Also available in: French
It’s not always easy to know what to wear to be comfortable outside, especially in the spring and fall. To help you in your quest to find the perfect coat, we’ve put together a list of 10 criteria to consider when shopping for a mid-season jacket: the one that will make you happy to go out anytime the weather is unruly.
1. Water resistance
What’s the first thing you should do when shopping for a mid-season jacket of ANY kind? Read the label. If your priority is staying dry, whether for work or the activities you do, make sure that the material has a waterproof membrane or contains Gore-Tex™, a fan favourite for outdoor enthusiasts. It evaporates perspiration while prohibiting water penetration.
On the other hand, the softshells will allow you to tolerate a little rain, but not heavy rains or rainstorms.
2. Wind resistance
Some jackets are literally windproof while others help reduce air infiltration. In general, bet on nylon and polyester to cut gusts as well to avoid shivering when the wind starts to blow. Look for a mid-season jacket that’s 100% wind-resistant, with a zipper that zips all the way up to the chin and includes storm flaps for extra neck protection.
How intense will your physical exertion be when you wear your mid-season jacket? Someone who will be going out running doesn’t need the same type of jacket as the person who will wear it to walk outside and to go for a low-intensity hike.
Certain materials like Gore-Tex™ breathe better than others. If you’re preparing for more intense physical activity and you’d like to avoid feeling humid and, subsequently, cold, avoid nylon, cotton, and Spandex. Choose a jacket with ventilation zippers under the arms. On the other hand, if you are looking for something warmer, a lightweight nylon jacket over a sleeveless vest could be your perfect in-between on chillier days.
Down-filled jackets are designed to keep you warm when little physical exertion is required. For a hot chocolate break by the campfire or pause for a granola bar on a mountaintop, warmth is the goal here. To measure the duvet quality, you’ll see a number on the tag between 550 and 900. This indicates its volume and capacity to reshape after having been compressed. The higher the number, the more the down expands. The more it expands, the more air there is stored inside, which gives you more warmth.
As for synthetic insulation, it is designed for high-intensity activities, as it offers good breathability and dries quickly.
More and more jackets combine the two types of insulation nowadays – down where the body needs to stay warm and synthetic fabrics where you sweat and there is more friction (to prevent damaging the down).
5. Density and weight
You want to bring your jacket along with you on an adventure for several days? Make sure that your mid-season jacket is light and packable. In this case, down is generally more compressible than jackets made with synthetic insulation. Certain models even come with a carry bag to maximize the space in your backpack.
Several brands offer a lifetime guarantee on their products. Note: a lifetime guarantee of a product is equivalent to the product’s expected lifetime. Ask an expert in store about whether or not the material of the jacket is durable or not. Down has a rather long lifespan if properly cared for.
Try to make sure your product will have a healthy life if maintained appropriately with the right cleaning products.
A longer cut is practical for sitting on cold surfaces, while a shorter cut is better for sports or a more active lifestyle. In the same way, a fitted style will be warmer, while a looser-fitting style can fit more layers or a wool sweater underneath, depending on the activities you intend to undertake.
8. Adjustability potential
The more active you are, the more you will need clothes that stay in place. Straps help attach your mid-season jacket to your sports pants, and drawstrings at the hips, waist, neck, and wrists can help tighten or loosen certain parts of your outfit depending on the layers you’re wearing and the movements that you need to make.
The transitional jacket is likely to serve you during every in-between season, whether it’s winter to spring, summer to fall, or fall to winter. Before choosing one, be sure to think about the activities you plan to do while wearing it, including your daily commute.
You might want to choose a neutral colour and/or a classic style so you can wear it year after year. Or, you could opt for a 3-in-1 transitional jacket that lets you remove or add layers depending on the weather and the outdoor activity you are enjoying. This type of jacket usually consists of a waterproof and breathable outer shell that resists wind and rain, in addition to a warm, padded or fleece jacket. It can be worn in three different ways: wear each layer separately, or together.
10. Additional protective features of a mid-season jacket: hood, pockets and zippers
If you’re looking for a mid-season insulated jacket to put on under your outer layer, forget doubling up on hoods which will be more uncomfortable than anything else. But if, on the contrary, you’re looking for a jacket to ward off the wind and rain, choose a model with an adjustable hood and built-in visor. You can even choose a hood made for a helmet if you’re looking to bike or snowboard. And if you can’t decide, go for a jacket with a removable hood that you can store away if need be.
As for the pockets, their number as well as their placement is another detail to consider. Certain models have pockets that are climbing-harness compatible, and others can morph into a stow-away bag. If your hands tend to get cold, hand-warmer pockets could make your day. You might also enjoy an inside pocket that will keep your electronics warm and protected from the elements.
Finally, look for a jacket with waterproof and windproof zippers; you will retain your body heat and keep water outside your new coat.
Also available in: French