If you’re looking for a new winter jacket, why not make it Merino wool! With exceptional warmth, breathability, and a touch of style, a Merino wool jacket can make a functional & fashionable addition to any winter wardrobe.
Although, not all Merino wool jackets are made the same. Some brands use wool as a traditional fleece fabric, while others stuff the wool in a nylon shell as a lightweight insulator. The moral of the story is finding the perfect Merino wool jacket for you can be challenging.
Luckily, we sift through the crap at Merino Wool Gear, so you don’t have to! With our not-so-expert opinion, we narrowed down the best Merino wool jackets and outerwear for this winter 2023 season. Let’s get started!
- Editor’s Choice: Woolx Fairbanks Jacket
- Best Hoodie: Minus33 Kodiak Brushed Fleece
- Best Vest: Icebreaker ZoneKnit™
- Warmest: Duckworth WoolCloud
- Most Stylish: WeatherWool All-Around Jacket
- Best For Travel: Ibex Wool Aire
- Best Everyday: Wool & Prince Ponte
- Best For Running: Smartwol Smartloft
- Best For Hunting: Big Bill Jacket
- Best For Mountaineering: Ortovox Fleece Grid
- Best For The Holidays: Dale of Norway Hovden
Merino Wool Jacket Buying Guide
Before I get into my favorite Merino wool jackets and outerwear of the season, it would benefit you to learn more about how I selected the products. Each coat comes from a reputable Merino wool brand made with high-quality material.
Still, to find the best Merino wool jacket for you, we’ve broken down our buying guide into four main categories: warmth, function, style & fit. Learn more about each below!
Warmth & Weather Protection
First and foremost, your Merino wool jacket should protect you against the elements. Merino wool is a fantastic insulator, as it is lightweight, warm, breathable and maintains its temperature-regulating properties even when wet.
Merino’s natural crimp creates a zip-zag, three-dimensional loft that traps in warm air and offers extra insulation. It’s one of the warmest natural materials available!
Although the warmth of each Merino wool jacket is dependent on several factors like construction, fabric weight, design, and more! Take fabric weight, for example. The thicker, heavyweight material is warmer but may not breathe as well. Check out the simple guide from Minus33 below if you want a specific temperature range.
Function & Performance
Before dropping hundreds of dollars on a new Merino wool jacket, you should ask yourself: “How am I going to use this jacket?” We don’t want you spending your hard-earned money on something that will sit in your closet all year!
Thanks to Merino wool’s versatility in manufacturing, Merino wool functions in various ways across some of the products you’ll see today. Some use wool batting as insulation, while others use a dense-weather-proof knit. Either way, all of these jackets are high-performing!
Moreover, most of these jackets are made for specific purposes. Some are made for high-alpine treks, while others are more suited for the challenges of daily life. You’ll get the most value by understanding which type of jacket works best in your life.
Style & FIT
Warmth and function are nothing without style! We want you to look good in your new Merino wool jacket. You’ll see various styles and fits – from next-to-skin insulators to traditional fit outer layers.
If one of these jackets catches your eye, consult the brand’s sizing charts before ordering. Most brands have excellent return policies, but it’s always better to be on the safe side.
Merino wool is expensive; there’s really no getting around it. But, if you care for your Merino wool properly, you’ll get every penny out of it.
As for the eleven best Merino wool jackets & outerwear, you’ll see today, the average price tag is $303 (I did the math). Although a couple of the higher-end coats are pushing the average up, the majority are under $250 (I did the math again).
I typically denote the price in a range of $-$$$$$, rather than a number, because you never know when a last-chance sale may happen, or maybe even one of these jackets goes out of production. It’s hard to keep up with all those price changes, so the range works better. If you want an exact price for each jacket, click the button below each description to find out the latest from each brand!
