10 Season Extenders: Men’s and Women’s Winter Trail Jackets to Keep you Warm

All the warmth at once!

‘Tis the season to start mountain bike rides a little cold and keep moving as much as possible. Cooler temperatures and overcast skies have arrived in much of the northern globe, and four of us tested the following top layers that will help folks stay cozy in a variety of climates from the southeast to the northwest.

JACKETPRICESTYLEFEATURESBEST FOR
Backcountry Hero Dirt Hoodie$75Men and womenPit zippersColder shoulder seasons
Chrome Surveyor’s Jacket$135MenHigh collarCommutes and cold dry rides
Craft ADV Charge Jersey Hood Jacket$100Men and womenSoft, warm materialVersatile jacket or mid-layer
Endura MT500 Freezing Point II Jacket$200MenFleece-linedWinter weather
Ortovox Westalpen Swisswool Hybrid Jacket$240Men and womenWool insulation Warmth without the bulk
Pearl Izumi Canyon ECOLoft Jacket$210MenPerfect under a rain shellWinter weather
PNW Lander Jacket$149UnisexLarge rear pocketDry cool rides
POC All-Weather Vest$130MenGood rear pocket accessCooler mo-stop rides
7Mesh Northwoods Windshell$170Men and womenPackableShoulder season riding
Specialized Trail SWAT Jacket$135Men and womenPackable and warmShoulder season riding

Backcountry Hero Dirt Hoodie

The Hero Dirt Hoodie from Backcountry is a simple piece that can be worn alone on dry cold days or used as a layer beneath your favorite rain shell. It has a hood that fits beneath helmets, an open front pouch, and a zippered rear snack stash that’s large enough for a single granola bar. A zipper on the left side of the neck opens things up to make entering and exiting the top easier, and there are vent zippers on the front of either shoulder to regulate heat and moisture.

Test pilot profile height: 175cm (5’9″) weight: 65kg (145lb) testing zone: Bellingham, Washington

Material across the Hero Dirt Hoodie is notably stretchy and breathable, and it functions well as a standalone jersey in temps around the 45-55°F mark. The fit on my usual size small is fairly tight, and it sits low on my hips for good overlap with trail pants. I have relatively small arm muscles and there is definitely space for larger arms inside, though I wouldn’t recommend this hoodie to folks who like to wear elbow pads.

  • MSRP: $99.95, currently on sale for $74.96
  • Men’s colors: Olive Night (pictured), Burnt Brick, Metal, Black
  • Women’s colors: Brandied Melon, Metal, Atlantic Deep, Black
  • Available at Backcountry

Chrome Surveyor’s Jacket

One black Chrome Surveyor’s Jacket is all you need for that pedal to and from the office or grocer, and it also works well on the trail. The jacket’s design says “smart commuter” with its reflective zipper piping and DWR-coated front and rear layers to keep you dry on the ride. The material is heavy and warm for pedaling in drier weather, and the fit is tight enough to layer it beneath a waterproof coat. There’s a pair of hand pockets and a chest pocket that are all large enough for a full-size cellphone.

Test pilot profile height: 175cm (5’9″) weight: 65kg (145lb) testing zone: Bellingham, Washington

The Surveyor’s svelte fit is better as an under layer, and I wouldn’t try to wear anything more than a t-shirt or jersey between it and my skin. On a dry day, it’s warm enough to pedal through 40°F without needing much else, and it’s super cozy to wear no matter what you’re doing.


Craft ADV Charge jersey hood jacket

The Craft ADV Charge jersey hood jacket can be used as an added layer of warmth in milder winter temps or as a mid-layer under a waterproof jacket for more extreme elements. The polyester jersey material feels buttery soft and has super stretch allowing total freedom to move. The front chest and hood have an additional wind-proof layer to help cut the chill where it matters most. The sleeves have thumb holes which you’ll not likely need while riding but are appreciated for times you have to de-glove to take a summit selfie. Two small, zippered hand pockets are great for stashing a pair of hand warmers or oatmeal cream pies.

