Carhartt Insulated Hoodies Review – I Tried Them All For Work


I recently put my hands on all three of the Carhartt Insulated Hoodies to compare them on warmth, weight, thickness, and design. I’m using the term “insulated” here loosely, because only one of them truly has insulation. The other two use linings (Sherpa lining & Thermal lining), and are very similar regarding warmth, so I am including them here.

Your three options are:

  • Carhartt 103312 Insulated Quilt-Lined Rain Defender Hoodie – This is the insulated option. In my opinion, it is the warmest. It has a quilt lining with poly-fil insulation. Despite being the warmest, it was the lightest in weight due to the lightweight, non-bulky nature of the poly-fil insulation. Think of this almost like a jacket. It keeps me warm in basically everything except the absolute bitter cold. Zips to the chin and has a zip-close chest pocket that the other styles do not have. Click here to view this Carhartt Quilt-Lined Hoodie (affiliate link takes you to Dungarees.com).
  • Carhartt 103308 Sherpa-Lined Rain Defender Hoodie – This hoodie has a Sherpa lining. I listed this as the second warmest, but it was very close to being the warmest. It was a 1a, 1b type of situation. And this hoodie has more of the traditional, soft feel that you think of with a hoodie. The Sherpa insulation is warm and soft, but is a bit bulkier than the quilted-lining from the first hoodie. This hoodie zips to my chin and keeps me warm in basically everything except the bitter cold. Click here to view this Carhartt Sherpa-Lined Hoodie (affiliate link takes you to Dungarees.com).
  • Carhartt 104078 Thermal-Lined Rain Defender Hoodie – This is, in my opinion, the mildest of these three hoodies. But please understand, it is still much warmer than an unlined hoodie. This hoodie uses a polyester fleece thermal lining for warmth. The major difference here is this option has a loose-fit design, and the other two options above have a relaxed fit. This will be the loosest of the three Carhartt insulated hoodies. Click here to view this Carhartt Thermal-Lined Hoodie (affiliate link takes you to Dungarees.com).

These are all Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodies, which means they are water-repellent. If you want to do a deep dive and learn more about those types of hoodies, you can visit my article about Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodies, but we will cover everything you need to know in this article also.

These are also all zip-front hoodies. At the time I am writing this, Carhartt does not currently make an insulated pullover hoodie. They do, however, make a heavyweight pullover hoodie that is quite warm, but I don’t think it is as warm as the three insulated hoodies we discuss here. If you want to read more about that pullover hoodie, visit my article about the Carhartt 100615.

Carhartt actually has other Rain Defender Hoodies that are not lined In this article I want to use data and photos from these Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodies that I own to give you a better idea how these hoodies compare to each other. I will give you my opinion on warmth, and try to differentiate these hoodies as best as I can.

Let’s start by taking a look at the data, including the weight and thickness of the hoodies that I own. This may give you a clearer understanding up front on how these hoodies differ. I’ll then spend time discussing each hoodie individually.

Carhartt Insulated Hoodie Data

I think the most difficult thing if you are buying these hoodies online is understanding how they differ regarding warmth. When one is quilt-lined, one is Sherpa-lined, and one is thermal-lined, good luck guessing which is warmest since they all sound warm.

In the table below I discuss warmth. But let me disclaimer, the warmth rating below is just based on my opinion from wearing these hoodies. I didn’t scientifically test them, I just wore them. To be clear, Carhartt does not assign a temperature rating to these hoodies, and overall, they are all very similar regarding warmth.

Even the third warmest hoodie below is, in my opinion, warmer than a standard hoodie, so don’t think of any of these as lightweight hoodies. From a warmth perspective, I use these hoodies as a bridge between my lightweight work hoodies, and my winter work jackets. Measurements below based off a size medium.

Style #PhotosWarmthStyleFitWeight (lbs)Thickness (mm)FabricLining
103312See My
Photos
WarmestZip to
Chin
Relaxed2.312.01MidweightQuilted
103308See My
Photos
2nd WarmestZip to
Chin
Relaxed2.706.28 MidweightSherpa
104078See My
Photos
3rd WarmestZip to
Chin
Loose2.484.04 MidweightThermal

You may notice above that the hoodie that I thought was the warmest, is also the hoodie that weighs the least and is the thinnest. That has a lot to do with the fact that this hoodie uses the Poly-fil insulation which adds warmth without weight or bulk. Let’s discuss that hoodie first.

Carhartt Insulated Hoodies Compared

Carhartt 103312 Rain Defender Hoodie (Relaxed Fit Quilt-Lined)

My Summary: Despite weighing less than the other two insulated Carhartt Hoodies, I thought this one was the warmest. Think of this almost like a jacket. It keeps me warm in basically everything but the absolute bitter cold. It zips to the chin and has a zip-close chest pocket that the other styles do not have.

This is the current price of the quilt-lined insulated Carhartt Hoodie (affiliate link takes you to Dungarees.com). I think this is probably the warmest “hoodie” I’ve ever worn. It also functions as a nice base layer in the bitter cold because it isn’t extremely thick and fits under my work jacket.

