The Best Jacket for Scotland & Ireland

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by Maggie Turansky

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Though they welcome millions of foreign visitors each year, Scotland and Ireland are not known for their great weather, making finding the best jacket for Scotland and Ireland an absolute necessity when you are planning your trip.

While mapping out your itinerary or figuring out what to see can seem far more appealing, ensuring that you have the right gear to wear in Scotland and Ireland to help you stay warm and dry in the variable weather is also of paramount importance.

If you’re wondering what the best warm and waterproof jacket for Ireland or Scotland is, this detailed guide will tell you our top recommendations along with what to look for depending on the season.

Want a quick answer? – My choice for the best jacket is The North Face Antora Jacket. It is available in men’s and can also be found on REI in women’s here or on REI in men’s here.

Jacket for Scotland and Ireland Comparison

North Face Antora Jacket
THE NORTH FACE Antora Parka Womens Jacket Skylight Blue Sz M
Best Overall Choice
Type: Waterproof Rain Jacket
Sex: Male/Female
Season: All
Check on Amazon (Women’s)

Check on Amazon (Men’s)

Check on REI (Women’s)

Check on REI (Men’s)
Columbia Men’s Glennaker Jacket
Columbia Men's Glennaker Lake Rain Jacket, Mountain Red/Graphite, XX-Large
Alternative Choice for Men
Type: Waterproof Rain Jacket
Sex: Male
Season: All
Check on Amazon

Check on Columbia
Columbia Women’s Arcadia II
Columbia Women's Arcadia II Jacket, Black, X-Small
Alternative Choice for Women
Type: Waterproof Rain Jacket
Sex: Female
Season: All
Check on Amazon

Check on REI

Check on Columbia
Charles River Pull-Over Rain Jacket
Charles River Apparel Classic Windbreaker Pullover Hooded Jacket, Orange, 3XL
Best Pullover Jacket
Type: Waterproof Rain Jacket
Sex: Unisex
Season: All
Check on Amazon
Baleaf Packable Rain Jacket
BALEAF Men's Light Running Hiking Rain Jacket Waterproof with Hood Windbreaker Pullover Coats Hoodie Packable Black Size M
Best Budget Choice
Type: Waterproof Rain Jacket
Sex: Unisex
Season: All
Check on Amazon
Wantdo Ultra-light Down Jacket
Wantdo Women's Hooded Packable Ultra Light Weight Short Down Jacket Black 2XL
Best Down Jacket
Type: Waterproof Down Jacket
Sex: Male/Female
Season: Summer
Check on Amazon (Women’s)

Check on Amazon (Men’s)
North Face Gotham Jacket
The North Face Women's Gotham Insulated Jacket, Meld Grey/Shine, Medium
Best Down Coat
Type: Waterproof Down Jacket
Sex : Male/Female
Season: Winter
Check on Amazon (Women’s)

Check on Amazon (Men’s)

Check on REI (Women’s)

Scotland & Ireland Weather

If there is one thing that everyone knows about the weather in Ireland and Scotland it’s that it can be very very rainy!

No matter what season you plan to visit these beautiful countries, you should always be prepared for at least a little bit of a daily drizzle, even if the day begins with brilliant sunshine. Despite this, there are still some to visit that are better than others when it comes to the weather.

If you plan to visit Scotland or Ireland in the summer months between June and August, you can expect to have the most sunshine and the longest days.

The weather will be a lot warmer than in other seasons, however, you will definitely still get a significant amount of rain so you will need to make sure that you are adequately equipped with a waterproof jacket, a good umbrella, and some walking shoes or hiking boots that will keep your feet warm and dry.

It is unlikely that you will need a particularly warm jacket if you’re travelling to Ireland or Scotland in the summer, however, you should make sure what you bring is enough to keep you toasty on some chilly days, especially if you are planning on visiting the Scottish highlands or islands of Scotland, where high temperatures in the warmest months rarely soar above 16°C (60°F).

