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A Guide to Women’s Insulated & Waterproof Hiking Jackets

A Guide to Women’s Insulated & Waterproof Hiking Jackets

Hiking the trails in Ireland is a thrilling combination of the great outdoors, with its rolling green hills, dramatic coastlines, and ever-changing skies, but it also means being prepared for those famously unpredictable downpours that can sweep across the landscape in an instant. 

Wearing a high-quality women's hiking jacket, carefully chosen to combat the elements, is your best friend against wind and rain, allowing you to focus on the breathtaking beauty of your hiking adventure.

In this blog, we will explore the different types of women's hiking jackets, their suitability for tackling Ireland's trails, and our top recommendations - all of which are available to buy on the Basecamp website

Understanding the Layers: Insulated vs. Waterproof

Before choosing your next women’s hiking jacket, let's dive into the key differences between insulated and waterproof jackets. 

Insulated Jackets

Insulated jackets prioritise warmth and are specially designed to combat the chill of a blustery Irish day. They are usually made of materials such as down or synthetic fibres to trap air, creating a warm barrier that keeps your body heat close. Insulated jackets are particularly ideal for hikes along exposed ridges, mountains and for venturing higher where the temperature tends to dip.

Waterproof Jackets

Waterproof jackets are your defence against sudden downpours and persistent drizzle which are synonymous with hiking in Ireland. They feature a waterproof membrane and a water-repellent outer fabric which forms a helpful shield against rain, sleet, and even snow. Most waterproof jackets prioritise breathability as well, which allows moisture vapour to escape and prevents you from feeling a cold sweat during more strenuous hikes.

Types of Women's Hiking Jackets

Now, let's delve into the different types of women's hiking jackets available:

Hardshell Jackets

Hardshell jackets are your ultimate rain warriors, built to withstand the relentless downpours that Ireland is known for, with their durable outer fabrics and waterproof membranes like Gore-Tex® acting as an impenetrable shield against the elements. However, while hardshells offer exceptional protection, they can sometimes sacrifice breathability, which is something to consider if you tend to opt for more advanced, uphill climbs.

Softshell Jackets

Softshell jackets are the perfect mixture of comfort, flexibility, and weather resistance. They can handle light rain, misty conditions, and chilly coastal winds, but might not keep you completely dry during heavy downpours. However, their breathability and lighter weight make them superb choices for high-energy hikes where freedom of movement is key.

Insulated Shells

Insulated jackets provide the best of both worlds, combining the warmth of insulation with the protection of a waterproof exterior. They're perfect for cold and wet days on the trail, when staying dry and retaining body heat are equally important, though they might feel a bit bulkier than a hardshell or softshell jacket.

Recommended Women’s Hiking Jackets

Ampli-Dry™ II Waterproof Hiking Jacket

The women’s Ampli-Dry™ II Waterproof Hiking Jacket by Columbia is best known for Omni-Tech™ waterproofing which will keep you dry in the most persistent downpours, while underarm vents help regulate your temperature. With handy adjustable features, you can tailor this jacket to fit you perfectly and seal out the elements completely.

Women's GORE-TEX® Minimalist Pro Jacket

Experience lightweight performance with the women’s GORE-TEX® Minimalist Pro jacket by Marmot. This high-quality softshell jacket guarantees waterproofness, breathability and packability. Stay comfortable with heat-releasing PitZips™, tailor your fit with the adjustable hood, and keep your essentials safe in large pack pockets. This jacket is perfect for minimising weight on multi-day treks or fast-and-light summit pushes.

Spirit Jacket by Montane

Get ready to conquer your next hike with this versatile, breathable jacket featuring GORE-TEX® PACLITE® waterproofing. A meticulously designed three-point adjustable hood, YKK Aquaguard® zippers, and adjustable cuffs provide a customised fit to block out wind and rain. The women’s Spirit Jacket by Montane also packs into its own pocket, making it ideal for Irish weather where sunshine can give way to showers in an instant.

Anti-Freeze Hooded Jacket

Enjoy cosy warmth on your next hike with the women’s Anti-Freeze Hooded Jacket by Montane. This jacket uses water-resistant down and recycled materials for reliable, eco-conscious insulation. Both windproof and water-repellent, it's perfect as a mid-layer in freezing conditions, or as a standalone in milder weather.

Pouring Adventure™ II Jacket by Columbia

Lightweight and affordable, the women’s Pouring Adventure™ II Jacket by Columbia  features Omni-Tech™ waterproofing for staying dry and warm. Its durable nylon ripstop shell resists snags and tears, while adjustable features let you customise the fit. Plus, it packs into its own pocket, taking up barely any room in your rucksack, making it ideal for the unpredictable "four seasons in one day" weather that the Emerald Isle is best known for!

Additional Tips for Women Hikers

The right women’s hiking jacket isn't just about staying dry or warm, it's about staying comfortable across diverse landscapes and unpredictable weather. Keep these additional tips in mind for maximum comfort and enjoyment while on the trails:

Layering is Key: A good layering system allows you to adjust to changing temperatures. Start with a base layer for moisture management, followed by an insulating mid-layer (if needed), and top it off with a waterproof or insulated shell.

Fit Matters: Your hiking jacket should fit comfortably, allowing for layering underneath but not feeling too baggy. Ensure good mobility for arm movement.

Breathability: Given Ireland's mix of rain and humidity, opt for a jacket with breathable waterproof fabrics or ventilation features to avoid overheating.

Wind Resistance: Coastal hikes will often expose you to strong winds especially if you’re hiking in the West of Ireland. For those chilly adventures, choose a jacket with secure hoods, adjustable hems, and windproof outer fabrics.

Ready to Choose Your Next Women’s Hiking Jacket?

Hiking in Ireland demands the right gear and by carefully choosing your next women’s hiking jacket, unpredictable weather won't dampen your spirits. Instead, it will allow you can go on outdoor adventures and stay dry and comfortable. 

Whether you're planning on scaling windswept summits, exploring coastal trails, or venturing into misty forests, Basecamp helps you conquer the elements in style.  Browse our selection of women’s hiking jackets today and start planning your next Irish hiking adventure!

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