Test pilot profile height: 152cm (5’0″) weight: 50kg (110lb) testing zone: Atlanta, Georgia

While not exactly packable, in that it doesn’t stuff into itself, it is lightweight enough (9.4oz) to carry in most hydration packs. During the winter months I’d swap an emergency shell in my pack with this jersey hood jacket since it does add a little extra warmth. It’s not water resistant in any way, but I’m typically more worried about being cold on a ride than being caught in a stray shower. For $100, this is one piece that will potentially get a lot of use during the winter and shoulder seasons, especially if you also ride gravel or run outside a lot.

  • MSRP: $99.99
  • Men’s colors: Black, Crock/Black, Ash
  • Women’s colors: Black, Rhubarb, Norit/Shade (pictured)
  • Available at Craft

Endura MT500 Freezing Point II Jacket

Photo: Hannah Morvay

Endura’s MT500 Freezing Point II Jacket is made to get out on the trails on cold days. If the snow isn’t piling up on the trail, the jacket makes the cold bearable. The Freezing Point II features PrimaLoft Gold Active Insulation panels on the sleeves, the front, and on the hood and moveable material all around.

Test pilot profile height: 173cm (5’8″) weight: 75kg (165lb) testing zone: Colorado Front Range

The jacket also has Endura’s signature rubberized shoulders to resist pack movement, and there’s zippered venting from the nipples to the hips on both sides and along both armpits for a lot of wind flow. Reflective accents complement the backside of the jacket and the tip of the hood. The jacket is finished with a water repellent.

Pit check. Photo: Hannah Morvay

The Endura Freezing Point II is a solid jacket for when you know you’ll be moving. It feels like a “puffy” jacket but doesn’t offer warmth on cold days when you’re stagnant. On the bike, the jacket feels good around 30°, and I’d say give or take 5°. It can get pretty warm closer to 40° or on climbs, and the area of the zippered vents is appreciated.

This really isn’t the jacket for wet snow days or frigid cold, but if you’ve got some lightly fluttering flakes, the Endura will hold up well. The jacket is a perfect choice for bluebird days on the fat bike.


Ortovox Westalpen Swisswool hybrid jacket

The Ortovox Westalpen Swisswool Hybrid jacket is technical jacket that is deceptively warm. The close-fitting jacket is made with merino wool and fleece material with a raised waffle pattern on the inside that is soft, warm, and stretchy. There are also lightly lofted sections of the jacket on the front torso to the neck and extending to the tops of the arms and upper back that are filled with Swiss wool insulation for added warmth. The jacket is wind and water resistant and the bold colors make it a warm jacket on its own. For freezing days with the possibility of precipitation, pair this hybrid jacket as a mid-layer with any waterproof shell for complete protection and warmth on the bike, or under a ski parka if you’re skiing or boarding this winter.

Test pilot profile height: 152cm (5’0″) weight: 50kg (110lb) testing zone: Atlanta, Georgia

Merino wool fleece raised waffle weave.

I often reach for this jacket to wear around casually instead of a hoody since it’s not as bulky and allows me to move around easily. Unlike a hoody, there is no hood or hand pockets. There is one large chest pocket that could fit a phone, which is hard to miss since Ortovox used a contrasting, fluorescent pink color to accent it.


Pearl Izumi Canyon ECOLoft jacket

A puffy trail jacket? Yes. For those of us who ride no matter the weather, a piece like the Canyon ECOLoft Jacket can make a massive difference in overall comfort. The recycled material is thinner than a typical puffy, with a tighter fit to sit under your rain shell. It’s wicked warm and breathes better than I would have expected, making the Canyon jacket ideal for ambient temps below 45° F. The tall collar warms your neck and chin and the draw-string regulated hood can fit under a helmet to keep those ears happy.

Test pilot profile height: 175cm (5’9″) weight: 65kg (145lb) testing zone: Bellingham, Washington

Two hand pockets and a breast pouch round out the features list, keeping the Canyon’s look clean and simple. The material has some stretch, but I wouldn’t want to crash hard in this jacket. Rocks would likely chew right through it. The fabric layers are thick enough that riders should stay dry so long as the water is only coming up from their tires, but it’s by no means waterproof. Paired with one of the larger rain jackets in this article, the Canyon ECOLoft Jacket will keep you warm in almost any conditions worth pedaling through.


