If you want a nice looking tactical jacket that has the features and performance you want, without making you look like GI Joe, you are in the right place.
Here is my thoughtfully curated and carefully researched list of the 15 best tactical jackets of 2023.
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- TOP 15 Best Tactical Jackets in 2023
- 5.11 Tactical Men’s High-Performance Jacket
- Helikon-Tex Wolfhound Jacket
- Wild Things Tactical Multicam Low Loft Jacket
- Snugpak Military Mountain Leader 6 Softie Smock
- Blackhawk Men’s Tactical Soft Shell Jacket
- Arc’teryx Gamma MX Jacket
- Survival Tactical Gear Jacket
- Condor Summit Zero Men’s Soft Shell Jacket
- Rothco Special Ops Soft Shell Jacket
- The North Face Men’s Tactical Flash Jacket
- 5.11 Tactical Sabre 2.0 Waterproof Jacket
- Outdoor Research Men’s Refuge Hooded Jacket
- Free Soldier Soft Shell Tactical Jacket
- Tru-Spec Men’s 24-7 Tactical Softshell Jacket
- Helikon-Tex Pilgrim Anorak Jacket
- Buying Guide to the Best Tactical Jackets
- Article Summary
TOP 15 Best Tactical Jackets in 2023
5.11 Tactical Men’s High-Performance Jacket
The 5.11 tactical jacket is a great jacket for layering as an outer layer or days when it’s not terribly cold.
It has a nice cut, long in the back to keep your rear dry if you sit somewhere wet.
I love the double zipper which allows you to unzip from the bottom, so you can quickly cool down without taking the jacket off.
This jacket, like most tactical jackets, has lots of pockets, including two internal pockets, which is nice because you can keep valuables dry.
Perhaps one of the best features of this jacket is the conceal carry access on the jacket, which some consider essential for a tactical jacket.
- Rapid draw breakaway pocket for access to concealed carry firearm.
- 10K waterproof rating.
- Large storable hood.
- Adjustable waist and cuffs.
- Runs large.
- Internal pockets are a bit small.
An excellent waterproof jacket with CCW conceal carry access for your firearm.
While you are shopping for tactical jackets, why not pick up a tactical backpack to increase your tactical storage? Here is a list of the best tactical backpacks of 2023, reviewed by me.
Helikon-Tex Wolfhound Jacket
The Helikon-Tex Wolfhound jacket is chock-full of awesome features like cuffs and armpits made in stretchy, thin VersaStretch fabric which is light and breathable and most importantly, allows you to move.
It has three front zippered pockets which have windproof shields covering the zippers. The breast pocket is large and angled, so it’s easy to access. It’s a nice touch other jackets don’t have. Plus I love the large internal zippered pocket to conceal valuables.
This is a mid-level jacket, it’s not for warm weather nor really cold rainy weather, but for moderate cold, it’s just right.
- YKK Zippers.
- Hook and Loop patch.
- Soft fleece lining with a robust nylon shell that is breathable
- Adjustable waistband.
- Runs small, size up or two!
A really good looking, breathable, quick-drying, soft shell tactical jacket that has plenty of internal and external storage.
Wild Things Tactical Multicam Low Loft Jacket
The Wild Things Low Loft jacket is a comfortable lightweight, moderately cold weather jacket with attention to detail that cannot be beaten.
The waist hem is adjustable from the handwarmer pocket so there is no funky adjustment cord hanging from the jacket. There is a modest Velcro patch holder on the arm to place a badge if necessary.
The pockets zippers and front zip are smartly covered with a concealment flap and the inner chest pocket is great for stowing valuables.
- 2 front pockets, two bicep pockets, and an internal chest pocket.
- Breathable and water-resistant Gore L & F technology.
- Performance Analogous to PCU Level 3B.
- Material is not as long-wearing as other tactical jackets.
Good looking, intelligently designed moderate weather tactical jacket for everyday wear.
Snugpak Military Mountain Leader 6 Softie Smock
The Snugpack Military Mountain Leader Softie Smock is a moderately cold weather jacket. You can wear it comfortably in down to 23-degree weather, with the lower limit being 14 degrees.
My absolute favorite aspect of this jacket is the front map pocket across the chest with internal D rings. This jacket also has external D rings to attach gear, hook and loop patches on both arms for badges, and several external pouches for storage.
- Adjustable neck and hem.
- TS1 lined handwarmer pockets.
- Breathable and lightweight, yet warm.
- Paratex lining and shell, with softie fill.
- Not a front zip jacket – it is a smock style.
Comfortable tactical jacket/smock with well-placed easily accessible front storage.