Editor’s Choice: Best Merino Wool Jacket
Pros: Simple, timeless design | Dense, warm knit construction| High-quality, Woolmark-certified Merino
Cons: Fit discrepancies | Dry-clean only
It’s simple; it won’t turn any heads, but it will get the job done. The Woolx Fairbanks Jacket is a classic, heavyweight everyday zip-up made for year-round use. You can wear it as an outer layer down to freezing conditions, and since it has such a low bulk, you can throw a puffer overtop if the temperature gets into the single digits.
Yet the reason I love this jacket – and all Woolx gear, for that matter – is the high-quality material. Using a thick, looped Merino wool yarn, this jacket has a soft, dense knit. It can trap your body heat inside while blocking out the cold. And, as it’s high-quality, Woolmark-certified Merino wool, you won’t find a better lightweight insulator on the market. It’s a five-star fabric, that’s for sure!
Moreover, the Boucle knit creates a nub-like texture, which is unique in its own right. However, due to this knit construction, you won’t be able to wash this Merino wool jacket at home. So, you’ll have to visit the dry cleaners once or twice a year, no big deal!
Overall, the Fairbanks Jacket is one warm, high-performing, and highly versatile piece of Merino wool gear! Woolx calls it your “go everywhere, do anything jacket,” and I agree! With handwarmer pockets, a wind-resistant knit, and the natural temperature-regulating properties of Merino wool, this jacket will keep you toasty this winter and every season in between. Head over to Woolx below to get one for yourself!
Best Merino Wool Hoodie For Winter
Pros: Ultra-warm, versatile layering piece | Brushed fleece interior | 3-Pocket design
Cons: Finicky zippers | Potential sizing issues
I love a solid Merino wool hoodie. They are so comfy and warm, especially considering how lightweight they can be. And while there are a bunch of great Merino wool hoodies out there (trust us, it’s one of our most popular articles), the one we ranked #1 almost two years ago is still at the top of the list – the Minus33 Kodiak Hoodie.
The last time we reviewed this hoodie, it was 100% Merino wool, but recently, Minus33 has updated its fiber formula to include a touch of spandex for added stretch and recovery. I like this addition, as it makes it more useful as a mid-layer in subzero conditions or just an outer layer for daily winter wear.
It’s one thing to ‘market’ the Kodiak Fleece as a ‘warm hoodie,’ but Minus33 has done the testing – albeit rather extreme – to prove their claims. This hoodie’s been used during expeditions in the Arctic, Antarctic, and nearly every latitude (and altitude) in between. It’s just that warm!
So, if you don’t need a full-fledged Merino wool jacket, perhaps this Minus33 Kodiak Expedition hoodie is more your speed. The brushed interior is super soft, the hood drapes magnificently, and you’ll be warm. Ah yes, ever-so warm.
Best Merino Wool Vest For Winter
Pros: Fantastic warmth-to-weight ratio | Reinforced shoulder panels | Technical performance features
Cons: Zipper issues | Uber expensive (especially for a vest)
Perhaps you don’t need a Merino wool jacket, and a vest may better suit your needs? Merino wool is an excellent vest material, as its low-bulk warmth insulates your core while letting your body breathe. I’ve written extensively about the best Merino wool vests, but if you’re looking for serious, functional winter warmth, the Icebreaker ZoneKnit™ Insulated Vest is the best.
This vest is made to withstand the toughest of conditions. Icebreaker’s unique ZoneKnit™ body-mapping technology regulates your body temperature during high-intensity activities. That way, whether skiing, snow-shoeing, or just jogging around the neighborhood, the quilted wool front will keep your core at the optimal performance temperature. You won’t overheat, and you won’t freeze. Now, that’s a piece of Merino wool gear you can count on!
Yet, warmth is nothing without function, and this vest has technical features that winter warriors love. The two-way zip – sometimes tricky to handle – helps improve ventilation and function as a layering piece. Moreover, the double-layer standing collar keeps out any drafts. Even the shoulder panels are reinforced to withstand the wear and tear of backpack straps!
I know you’re probably here for a jacket – and there are many good ones to come – but if all you need is a little extra warmth around the core, Icebreaker has you covered with the ZoneKnit™ vest. With three pockets and engineered performance, it may be too hard to resist! But, if you look at the price tag – which is priced correctly based on its quality – you may find it a little easier to resist.
