Woman and dog hunting
The author wears her First Lite Aurora while hunting mule deer; photo: Lindsey Mulcare

The Best Women’s Hunting Jackets of 2020

No longer are women relegated to buying from the men’s section. Women’s hunting jackets are available en masse for the female form, and we’ve got recommendations.

Wearing coats that are too big or sized poorly can interfere in a myriad of ways, including issues with shooting a bow, unnecessary bulk while moving, and feeling comfortable hucking your pack.

Thankfully, the tides have turned, and there are certainly options for many shapes of the female variety.  And not all of these options are specific to hunting. I find a lot of gear to be fabulous for crossing over from work to town to the backcountry.

A few major brands seem to be phasing out women’s hunting jackets, Under Armour being the biggest. Sitka Gear and First Lite continue to lead the field in building extensive lines for the female hunter, and you’ll see a few options from each brand below. Additionally, SHE Outdoor leads the pack in affordable wear for women across the board, and DSG Outerwear offers both affordable and size-inclusive options up to size 5X.

The following women’s hunting jackets are either in my personal gear kit or they come highly rated and recommended among women who hit the hills with tags in their zippered pockets.

Best Women’s Hunting Jackets

Hunter Elise Young wears the First Lite Aurora Puffy; photo credit: Lindsey Mulcare
Hunter Elise Young wears the First Lite Aurora Puffy; photo credit: Lindsey Mulcare

Note: Most of the major brands have huge sales throughout the year. Black Friday, Memorial Day, and Labor Day are great times to look for women’s hunting jackets. In my opinion, it’s worth a few extra bucks for that coveted piece that’s going to last for the foreseeable future.

Best Layering Jacket: First Lite Sawtooth Hybrid, XS-XL

First Lite Sawtooth Hybrid

The Sawtooth Hybrid ($200) is one of the more interesting layering jackets I’ve worn. It’s a cross between merino and DWR nylon. The nylon upper extends over the shoulders and arms for durability, with merino in spots that need more breathability, including a full merino back for packing out your archery elk.

The piece is body-mapped with a bit of insulation, and it’s a super-versatile option. My one gripe is that the hood isn’t nylon, and wet hair is not fun on cool days. But it’s a layering piece, so you should have a shell nearby just in case.

Read GearJunkie contributor Allie D’Andrea’s full review here. 

What customers say:  “I bought it for spot and stalk, so I got it patterned, but I use it mostly for hiking and walking the rivers. The extra warmth in the front and lighter in the back is perfect for carrying a pack. It adds lots of warmth without being bulky and will be my go-to for any outdoor trip.” — Nat

Check price here

Best Lightweight Jacket: Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody

Patagonia Micro Puff Jacket

My gray Micro Puff ($299) is probably my most-utilized piece of gear across the board. And yes, I’ve hunted in it a lot. It’s windproof, beyond breathable, town-approved, DWR-treated for light water resistance, and offers the perfect amount of insulation for cool mornings and evenings. And it weighs nearly nothing and is uber stashable. If it’s not on my body, it’s usually in reach.

The biggest issue is that it’s not the most durable piece. I’ve ripped holes all over this thing, and barbed wire fences are its mortal enemy while also a staple of hunting.

I patch holes up with visible mending, and now my Nano Puff is covered in tiny pine trees. So it’s not a huge bother, but definitely something to note. Noso Patches are another great option for hole covering if craftiness isn’t your thing.

Read GearJunkie founder Stephen Regenold’s review on the Micro Puff here. 

What customers say: “Purchased the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody for a trip to New Zealand. We had a few days with high bone-chilling winds. This jacket kept me toasty as promised, but I was awestruck that a jacket so thin could be so windproof. I literally couldn’t feel any wind or chill.

“This jacket also has a super flattering fit while allowing great movement. Arms are nice and long, something I struggle to find in most jackets.” — SuzieQ

Check price here

Best Whitetail Coat: Sitka Fanatic Jacket

Sitka Fanatic Jacket - Women's

I have a thing for Sitka’s Fanatic line. The hoodie is the greatest thing on the planet. The jacket-and-bib combination is new for 2020, and its aim is the whitetail hunter, in a tree, quietly waiting it out in the dire cold.