PNW Lander jacket

PNW dropped their first-ever clothing line this fall and the Lander Jacket is a sweet part of that new offering. The heavyweight, water-resistant shell is DWR coated, and several riding friends have commented on how sturdy the construction appears. The orange or black layer stretches all four ways, and it keeps you relatively dry in a light rain. I wouldn’t recommend this jacket for folks living in the PNW unless you have a true rain layer to pair it with, as it’s not the jacket you want to throw on for a truly soggy pedal. The length is perfect to overlap pants, and the hood is large enough to fit over most half-shell helmets. The two torso pockets and one at the rear are mesh-lined to let it breathe, and all three are fairly large, with space for a 150-page paperback.

Test pilot profile height: 175cm (5’9″) weight: 65kg (145lb) testing zone: Bellingham, Washington

The thick material is cut to fit tight enough that it doesn’t flap in the wind while leaving room for an extra layer underneath. The men’s version has some of the most flattering fits of all the jackets I tested here, and the women’s jackets look to be just as well-tailored. I like the over-helmet hood design a little mroe than the under version because the material doesn’t become bound up and annoying under your lid, and I like that it keeps my helmet cleaner. The jacket will have to be washed after the ride either way, so why not use it to keep other stuff mudless?


POC All-Weather vest

When you’re out to push the pace, and most warmth will come from within, the POC All-Weather Vest might be just the right layer. The stretchy DWR-coated fabric covers the main splatter zone while keeping you relatively cool with the wind wafting through your arm hairs. The front uses a two-way zipper closure and there’s a pair of flapped holes and a zippered one over the lumbar to access jersey pockets for folks who ride in traditional three-pocket shirts.

Test pilot profile height: 175cm (5’9″) weight: 65kg (145lb) testing zone: Bellingham, Washington

The All-Weather Vest is relatively tight fitting, clearly designed to work with your drop-bar kit as much as trail apparel. It works well over a long-sleeve wool shirt on drier days around 50°F.


7Mesh Northwoods wind shell

Every rider should carry a wind shell in their backpack or hip pack. These highly packable jackets take up little space and weigh next to nothing yet can absolutely save the day when weather conditions change or your ride runs into the early evening hours. Packable, featherweight, comfortable, stylish, and sporting a good hood, 7Mesh’s  Northwoods Windshell ticks all the boxes for me. 

Test pilot profile testing zone: Portland, Oregon

Weighing barely more than 100g, this rather understated outer layer packs some thoughtful features, including a drop tail, drawstrings around the hem and the hood, a soft lining around the chin and brim of the hood, and a pocket with a key loop. It keeps the wind out without becoming a sweatbox, and the rich, port red color and generous hood make for a good-looking jacket. My only critique about this jacket is that the fit is a tad roomy, and the sizable hood is quite the wind catcher. The hood can easily fit over the helmet, but I do wish it could be tucked away when not in use. 


Specialized Trail SWAT Jacket

For rides where you just need a jersey and jacket to stay warm, the Specialized Trail SWAT Jacket is ideal. It’s thinner and more breathable than any other in this roundup, and the abrasion-resistant forearm patches, paired with somewhat stretchy material, will do well to keep it from ripping on impact. It’s plenty warm for rides around 50°F when the clouds are keeping their tears at bay. It will deal with trail spray, but I wouldn’t want to leave for a rainy ride with this shell on. There’s one phone-sized breast pocket and the elastic hood fits nicely under a helmet without much bunching.

Test pilot profile height: 175cm (5’9″) weight: 65kg (145lb) testing zone: Bellingham, Washington

The Trail SWAT Jacket has a tighter fit, with no excess material flapping in the wind. There’s space beneath for an extra layer or two, so long as they are form-fitting shirts. The cuffs are stretchy enough to easily get them over gloves, but since you won’t likely ride with this in the rain it’s kind of a moot point.


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