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Paddle Jackets

Top Picks

How we choose: The best paddle jackets highlighted here were selected based on 3 reviews of 3 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

How we test: Trailspace is powered entirely by our community of readers. The reviews posted here reflect the real-world experiences of outdoor enthusiasts just like you.

If you've used a paddle jacket that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

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Top Long Sleeve Paddle Jacket

Level Six Bonavista

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)

This paddle jacket is completely windproof and rainproof. It keeps me warm on rainy days paddling, when I wear it over a shortie wetsuit or over a merino wool shirt and shorts. This men's jacket suits women too. It's a fairly close-fitting style, so buy a size larger if you plan to layer it over a thick sweater.

Reasons to Buy

  • Rainproof!
  • Windproof!
  • Velcro fasteners to tighten wrists and waist
  • Hood rolls away neatly in collar
  • Velcro pocket to hold key or bus pass

Reasons to Avoid

  • Takes an effort to pull it off over my head

Kayaking on the West Coast near Vancouver and Seattle means needing rain gear — the real thing, not cheap stuff. This jacket is listed as "Made of eXhaust 2.5-ply waterproof-breathable nylon." I wear it in the rain without getting any water seeping in at wrists, waists, or seams. The jacket is also completely wind-proof. In a men's medium I have enough room to wear a light sweater under the jacket, and usually I wear just a long sleeve merino wool shirt. Don't know how "breathable" this jacket really is in challenging conditions, but it's breathable enough for me.

Read more: Level Six Bonavista review (1)

Long Sleeve Paddle Jacket

Kokatat Tropos Light Drift Jacket

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)

This is a reasonably priced paddle jacket, very roomy and comfortable for paddling. I use to for cool weather canoeing, and it has served me well for that use. I have room for a light fleece under it, and room for a PFD over it. Though I am a woman, I use men's jackets, as I really prefer LONG sleeves.

Reasons to Buy

  • Bright safety orange color
  • Comfortable
  • Soft cuffs and neck
  • Zipper pocket on sleeve

Reasons to Avoid

  • I am not sure how durable the lightweight fabric of this version will be, over time.

The jacket is very comfortable to wear while paddling, even as I wear it under a PFD. The sleeves have a roomy cut, and the velcro splash cuffs are soft, and not irritating as some velcro cuffs can be. The neck is very soft, and the quarter-zip zipper is a fine length. I have used the jacket in air temps of 34-50, comfortably. The pocket on the left sleeve is very handy, and easy to access. This is just a lightweight jacket, and I opted for a model without a hood (I find hoods impair my lateral visibility too much). The fabric is definitely lightweight, and since I have only used the jacket for this past season, I can only anticipate that it will reflect the quality of the jacket overall, and will hold up well.

Read more: Kokatat Tropos Light Drift Jacket review (1)

Top Short Sleeve Paddle Jacket

Extrasport Splash Top - Short Sleeve

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

An excellent splash top that I was able to purchase at a steep discount.

Reasons to Buy

  • Keeps you mostly dry
  • Protects from the wind and spray
  • Keeps you warm out on the water
  • Comfortable to paddle in
  • Doubles as a rain jacket

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not as breathable as some hiking shells

I have one (in grey) and also the long-sleeve version (red and white). They were both sold at a steep discount on STP, which is why I bought them without really realizing the utility. But I have since discovered that paddling jackets are far superior to wearing a regular rain jacket or shell, because the arm and neck gaskets keep water from running down your sleeves as you lift your arms to take a stroke. They are also cut so that you have plenty of space in the shoulders, which doesn't limit your paddling movements like a regular jacket might.

Read more: Extrasport Splash Top - Short Sleeve review (1)

Other Types of Paddling Apparel

Find more paddling apparel reviewed in these related categories:

Dry Suits

Wet Suits

Paddling Gloves

+1 more type

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