Made of ultra-silent, high-loft Berber fleece and GORE-TEX INFINIUM, the Fanatic Jacket ($449) is water-repellent and windproof. I haven’t hunted in it yet, but in hand, it’s certainly heavier than most of my coats. It’s body-mapped for shooting, and it has a myriad of pockets as well as a pass-through for your safety harness.

My friend Cindy Stites got one of the first runs and was able to test it for us last season. Because this is a new release for fall 2020, reviews are limited.

Here’s what Cindy said: “I hunted in the Fanatic jacket quite a bit. The warmth was amazing! It was very comfortable for long sits in cold weather, and, surprisingly, it didn’t pick up hitchhikers (burs, stickers, etc.) in the woods like I thought it might.

“The only downsides, I think, was the fact that it was slightly awkward to zip and it’s very light in color, so you might not blend in as well with it. But overall, I really like it. I even squirrel hunted in it late season, as it was so warm and comfy. I’m saving up for the bibs that match.” — Cindy Stites

Check price here

Best Size-Inclusive Hunting Jacket: DSG Kylie 3.0 Hunting Jacket, XXS-5X

DSG Kylie 3.0 Jacket

The DSG line is beyond inclusive with its sizing, and this affordable coat ($180) will keep you covered on cold hunts. It’s a 3-in-1 coat, with a removable fleece liner. I wish the liner wasn’t blue for hunting’s sake, but reviewers seem to love it regardless.

The outer shell is breathable but waterproof, and the jacket has a ton of pockets for stashing tags, extra rounds, or a snack. It comes in two types of camo as well as blaze-orange and blaze-pink, which is nice if you don’t feel like layering an orange or pink vest over your gear.

I’d also like to shout out Alpine Curves and its excellent effort to provide size inclusivity and equity in the outdoors. If you have issues finding any sort of outerwear for your size, hit up this brand for ski gear, hunting gear, base layers, and more.

What customers say: “This is a beautiful hunting coat! The fleece liner that you can remove is so soft. I love the thumb holes on the sleeves of the coat. It did seem to run a little big. Great for very cold weather.” — Kav

Check price here

Best Waterproof Shell: Sitka Cloudburst Jacket

Sitka Cloudburst Jacket

Your shell is one of the spots to really think long and hard about spending more money. Why? Shells are often loud, and noise busts opportunity. Sitka builds a few raincoats that live up to quiet necessities, and the one I reach for is the Sitka Cloudburst Jacket ($349).

The Cloudburst is almost velvety to the touch, and it’s a truly bombproof raincoat — seriously. I wore it for a few hours in pouring rain (in conjunction with the equally great Cloudburst pants) while tracking a wounded deer with a friend. We found the doe after a harried while, and I made it back to the truck warm and dry.

It’s packable but heavier than a traditional packable raincoat. It’s a hunting specialist for sure. But I’ve worn it a few seasons now, and it looks nearly brand new. And it constantly lives in the chaos of my truck. Quality counts.

What customers say: “Great shell. I kept this jacket in my pack all elk season regardless of the weather. Very breathable and keeps you bone dry in the rain. Great laying piece for throwing on while glassing to keep the wind out. Fits true to size with a room to layer underneath. Love the pockets that zip up into pit zips.” — Rachel R

Check price here

Best Puffy: First Lite Aurora Puffy

First Lite Aurora Jacket

For ease of fit and movement, the Aurora Puffy ($200) simply takes the cake. It’s taken me through zero-degree days at the barn and cool mornings with turkeys gobbling from the roost. It’s lightweight, with zero constriction. The Aurora true to size with a bit of room to spare for layers, and it’s just a great-looking coat.

My one gripe? I’ve full-on destroyed two of the solid green coats in 4 years. My current Aurora is now a relegated barn and hunting jacket only, not to be worn in public. The fabric snags easily, and it holds every stain possible. My recommendation is to buy the camo and stick with that.

