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Best 3-1 Jacket
The North Face Carto Triclimate Jacket
The NF’s Carto Triclimate jacket earns our best overall winner spot primarily because it pays attention to all of the little insulation details that make it perfect regardless of the layering you require. In terms of the base insulation, this model is not the thickest but still offers a robust 100 g Heatseeker layer.
The base insulation is more impressive because it complements the 100 g body insulation with a 60 g sleeve insulation– the thickest sleeve insulation advertised. While not down, the Carto jacket uses high-end PrimaLoft synthetic insulation.
Outside of the base insulation, the other layers are no slouch either with the nylon outer shell layer providing 116 g/m² and the outer lining reinforcing with 68 g/m². As if that were not enough, this models’s inner jacket also provides 72 g/m² of fabric, altogether providing more warmth than any other product we came across.
One of the more surprising aspects of this arrangement is that the Carto jacket is also exceptionally light, tipping the scales at only 32 oz. To top it all off, this product also happens to be one of the most durable with the outer shell using a 75D x 75D weave and the inner jacket using a 50D x 50D weave.
Bottom Line: If you want a winter 3-in-1 jacket that will keep you warm regardless of the conditions, the Carto jacket offers more total grams of insulation than any other entry on our list.
If you like a little versatility in your mid & shell layers, then consider out top pick for the title of the Best 3-in-1 Jacket.
Last Updated: August 17, 2020
Looking for awesome 3in-1 jackets?
You’re in the right place! In this guide, we will be covering the following:
Identify the most important features in choosing a new coat
Reviews of seven of the best 3-in-1 jackets on the market
Our unbiased #1 pick for the best 3 in 1 jacket.
Whether hiking in the winter, spending some time on the slopes, or camping out in cooler climates, it is crucial to make sure that you have the gear to help keep you warm and toasty. That said, the weather can change at the drop of a hat, or you may generate plenty of heat on your own.
In this instance, a standard jacket may not be the best choice as it can be challenging to adjust your various layers without dealing with biting cold. Of course, neither of these concerns is an issue for a 3-in-1 jacket that allows you to quickly change the layers to best suit your body needs at the time.
This is why we put together a list of the Best 3 in 1 jacket reviews of 2020, highlighting what each jacket does best. We also provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can figure out which features are necessary and which ones simply might add a bit of convenience to your next excursion.
A 3-in-1 winter jacket can arguably be described as two separate jackets that feature a design that allows you to combine them. The 3-in-1 moniker might be a bit of a misnomer to those on the outside as this type of jacket only provides you with two different layers – an inner jacket and an outer shell jacket that can be worn in multiple arrangements.
It is worth noting that the 3-in-1 designation also does not refer to the same kind of layers as other jacket types, with many jackets in this category actually having 4 or 5 layers between the outer shell and inner jacket combined.
Advantages of 3-in-1 Jackets
The main advantage of 3-in-1 jackets is that you can adjust which layers you wear to get the proper amount of insulation, warmth, and weather protection often able to adjust on the fly quickly. If you need plenty of insulation while experiencing rain then, wearing the shell jacket and inner jacket simultaneously will usually do the trick.
Of course, if the weather is only mild or slightly cold, you can just wear the inner jacket that often functions similarly to a light fleece jacket. Finally, if you need just the barest amount of insulation or even only something to help protect against the rain, the outer shell jacket is perfect on its own.
Things to Consider When Finding the Right 3-in-1 Winter Jacket
Weather resistance technically refers to a product’s ability to resist both wind and water, though most people tend to focus on the latter. Wind resistance often comes down to some of the extra features covered later, as well as the weave of the fabrics used for both layers with tighter weaves protecting better against the wind.
On the other hand, water resistance employs numerous different techniques, though the most common include a DWR treatment and special fabrics or weaves. While it can be challenging to gauge relative water-resistance between two 3-in-1 jackets, the hydrostatic rating given in mm can help.
Given that the jacket allows you to customize the level of warmth provided for a given situation, it can be tricky to compare. For example, you generally rate the warmth of a jacket with grams(g), but each layer will provide its own rate of warmth with many jackets, also including dedicated insulation layers.
Unlike other types of multi-layered jackets, not all 3-in-1 jackets include a fill and those that do favor synthetic insulation instead. Another aspect to consider is that many 3-in-1 jackets provide the bulk of its insulation at the inner jacket with the outer shell jacket often thinner.
