For some workers, the heavy-duty canvas work jackets are stiff and difficult to work in. The good news is, if you prefer a softshell work jacket, you have plenty of options to choose from. I like Patagonia’s Burly Man Jacket because the softshell nylon fabric they use is abrasion-resistant, so it provides me with something that is both comfortable and durable.
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These are our choices for the best soft shell work jackets:
- Patagonia Men’s Burly Man Hooded Jacket (click here to view)
- Dickies Water Resistant Diamond Quilted Nylon Jacket (click here to view)
- Carhartt Men’s Hooded Rough Cut Jacket (click here to view)
- Filson Quilted Hyder Utility Jacket (click here to view)
- Carhartt Men’s Crowley Jacket (click here to view)
- Free Soldier Outdoor Waterproof Soft Shell Jacket (click here to view)
- Caterpillar Men’s Soft Shell Work Jacket (click here to view)
- Berne Men’s Eiger Softshell Work Jacket (click here to view)
Most softshell work jackets are appropriate for spring and fall months, or mild winter days. The obvious drawback is that a soft shell won’t hold up to a tough work environment as well as a durable canvas jacket.
But many people prefer soft shell work jackets because they add a comfort level that many canvas jackets can’t match. These soft shell jackets are often much easier to move around in, and won’t weigh you down.
In this article let’s take a closer look at these softshell work jackets so you can decide which one might make the most sense for you.
Best Softshell Work Jackets
Patagonia Men’s Burly Man Hooded Jacket
This Patagonia Men’s Burly Man Jacket uses a nylon softshell fabric that is comfortable to wear, but also abrasion resistant so it gives you the best of both worlds. The fabric is also water-repellent.
Here’s what my Patagonia Burly Man Jacket looks like:
This is the current price of this Patagonia softshell work jacket (paid affiliate link takes you to Patagonia.com). Here’s what you need to know about this jacket:
- Material – Yes, this is a softshell jacket. It is made with a nylon fabric that is both abrasion-resistant and water-repellent. Not only does the softshell material make the jacket more comfortable and easy to move around in, it also helps keep the weight down. My size medium weighs 2.70 pounds:
- Warmth – This jacket has a polyester lining for added warmth. This jacket keeps me warm in moderate winter conditions. I also like the fact that it zips all the way to my chin for added protection around the neck. The hand pockets are also lined for warmth.
- Design – This jacket has an attached hood and a small droptail design in the back for extra coverage when bending and crouching. One thing that makes this jacket unique is it has a large storage pocket on the bottom of the back, which is a perfect spot to store work gloves, a beanie, or even small tools. Underarm gussets provides extra range of motion for your arms.
In my experience, this jacket fits true to size. The handwarmer packets are very large so you can easily store essentials there if needed. There is also a cell-phone sleeve in the right handwarmer pocket.
Click here to buy this Patagonia softshell work jacket (paid affiliate link takes you to Patagonia.com). This jacket is machine washable.
Dickies Men’s Water Resistant Diamond Quilted Nylon Jacket
Dickies is a popular name in workwear and they are well-known for making dependable clothing for a wide range of jobs. This is the softshell work jacket that I have leaned on the most over the last few years, mainly due to how comfortable it is.
This is what this Dickies Men’s Water Resistant Diamond Quilted Nylon Jacket looks like:
This is the current price of this Dickies industrial jacket available at Amazon (paid affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). In my experience, this jacket fits true to size.
- Material – This jacket’s shell is made of nylon. The collar, cuffs, and back waist are constructed of a comfortable rib knit. A zipper front closure rounds out the look. This jacket is not flame-resistant.
- Type of Lining – A polyester/cotton jersey knit blend makes the inside of this jacket comfortably soft and warm.
- Pockets – This jacket offers two generously-sized hand warmer pockets. I like these pockets because they are sort of pouch pockets. There are no interior pockets.
