There are a few items most would consider essential bushcraft gear, and finding the perfect bushcraft jacket definitely fits the bill. When you’re in a survival situation, the shirt on your back, or in this case the jacket or smock, may be all you have for protection against the elements. So, why risk it?
Everyone has their own preference when it comes to survival gear. Including what to bring, what not to bring, and which brands they love best. With so much information out there, we decided to put together a list of the 7 best bushcraft jackets and smocks for 2023.
What is a Bushcraft Jacket?
A bushcraft jacket is an outer garment that is designed for your upper body, and extends down to your mid section or hips. The bushcraft jacket is more durable than most casual jackets, and better insulated as well. Its main purpose is to help regulate your body temperature, and keep you warm in survival situations.
It’s difficult to point to a single jacket and say that it was specifically designed for bushcraft. While there are a few companies who design their clothes with bushcraft in mind (which we always appreciate), we’ve decided to create our own criteria. At Bushcraft Wild, this is what we believe a bushcraft jacket should be.
Weathering the Elements
The term jacket has a pretty broad definition. It ranges from a fashionable outfit accessory, to a protective layer. Let’s be honest, most people prefer to wear clothes that they find aesthetically appealing. However, if you’re spending time outdoors, you should always opt for protection over fashion.
If you plan on investing in a jacket made for the outdoors, it’s important to take seasons and weather into consideration. Meaning, you should find a jacket that can keep you warm and dry during cold and rainy seasons.
Here are some of the elements your jacket should be able to withstand:
- Sun exposure
- Frigid temperatures
High Quality Survival Materials
High quality jackets and smocks start with high quality materials, and that often includes a heftier price tag. It’s important to understand that a bushcraft jacket is something of an investment. When you purchase the right one, it will last you for years.
While there are some great options that are more affordable, make sure they didn’t cut costs at the expense of quality. The absolute last thing you need is to be stuck in a survival situation with a protective jacket that offers little to no protection.
Over the years, there’s been incredible advancement in material technology. So, jackets designed to withstand the elements offer more protection than ever before. If you’re looking for the best bushcraft jackets, look for the following high quality materials.
- Ventile – More popular in Europe, ventile is weatherproof cotton textile that is densely woven from extra long staple fiber.
- Gore-Tex® – Composed of stretched polytetrafluoroethylene, Gore-Tex® is an extremely versatile textile material that is both waterproof and lightweight.
- Nylon – Commonly used in swimwear and activewear, nylon is a great material for your bushcraft jacket because it resists water and dries quickly.
Keep in mind, brands and fabrics are always looking to improve on current and past designs. As brands continue to push forward, the textiles and fabrics for jackets and smocks will only get better.
Best Bushcraft Jackets and Smocks
In order to come up with our list for the 7 best bushcraft jackets and smocks, we decided to look at a handful of different factors. Those factors included cost, quality, utility, customer reviews, and more. After hours of research, and scouring the internet for what people were saying, here’s what we narrowed our list down to.
Rover II Ventile Jacket
Starting off our list is the number one bushcraft jacket, brought to you by Country Innovation. Referred to as the ultimate outdoor ventile jacket, the Rover II ventile jacket certainly lives up to its name.
What makes the Rover II stand out is the newly improved design. Sure, the lower and wider waterproof pockets are a nice touch. But it’s the double layer of ventile that really makes for an exceptional jacket that provides extreme protection from harsh winds and rain.
Country Innovation has specialized in ventile for over 20 years due to its unique ability to repel water and keep the wearer warm. While the Rover II is all-natural, and made from tightly woven cotton, it’s very breathable and comfortable. Making it the perfect bushcraft jacket to take on the outdoors.
The North Face Apex Flex GTX 2.0
The North Face has been known as an industry leader for outdoor gear. Especially when it comes to quality jackets. Let’s just say that the Apex Flex GTX 2.0 checks off all the boxes for utility, style, and price. Making it an easy decision to include it on our list of top bushcraft jackets.
Let’s start with the quality. The North Face Apex GTX 2.0 is made from the ever reliable Gore-Tex® material that is combined with soft shell flexibility, making it both comfortable and durable. This weatherproof and versatile zip up fits snuggly against your body, with a warm-to-touch backer fabric that keeps you nice and warm. Don’t worry though, the Apex GTX 2.0 comes with pit-zip venting so you can breathe easy.
Even though this may be one of the more affordable options on our list, you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at it. The Apex GTX 2.0 is incredibly stylish, and we expect nothing less from The North Face. Coming in a variety of color combinations, we’re confident you’ll find something you like.
Men’s City Storm Parka by Patagonia
First off, we’re huge fans of Patagonia at Bushcraft Wild. Specifically because of the lengths they go to recycle and reuse old material. We care about nature, and it’s nice to include a company that holds our same values. That being said, let’s move onto the jacket.
