face Nano
  9. Columbia OutDry Ex Eco
  10. The North Face Venture 2

 

 

FREE BONUS! Click here to download the AJ Quick Starter Guides

 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST MTB JACKET

PICTURE
MTB JACKET
BEST USE
MATERIALS
WEIGHT
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
MTB JACKET
BEST USE
MATERIALS
WEIGHT
PRICE
RATING
Showers Pass Elite 2.1
Overall
Nylon
453.60 g
$$$
4.4
Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Barrier
Overall
Polyester/Elastane
90.70 g
$$
4.3
Marmot 41200 PreCip
Budget
Nylon
362.90 g
$
5
Wolfbike Fleece Thermal
Budget
Polyester/Spandex
861.90 g
$
3.6
REI CoOp Activator SI
Wind
Nylon
453.60 g
$$
5
Dakine Caliber
Wind
Nylon
421.80 g
$$
5
Gore Bike Wear Phantom Windstopper
Wind
Spandex
589.70 g
$$$
3.8
Race Face Nano
Rain
Nylon
N/A
$$
5
Columbia OutDry Ex Eco
Rain
Polyester
340.20 g
$$$
5
The North Face Venture 2
Rain
Nylon/Polyester
330.00 g
$$
4.7

 

 

 MTB JACKETS 101

 

4 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST MTB JACKET

 

1. COMFORT

According to Road.CC, a MTB jacket should allow the upper-body to bend over the handlebars for optimal steering in high-altitudes. Lightweight ergonomics help you maneuver through uneven surfaces, abrupt turns or sharp inclines without restricting speed and agility. The most practical jackets combine a streamlined fit, relaxed comfort and weight compression to support your range-of-motion.

 

2. PERFORMANCE

When you’re pedaling in mountainous terrain, it’s crucial to keep the hands free, so you can focus on safety and efficiency. So, you need an MTB jacket with convenient storage for all that gear and equipment. The Clymb suggests front or rear pockets with simple closure and waterproof lining to stash your wallet, keys, phone, GPS, snacks and other items. This feature promotes the accessibility and functionality to perform on all cylinders.

 

3. DURABILITY

Venturing off-the-grid means you’ll encounter unexpected weather and temperatures. So, prepare for environmental shifts with a jacket made of materials that offer insulation and ventilation. Choose fabrics with rain- and wind-proof membranes to protect yourself in climate extremes. Also, consider the jacket’s moisture wicking, or breathability, since your internal temperature rises with exercise. The goal is conserving warmth, but not to a stifling degree.

 

4. BUDGET

High-quality jackets range from $120 to over $200, so consider this a long-term investment. A higher price equals better function and lifespan, so if you can afford a more expensive option, it’s the ideal choice. For bikers on a budget though, you can forego certain features to reduce the cost. For instance, waterproof is pricier than water-resistance, so if you ride in mild conditions, this tradeoff makes sense. 

 

perfect mtb jacket to have

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/rcaucino

 

MTB JACKET REVIEWS

 

1. BEST MTB JACKETS FOR OVERALL USE

SHOWERS PASS ELITE 2.1

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Long-Distance Riding

WOMEN’S VERSION: Shower’s Pass Elite 2.1 

MATERIALS: Nylon and eVent Membrane

WATERPROOF: Yes

WINDPROOF: Yes

PROS: This jacket is body-mapped to keep you ventilated on the inside and protected from the weather outside, while the large pockets and reflective trim maximize both storage and visibility

CONS: Due to its impressive safety and performance features, this jacket is among the most expensive currently on the market

 

 

 

PEARL IZUMI ELITE THERMAL BARRIER

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AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Extended Season Riding

WOMEN’S VERSION: Pearl Izumi Select Thermal Barrier

MATERIALS: Polyester and Elastane

WATERPROOF: Yes

WINDPROOF: Yes

PROS: This jacket is excellent for year-round usage in a variety of altitudes and conditions due to its contoured and semi-form fitting ergonomics that create an elasticized, weather-tight seal

CONS: Because the structure of this jacket tends to feel snug on the body, those who want a breathable fit should consider sizing-up

 

 

 

 

2. BEST MTB JACKETS FOR A BUDGET

MARMOT 41200 PRECIP

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Backcountry Trail Riding

MATERIALS: Nylon NanoPro Ripstop

WATERPROOF: Yes

WINDPROOF: Yes

PROS: This jacket is both affordable and multi-functional, offering unrestricted movement, reducing moisture build-up, and compressing into its own pocket for convenient portability

