You know what they say, when you look the part, you feel the part. But an upland hunting jacket is not just nice apparel, it’s part of your hunting equipment.
Just as important as your upland hunting boots or your shooting gloves.
There’s an array of upland hunting jackets out there and most of them look very nice, but what we’ve got for you here are some product reviews of our Top 5, and a buying guide explaining what you need to be on the lookout for in choosing your hunting jacket/s.
We also have some answers to your most frequently asked questions.
While there are female jackets available, for the purpose of this article we’ve focused on men’s upland hunting jackets.
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Best Upland Hunting Jackets - Comparison Table
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Best Upland Hunting Jackets - Reviews
Orvis are a premium brand, everything they make is top quality, and their upland hunting jackets are certainly no exception.
This one is a softshell jacket, and it’s tan/blaze color option is more blaze than tan,over 1000 square inches all together, for greater visibility and safety in the field.
If you didn’t fancy the tan/blaze option, there’s also a more demure slate grey color you could opt for.
It’s not at all baggy, which helps with cutting wind down. And while the internal wind cuffs cut the breeze, there’s also external contour cuffs to protect the back of your hands. There’s also an adjustable drawstring hem, so you can keep wind out or give yourself more breathability as needs dictate. There’s even underarm zips to allow for extra ventilation.
From the fit of the jacket, you can tell it was designed with unrestricted shooting movement in mind. Even the low-profile, zipper pockets lie flat on both sides so they won’t restrict you when you pull your gun out whether you're a right- or left-handed shooter.
The outer shell is tightly woven to stand up to brush and is also DWR-treated for additional water resistance.
It’s available in an array of sizes from small, all the way through to XXXL.
In summary, this jacket offers the ideal combination of mobility, moisture management, briar protection, and breathability.
We love this upland hunting jacket from Gamehide.
Probably the best thing about it is the very large nylon game pouches, one at the front and one at the rear.
It’s also comfortable and well made. And it’s absolutely loaded with pockets for carrying all your gear, and all of them have closures, zippered and snap. For your shotgun shells, there are dedicated shell loops, which will 100% keep them secure.
It also has a water bottle holder in the rear game pouch, which is very handy.
It’s made from rugged 100% woven cotton with a 100% polyester trim which means that it can handle sharp brush with ease.
It has a marsh brown and orange blaze color, so you get that all important visibility in the field.
It should keep you warm on a windy day, but you fancied taking a layer off there’s enough room for a layer underneath.
There’s loads to love about this smart upland hunting jacket from Beretta.
Unlike it’s polyester style counterparts, it’s a lot more lightweight and breathable - and more importantly, less bulky and therefore a lot less likely to get in your way when it comes time to shoot.
It offers a superior fit, all thanks to how the tailoring and stitching is done to conform to the contours of your chest, shoulders and upper arms. It has a real ergonomic construction to it, which gives you real ease of movement.
We also love how it features a water repellent mesh lining, so you get superior dryness too. We must say it’s one of the most comfortable upland hunting jackets we’ve come across.
The orange blaze panels provide that all important visibility designed to keep you safe in the field, and they’re effectively dispersed throughout the garment, leaving no one in any doubt that you’re there to hunt. And uniquely stylish for an upland hunting jacket if you ask us, what with its use of buttons rather than zippers.
There’s a secure zipper pocket where you can stash your shotgun shells, and two larger pockets which although aren’t fastened down, do however have flap covers.
It’s 100% machine washable which is definitely a plus after a day outdoors and a good bird hunt.
Here’s another great upland hunting jacket from Orvis.
This is a really good one for hunting in bad weather, its’ windproof and waterproof with a drawstring hood. It even has waterproof zippers. Really stands up to the elements.
It’s got a rugged tough shell which is really thick, and is puncture- and tear-resistant. The lower back sleeve, front, and back yoke are reinforced with highly abrasion-resistant fabric so you can be assured of protection from thorns and briars.
In terms of mobility and freedom of movement, you’ve got stretch fabric on the main body and articulated elbows, so you’re unrestricted.
It has an expandable game pouch, which lies real low when not needed, like if you were wearing a hunting vest underneath.
The fit is nice, and there’s plenty of pockets to stash your gear and shells, or to keep your hands warm. We especially like the magnetic closures on some of the pockets.
It’s breathable too, with a two-layer system which allows moisture to escape when you get warm, and there’s an underarm zipper for more effective instantaneous ventilation.
The color options all have that popular olive shade, but you can choose whether to have one with or without the orange blaze panels.
We love this upland hunting jacket from Carhartt.
It’s made with Carhatt’s Quick Duck canvas, which is a fusion of cotton and polyester. It’s designed to be durable, but also to be lightweight at the same time. Great for long days amongst the briar.
It’s water repellent too, keeping water beading off, so it’s ideal if you hit a bit of rain.