Don’t be fooled by the name, because the Men’s City Storm Parka is more than just a trendy urban accessory. Yes, the design definitely stands out on this list, but it’s the quality that we really care about.
Patagonia is widely known for their H2No® performance standards. Which is the benchmark for waterproofness, breathability, and durability. The City Storm Parka checks all the boxes with its 2-layer shell that is 100% nylon, and insulated with 700-fill-power recycled down. Basically, it means you’ll stay warm and protected when wearing this jacket.
K5 – Aptus Jacket by Beyond
Beyond has been developing outdoor gear since 1996. It’s safe to say that their K5 – Aptus Jacket is the perfect fit for bushcraft enthusiasts. With a winning combination of both style and utility, we’re sure you’re going to be blown away by this modern work of art.
The K-5 Aptus Jacket doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to comfort and protection. It’s design uses three distinct layers that keeps you well insulated without sacrificing breathability. From the inside out, this jacket has found a way to check all the boxes.
The first layer, which is a double-knit Verso Weave™ fleece, masterfully makes use of a circular grid pattern. The result is a breathable, blanket-soft feel that keeps you warm and dry by ushering any sweat up to the second layer. The second layer, which retains the heat from your sweat, and funnels the moisture up to the third and final layer. Which uses a water repellent seal to keep both sweat and rain out.
The K5 – Aptus Jacket from Beyond is lightweight, stretchy, comfortable, and most importantly durable. It’s no wonder that it’s received glowing reviews from the outdoor community.
Ridgeline Monsoon Elite II Waterproof Smock
So far, this list has been filled with incredible bushcraft jackets. Now, it’s time to take things in a slightly different direction with the Ridgeline Monsoon Elite II Waterproof Smock.
Building off the incredible design of its predecessor, the Ridgeline Monsoon Elite II is both 100% waterproof and windproof. Which means, you’ll be kept safe from all weather conditions that come your way. Additionally, the Hidro Stretch 5k just so happens to be made from one of the most lightweight and versatile fabrics on the market.
As one of the more breathable options on this list, you’d be hard pressed to find an outdoor smock that beats out the Ridgeline Monsoon Elite II.
Fjällräven Anorak No.8
It’s fitting that we round out our list with an absolutely stunning Anorak from the Swedish company Fjällräven. Known for the uncompromising quality and versatility, the Anorak No.8 was designed to withstand even the most unforgiving conditions of both forest and mountain conditions.
The Anorak No.8 is made from G-1000 Eco, which is an eco-friendly blend of organic cotton and recycled polyester. The G-1000 material is both water and wind resistant, making it ideal for any condition you find yourself in. The design also utilized G-1000 Heavy Duty on the shoulders, arms, and back to ensure the longevity of this one of a kind anorak.
The Anorak No.8 was also designed with utility in mind. It comes with an adjustable hood that fits any frame comfortably, and can also be used as a collar during warmer weather so your neck stays protected. Lastly, it features a unique kangaroo-style pouch that can be accessed from both the sides and top.
Choosing the Best Jacket for Bushcraft
When it comes to selecting the best bushcraft jacket for your outdoor adventures, there are several key factors that nature enthusiasts should consider. By taking these aspects into account, you can ensure that your chosen jacket meets the demands of bushcraft activities while keeping you comfortable and protected in the wilderness.
- Durability – Look for a jacket made from high-quality, durable materials that can withstand rugged terrain and harsh weather conditions. Fabrics like ripstop nylon or polyester blends offer excellent durability and resistance to abrasions.
- Weather Resistance – Bushcraft requires a jacket that can handle various weather conditions. Opt for a jacket that is both waterproof and windproof to keep you dry and shielded from strong gusts. Taped seams and reinforced areas, such as the shoulders and sleeves, provide extra protection.
- Functionality – Consider the jacket’s features and design elements. Look for ample storage options, such as multiple pockets for easy access to essential gear. Adjustable cuffs, hood, and hem allow for a customizable fit and better protection.
- Breathability – A good bushcraft jacket should offer sufficient breathability to prevent overheating during strenuous activities. Look for jackets with ventilation options like pit zips or mesh-lined pockets for enhanced airflow.
- Camouflage or Earthy Colors – Blend in with your surroundings by choosing a jacket in camouflage or earthy tones. This helps you stay discreet while practicing bushcraft and minimizes disturbance to wildlife.
- Comfort and Mobility – Ensure the jacket allows for freedom of movement and offers a comfortable fit. Features like articulated sleeves or stretch panels can enhance mobility, especially when engaging in tasks that require dexterity.
- Layering Compatibility – Consider whether the jacket allows for layering underneath during colder temperatures. This ensures versatility and the ability to adapt to changing weather conditions.
By evaluating these factors and finding a bushcraft jacket that meets your specific needs, you can embark on your outdoor expeditions well-prepared, protected, and comfortable, ready to fully embrace the challenges of bushcraft.