13 Best Anorak Jackets for Casual and Mountain Wear

What Is an Anorak Jacket?

Simply put, an anorak is a type of jacket or coat that bears a hood and partial-length zipper, requiring the wearer to pull the jacket over their head and other layers. To aid the sometimes awkward task of pulling on an anorak, it’s not uncommon for an anorak to feature one or two side zippers that widen its entry point.

The term “smock” is sometimes used interchangeably with anorak, though a smock doesn’t necessarily need to include a hood nor any type of mid-length opening at the chest. An emphasis on weather-proof fabrics is also an important distinction: a hooded pullover fleece jacket, even with a mid-length zip front and cozy deep-pile sherpa fuzz, is not an anorak, though many other winter coats and jackets might be.

Why Is it Called an Anorak Jacket?

The name “anorak” has roots with the native dress of Inuit people—it was whalers visiting Greenland’s coasts who took the Inuktitut word annuraaq, referring to hooded pullover coats traditionally made from fur and sealskin, and phonetically transformed it into the word anorak.

What Are the Benefits of an Anorak Jacket?

An anorak’s primary benefit is the lack of a full-length zipper or fasteners of any sort, which reduces opportunities for wind and weather to enter the jacket. Many anorak rain jackets are made from waterproof materials like Gore-Tex or waxed cotton, further enhancing their inherent weather resistance. Another benefit for thru-hikers and ultralight backpackers, is that a partial zipper shaves grams from a base weight item that may only see use in extreme weather conditions or emergencies.

Field Mag’s Top Picks

The 13 Best Anorak Jackets of 2023

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