- Water Resistance – A key feature of this jacket is its ability to repel water. This jacket will stand up to light precipitation and help keep you dry.
- Fit – This quilted bomber jacket has a spacious fit with plenty of room for layering underneath. In my experience, this jacket fits true to size.
I own this jacket in a couple different colors. Here’s a look at me wearing a size medium (6’2 200):
Click here to buy this Dickies Men’s Water Resistant Diamond Quilted Nylon Jacket available at Amazon (paid affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). As you can see, this jacket will fall to about your waistline.
Carhartt Men’s Hooded Rough Cut Jacket
It’s impossible to discuss work jackets without talking about Carhartt. And although they are best known for their duck canvas work jackets, they also have several types of soft shell work jackets.
Here’s what these Carhartt Men’s Hooded Rough Cut Jacket look like:
This is the current price of this Carhartt Rough Cut softshell work jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this jacket:
- Shell Material – This jacket has a 9.4-ounce, 90% nylon 10% spandex soft shell. This is a flex fabric that will move with your body.
- Insulation – The 100% grid-textured fleece gives extra warmth while keeping the jacket lightweight.
- Water Resistance – This is a water repellent jacket that will stand up to light rain. This jacket is also wind resistant to give you extra weather protection. There are also hook-and-loop adjustable cuffs, providing extra protection from the elements.
- Hood – An adjustable hood keeps you comfortable and dry.
- Waist – This jacket has a drawcord-adjustable droptail hem allows for extra coverage where you need it, but also can be adjusted to pair with a tool belt.
- Pockets – There are two lower front pockets with zipper closures as well as a zippered storage pocket on the left upper sleeve. Additionally, there is a left chest map pocket and right chest patch pocket with a pen stall, allowing for an abundance of storage options.
Click here to buy this Carhartt softshell work jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). This is a great option if you prefer your work jacket to have a built-in hood.
Carhartt Men’s Crowley Jacket
This is another jacket that I have turned to over the years. The thing I like about this Carhartt Crowley jacket is it’s that versatile type of jacket you can keep by the door and wear practically everywhere during the spring and fall months.
Here’s what this Carhartt Crowley Jacket looks like:
This is the current price of this Carhartt Crowley soft shell work jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this jacket:
- Shell Material – This jacket has Carhartt’s Rugged Flex® technology which allows for ultimate ease of movement. It has a 13.9-ounce, 90% nylon 10% spandex soft shell. It’s built to withstand the toughest days with triple-stitched main seams. The Crowley Jacket also features hook-and-loop adjustable cuffs and a mock-neck collar.
- Insulation – A 100% polyester lining adds warmth without bulk. No, this isn’t a winter jacket, but it does provide adequate warmth for those cooler spring and fall days.
- Water Resistance – This is a water repellent lets rain bead up and roll off. It is also wind resistant. Don’t expect this jacket to protect you from a monsoon, but it can take on light precipitation and help keep you dry.
- Pockets – There are two lower, front pockets with zipper closures in addition to a large interior pocket. A zippered left chest pocket is ideal for storing essentials.
- Design – A front zipper with chin protector adds an extra element of protection against the weather. This mock collar gives this jacket a sort of trucker style.
As I said earlier, this is another softshell work jacket that I wear frequently. Here’s a look at mine (6’3 200):
Click here to buy this Carhartt Crowley Jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Again, this is a versatile jacket that fits in both on and off the clock.
Filson C.C.F. Quilted Utility Jacket
Filson is a clothing company based in Seattle WA that has a deep-rooted tradition in providing heavy-duty dependable workwear. Their founder, C.C. Filson, opened shop in 1897 and, at that time, specialized in making ultra-tough, ultra-dependable clothing for stampeders heading north for the Klondike Gold Rush.
The Stampeders who marched north towards the Klondike region put their lives at risk in search of gold. The conditions in the Yukon were brutal. Winters were dark and devastatingly long.