CONS: The construction of this jacket is on the looser, baggier side which might not be ideal for bikers who prefer a more athletic fit

 

 

 

WOLFBIKE FLEECE THERMAL

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Speed Riding

MATERIALS: Polyester and Spandex

WATERPROOF: No

WINDPROOF: Yes

PROS: This jacket is an economical option for winter riding, as the windproof outer shell and fleece inside layer retain body heat, while the streamlined jersey fit optimizes your speed training

CONS: The materials are not waterproof, so this jacket won’t shield you from precipitation, making it more conducive to drier, low-humidity climates

 

 

 

 

3. BEST MTB JACKETS FOR COLD WEATHER

REI CO-OP ACTIVATOR SI

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: Multi-Sport Riding

WOMEN’S VERSION: REI Co-Op Activator SI 

MATERIALS: Nylon PrimaLoft

WATERPROOF: Yes

WINDPROOF: Yes

PROS: This jacket is designed to enhance circulation, even in the coldest temperatures, with bulk-free quilted padding and breathable insulation, so you can remain active despite the harsh windchill

CONS: While it does a superior job of providing lightweight warmth, this jacket is not hooded which might be an issue for bikers needing extra coverage

 

 

 

DAKINE CALIBER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Multi-Sport Riding

WOMEN’S VERSION: Dakine Caliber

MATERIALS: 100% Nylon

WATERPROOF: Yes

WINDPROOF: Yes

PROS: This jacket is entirely seam-sealed, articulated in the sleeves and extendable on the hem for optimal wind-breakage, moisture wicking and full-body temperature regulation

CONS: There is no insulated lining on the inside of this jacket which helps with ventilation, but lacks the additional padding of some other styles

 

 

 

GORE BIKE WEAR PHANTOM WINDSTOPPER

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AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Speed Riding

WOMEN’S VERSION: Gore Bike Wear Phantom Windstopper

MATERIALS: 4-Way Knit Spandex

WATERPROOF: Yes

WINDPROOF: Yes

PROS: This jacket is engineered for the technical athlete who needs moderate protection in cool or damp environments without feeling weighed down, and its detachable zipper sleeves offer just that

CONS: Since its main purpose is to elevate performance and momentum, this jacket likely won’t sustain body heat over long periods of time

 

 

 

 

4. BEST MTB JACKETS FOR RAINY WEATHER

RACE FACE NANO

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Commuter Riding

MATERIALS: Nylon RipStop

WATERPROOF: Yes

WINDPROOF: Yes

PROS: This jacket is compact and versatile with its detachable hood, mesh air vents and microfiber high-neck collar, ideal for cyclists who don’t need heavy outerwear, but are ready for the unexpected

CONS: The style of this jacket is a pullover, instead of a zip-front, so if you need to remove it while on the bike, you might experience some difficulty

 

 

 

COLUMBIA OUTDRY EX ECO

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AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Backcountry Trail Riding

WOMEN’S VERSION: Columbia OutDry Ex Eco

MATERIALS: 100% Recycled Polyester

WATERPROOF: Yes

WINDPROOF: Yes

PROS: This jacket is not only a proven line of defense against rain, it’s also among the most eco-conscious biking garments available, thanks to a process of turning plastic bottles into weather-tight fabric

CONS: Earth friendly gear doesn’t often come cheap due to labor intensive manufacturing, so this jacket might not work within your budget

 

 

 

THE NORTH FACE VENTURE 2

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Backcountry Trail Riding

WOMEN’S VERSION: The North Face Venture 2 

MATERIALS: DryVent Nylon and Polyester

WATERPROOF: Yes

WINDPROOF: Yes

PROS: This jacket is made with innovative water repellent technology to ensure multi-layer protection and moisture permeability and breathable comfort, no matter the season or trail conditions

CONS: The cut of this jacket is more relaxed which could be a hindrance to cyclists who don’t like their outerwear to flap or billow on the descent

About The Author

Mountain Biking Junkie

Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer is a freelance writer, natural health enthusiast, self-described bohemian and lover of the outdoors. Her passion for staying active has led to various pursuits from running to cycling to hiking and more. She currently lives on the sunny Florida Gulf Coast and believes everything is better beachside. When she’s not wanderlusting or planning her next off-the-grid adventure, Mary-Elizabeth blogs at Health Be a Hippie where she posts about all things wellness.

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