Blackhawk Men’s Tactical Soft Shell Jacket
This Blackhawk Tactical Jacket takes rain protection to the next level. It has Teflon shield fabric protection, water impenetrable YKK zippers, and is seam-sealed, yet breathable.
The jacket is ultra-light, with a shell outer, a shell inner a very thin insulation layer in between.
It has tons of pockets, inside and out, all of them with a waterproof zipper except one which has a flap instead.
If you need a tactical jacket that is rainproof, this is your jacket.
- Waterproof, with Teflon shield and aqua guard YKK zippers.
- Lightweight, not heavily insulated.
- Velcro adjustable cuffs.
- Some feel it runs a tad large.
High-quality waterproof, windproof jacket. The best tactical rain jacket in this lineup.
Arc’teryx Gamma MX Jacket
The Arc’teryx Gamma MX Jacket is a softshell weather-resistant jacket that breathes well and has a little stretch.
This Gamma jacket feels comfortable to wear and it keeps you warm in moderately cold weather, as it makes a good jacket for changing weather and climate.
I love the crossover front pockets at the chest that allow you one-hand access to essential items. This is a well-designed, comfortable jacket you will love using.
- Very breathable and flexible.
- Mid-level insulation.
- Slim fit, streamlined cut, a longer jacket that does not ride up.
- Cuffs are not adjustable.
This jacket is lightweight, is weather-resistant has loads of pockets, and a smart design. It is a sharp-looking tactical jacket you will love owning.
Survival Tactical Gear Jacket
When you think of tactical jackets, I bet you envision a jacket very much like the Survival Tactical Gear Jacket. It looks very tactical, with the Molle, lots of pockets, and a heavy-duty indestructible nylon shell.
If you want a jacket with enough storage to replace your backpack, sturdy enough to last a dog’s lifetime, and one that looks the part, this jacket is it, my friends.
- 1000 Denier Cordura nylon. Rugged and tough..
- Plenty of Molle for pack attachments and badges.
- Velcro adjustable cuffs.
- Detachable hood.
- No insulation.
Rugged and durable, with plenty of storage, this tactical jacket looks the part.
A tactical duffle bag is a perfect place to store your gear or to use for a bug out bag. Check out this collection of the best tactical duffel bags and pick one up today.
Condor Summit Zero Men’s Soft Shell Jacket
The Condor Summit Zero is a softshell men’s tactical jacket that works for those on a budget and still manages to include features found on more expensive jackets.
I love the Velcro adjustable cuffs, storable hood, bicep, and forearm zippered pockets and high rise slash chest pockets with internal clip for keys.
It also has a back zippered pocket and there are zip openings at the armpit to allow the jacket to breathe and let the heat out when the temp warms up.
This jacket has a smart design, lots of storage, is super comfortable, and very flexible.
- Zippered openings at the armpit.
- LOTS of pockets, 2 forearm, 2 bicep, 2 internal, 1 back, and 2 front slash pockets.
- Great price.
- Durable, 100% polyester, reinforced elbows, and YKK zippers.
- Stiff collar.
Best tactical softshell jacket for the money, a great value.
If you are hard on your gear or have a demanding task that calls for extra protection you might benefit from tactical pants with built-in knee pads. It’s nice to be able to slide into a pair without having to mess with knee pads when you need them.
Check out this list of the best tactical pants with knee pads right here.
Rothco Special Ops Soft Shell Jacket
The Rothco Special Ops Softshell Jacket is a great value.
This jacket is built in layers, the water-resistant shell, the thermal moisture-wicking layer, and the fleece lining.
It has a TON of pockets. The two front chest pockets are wide and deep and have pockets within those pockets, plus D Rings to hang keys and other small items.
This tactical jacket has two bicep pockets and a forearm pocket too. The bicep pockets are big enough for your phone and have a port for headphones, which is a nice feature.
- Excellent Price-great value.
- Elastic/Velcro hybrid wrist cuffs for a snug and easy fit.
- Hook and loop patch for badge.
- Underarm zippered vents.
- Adjustable waist.
- Although this jacket has many pockets, it has no lower hand pockets.
The thoughtful design and high functionality of this tactical jacket add serious value, making this tactical jacket a great bang for your buck.
The North Face Men’s Tactical Flash Jacket
This tactical jacket is NOT the best waterproof tactical jacket! The problem with waterproof fabric is while it may keep the rain out, it does not let moisture escape.
That is where FlashDry technology from North Face comes in. This tactical jacket, built using Flash dry technology, pushes moisture out to the surface and causes it to spread along the fabric so it dries ultra-fast.