Rainy Day on the Scottish Islands
Rainy Day on the Scottish Islands

Finding something windproof is also a very good idea because even if it is not raining, the high winds in Scotland and Ireland (even in cities like Glasgow, Edinburgh or Dublin) have the tendency to whip right through your clothes and can make you very chilly indeed.

If you plan to travel in late autumn or in the winter months, you will need a proper winter coat, as the weather in Scotland and Ireland does get quite cold (temperatures will hover around freezing, with chances of a lot of bad weather including snow and freezing rain).

Winters in Ireland and Scotland are very wet, meaning that your warm winter coat will also very much need to have water-resistant capabilities to ensure that it will keep you dry as well as warm! This is especially essential if you plan on doing a lot of outdoor activities.

Springtime can also stay chilly well into June, meaning that you will need to bring a warmer jacket with you for this season, as well, however, it is unlikely that you will need a full winter coat if you’re visiting between the months of late March, April and May.

No matter what season you are travelling, it is important to remember that layers will always be key in keeping your body temperatures regulated.

You can easily experience four seasons in a day in Ireland and Scotland (including the rare sunny day!) and the only way to be adequately prepared for this is by wearing many layers including a sweater as well as a scarf, gloves and beanie that you can peel off or add onto if necessary to keep you warm.

Hiking near Loch Lomond in Scotland
Hiking near Loch Lomond in Scotland

What to Look For in Jackets

Now that you’re aware of the general weather conditions in Scotland and Ireland, it’s time to figure out what exactly to look for when purchasing your ideal jacket for Ireland or Scotland.

As mentioned briefly above, the most important thing to look for is its water-resistance capabilities.

Because of both countries’ tendency for wet weather, you are absolutely going to need a jacket that is going to keep you as dry as possible. It can also behove you to find a rain jacket with a hood — especially if you don’t want to be at the mercy of a faulty umbrella.

Windproofing is also something that is pretty important when searching for outerwear for your trip. Both countries can get very windy, especially if you are in the plains or on the coast and it can make you very cold indeed if you’re not adequately equipped to handle it.

Finding something that is lightweight and packable is also a really good idea, especially if you’re planning on travelling light or taking a carry-on only.

Bulky coats and jackets can take up a ton of valuable space in your luggage and it really isn’t necessary in this day and age considering all of the packable options available on the market.

Road on Achill Island
Achill Island in Ireland

Best Jackets for Scotland & Ireland

For the most part, unless you’re travelling in the height of winter, you are going to want a rain jacket or raincoat rather than a heavy winter coat.

No matter the season, if you put a few layers beneath a waterproof and windproof jacket (such as a North Face fleece!) and even an ultralight down jacket, you can keep as warm as you’ll need to be even on the chilliest of days.

North Face Antora – Best Overall Choice

The North Face Antora (also available in a men’s version) is easily our overall choice when it comes to finding the best rain jacket for your trip to Scotland or Ireland.

It is the jacket style that we both personally use and has withstood a number of years of wear and tear in some extreme climates (not only in Ireland and Scotland, but it has kept us warm and toasty in Iceland as well!).

This breathable, lightweight jacket is equipped with advanced water-resistant technology, several pockets and it is also fully windproof.

It is also roomy enough to be able to put multiple layers underneath it when outdoors for long periods or going for a hike while being light and breathable enough to wear on its own during a warm summer rainstorm.

The North Face Antora can also pack down very small so it will take up minimal space in your luggage or day pack. It comes in both men’s and women’s versions and also has many different colour options.

It is also available at REI in women’s here or at REI in men’s here.

THE NORTH FACE Antora Parka Womens Jacket Skylight Blue Sz M

Columbia Glennaker & Arcadia II – Alternative Overall Choice

Sharing similar attributes to the North Face Antora listed above, the Columbia Glennaker (also available direct from Columbia here) is an excellent choice for a men’s raincoat and the Arcadia II (also available on REI here or direct from Columbia here) is a fantastic women’s option.