The durability of any jacket tends to come down to the materials used, the weight of those materials, and the weaves applied– if they are special or uncommon. The most common materials used for most 3-in-1 jackets are nylon and polyester, with nylon being a bit more naturally durable and polyester a bit more naturally water-repellent.
Regardless of the material used, another important factor is the weight of the material, often rated in deniers(D) or Tex(T). Another aspect to consider is the type of weave used, though few brands provide this information unless it is exceptional.
While not necessarily the most critical part of a jacket for functionality, hand pockets are some of the most convenient extra features. Aside from the fact that they allow you to keep your hands warmer, they also allow you to stow away other gear– like your smartphone. Two things to look for are chest pockets as well as hand pockets for both the inner and outer shell layers.
Adjustable Hood, Cuff, and Drawcords
Aside from an adjustable hood, this group of features could arguably be considered part of the warmth quality, given that they allow you to tighten the jacket’s openings to prevent cold air from getting in. With the hood, a couple of things to consider is whether it is adjustable, removable, or helmet-compatible.
The Best 3 in 1 Jackets Reviewed
North Face Carto Triclimate Jacket
Warmest 3-in-1 Jacket
The Carto jacket jumps off our list with an impressive set of features that center on it, providing warmth for any cold level. However, this product is not merely a one-trick pony and protects you from the elements with each layer coated in DWR– though the exact hydrostatic rating is not given.
Regardless, the sheer insulation of the Carto jacket towers above the rest of the options on our list with a total of anywhere between 316 to 356 g of protection. This ranges anywhere from 50 g to 100 g more insulation than the next closest competitor.
It also does not hurt that this model is one of the more durable we encountered with the outer shell being made of 75D x 75D DryVent nylon and the inner made of 50D x 50D polyester. Outside of the material specs, the Carto jacket also comes with plenty of chest & hand pockets, both on the inner jacket as well as the outer shell jacket.
Has a dual DWR finish
Made of 75D/50D materials
Has 100g/60g insulation
Has plenty of extra features
Is more expensive
Not the best fit
Bottom-Line: The Carto jacket provides arguably the best insulation we encountered with every layer made of thick, luxurious fabric and one of the few options we found with solid sleeve insulation.
Columbia may not always be known for high-end gear, but the Eager Air Interchange bucks that trend while keeping with its focus on budget-friendly consumer-grade pricing. A great example of this is the outer shell jacket made of durable Hydra Cloth 3000 210T nylon with a nylon taffeta lining and taped seams.
While the inner jacket may not boast the same degree of durability, it more than compensates with a 250 g polyester MTR Filament insulation. The Columbia Eager Air Interchange is another entry that does not provide specific hydrostatic stats, but it does use Columbia’s OmniShield DWR waterproofing.
One thing to consider is that though this product may offer thick and warm insulation, that does not extend to the sleeves, which are a bit thin by comparison. On the other hand, this is one of the few jackets we encountered with a adjustable hood and further fortifies against the cold with a drop tail design.
Has a 210T nylon shell
Has 250g insulation
Has OmniShield waterproofing
Is less expensive
Sleeves are not the warmest
Size runs small
Bottom-Line: The Columbia Eager Air Interchange is an incredibly inexpensive model that pairs a durable 210T nylon outer shell with an impressive 250 g polyester inner jacket and numerous extra features.
The Patagonia Snowshot is one of a few jackets on our list that almost earned the overall winner spot, though some of the features that specialize this jacket come at the expense of general specs. Still, that does not change the fact that this might be the best 3-in-1 ski jacket that we found.
One of the most significant features to aid the Patagonia Snowshot in this endeavor is the included powder skirt, though it only connects to Patagonia ski pants. However, the powder skirt finds further enhancement with a removable hood that is also adjustable and helmet-compatible.
Keep in mind that the Patagonia Snowshot’s general specs are still great with 111 g/m², comprising a 59 g/m² outer shell and 52 g/m² inner jacket. To top it all off, this model also includes 60 g Thermogreen thermal reflective insulation, not to mention the outer shell employs a durable 75D weave.
Has a 75D polyester shell
Has pit zip vents
Has ski-specific features
Has solid DWR waterproofing
Is more expensive
Is a heavier jacket
Bottom-Line: The Patagonia Snowshot combines an exceptionally impressive range of specs from durable and thick materials, decent insulation, and dependable waterproofing with unique skiing extra features.