What customers say: “This coat is so super light, it’s hard to picture it keeping me warm but it doesn’t fail. Best feature for me is that it blocks the wind, definitely a plus here in the cold winters of Wyoming. With a sweater underneath I’ve worn this snow machining and have stayed warm the whole time.” — Brianna

Check price here

Best Upland Jacket: Filson 3-Layer Field Jacket

Filson Field Jacket

I’ve had this coat for a few years. I’ve beaten the tar out of it, and it’s never failed me. It exudes the classic Filson feel while being the most durable coat in my kit. And it’s heavy-duty, with a ton of pockets for stashing shells, phones, birds, gloves, hats, and whatever else.

The Field Jacket ($395) is generously sized for layering, and it acts as a true insulating shell. Windproof, waterproof, and damage-averse, it’s made of 7.5-ounce 100% nylon with a waterproof membrane. It’s heavy enough to keep you warm, but added vents offer cooling options.

The only downside is the expense. But if you want to own a jacket that will likely outlive you, your children, and your grandchildren, this is it.

Check price here

Best Budget Late-Season Coat: SHE Outdoor Insulated Waterproof Jacket

SHE Outdoors Jacket

This is an affordable option ($130) for keeping warm and dry in all sorts of inclement weather. It’s also got a ton of bells and whistles. The hood is removable, fleece-lined hand pockets offer sanctuary for cold fingers, and a high collar with a chin flap lets you tuck away from the cold.

It also has a 5-star rating from multiple reviewers. To be honest, it sounds like a winner. If camo snobbery combined with financial ruin isn’t your thing, this coat is an excellent buy.

And just to talk about the brand for a second, SHE Outdoor has a very wide range of affordable jackets and hunting wear for women. Most picks are really well-rated, sizing goes up to 2XL, and the most expensive coat tops out at $170. Not bad.

What customers say: “Great fit for ladies! Comfortable, ease of movement. Blocks the wind and cold. Sat 4 hours daily for several days in 30’s with 12-15 mph winds, I wasn’t bothered by the weather at all! Definitely worth it. I am hooked on this brand for sure.” — Lilo70

Check price here

Best of the Rest

Simms West Fork Jacket

Simms West Fork Jacket

I wore this coat ($300) on an elk hunt where I sat for over an hour in 4-degree weather. It’s the real deal winter jacket. Fish for steelhead, go skiing, and rifle hunt in this beast of a coat. It’s durable, with a Quantum Pro Pertex upper that repels water, and it’s very warm. It’s also a good-looking coat that can double as an around-town jacket. I love me a multitasker.

Only downsides? It’s black (or purple) and it’s expensive. But for a late-season rifle hunt, you’ll be wearing orange anyway.

What customers say: “This jacket is amazing! It’s been a huge lifesaver for these freezing cold mornings on the river. I recommend this to anyone looking for warmth and durability because this jacket can handle it all.” — M.A.

Check price here

Prois Torai Jacket

womens hunting jacket

Prois is a female-driven company focused on building hunting gear for the female form. And its aficionados are obsessive. With a proprietary camo, it’s easy to spot the brand’s gear in the field. The Torai Collection has been mentioned to me more than once, with this jacket ($200) as a standout.

Good enough for outerwear or used as a layer, it’s both windproof and waterproof. A pile-fleece lining is purported to be super warm and soft. And deep pockets and strategic venting allow for a four-season fit.

What customers say: “My new favorite hunting jacket has arrived. The fleece lining makes the inside warm and cozy yet the outside is all about performance. I love the cuffed sleeves with velcro adjustments to keep the cold out. Nice big pockets are an added bonus. The overall fit of the jacket is excellent.” — Shannon B

Check price here

Sitka Gear Hudson Jacket

womens hunting jacket

This waterfowl-specific coat is a technical masterpiece in many ways. It’s made as a final layer for Sitka’s Waterfowl line for women. The winning point is the stretch across the shoulders, allowing for optimal movement in and out of the blind. It’s nice to shoot in, waterproof, and decently breathable. And it doesn’t have to be waterfowl-specific; it works for big game and anything else you’d want to do as well.

The only reason this didn’t make the top o’ the line is its nearly absurd expense. At $499, a hunting coat had better come with pockets full of foie gras and black truffles to go with that meat you’re gonna put in your freezer. I also recommend sizing up on this piece as a shell if you are a layer hound like me.