Importantly, it’s 8.5 oz lightweight nature means you can pull your gun up to your shoulder without restriction.
We love it’s wraparound front loading game pouch - it fits up to 3 roosters, and is easy to clean.
There’s not one but two water bottle pockets for keeping hydrated.
There are two front flap pockets which will hold up to 10 shells each, and there’s a zipper map pocket on the chest.
To keep the wind out you’ve got an adjustable drawcord bottom and adjustable sleeve openings with hook and loop closure for cinching closed.
Best Upland Hunting Jackets - Buyers Guide
Here’s what to think about when deciding what upland hunting jacket/s to get.
Let’s get the appearance of the jacket out of the way of before we tackle the more practical stuff. In most US states it’s required by law that all hunters, upland hunters or otherwise, all wear Blaze orange. In some states it is recommended rather than law. To check the particular requirements in your state, simply click on the following link: http://www.ihea-usa.org/hunting-and-shooting/requirements/hunter-orange-requirements
Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that the whole jacket has to be blaze orange, but some nice orange panels here and there really help to break up the monotony of a jacket that might otherwise look a tad dull. Whatever the guidance for your particular state, it’s always best practice to go for a jacket with blaze orange on it, even if it’s just a couple of stripes here and there. It can look quite striking.
The fit of the jacket is super important.
This is particularly so when it comes to the hips and the shoulders. You need to be able to bring your gun up without the jacket holding you back or getting in your way.
Moreover, you don’t want to get your shotgun caught up in a loose fitting jacket.
Although the jacket doesn’t need to be skin tight per se, you should make sure that you get one that’s a good fit for your body shape if at all possible.
Basically the fit of your jacket can make all the difference between a hit and miss, so please be picky about the fit of your hunting jacket, we can promise you it will all be worth it.
You might think that large loose pockets are the right way to go, on the basis that they can hold more gear, and offer easier access. However, you’d be wrong.
What you really need to look out for is a jacket with pockets that will keep your shotgun shells secure. Many people have been known to lose shotgun shells, and other knick knacks, right from their pockets. Our recommendation would be to look out for pockets that close, whether it be with snaps or velcro closures
Alternatively, you might want to look out for a jacket with dedicated loops for holding your shells. However these can be somewhat of a rarity in upland hunting jackets and are more commonly found in upland hunting vests, which is a shame.
The best upland hunting jackets come with a game pouch. Obviously how big a game pouch you need depends on what you’re hunting. Pheasant for example will need a lot more room than quail.
So basically you need to choose a jacket with a game pouch size that’s the most appropriate for what you're hunting.
Keeping the wind out
If you’re specifically looking for an upland hunting jacket rather than an upland hunting vest, chances are you’re looking for something that will keep the wind out for you, or at least cut the wind down.
When you’re cutting across a field or prairie you can expect to be exposed to a considerable amount of wind, and will want to be kept comfortably warm. Ideally you’d want to strike the perfect balance between wind blocking and breathability.
When you’re focused on getting your aim on that bird you don’t want your jacket flapping about in the wind.
And on that note, let's talk about layering. Earlier we talked about having a well fitted jacket, but if you tend to really feel the cold, you’ll likely want to put some layering underneath.
When you first get out in the cold you’ll enjoy the benefit of wearing plenty of layers, but once you’ve walked a few miles you may well feel you want to lose a layer, and shedding layers as needed will help you to regulate your body heat on the move.
The best time to go hunting is when you can, come rain or shine! The birds can’t choose when it decides to rain and neither can you.
Many upland hunting jackets offer water resistance, but if you don’t mind hunting in a real downpour, you could look out for a jacket that’s 100% waterproof.
Number of peer reviews isn’t everything
If you’re perhaps wondering why there aren’t too many peer reviews on some of the products we selected on our Top 5. Many hunters tend to shop more at dedicated hunting stores rather than at a serves-all warehouse like Amazon.
However you can trust us that the products in our Top 5 are the best out there, and in dedicated hunting stores, customers can’t get enough of these top notch upland hunting jackets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it better to have an upland hunting vest or an upland hunting jacket?
When it comes to upland hunting apparel, it pretty much mostly comes down to personal preference. A jacket will keep out the wind better, and a vest barely keeps out any wind at all.
Most of the jackets in our Top 5 are built for layering, and will allow you to wear an upland hunting vest right under the jacket. The only exception in our Top 5 that won’t allow this is our Number 3.
The main reservation that unpland hunters have with jackets is the idea that the jacket will restrict their movement when it comes time to shoot, but you won’t have that problem with any of the jackets in our Top 5, we have taken ease of movement into account when reviewing them to provide you with a summary of the best ones out there.
Above all you need to decide what features you want in your clothing, what size game pouch do you need if you want them, do you want water bottle holders and if so how many, do you want special loops for your shotgun shells.