Both made from a durable and lightweight material, the Glannaker and Arcadia are suitable for the rainy weather and wind you’ll encounter in these countries.

It comes equipped with a hideable hood, so you don’t have to worry about it getting in the way you’re not wearing it. They are also very breathable, meaning that they won’t make you sweat underneath.

Like the North Face option, these jackets are also well-suited for carry-on only travellers as they pack down small and can be easily thrown into a day pack or small backpack.

Columbia Women's Arcadia II Jacket, Black, X-Small

Charles River Pull-Over Jacket – Best Pullover Jacket

The Charles River Pull-Over is an excellent budget packable option for those on the hunt for the best jacket to add to their packing list for Scotland or Ireland.

This unisex jacket is lined with cosy flannel, ensuring that you will stay warm as well as dry. It is both completely waterproof and windproof and it is also roomy enough for you to be able to put a number of layers on underneath, to ensure you are nice and warm on cold days.

The Charles River Pull-Over comes in a range of colours and sizes, however, it is recommended that women purchase a size smaller than they normally would as it is a unisex item and does tend to run large.

That being said, this is a good raincoat when you visit the British Isles and it is sure to keep you bone dry on even the rainiest of days.

Charles River Apparel Classic Windbreaker Pullover Hooded Jacket, Orange, 3XL

Baleaf Packable Jacket – Best Budget Choice

If you are looking for an economical addition to your trip’s wardrobe that will also take up the least luggage space, then the unisex Baleaf Packable Jacket is a perfect choice for you!

This is the least durable of the options I’ve included in this list, however, it is a very good option if you are travelling carry-on only and want to take up the least amount of space in your bag as possible.

It is waterproof and windproof, however, reviews do state that it isn’t super breathable and can cause you to sweat more than the others. However, this may not be an issue if you want to trap in some warmth if it’s chilly outside!

All in all, if you want a super small, lightweight, and packable option, then the Baleaf Packable Jacket is a great choice for you!

BALEAF Men's Light Running Hiking Rain Jacket Waterproof with Hood Windbreaker Pullover Coats Hoodie Packable Black Size M

Wantdo Ultra-Light Down Jacket – Best Down Jacket

Along with a rain jacket, you really can’t go wrong with bringing the Wantdo Ultralight Down Jacket (also available in a men’s version here) with you on your trip to Scotland and Ireland no matter the season.

This jacket is incredibly lightweight and packs down into a compression sack so it will take up minimal space in your luggage or day pack while also not weighing it down.

The breathable down interior means that it can help keep warmth in and makes it ideal for everything from mildly chilly temperatures or as a base layer for days closer to freezing.

No matter where you plan to travel, we include an ultralight down jacket on every packing list and the Wantdo Ultralight Down Jacket is a fantastic choice!

wantdo Men's Light Down Jacket Lightweight Bubble Coat for Travel (Navy, Medium)

North Face Gotham – Best Down Coat

If you’re travelling to Scotland or Ireland in the middle of winter, especially during the months of December, January, or February, you might want to have a coat that is a little bit heavier than the others listed above, which is why we recommend the North Face Gotham (a men’s version is available here).

Available in both men’s and women’s styles, this ultra-warm, waterproof, and windproof coat will ensure that you stay as warm as you possibly could be even if you’re spending hours at a time outside.

Its water-resistant capabilities guarantee that you will be dry as well as warm if you’re caught in the middle of freezing rain or a snowstorm.

A women’s version of this jacket is available on REI here.

The North Face Women's Gotham Insulated Jacket, Summit Navy, Small

Finding the best jacket for your trip can be a daunting task when you consider all of the options out there. Just keep in mind that it’s important to find outerwear that will keep you dry and warm no matter what the Irish or Scottish weather will throw at you.

Are you wondering which coat to pack for Scotland or Ireland? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!

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Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie

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