Think of this Carhartt insulated hoodie as a jacket. It keeps me warm in basically everything but the absolute bitter cold. Despite the warmth, it isn’t extremely heavy, bulky, or thick. This is due to the Poly-fil insulation that is warm, but lightweight and non-bulky. I measured my size medium at 2.05 pounds in weight and 2.005mm in thickness.

This hoodie has a relaxed fit that, in my experience, fit true to size. Here is my size medium compared to a size medium Hanes undershirt:

rain-defender-carhartt-quilted-hoodie-sizing

Regarding design, this hoodie zips all the way to the chin and has a zip-close chest pocket that the other styles do not have. It also has an internal chest pocket that is big enough to fit my IPhone. There’s also a media pocket hidden inside the right hand-warming pocket.

rain-defender-carhartt-quilted-hoodie-internal-pocket
rain-defender-carhartt-quilted-hoodie-pocket

The hand-warming pockets have the flaps that cover the openings (see above). This helps keep the weather out of those pockets in case you hope to store your phone or other essentials. As I mentioned, this hoodie also has the zip-close map pocket on the chest, which the other hoodies do not.

Overall, this is a very warm hoodie that keeps me warm in most all conditions except for the extreme bitter cold. But I’ve found this hoodie useful even in the extreme conditions because it is non-bulky and I can layer it under my work jacket.

Click here to buy this quilt-lined Carhartt Insulated Hoodie (affiliate link takes you to Dungarees.com). Again, in my experience this hoodie fits true to size. To read more, visit my article about this Carhartt Quilt Lined Hoodie.

Carhartt 103308 Rain Defender Hoodie (Relaxed Fit Sherpa-Lined)

My Summary: I listed this as second warmest, but it is VERY close to being the warmest. It was very hard to judge between this Sherpa-lined hoodie, and the quilt-lined hoodie we discussed above, as to which one was warmest. This is a very comfortable hoodie that keeps me warm in basically everything but the absolute bitter cold (zips to the chin). It does weigh more and is bulkier than the quilt-lined insulated hoodie.

This is the current price of this Sherpa-lined Carhartt Hoodie (affiliate link takes you to Dungarees.com). As I mentioned above, I may have listed this as the second warmest hoodie on this list, but it’s more like 1a and 1b between this hoodie and the quilt-lined insulated Carhartt hoodie we discussed first.

When I think of a hoodie, I think of a soft, flexible cotton fabric. And although the quilt-lined hoodie we discussed first has the same outer shell as this hoodie, the quilted-lining in that first hoodie makes it feel more like a jacket than a sweatshirt. This Sherpa-lined Carhartt Hoodie, in my opinion, has the feeling of a sweatshirt/hoodie more than the quilt-lined hoodie does.

But the Sherpa lining, although warm and comfortable, is bulkier and heavier. My size medium weighs 2.70 pounds and measured at 6.280mm thick, which made this the heaviest and thickest Carhartt Insulated Hoodie. But with that weight and thickness comes warmth and comfort.

This hoodie has a relaxed fit that, in my experience, fit true to size. Here is my size medium compared to a size medium Hanes undershirt:

rain-defender-carhartt-sherpa-hoodie-sizing

Regarding design, this hoodie does not have an external chest pocket like the quilt-lined hoodie we discussed first did, but it does have an internal chest pocket that my phone fits in. It also has the two flap-covered hand-warmer pockets, and there is a small media pocket inside the right hand-warmer pocket.

rain-defender-carhartt-sherpa-hoodie

Overall, this is another very warm hoodie that keeps me warm in most all conditions except for the extreme bitter cold. Yes, calling this a Carhartt insulated hoodie may be a tiny stretch because it uses a lining for warmth, but if you are looking for the warmest Carhartt hoodie, this has to be included.

Choosing between this Sherpa-lined Carhartt Hoodie and the quilt-lined insulated Carhartt hoodie we discussed first might just come down to personal preference on how you like a hoodie to feel. This Sherpa-lined hoodie is warm and soft to the touch, whereas the quilt-lined hoodie feels more like a jacket.

Click here to buy this Sherpa-lined Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodie (affiliate link takes you to Dungarees.com). Again, in my experience this hoodie fits true to size. To read more about this hoodie, visit my Carhartt Sherpa Lined Hoodie review.

Carhartt 104078 Rain Defender Hoodie (Loose Fit Thermal-Lined)

My Summary: This is, in my opinion, the mildest of these three Carhartt Insulated Hoodies. That said, because this has a thermal lining, it is still quite warm, and warmer than most hoodies. Again, think of this almost like a jacket. The lining feels like the lining in a jacket, and if you want something soft and comfortable, I’d stick with the Sherpa-lined hoodie we discussed above. This hoodie zips to the chin and has a zip-close internal pocket for storing essentials.

