The Best Tactical Jackets for Every Season

There are tactical jackets for every season – but the one you wear in the fall isn’t going to suit you as well in spring or summer. Differences in styles, fabrics and weight can all make a huge difference in keeping you comfortable as the seasons change, and you need to consider your mobility requirements and what type of weather protection you need.

Start your outerwear search with some questions:

  • Will you wear it to work every day?
  • Will you wear it recreationally?
  • Do you need to carry a lot of equipment?
  • Are you looking for concealed carry capabilities?
  • Can you deal with a heavy jacket?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can use the rest of this guide to get tips on fabrics and features to look for based on gender and season:

  • Tactical Jackets for Fall
  • Tactical Jackets for Winter
  • Tactical Jackets for Spring
  • Tactical Jackets for Summer

Tactical Jackets for Fall

Tactical jackets for fall are typically heavier than spring jackets because the air gets a little more crisp – but if you’re going to be very active, you’ll want to layer properly. Men’s and women’s pullovers and hoodies are great for fall afternoons, but you’ll probably need to put on something more heavy-duty when the sun goes down.

Fall Fabrics

Some fabrics are more suited to fall temperatures than others. Fleece, poly blends and cotton mixtures are best for autumn because they help hold in heat but provide decent breathability when you need it. Sometimes vests are the best choice for fall – they keep your core warm enough for chilly temperatures but won’t hamper your mobility.

Features to Look for in a Men’s Fall Jacket

Here’s a list of what to look for in men’s tactical outerwear designed for fall:

  • Adjustable hems
  • Lightweight insulation that won’t hold you back
  • Pen pocket
  • Quick-pack construction that goes into a removable stuff sack
  • RAPIDraw pass-through access
  • Ready pockets
  • Regular fit, not snug, to make room for your base layer
  • Reversible construction
  • Rib-knit collars, cuffs and waistbands

Check out the Men’s Peninsula Insulator Packable Vest, the Revolver Reversible Jacket or men’s pullovers and hoodies to stay toasty and comfortable while you’re working, sitting around the campfire or relaxing.

Features to Look for in a Women’s Fall Jacket

Here’s a list of features to look for in women’s tactical outerwear designed specifically for fall:

  • Adjustable hems with internal shock cord adjustment systems
  • Articulated elbows that provide a good fit and enable a high range of motion
  • Concealed chest pockets
  • Drop tail hemline
  • Lightweight insulation
  • Pass-through pockets for easy access to sidearms
  • Tailored fit for women
  • Thumb holes to keep your sleeves down and hands warm
  • UPF rating of 50 or higher

Look at the Women’s Taclite® M-65 Jacket, the Peninsula Insulator Packable Vest, the Audrey Coverup, the Charisma Bomber Jacket and the Kinetic Full Zip if you’re shopping for a women’s fall tactical jacket.

Tactical Jackets for Winter

You need plenty of insulation in a tactical winter jacket, but you don’t want anything to hold you back when you need to move. The key: Finding lightweight, comfortable outerwear that’s designed for tactical operations.

Winter Fabrics

Fabrics best-suited to winter tactical jackets include polyester blends and other synthetics because they can lock out moisture while holding in heat. Your base layers are incredibly important during winter, when you need moisture-wicking fabrics inside to keep you dry and work hand-in-hand with your outerwear to keep you warm.

Features to Look for in a Men’s Winter Jacket

When you’re searching for a men’s tactical winter jacket, look for these features:

  • Detachable hood
  • Elasticized waist
  • Hook-and-loop storm cuffs
  • Ready pockets
  • Shoulder-mounted mic clips if you’ll be working
  • Side zippers for ventilation and access to your firearm
  • TacTec System™ compatibility
  • Waterproof shell

Look at the 3-in-1 Parka, 5-in-1 Jacket™ and the Approach Jacket to zero in on your perfect winter coat.

Features to Look for in a Women’s Winter Jacket

Here’s what to look for in a women’s winter jacket:

  • A fitted hem
  • Concealed chest pockets
  • Elastane stretch material
  • Fitted cuffs
  • Full-height zipper
  • Hand zip pockets with internal RAPIDraw pass-through access
  • Machine washable fabric
  • Midweight insulation for chilly – but not cold – days
  • Rip-stop fabric
  • UPF Rating of 50 or higher
  • Water-repellent finish

Explore your options with the Women’s Peninsula Insulator Packable Jacket, the Women’s Peninsula Insulator Shirt Jacket and the Charisma Bomber Jacket , which doubles as a great piece of fall outerwear as well.

Tactical Jackets for Spring

Spring Fabrics

Fabrics ideal for spring include nylon and blends that resist water. Even if you’re not caught in a surprise shower, the air in most places is a bit more damp during spring – and you need to seal out as much moisture as you can to keep your base and insulating layers dry so you stay comfortable.

Features to Look for in a Men’s Spring Jacket

Check out this quick list of features to watch for in a lightweight tactical jacket for spring:

  • Bi-swing at back for mobility
  • Brushed tricot lining on chin guard and in hand pockets
  • Pass-through pockets
  • Ready pockets
  • Side vents
  • Stain and water resistance

Try the Frontier Shirt Jacket, the Men’s Cascadia Windbreaker Packable Jacket and the 5.11 Recon Half Zip to be ready for whatever weather spring throws at you.

Features to Look for in a Women’s Spring Jacket

  • Adjustable hem
  • Articulated sleeves and shoulders
  • Cord system around the hem
  • Full seam seals
  • Hand zip pockets
  • Internal storm flaps
  • Pass-through pockets
  • RAPIDraw™ System
  • Venting under the arms or in the upper back
  • Waterproof fabric

Check out the Women’s Aurora Shell Jacket, the Women’s Cascadia Windbreaker Packable Jacket and the Women’s Sierra Softshell for some solid spring options.

Tactical Jackets for Summer

Summer tactical jackets need to be exceptionally lightweight and breathable so you stay comfortable when temperatures fluctuate – think dusk through dawn. That means little to no insulation but extra protection against wind and rain. In many cases, vests are more than enough to keep you comfortable when summer weather hits.

Summer Fabrics

Summer fabrics that are ideal for summertime tactical jackets include synthetic blends and lightweight fabrics such as cotton. If you know the temperatures are going to go lower than what you’re comfortable with, opt for a breathable fleece.

Features to Look for in a Men’s Summer Jacket

When you’re shopping for a lightweight tactical jacket for summer, here’s what to look for:

  • DWR water-repellent finish
  • Elastic hem adjustments
  • Lined handwarmer pockets
  • Low-profile chest pockets
  • RAPIDraw System
  • Stretchy fabric outer shell

Some of the best tactical summer jackets for men include the Sierra Softshell, the Valiant Softshell Jacket and the Rapid Assault Shirt.

Features to Look for in a Women’s Summer Jacket

Check out this list of features to look for in your summertime women’s tactical jacket:

  • Adjustable hems with shock cord systems
  • Center back elastic-cinched waists
  • Elastic binding at sleeve openings and bottom hem
  • Hand pockets with internal RAPIDraw pass-through access
  • Hand welt pockets with hidden snap closures
  • Left or right – or both – chest-ready pockets
  • One- or two-way center-front zippers
  • Polyester fabric

Check out the Women’s Cascadia Windbreaker Packable Vest, the Women’s Cascadia Windbreaker Packable Jacket and the Women’s Apollo Tech Fleece, which can double as your fall go-to.

When you know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to find the right tactical jacket for any season. You’ll ALWAYS BE READY with the right fabrics, insulation levels and styles.

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