Warmest Merino Wool Jacket
Pros: Ultimate winter outer layer | Maintains warmth & shape, even when wet | Sustainable design & material
Cons: Isn’t as ‘puffy‘ as you may hope | Limited availability
If you’ve seen our reviews before, you know we love Duckworth gear. Unlike Australian Merino wool, Duckworth sources their wool from Helle Rambouillet sheep – a close cousin of the Merino – from their ranch in Dillon, MT. The Rocky Mountain climate makes the wool more rugged and warm but just as soft. And when you stuff that wool inside a jacket as insulation, well, you have the WoolCloud Full Zip Jacket, the warmest Merino wool jacket on this list!
The secret to the coat’s warmth is the insulation. It’s Duckworth’s homegrown Merino wool batting. The scraps and noils from their own Helle Rambouillet Merino Sheep are used as insulation in a water-resistant nylon shell. And, unlike down or synthetics, wool maintains its temperature-regulating properties even when wet. So, blizzard, sleet, hail, snow, rain, you name it; the WoolCloud jacket rises above it!
While it’s not as puffy as your traditional puffers, this jacket is just as warm. You don’t have to worry about the elements, as the WoolCloud jacket does all the heavy lifting. It’s a popular item and is often out of stock, so if you find your color and size, you might want to snatch it before it’s gone!
Most Stylish Merino Wool Jacket
Pros: Versatile, professional style | High-quality material | Functional ‘everyday’ features
Cons: May be on back order| Really, really expensive
If you live a more professional lifestyle, jumping from meetings to meet-ups, you need a solid coat that can tag along for the ride. And the WeatherWool All-Around jacket is that coat. The full-weight Merino wool jacquard knit will provide dozens of degrees (up to fifty) of warmth.
And that’s not just me, the Merino guy, saying that. WeatherWool has extensively tested this jacket in every winter condition you can think of, even if you fall in a lake. Seriously, this jacket can withstand a winter beating!
Anyway, I ranked it ‘Most Stylish’ not for its weather-resistant properties but for, of course, its style! The jacket has four interior zipper pockets for your phone, wallet, keys, and sunglasses. On the outside, front cargo pockets can store your hat and gloves while you warm your hands in the front pouches instead. Moreover, you can get the perfect fit using the adjustable wrist cuffs and waist cinch cord. And look at it; you can definitely pull off that look! It truly is the all-around jacket!
However, this level of comfort, warmth, and craftsmanship comes at a price. Like, a huge price. It’s the most expensive Merino wool jacket on our list. However, it’s always on backorder, so you know it’s popular. I’d say, knowing WeatherWool, that you’ll get every penny out of it. But hey, you’ll never know until you try it!
Best Merino Wool Jacket For Travel
Pros: Ultralight warmth | Packable (& stuffable) | Will replace all your worn out puffies
Cons: Zipper quality | Waistline fit
Whether traveling abroad or out on the go, an ultralight puffer is a must-have. And unlike synthetics or down that lose their loft and warmth when they get wet, Merino wool doesn’t! So, no matter the travel conditions, a Merino wool puffer will be there with you. And the best there is – in my not-so-expert opinion – is the Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie.
We’ve had good experiences with Ibex Gear, and this puffer is no different. Its 20-Denier nylon shell is wind and water-resistant, while 80-gram Merino wool insulation keeps you toasty. Moreover, it’s ultralight at only 10-12 ounces (depending on sizing) and packs down to less than a water bottle. That way, you’ll be ready when Mother Nature has other plans.
But this isn’t just some emergency layer; the Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie is a perfect travel companion. The slim fit and scuba hood keep the Merino wool insulation close to your skin, and the loft is low enough for layering overtop. There is even an elasticized waistline and sleeve cuffs for a more stay-put fit. Although, I do wish there were a drawcord around the hem instead of the elastic. Between traveling on planes, trains, boats, and more, a cinch cord always works best at staving off unwanted drafts.