This is the current price of this Carhartt Thermal-Lined Rain Defender Hoodie (affiliate link takes you to Dungarees.com). As I mentioned above, out of all the insulated Carhartt hoodies, I felt like this was the mildest. That said, don’t expect a lightweight hoodie. It is still quite warm compared to most hoodies.

The inside of this hoodie feels like the lining that you’d find inside of a jacket. If you prefer more of a jacket feel to your sweatshirts, this might be the best option for you. My size medium weighs 2.48 pounds and measured at 4.036mm in thickness.

One thing that distinguishes this hoodie compared to the first two, is the first two were a “relaxed” fit, and this is a “loose” fit. This hoodie fits the loosest. Here is my size medium compared to a size medium Hanes undershirt:

rain-defender-carhartt-thermal-hoodie-sizing

It’s also important to note that this hoodie has a zip-close internal chest pocket, which gives you a nice place to store essentials out of the elements. It also has the two front hand-warmer pockets, and a small media pocket inside the right hand-warmer pocket. Here is a look at the internal chest pocket:

rain-defender-carhartt-thermal-hoodie-internal-pocket

Overall, this is nice water-repellent option especially for those of you who want an Carhartt insulated hoodie that feels like a jacket when you wear it. I also thought the quilt-lined Rain Defender hoodie we discussed first felt like a jacket when I wore it. If you prefer a soft lining, I’d stick with the Sherpa lined hoodie we just discussed above.

Click here to buy this Carhartt Thermal Lined Rain Defender Hoodie (affiliate link takes you to Dungarees.com). Again, in my experience this hoodie fits true to size. To read more, visit my article about this Carhartt thermal lined hoodie.

5 Things to Consider When Buying Carhartt Insulated Hoodies

Do Carhartt Insulated Hoodies Shrink?

These Carhartt hoodies use a cotton/poly blend, which can help reduce shrinking. But how much does it help? Do Carhartt hoodies shrink?

In my personal experience, yes, you can expect Carhartt hoodies to shrink very similar to most standard clothing. I would expect a small amount of shrinking, but not enough to affect what size you order. Following proper care instructions can also help minimize shrinking.

How do Carhartt hoodies fit?

In general, expect Carhartt hoodies to run true-to-size, but have a generous cut. Out of the 5 Carhartt Rain Defender hoodies, two of them have a “relaxed” fit, and three of them have a “loose ” fit. As you might expect, the loose fit is the loosest. But don’t expect the relaxed fit to fit tight either.

In general, expect a loose fitting hoodie that gives you space to operate while working. In my experience, ordering my normal sizing has worked best. To read more, visit my article about Carhartt hoodie sizing.

Pockets on Carhartt Insulated Hoodies

Here are the pockets on my three Carhartt Defender Hoodies:

  • Quilt-Lined Zip Style 103312 – One internal pocket non-zip. One external zip-close chest pocket. Two hand-warmer pockets with a small media pocket inside the right hand-warmer pocket. Opening to hand-warmer pockets is covered with a flap.
  • Sherpa-Lined Zip Style 103308 – One internal pocket non-zip. No external chest pocket. Two hand-warmer pockets with a small media pocket inside the right hand-warmer pocket. Opening to hand-warmer pockets is covered with a flap.
  • Thermal-Lined Zip Style 104078 – One internal zip-close pocket. No external chest pocket. Two hand-warmer pockets with a small media pocket inside the right hand-warmer pocket. Opening to hand-warmer pockets is covered with a flap.

Zip to Chin

If you are buying a zip-up Carhartt Defender Hoodie, do you want it to zip all the way to the chin for extra weather protection? For example, here is what the zip-to-chin design looks like:

rain-defender-carhartt-quilted-hoodie-zipped

This zip-to-chin design is offered in all three of these insulated Carhartt hoodies (styles 103312, 103308, and 104078). If you don’t want the zip-to-chin design, then you may want to consider an unlined option.

For example, below is a picture of style 100614, which has more of a standard design. It does not have a lining so it isn’t as warm as these three insulated hoodies. As you can see below, it doesn’t zip all the way to the chin:

rain-defender-carhartt-heavyweight-hoodie-zipped

Are These Carhartt Insulated Hoodies Waterproof?

No, these hoodies are not completely waterproof. They are part of the Carhartt Rain Defender series, which are water-repellent, but not completely waterproof. What does this mean?

Water-repellent garments are designed to repel light precipitation – they won’t hold out a monsoon. In my experience, these Carhartt hoodies do a good job of beading up rain and keeping it from soaking into the fabric, but don’t expect these hoodies to take on a heavy rainstorm and keep you completely dry.

For more water-resistant options, visit our article about the best water-resistant work hoodies (hint: Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodie is the best). Wool is another nice option because it is naturally water-resistant. If that might interest you, visit our article about the best wool shirt jackets.

Paul Johnson

Paul is a lead content creator for Workwear Command. He has had several blue-collar jobs which have provided him a wide range of experience with tools and gear. He also has a business degree and has spent time in business casual office settings.

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