Trekking adventures will take you through varied terrain under different weather conditions, so it is important to have a trekking jacket that can handle the rigors of the trek while still keeping you comfortable and dry. The best trekking jacket will be lightweight, packable, breathable, and durable; this is a tall order to fill, so be sure to try on several trekking jacket models to determine the comfort level, weight, waterproof abilities, and durability. Choose a jacket that is functional above all else; it should feature conveniently located pockets, a hood that can be stowed away if possible, and vents that can be opened as weather conditions change.
Many materials are available today to make outerwear both breathable and waterproof. This means when you are wearing your trekking jacket, the shell will repel water such as rain and snow, while still allowing sweat to escape the jacket, leaving you warm and dry. Synthetic materials such as nylon and polyurethane are often coated with waterproof, breathable membranes. The most common of these designs is Gore-Tex®, which is lightweight, reliable, and often fairly expensive. If you plan on spending a significant amount of time exposed to the elements, however, a Gore-Tex® jacket is a good investment.
A trekking jacket needs to be packable and lightweight to make carrying it easier when it is not in use. You should be able to fold or roll it up easily, and it should be compact enough that it will fit easily into a backpack without taking up all the backpack's available space. The weight of the jacket will not seem so significant when you try it on at the store, but keep in mind that your trekking jacket is only one piece of equipment that you will be carrying on your trek; the heavier it is, the more weight it adds to the overall weight of your backpack and/or person. Choose a jacket that compromises between light weight and functionality.
Features such as a hood, pockets, and vents will make wearing the jacket a more pleasant experience. Vents are often sealed with zippers that can be opened or closed according to the weather conditions. This means you will be able to cool off should the weather turn warmer without having to remove the jacket entirely. Strategically located pockets are important as well, and it is a good idea to choose a trekking jacket that features pockets large enough to easily fit a gloved hand.