The fabric on this jacket is thick enough, but the jacket is not overly insulated, so this is not for really cold weather, but works beautify in wet weather.
- Flash Dry Technology.
- Alpine close style hand pockets.
- Adjustable hood.
- Runs a bit small.
- Not very insulated.
This North Face Flash Dry jacket resists wind and water, is very durable, and has a slim-fitting profile.
5.11 Tactical Sabre 2.0 Waterproof Jacket
This 5.11 Tactical Sabre 2.0 waterproof jacket is for those of you who want a jacket that stands up to the challenge of rain, sleet, and snow.
It has a bonded polyester shell, sealed seams, and waterproof zippers, plus a detachable hood, all to keep you dry when the rain is pouring down.
If you carry a firearm, this jacket is perfect. There is a breakaway quick zip that allows you to quickly and easily access your holster.
- 100% Bonded Polyester softshell.
- Waterproof, sealed seams, waterproof zippers.
- Detachable hood.
- Tons of pockets.
- Easy access breakaway quick zip access to your firearm.
- Some wish the jacket had a bit more insulation.
Best waterproof tactical jacket for those who carry a firearm.
Outdoor Research Men’s Refuge Hooded Jacket
This Outdoor Research Refuge Hooded Jacket is a great cold-weather jacket. It has a softshell with some stretch to it, allowing you to move easily.
It’s got good insulation which keeps you warm, without taking it too far. It’s a lightweight synthetic vertical X filling that is warm when it’s wet and it’s extremely breathable.
This jacket has plenty of storage, plus, the left pocket doubles as a storage pouch for the jacket so you can stow it and attach it to a harness.
- Adjustable hood.
- Close-fitting elastic cuffs.
- Light yet warm vertical X filling.
- 2 hand pockets, one chest pocket, and two internal pockets.
- Runs small.
A warm lightweight jacket with plenty of pockets and a stretch fit comfort shell.
Free Soldier Soft Shell Tactical Jacket
This budget-priced soft shell tactical jacket packs a lot of useful features and performs great, all for an accessible price.
This is a moderate, lightly fleece-lined, wind and water-resistant jacket is suitable for layering or moderately cold weather.
It has sleeve and forearm pockets, along with several internal pockets so there’s plenty of room for your gear.
I love the Velcro elastic cuffs that are so easy to adjust and open when you need to see your watch.
This jacket is not too stiff and allows you to move. All in all, it’s a great tactical jacket at a great price with plenty of useful features.
- Windproof and water-resistant.
- Great for layering, not thick nor heavy.
- Adjustable Velcro elastic hybrid cuffs.
- Large hood, which can be stored, but not removed.
- Hood is not removable.
This affordable tactical jacket is wind and water-resistant and perfect for layering.
Tru-Spec Men’s 24-7 Tactical Softshell Jacket
The Tru-Spec 24-7 tactical softshell jacket is an affordable, simple, attractive option.
Besides looking good, it feels great to wear. It has a soft fleece lining, the fabric is flexible and has a little stretch.
The jacket has plenty of deep pockets, plus it has a side zip for quick access to your concealed carry.
- Velcro adjustable cuff and adjustable waist.
- Cut to fit men’s shape.
- Side zip for access to a concealed carry weapon.
- Runs a little small.
Flexible, practical jacket with easy access to your CCW at a great price.
Helikon-Tex Pilgrim Anorak Jacket
This high-quality tactical jacket performs wonderfully and looks good doing it.
It has features like strong yet flexible duratex fabric, is mesh lined and YKK has zippers so it will last for years.
The jacket is a moderate weather jacket with good water resistance and armpit vents to regulate temperature.
- Reinforced elbows.
- Side armpit vents for the ultimate ventilation.
- Internal loops for storage customization.
- Made with quality duratex shell and YKK zippers.
- It has a roomy cut, so if you like a slim fit, order a size down.
Excellent quality, smart design, good weather resistance, make this a great tactical jacket at a fair price.
Buying Guide to the Best Tactical Jackets
Does the tactical jacket meet the demands of your mission?
Ask yourself a few questions first!
Think about how you plan to use the jacket. Are you using the jacket in the military, or are you in law enforcement, security, a firefighter, or EMT? Are you using the jacket for hunting, camping, or survival training?
Do you plan to wear the jacket every day or only in certain weather or for specific events?
What is your goal? What do you need to carry? How durable does the material need to be? How flexible should the jacket be?
These are all questions to think about before you decide on a tactical jacket.
Tactical Jacket Toughness
If you use the tactical jacket for military training or deployment, as an active duty police officer or hunting and tracking, you need the jacket to be durable.