Honestly, I’d be surprised if this Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie doesn’t replace all your worn-out, beat-up puffers. You get ultimate warmth for just a few more ounces, even if it gets wet! Plus, with such a fresh style – six unique patterns in all – there’s bound to be one you can rock whether you’re on the road or not!
Best Everyday Merino Wool Jacket
Pros: Casual or business casual style | Engineered fabric durability | Large usable pockets
Cons: Warmer options available | Sleeves & hem may be too long for some
It’s casual. It’s professional. It’s everything. And it’s Merino. The Wool & Prince Ponte Jacket is an excellent addition to your everyday wardrobe as a versatile winter layer. Throw it on if the thermostat is busted, wear it under a puffy, or just toss it on for a quick trip to the store. Don’t worry about a bag either, as these pockets are huge and, as Wool & Prince claims: “will fit your ginormous phone.”
And if you’ve worn Wool & Prince clothing before, you’ll understand this jacket has some high-quality, highly-engineered fabric. The double-knit Ponte material – consisting of a blend of Merino wool, nylon, and spandex – creates a solid yet stretchy material. It offers all the warmth properties of Merino wool with an additional level of durability. So it can handle the bumps and bruises of daily life!
However, some users have reported the sleeve and hem length may be too long. So, if you’re on the shorter side like myself, you may be out of luck. Still, it’s best to consult the sizing charts before ruling it out.
Overall, the Wool & Prince Ponte Jacket is an outstanding everyday choice for warmth and style in the winter. Its low-bulk fit makes it a fantastic mid-layer around the office, yet it’s still warm enough to get you across the frigid grocery store parking lot. And, with five standard colors – the popular ‘Black Marl’ is my favorite – there’s definitely one that matches your everyday style!
Best Merino Wool Jacket For Running
Pros: Low-bulk, targeted warmth | Wind-resistant | Great for layering
Cons: Minimal versatility for price| Updated design (untested)
If you’re a four-season runner pushing through the cold winter months, you’ll need gear that helps you go the extra mile. And, as with all Smartwool gear, this Smartwool Jacket will keep you operating at your best, no matter the weather report. The wind-resistant nylon shell keeps the elements out while the targeted wool insulation regulates your core temperature. And all from a reputable brand.
However, this version of the Smartwool Loft jacket remains untested, as it has a brand-new, updated design. While some users have found the design updates less than desired, Smartwool’s newer versions fit me better. It’s a more performance, athletic fit. In the case of this Smartwool jacket, the ‘regular‘ fit is relatively low-bulk, so you can layer something overtop if you want to incorporate it into your daily rotation.
Still, I wouldn’t recommend it as your sole coat for daily wear. Think of it like your taking-out-the-dogs jacket or quiet-December-jog coat. It’s lightweight and warm as long as you’re moving. It has all the pockets you need for a daily coat, but I think there are more versatile options.
Anyway, I can’t say much more since I haven’t gotten my hands on the jacket yet, but knowing Smartwool products, they probably knocked it out of the park again. If you do end up testing it, let us know! We’re always looking for feedback from the flock!
Best Merino Wool Hunting Jacket
Pros: Affordable for the level of quality | Big & Tall sizing | Functional features
Cons: Not as soft as you may expect | Dry-clean only
Big Bill has a big Merino Wool Coat for all the hunters. This thing is everything you need to maintain your focus in the backcountry. The 18-oz Merino wool blend is strong and durable, so you won’t scratch or tear the fabric on the brush from fresh game trails. And the best part: it’s warm. Like, really warm.
The style is excellent for both sedentary hunting and when you’re stalking a herd, as the heavyweight, durable Merino wool blend will keep you comfortable, and the relaxed fit allows for extra layering if need be. So, on those cold, still mornings up in the tree stand, you’ll be calm, warm, and collected for when you finally get the opportunity.
Although it’s not the softest wool in the flock, this jacket is smooth compared to its synthetic competitors. And the higher-micron wool is more robust than finer fibers, so you get a much sturdier, more rugged material ready for a late November morning hunt.
