What are the differences between raincoats and windbreakers, and which one should you choose?

Raincoat Vs. Windbreaker, which one to choose?

Outdoor activities are typically enjoyable and beneficial. However, successful outdoor activities, especially in cold seasons, rely on having the right gear. Raincoats and windbreakers are a significant form of gear for outdoor activities. However, since the two terms are often used together or interchangeably, most people have difficulty deciding which one they should get.

Windbreaker Vs. Raincoat

A windbreaker is a fitting jacket that typically reaches the hips and has an elastic waistband and wristband. Windbreakers are usually made from nylon or polyester. They are also both wind and water-resistant because of their materials. However, this is only to a certain degree. On the other hand, raincoats are generally waist length and made from combining two or more materials like cotton, wool, polyester, vinyl, and nylon. Raincoats are typically waterproof and water-resistant. They also often feature multi-layer construction that enables more water resistance.

The difference between a windbreaker and a raincoat

Below are some of the differentiating elements between windbreakers and raincoats:


Breathability, sometimes referred to as air permeability, is where the jacket or clothing article allows air to flow through it to keep you from sweating extensively while partaking in outdoor activities. Raincoats are typically made from multiple thin layers. They also have a coating designed to keep rain and water from penetrating. These elements reduce their breathability. Therefore, windbreakers are more permeable or breathable. This is because they are usually made from a single layer or tightly woven fabric designed to block the wind, but not water. Their breathability makes them an excellent choice for aerobic activities like running and hiking. However, it is worth mentioning that the breathability may differ among windbreakers based on their quality and material.

Packability and weight

These two characteristics influence the comfort of the jackets. Windbreakers typically pack smaller and weigh less than their counterparts. This is why they are pretty popular among lightweight hikers. They are not only comfortable, but they also reduce strain on the body. On the other hand, raincoats usually pack more and weigh more because they are made from layers and layers.


Here, windbreakers also take the lead. Whether they are mens or womens windbreakers, these jackets are typically made from lightweight material comfortable on your skin. The same cannot be said about men’s and womens raincoat jackets because they are usually quite stiff.


Both windbreakers and raincoats are practical. They are both designed with a specific purpose in mind. Windbreakers are built to block the wind, while raincoats are constructed to block the rain. However, their practicality may differ depending on the quality of the jacket.

Which one should you choose?

Both jackets are beneficial and practical. When choosing between the two types of jackets above, it would help consider each of the elements listed above and your needs. For instance, if you are looking to achieve comfort and breathability, a windbreaker for women would be an ideal choice. On the other hand, a raincoat would be a perfect choice if you want to achieve water-resistance and warmth. Note that womens raincoat and windbreaker jackets are usually made from bright and feminine colors.

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