The jacket needs to be able to withstand the abuse of your movements and the environment, whether that’s scrimmaging on the ground, pursuing the opponent thru thick underbrush, or a quick duck and cover.
Some of the toughest tactical jackets in this lineup are the Survival Tactical Gear Jacket made from 1000 denier nylon, and the Condor Summit Zero Soft Shell Jacket with reinforced elbows and a durable 100% polyester shell.
Do you plan to wear the tactical jacket in cold or rainy conditions? Would you like a jacket with vents to dissipate heat, in case the weather warms up?
Rainy Weather and Wet Conditions
If you plan to use the jacket in heavy rain or really wet conditions, I recommend a truly waterproof jacket like the Blackhawk Tactical Soft Shell Jacket.
You DON’T want to wear a truly waterproof jacket in all conditions because the waterproofing can also keep moisture from perspiration inside the jacket, leaving you damp.
If you face light rain and occasional weather assaults, what you want is a weather-resistant jacket that breathes and allows moisture to escape. The Arc’teryx Gamma MX Jacket is a good example.
If you use the tactical jacket in mixed or unpredictable weather and want an option to cool off without removing the jacket completely, the Rothco Special Ops Soft Shell Jacket features underarm vents you can unzip to cool off when the weather warms up.
Concealed Carry Firearm Needs
If you use a concealed carry weapon while wearing your tactical jacket, there are several great options for you. You need a jacket that allows you to easily and quickly access your concealed firearm.
Both the 5.11 Tactical Approach Jacket and the Tru-Spec 24-7 Tactical Softshell Jacket have break away or have quick zip access to a concealed weapon.
Functionality, Pockets, D Rings, Storage, and Other Features
It seems so obvious, but it is worth mentioning that you should check out the jackets features and have in mind what features you want in a great tactical jacket.
Great features for a tactical jacket can include:
- Waterproofing, Gore-Tex or Teflon coating
- Weatherproof windproof seams and zippers
- Quality YKK zippers
- Armpit vents
- Map pockets
- Bicep pockets
- Forearm pockets
- Adjustable waist (drawstring, Velcro, or hidden cord)
- Adjustable cuffs (Velcro or elastic)
- Hood, (storable or removable)
- Front warmer pockets
- Key loop or clip
- Organization within the pockets
- Back drag handle
- Back pass-through pocket
- Hook and loop for morale patch or badge
- Easy access feature for concealed carry
- Pass through for headphones and cables
- Stretch fabric cuffs
- Cuffs with thumb holes
- Zippers that unzip from either the top or bottom
And the list goes on. I am not trying to overwhelm you with features, rather I am trying to get you to think about what you want. When you picture the perfect tactical jacket for your needs, what does it have?
The length of the jacket is partly a style factor and partly a functionality factor.
Longer jackets cover the rear, at least partially, which protects you and your clothes from the elements if you need to sit down or if you are riding a bike or running in crappy weather.
Longer jackets also don’t ride up and show your shirt and can be a bit more comfortable, but that’s just my opinion.
As far as style goes, today’s jackets tend to be a bit longer, so they are fashionable.
Cuffs are a bigger deal than you may realize until you are actually wearing the jacket. You want adjustable cuffs because you can tighten them to keep cold and rain out.
They must be easy to loosen up, or elastic, so you can easily see your watch if you wear one. Watch wearers tend to prefer elastic cuffs, I have noticed.
If you wear a hood, it’s great if the tactical jacket has one.
It’s even better if you have a spot on the jacket to stow the hood when you are not using it.
Many people prefer jackets with removable hoods, but they can be hard to come by.
If Your jacket doesn’t have a hood, in some situations a good option can be a shemagh, but you should also know something about shemagh colors you should avoid for one or another reason.
Most folks like a jacket with a little flex. Tactical jackets are meant for active people who have a job, mission, or outdoor activity to perform so you need to be able to move without restriction.
Look for material that has a little stretch, and a jacket that has a good cut with enough room in the shoulders.
The Helikon-Tex Wolfhound Jacket and the Tru-Spec 24-7 Tactical Softshell both are made with material that has a little stretch and are quite comfortable.
I will also note that jackets labeled softshell are generally more comfortable because the outer is softer and that makes it easier to move.
I mentioned earlier that you should not get a true waterproof jacket unless it’s necessary, and I will mention here that waterproof material is stiffer and can be more uncomfortable.
Water-resistant and breathable are what you want unless you frequently do spend a lot of time in the rain.
Tactical gear is not exclusive to men. We have reviewed tons of tactical gear specifically cut and designed for women. If you need a pair of tactical pants for women, check out this list I put together.
This wraps up the best tactical jackets of 2023.
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