Comparing Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodies [I Tried Them All]


I recently put my hands on all of the Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodies to compare them on warmth, weight, thickness, and design. At the time I am writing this, Carhartt currently has five Rain Defender hoodies available (four zip-front, one pullover).

Yes, these hoodies are all Carhartt Rain Defender hoodies, which means they are water-resistant. And they are also similar in other ways, but I did find differences. Before we do a deep dive on information, here is a quick summary for each of the five hoodies:

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  • Carhartt Midweight Quilt-Lined Rain Defender Hoodie – This was, in my opinion, the warmest. It has a quilt lining with poly-fil insulation. Despite being the warmest, it was one of 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 Midweight Sherpa-Lined Rain Defender Hoodie – 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 Midweight Thermal-Lined Rain Defender Hoodie – This is, in my opinion, the mildest of the three Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodies that are insulated. That said, because this is insulated, it is still quite warm, and warmer than most hoodies. The major difference here is this option has a loose-fit design, and the other two lined options above have a relaxed fit. This will be the loosest of the three insulated hoodies. Click here to view this Carhartt Thermal-Lined Hoodie (affiliate link takes you to Dungarees.com).
  • Carhartt Heavyweight Rain Defender Zip-Up Hoodie – This is the one zip-front Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodie that is unlined. It’s a nice water-repellent option for those of you in a milder climate. But despite being unlined, it’s important to note it uses a heavier weight for the fabric. So although I didn’t think this hoodie was quite as warm as the three lined hoodies above, this hoodie is still quite warm. Don’t think of this as a lightweight hoodie. Click here to view this Carhartt Unlined Zip Hoodie at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
  • Carhartt Heavyweight Rain Defender Pullover Hoodie – This is the pullover option. It is not lined, but it does use a heavyweight fabric, and is quite warm. I’ve used this hoodie for several years because I like to layer it under my work jacket in the bitter cold. In my opinion, it’s perfect to keep in a work truck for those days where it’s not quite cold enough for the heavy work jacket. That said, in my experience, it is not as warm as the lined options above. Click here to view this Carhartt Pullover Rain Defender Hoodie (affiliate link takes you to Dungarees.com).

In this article I want to use data and photos from the 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 Defender Hoodie Data

I think the most difficult thing if you are buying these hoodies online is understanding how they differ regarding warmth. For example, three of the hoodies use an inner lining: 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 fifth 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 Carhartt Defender 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
100614See My
Photos
4th WarmestZipLoose2.141.63 HeavyweightUnlined
100615See My
Photos
5th WarmestPull-
Over
Loose1.981.66 HeavyweightUnlined

Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodies Compared

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

My Summary: Despite weighing less than the other two lined Rain Defender 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 Carhartt Defender 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 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 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 103312 hoodie.

Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodie 103308 (Relaxed Fit Midweight 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 hoodie.

This is the current price of the Sherpa-lined Carhartt Defender Hoodie (affiliate link takes you to Dungarees.com). As I mentioned above, I may have listed this as the second warmest Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodie, but it’s more like 1a and 1b between this hoodie and the quilt-lined 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 Defender 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 Rain Defender 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. Choosing between this Sherpa-lined Carhartt Defender Hoodie and the quilt-lined 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 103308 review.

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

My Summary: This is, in my opinion, the mildest of the three Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodies that are insulated. That said, because this is insulated, 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 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 Heavyweight Rain Defender Hoodie (affiliate link takes you to Dungarees.com). Again, in my experience this hoodie fits true to size.

Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodie 100614 (Loose Fit Heavyweight No Lining)

My Summary: This is the one zip-front Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodie that is unlined. It’s a nice water-repellent option for those of you in a mild climate. But despite being unlined, it’s important to note it uses a heavier weight for the fabric. So although I didn’t think this hoodie was quite as warm as the three lined hoodies above, this hoodie is still quite warm and can handle rainy, cool days just fine. Don’t think of this as a lightweight hoodie.

This is the current price of this Carhartt Heavyweight Rain Defender Hoodie available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). As I mentioned above, out of all the zip-front Rain Defender hoodies, I felt like this was the mildest. It’s perfect for a cool, rainy day, but if you are fighting colder temperatures, I’d personally stick with a lined hoodie.

