When it comes to casual outerwear, the pieces most often hailed as essentials include bomber jackets, leather moto jackets and denim jackets. And while these jackets are unimpeachable additions to any man’s wardrobe, they’re pretty ubiquitous. Since everyone has them, it can be harder to style them in a stand-out way. One style of jacket that not everyone has (and many might have never even heard of) is the anorak. Part parka, part hoodie and part windbreaker, the anorak is a versatile hip-length jacket that’s light enough for warm spring days and ideal for protecting you from rain. It’s also stylish and can pair well with sporty, outdoorsy items as well as casual staples like blue jeans and sneakers.
Often, any hooded jacket will be called an anorak, but true anoraks have several distinct features that set them apart from parkas and jackets of that ilk. Their most distinct feature is how they’re worn — where most jackets have a full-zip or button front, anoraks have a quarter or half zip. That means that similar to hoodies and sweaters, anoraks are pulled over your head, instead of donned one arm at a time. That helps to make them more protective, insulating and comfortable. Anoraks have hoods and are typically made from technical materials like nylon, so they’re suitable for camping, hiking and other outdoor pursuits. Plus, many anoraks have large pouch pockets on the front that are perfect for storing your essentials.
While it might seem expressly outdoorsy, the anorak’s lightweight build makes it great for urban commutes, travel, running and biking, or regular everyday wear. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite anoraks that you’ll reach for as often as your trusty bomber.
1. LL Bean Men’s Mountain Classic Anorak
Looking for outdoor gear that’s stylish, affordable and well made? LL Bean is the first place you should look. The brand’s Mountain Anorak style is made with performance and comfort in mind. The lightweight layer has an adjustable hood, half-zip front, zippered pouch pocket and two hand pockets. The elasticated cuffs keep you warm and insulated. Too warm? The jacket packs into its own pocket for easy storage. It’s available in a few stylish color-blocked options.
2. Vince Hooded Anorak
Vince is a luxury brand that brings a beachy yet minimalist sensibility to casualwear, and this anorak is a perfect encapsulation of that design sensibility. It’s made from lightweight nylon, and the adjustable hood and cinched cuffs make it a practical option for chilly nights spent by the beach. It’s more streamlined than other options — there are no hand pockets or pouch pockets, keeping it clean and simple.
3. Save Khaki x New Balance Herringbone Utility Anorak
Save Khaki and New Balance teamed up on a truly All-American collection, with the younger brand blending their California sensibilities with New Balance’s New England attitude. That’s why this sporty anorak would look equally at home on the west or east coast. This anorak comes in rugged vintage colors like indigo and olive. There are a small pouch pocket and a drawstring at the hem for a more custom fit. It’s made from cotton, so it may not be ideal for a downpour, but it’s ideal for staying warm on a breezy day.
4. The North Face Men’s Fanorak
This anorak (or “fanorak,” as it were) from The North Face has an eye-catching color-blocked design, with a lighter red body and sleeves and a darker red hood and chest. The jacket has a half zip with a closeable pouch pocket and hand pockets. The jacket is wind and water-resistant, so it’s ideal for all of your outdoor adventures. And if you get too warm, the jacket packs into itself and turns into a fanny pack. It’s half off at REI and all the sizes are somehow still in stock, so act fast.
5. Battenwear Packable Anorak Pullover Jacket
If you’re looking for stylish outdoor gear but want to look beyond the Patagonia/North Face/LL Bean trifecta, Battenwear is the brand for you. The brand’s design ethos is outdoorsy but laid-back, and that’s shown in this packable anorak. It has a button-down front, instead of a zip, adding vintage appeal. Practical details include zippers at the sides for more comfortable movement and a large pouch pocket on the front. It’s available in classic olive or navy. The jacket is American-made as well.
6. H&M Windproof Softshell Anorak
H&M might not be the first place you go to look for practical, simple outdoor gear, but that’s what makes this jacket such an unexpected treat. It’s predictably affordable but surprisingly thought out. Features like zippered hand pockets, a water-repellent coating and a drawstring hem and adjustable cuffs help keep you warm and dry. The all-black color makes it a good alternative to often bright anoraks.
7. Arc’teryx Sigma SL Anorak
BEST PERFORMANCE JACKET
If performance is your number one concern, then Arc’teryx is the way to go. The brand is legendary for durable climbing and outdoor gear that’s resistant to the elements. Their gear is also pretty expensive, which is why it’s great to see this Sigma anorak at a discount. Instead of a pouch pocket, this jacket has a more streamlined “Napoleon pocket,” which is the vertical zippered pocket found at the chest. It’s breathable and lightweight, making it a great climbing jacket. But even if the only climbing your doing is up your apartment stairs, you can still benefit from the jacket’s technical features.
8. Helmut Lang Popover Zip Jacket
For a high fashion take on the anorak, consider this option from the minimalist label Helmut Lang. It has a slightly boxy fit with looser sleeves for a more refined take on this outdoorsy staple. The jacket has a large flap pocket, and the quarter zip at the front has a unique second zip front behind it.
9. Brixton Men’s Breton Anorak Jacket
BEST CASUAL JACKET
This stylish jacket from Brixton has a two-tone design, with a blue hood and sleeves and a yellow torso. There are side slit hand pockets and an interior front pocket, instead of a pouch pocket, making this a more streamlined take on the traditional anorak. The jacket has elasticated cuffs, hood and hem.