The stampeders faced blinding snow storms, avalanches, hypothermia, towering terrain, malnutrition, disease, and all the other perils of wilderness. It is estimated that out of the 100,000 people who set out to stampede for gold, only 30,000 actually made it to the Klondike region.
Making clothes that could hold up in the sub-freezing wilderness meant C.C. Filson couldn’t cut corners, and had to emphasize toughness and dependability. And although the Klondike Gold Rush has long since passed, that tradition of toughness and dependability has carried over to Filson’s current collection of workwear.
But Filson isn’t one dimentional. The Filson C.C.F. Quilted Utility Jacket is a great soft shell work jacket that has a cool style that you can also wear casually.
- Shell Material – The nylon shell of the jacket is easy to wear, yet durable. It has a quilted patter and this jacket also has action-back shoulder pleats for ease of movement. Both the collar and fitted cuffs are a ribbed knit material.
- Insulation – A quilted polyester insulation affords lightweight warmth. This adds versatility as it can be worn alone in milder temperatures. In colder climates, it can serve as an insulating layer when worn under a heavier coat.
- Zipper – There is a metal zipper-front closure.
- Pockets – This jacket features two insulated hand-warmer pockets as well as an interior pocket for keeping important items safe.
Free Soldier Outdoor Waterproof Soft Shell Jacket
Many workers will turn to tactical gear for lightweight, yet durable, work jacket and work pants. The Free Soldier Outdoor Waterproof Soft Shell Jacket is a tactical jacket that can also function as a work jacket.
Here’s what this jacket looks like:
This is the current price of this Free Soldier soft shell jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this jacket:
- Shell Material – The shell of this jacket is constructed of DINTEX 94% polyester 6% spandex scratch-resistant fabric, adding flexibility to comfort. Hook-and-loop cuffs keep the wind out.
- Insulation – This jacket is lined with thermal 8000mm fleece, which breathes well and feels great on the skin. In addition to keeping you exceptionally warm, it is also moisture-wicking.
- Hood – A versatile, three-dimensional rim hood keeps you protected when you need it and can be stored as a stand-up collar when you don’t.
- Water Resistance – If you want a waterproof soft shell work jacket, this might be one of your better options. It has a waterproof index of 8000-10000mm, with a water repellent finish.
- Pockets – Seven pockets add to the Tactical Jacket’s functionality. Chest, arm, and shoulder pockets as well as a back pocket allow you to carry whatever you need while keeping your hands free.
- Zipper – There is a front double zipper closure. Another unique feature is the Axillary Ventilation System, which has its own zipper to allow moisture evaporation from under the arm.
Click here to buy this Free Soldier jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). If you need plenty of pockets on your work jacket, this is a great option. For more waterproof options, visit our article about the best insulated rain jackets.
Other Soft Shell Work Jackets to Consider
- Caterpillar Men’s Soft Shell Work Jacket – Caterpillar is a well-known name in workwear, and they do offer a softshell work jacket. This jacket is water-resistant, wind-resistant, and zips up near the chin. It has 3 zipper pockets on the front for storing essentials. Click here to view this jacket at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
- Berne Men’s Eiger Softshell Work Jacket – Berne has a deep-rooted history in workwear, and they do have a soft shell work jacket. The shell is made with 8-ounce poly fabric that is water repellent. This jacket has a micro-fleece lining. Three front zipper pockets. Click here to view this jacket at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
4 Things to Consider When Buying Soft Shell Jackets
- Hood – Do you need an attached hood. Although some soft shell jacket have attached hoods, many are mock-neck jackets that zip up near the chin.
- Tool Belt – Not many soft shell jackets have a cuffed waist. If you need to pair your jacket with a tool belt, you might be better off using a work hoodie during the spring and fall months instead of a jacket. Most work hoodies have a cuffed waist.
- Warmth – As I mentioned earlier in the article, most soft shell jackets are best used during the fall and spring months, or during mild winter days. They also work well as a layer underneath a heavier work jacket during the brutal winter months.