On the flip side, since the “finest” fibers aren’t used, this Big Bill Merino wool jacket becomes exceptionally affordable. Trust the Merino guy when I say you don’t often see this level of quality at this price tag. People love this coat for its warmth, style, and functionality. So, if you’re looking for a new Merino wool hunting jacket to help you punch that tag this season, consider Big Bill, and you’ll save big. Catchy, right?
Best Jacket For Cold-Weather Expeditions
Pros: Technical fabric design | High-quality, sustainable material | Low-bulky fit for layering
Cons: Minimal versatility | Thinner than you may expect
I’m not super into mountaineering (although I’ve climbed a few 14ers myself), but I do not know that bad things can happen if you don’t trust your gear above the tree line. Luckily, this is precisely when Merino wool works its magic. It will regulate your microclimate, letting out the sweat from pumping up the switchbacks and protecting you from chilly gusts as you scramble toward the summit. The best Merino wool jacket for all alpine adventures is the Ortovox Merino Fleece Grid Jacket.
And, as this is advertised as an ‘alpine’ jacket, you may expect it to be thick and rugged. However, the Fleece Grid jacket is super lightweight and thinner than expected. It’s best used as part of a low-bulk layering system, and the fit promotes this. Although, this Merino wool jacket does look a little strange away from the mountains. There are two usable front slash pockets, which can be utilized for daily wear, but the style is much ‘outdoors’ than ‘around town.’
Still, if you’re interested, a couple versions of this jacket are floating around. The one mentioned above has a hood, but non-hooded options are also available on Ortovox. And with many unique patterns and color options, the next time you summit, you’ll do so in style wearing Ortovox.
Best ‘Jacket’ For The Holidays
Pros: High-quality craftsmanship | Timeless Nordic patterns | Designed for winter athletes
Cons: Sizing issues | Expensive for a sweater
Okay, I get it; it’s not really a Merino wool jacket, but more of a Merino wool sweater. But this Dale of Norway Hovden sweater performs just as well as any of the coats on our list. It has enough warmth to be worn as a standalone piece for all those holiday get-togethers. And since you’ll probably be wearing the sweater for the party, you can avoid all those odors from the designated coat room. It always smells weird there.
And how could you go wrong with a traditional Nordic sweater? The Scandinavians have been the leaders in outdoor winter style for centuries, and this Hovden sweater is no different. The classic eight-petal rose pattern (three distinct options) is bound to spice up any bland party. And, since it’s 100% Merino wool, you’ll stay calm and comfortable, even if the arguments start to get heated at the dinner table.
Still, this isn’t just your basic Merino wool sweater. The Hovden is the contemporary version of Dale of Norway’s classic Vail sweater, designed for winter athletes. So basically, you get a high-performance athletic top in the form of a sweater. It’s a win-win!
So, if you’re looking for a simple quarter-zip pullover instead of a jacket, consider the Nordic design of the Hovden sweater. It’s a little pricey for a sweater, but with a unique design, first-class material, and performance meant for athletes, you won’t be disappointed. Dale of Norway has been around since 1897 for a reason; they’re obviously doing something right!
Final Note: Men’s Merino Wool Jackets & Outerwear
Jackets, puffers, hoodies, oh my!
Merino wool’s wide manufacturing range and unique natural properties make it an excellent choice for winter outerwear. Many of these jackets have a low-bulk fit for layering, while others use Merino wool as ultralight, ultra-warm insulation. These outer layers truly showcase Merino wool’s versatility as a fabric.
Although Merino wool is not a cure-all fabric. There is the good, and there is the bad. It’s up to you to decide if it works best for you. And at Merino Wool Gear, we’re here to aid you in your decision.
So, if you want to learn more about Merino wool jackets – or any other fantastic Merino wool clothing – poke around our site or follow us on Instagram. And, if you want the latest deals and discounts on all your favorite Merino wool gear, sign up for our newsletter below. We’re always looking for new members to join the flock!
Thanks again for reading, and we hope you come back sometime soon!