The Jack Wolfskin Iceland is the last entry on our list that almost earned the overall winner spot, this time due to a focus on protecting you from all of the elements. Specifically, this 3-in-1 jacket ties for the top spot on our list with an impressive 10000 mm hydrostatic waterproof rating.
The Jack Wolfskin Iceland further complements this impressive waterproofing with a 6000 mm breathability rating that is good for second place. Keep in mind that this jacket still provides excellent insulation thanks to a 200 g soft Nanuk fleece inner jacket and three separate linings, leading the company to refer to it as a 5-layer jacket.
While the linings are not always sufficient to genuinely increase the layer designation, they all either add a bit more insulation or comfort to the jacket. One thing to keep in mind is that the Jack Wolfskin Iceland is one of the heaviest options we reviewed, coming in at a substantial 41 oz.
Shell made of Texapore TASLAN
Has a 200g Nanuk fleece inner jacket
Highly water-resistant 10k mm HH
Has a 6k mm breathability rating
Is more expensive
IS a heavier jacket
Bottom-Line: The Jack Wolfskin Iceland tops our list with reported waterproofing while also providing a thick and comfortable layer of insulation and plenty of additional extra features.
Under Armor may be better known for its athletic gear, but the Sienna may very well change that perception as this entry can handle almost anything mother nature dishes out. For starters, this model ties our list for the best hydrostatic waterproof rating at 10000 mm thanks to a UA Storm outer shell with a DWR finish.
Keeping true to its athletic wear roots, the Under Armor Sienna also provides the best breathability rating on our list at 10000 g over 24 hours. Similarly, following the athletic wear trend, this model will not wear you down as it only weighs 23 ½ oz total, with 9.52 oz (or 270 g) coming from the polyester insulation.
Unfortunately, that is about as impressive as the insulation gets, and the Under Armor Sienna is not one of the warmer jackets we saw. Still, when you consider how inexpensive this product is, it might not merely be the best budget option but potentially the best women’s 3-in1 jacket altogether.
Has many extra features
Water-resistant to 10k mm HH
Has a 10k mm breathability rating
Is less expensive
Zipper can be tricker
Not the warmest
Bottom-Line: The Under Armour Sienna is an extremely inexpensive women’s jacket that can match waterproof and breathability ratings with the best of them while still offering a bevy of extra features.
The Under Armor Porter can be seen as the men’s model, though specific information regarding certain aspects remains elusive. That said, this product comes with all of the goodies as other Under Armor jackets, including a bevy of pockets for both layers.
It is worth noting that the Under Armor Porter boasts the same materials as other Under Armor jackets like a UA Storm polyester shell with a DWR treatment. This jacket similarly provides an Extreme ColdGear outer shell lining as well as a ColdGear Infrared inner lining.
Unfortunately, these features do not seem to prevent the Under Armor Porter from falling into the same trap of not being warm enough for some colder climates– even with fully-sealed seams and a drop tail design. On top of that, this comes with a MagZip closure that, while effective, can be a bit tricky.
Has many extra features
Has ColdGear technology
Only weighs 32 oz
Is less expensive
Zipper can be tricky
Not the warmest
Bottom-Line: The Under Armour Porter is an inexpensive men’s jacket that is also surprisingly lightweight while still providing a substantial range of extra features and Under Armor’s ColdGear technology.
North Face makes another appearance on our list, but it should not be confused with the Sansa Down Delux, which would otherwise be the best women’s 3-in-1 ski jacket. Instead, The North Face Women’s SANSA seeks to replicate some of the other Triclimate line’s success.
In fairness, one of the best qualities of this jacket is that it only weighs 24 oz, which allows you to wear it casually or while on an outdoor excursion. While no specific stats are given, the Women’s SANSA employs the company’s famous DryVent nylon shell.
Though it is not loaded with extra features like some of its competition, this product still provides fully-taped seams, an adjustable, fixed hood, and an adjustable hem. That said, the adjustable hem may only help so much as one of this model’s issues is that it is a bit short.
Has a DryVent nylon shell
Only weighs 24 oz
Has some extra features
Is less expensive
Is a bit short
Bottom-Line: North Face SANSA is an inexpensive option that may not necessarily have all of the bells and whistles as some of its competitors but is lightweight and provides adequate function.