Although this hoodie does not have a lining, it does use a 13-ounce heavyweight fabric compared to the midweight fabric used in the first three Carhartt Defender Hoodies we discussed. But because it isn’t lined, this hoodie weighed less than the other three lined hoodies above (2.14 pounds), and wasn’t as thick (1.629mm).

Another important design detail is this hoodie does not zip all the way to the chin like the other hoodies do, and it does not have an internal pocket. Here I am wearing this hoodie, and as you can see, it stops well below my chin when fully zipped:

rain-defender-carhartt-heavyweight-hoodie-zipped
rain-defender-carhartt-heavyweight-hoodie-zipper

This hoodie has a loose fit that, in my experience, fit true to size. There seems to be a little extra room through the midsection of this hoodie, compared to the relaxed-fit hoodies from earlier. Here is my size medium compared to a size medium Hanes undershirt:

rain-defender-carhartt-heavyweight-hoodie-sizing

Overall, this is nice water-repellent option especially for those of you in a mild climate. It has a more standard design in that it doesn’t zip all the way to the chin, and the hand-warmer pockets have a traditional opening and are not covered by a flap like the first three hoodies we discussed.

Click here to buy this Carhartt Heavyweight Rain Defender Hoodie available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Again, in my experience this hoodie fits true to size.

Carhartt Rain Defender Pullover Hoodie 100615 (Loose Fit Heavyweight No Lining)

My Summary: This is the pullover option. It is not lined, but it does use a heavyweight fabric, and is quite warm. I’ve used this hoodie for several years because I like to layer it under my work jacket in the bitter cold. In my opinion, it’s perfect to keep in a work truck for those days where it’s not quite old enough for the work jacket. That said, in my experience, it is not as warm as the lined options in this article.

This is the current price of this Carhartt Heavyweight Rain Defender Pullover Hoodie (affiliate link takes you to Dungarees.com). As I mentioned above, this is the pullover rain-defender option, although you can also buy this hoodie in quarter-zip option.

Yes, this hoodie is very warm compared to other standard unlined hoodies on the market today, but do not expect it to be as warm as the lined options on this page. This hoodie is great to layer under your work jacket during the brutally cold winter days.

Because this is a pullover hoodie, and doesn’t have a zipper, the overall weight of this hoodie (1.98 pounds for a size medium) is less than all the other Carhartt Rain Defender hoodies. I found this hoodie to fit true to size, but it does have a loose-fit design that gives you plenty of space in the mid-section:

hoodie-Carhartt-heavyweight-chest
hoodie-Carhartt-heavyweight-back

Although this hoodie does not have a lining, it does use a 13-ounce heavyweight fabric that adds warmth. Because this is a pullover hoodie, it doesn’t have as many pockets as the zip-up options, but there is a hidden security pocket inside the handwarmer pocket which might give you a place to store a small essential like a key.

If you are looking for a pullover work hoodie that gives you warmth and protection from the elements, I think this is your best option on the market today. I’ve been using it for years and not only does it help keep me dry, it serves as a great layering piece for the brutally cold mornings.

Click here to buy this Carhartt Heavyweight Rain Defender Pullover Hoodie (affiliate link takes you to Dungarees.com). Again, in my experience this hoodie fits true to size.

5 Things to Consider When Buying Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodies

Do Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodies Shrink?

These Carhartt Defender 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 Defender Hoodies

Here are the pockets on my five 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.
  • Un-Lined Zip Style 100614 – No internal pockets. 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 not covered with a flap.
  • Un-Lined Pullover Style 100615 – No internal pockets. No external chest pocket. Kangaroo-style pouch hand-warmer pocket with a small security pocket inside the hand-warmer pouch.

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 style 103312, 103308, and 104078. If you don’t want the zip-to-chin design, then you may want to consider the unlined option style 100614, which has more of a standard design. As you can see below, it doesn’t zip all the way to the chin:

rain-defender-carhartt-heavyweight-hoodie-zipped

Are These Carhartt Defender Hoodies Waterproof?

No, these Carhartt Rain Defender Hoodies are not truly waterproof. They are water-repellent. 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). If you need a waterproof options, visit our article about the best waterproof winter 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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