In the wetter, snowier months, there really isn’t a better overall waterproof garment option than anything emblazoned with the GORE-TEX label.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably considering how far down the GORE road you want to travel, and there are certainly different levels you can check out depending on your need, especially when it comes to the best men’s jackets.
Key Things to Know About GORE-TEX Jackets
We explain a bit about the origin and makeup of GORE-TEX here, but when it comes to jackets, specifically, you’ll want to think about layering — that is, single layer, two-layer (2L), or three-layer (3L).
- Single-Layer: The lightest-weight GORE option with only a single layer of membrane protecting you from the elements. These are often popular for spring and fall activities when you might encounter some rain, but need something more breathable to contend with warmer weather.
- 2L: Here, you get the basic sheet with an additional lamination or membrane attached to the underside of the outer layer. The result is a slightly heavier jacket, but one that gives you protection, moisture-wicking and overall performance.
- 3L: This is GORE’s top offering, largely reserved for high-performance snow and mountaineering gear. An ultralight layer is bonded to the inside of the membrane, which helps protect the wearer from extreme elements and prolonged outdoor unpredictability.
(There is also a less common “2.5L,” which has a sprayed-on coating on the waterproof membrane that falls somewhere in the middle between 2L and 3L in terms of performance.)
As with any outer jacket, there are several different routes you could go, and we’ve assembled nine of the best GORE-TEX jackets below.
1. Burton Mine 77 3L GORE-TEX Jacket with Down Panel
Burton’s latest Mine 77 collection pays homage not only to Japan’s snowboarding heritage but also to the late founder Jake Burton Carpenter and his son, Timi’s, shared experiences with a specific Japanese tie-dye technique as seen on many of the pieces themselves. Make no mistake, the jacket within this collection is built for heavy-duty winter sports with internal, strategically-placed goose-down panels and a helmet-compatible hood. Plus, the design is just plain awesome.
2. Simms G4 Pro Jacket
BEST WATERPROOF WADING JACKET
Fly fishers need waterproof protection of course, and this jacket from Simms meets that demand with all of the expected protection, along with a bit of tweaking specifically designed for the sport. You get seven storage pockets plus two retractors to store gear while on the water purpose-built to hold casts, flys and more. It’s a great shell choice that’s easy to unzip a vent for warmer temps, or just pack altogether with a weight under two pounds.
3. Patagonia Powder Bowl Jacket
BEST LIGHT GORE-TEX SNOW JACKET
As the temps begin to rise, you can shed those heavy winter ski jackets for something lighter, yet still performance-driven. Patagonia’s Powder Bowl fits the bill with a 2L recycled GORE-TEX shell and embedded RECCO reflector for backcountry days (which you hopefully won’t need to use). You also get all of the standard durability Patagonia is known for plus sensible add-ons like a media pocket and laminated visor on the hood.
4. Stio Shot 7 Down Jacket
Based in the rigor of the Tetons in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Stio builds battle-tested outdoor gear that’s ideal for just about any condition but doesn’t necessarily look like you’re the next Teton mountaineer. The Shot 7 includes a nice batch of Allied Feather’s new HyperDRY water-repelling, 800-fill goose down, which is a lot of gear talk meaning this jacket will keep you warm and dry even on the steepest black diamond runs.
5. Marmot Minimalist Jacket
Not all GORE-TEX needs to be heavy-duty. This option from Marmot is light enough for the warmer months and is a great choice for packing something when the weather conditions are unpredictable in spring and fall. You get all of the important features like adjustable cuffs, hood and a drawcord hem without the unnecessary bulk of some of our warmer choices.
6. Arc’teryx Alpha SV Jacket
It’s tough to write up a GORE-TEX piece without including Arc’teryx. The Canadian brand makes a range of top-notch waterproof gear, often cut just a bit slimmer for those with more athletic builds. The Alpha SV is a 3L GORE top with plenty of zippers, pockets and engineering for hardy adventurers. If the price tag new is too steep, be sure to check out their Used Gear site for the prior season and gently-worn options where you can save big without sacrificing performance.
7. Mountain Hardwear Direct North GTX Down Jacket
More outdoor companies are producing multi-use pieces that work for outdoor excursions along with the regular jaunt down the street. This jacket is ultra-warm with Gore’s Infinium 2L fabric, but it’s built in a way that doesn’t feel overly bulky. This is one of those pieces you can feel confident in when you only feel like packing one outer layer for the day trip to the mountain.
8. Woolrich Mountain GTX Jacket
BEST WATERPROOF DRESS JACKET
We love this classy jacket with the perfect symmetrical buttons and tasteful exterior pocketing. This is a weather-ready piece ideal for more formal nights out with the peace of mind that you’ll get to your destination dry, but without the “just came from the chairlift” look.
9. Laminar Two-Ply GORE-TEX Waterproof Down Car Coat
For the taller guys, this trench-style car coat is a great way to embrace the GORE trend without moving into active territory. The triangular fit is unique on our list and the down fill ensures this coat isn’t just nice to look at. The removable drawstring hood is a nice added feature as well for drier days.
Protect Your Gear From the Elements With a Waterproof Backpack