For more, read my full review of Sitka’s Waterfowl line here. 

What customers say: “This jacket is awesome. I’ve lived on this earth for twenty-three years and have never worn a jacket that fit my shoulders as well as the Hudson. Every time I put on my Hudson jacket, I throw my arms up in the air, because it feels that amazing. My shoulders….they’re free. Thank you Sitka.” — Millicent

Check price here

First Lite Catalyst Jacket

womens hunting jacket

I’d never been much of a softshell jacket gal, but then the Catalyst ($240) showed up on my doorstep. I love the stretchy, second-skin fit of this coat. Made with shooting in mind, that tighter fit allows for streamlined movement with zero interference.

A pile fleece lining adds enough warmth that you can forgo a base layer for a T-shirt on cool days. And I’ve worn this in the rain, staying warm and dry throughout. It’s the most durable, stain-repellent First Lite jacket I’ve owned. That said, a few friends aren’t into the tight fit. Order up a size if you want some room.

What customers say: “I use this jacket for everything. I originally bought it for cooler days on the mountain during September elk hunting in Montana. I thought it would be a great throw in the bag, slip-on, quick jacket for glassing and sitting. While it was great for the intended purpose, I’ve found myself using it for all hunting (from spring turkey to duck hunting). It is now my go-to piece of First Lite.” — DeNae

Check price here

Women’s Hunting Jackets: How to Create a Good Layering System

Hunter Cindy Stites wears the Sitka Gear Hudson Shell while big-game hunting; photo credit: Lindsey Mulcare
Hunter Cindy Stites wears the Sitka Gear Hudson Shell while big-game hunting; photo credit: Lindsey Mulcare

Jackets are really the final layering piece of an overall system designed to keep you temperature-regulated in any scenario. So it’s important to consider what your personal layering system consists of and which women’s hunting jackets will fit your kit best.

Base Layers & Softshell Coats

Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to stick with one brand to build a layering system. Starting with your base layers, focus on buying wicking materials that will keep you warm even if they get wet. Wool still reigns, and we have a full breakdown of the best women’s base layers to help you here.

A softshell coat can often have water-repellent qualities, but think of it like your early-season jacket for September evenings or summer backpacking trips. The ideal softshell is a wind-breaking in-between coat that is easily stashable and durable.

Insulating Jackets

I call them puffies, and I often wear them as my only coat. But these are your lightweight, insulating layer between base layers and your shell in a complete layering system. Insulated with either down or synthetics like Polartec, pay attention to either down counts or synthetic weights.

The Best Down Jackets for Women
The Best Women's Down Jackets of 2020

We found the best women's down jackets for every budget and activity. From a do-all hoodie to a budget-friendly puffy, we've got you covered. Read more…

An 800-fill down coat is extremely warm whereas 80 g of synthetic insulation is more of a midweight jacket. Down has its upsides. Its warmth-to-weight ratio is phenomenal, but if down gets wet, it loses both loft and warming qualities. And it’s often much more expensive.

You’ll see that downs are beginning to be treated and marketed as hydrophobic, but synthetics tend to outperform down in water-repellent qualities. That being said, a shell is your final layer and can protect your down from getting soaked.

Shells

The final bastion of protection against the elements, your shell is your waterproof, windproof, batten-down-the-hatches jacket. For me, a true shell has an adjustable hooded and cuffs, some sort of drawstring at the waist, and a full zip nearly to your nose to truly snug yourself in.

It can be a raincoat in the summer months, or it can have mapped insulation for winter months. But it can truly mean the difference between cold and wet misery (and possible hypothermia) and staying comfortable in crappy conditions. Some sort of shell should always be in your pack no matter the season.

Like its name, you’ll often shell out extra bucks for the technology of a quality women’s hunting jacket. Where you might be able to skimp a bit on base layers and insulation, my thought is to drop a bit more cash on a quality shell that won’t fail when you need it.

Nicole Qualtieri
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Based in Montana, Nicole Qualtieri is GearJunkie's Hunt + Fish Editor. When she's not writing or editing, she's likely hunting, fishing, or on the back of her little brown horse with a border collie named Butch Cassidy on heel in the mountains. Find her on Instagram at @nkqualtieri.

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