Autumn can mean many things: relief from summer’s heat and the constant application of sun cream to resistance kids, the chance to kick through piles of auburn leaves and the start of a new school year. But it’s also kind of tricky to dress for.

You need outerwear, certainly, but anything too thick and bulky will leave little ones feeling cumbersome and too hot by far.

A good jacket is what everyone needs for this transitional time when we are waving goodbye to summer but still waiting for winter’s chill.

In this round-up we have selected pieces which are light, easy to move in and offer less intense insulation than a winter coat should.

We have included gilets, rain macs and bomber jackets among others. In almost every instance we have considered the ease with which the jacket might be layered up from beneath with polo necks or thicker jumpers.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Next hooded fleece lined jacket: From £22, Next

Imagine a jacket which looks catwalk cool but feels like a new dressing gown. You don’t need to because that is exactly what this mustard polka-dot beauty is. The fleece lining is not only on the arms, cuffs and body, but also inside the hood and the pockets.

The whole garment screams cosy, which is genuinely what our three-year-old tester did when she put it on for the first time. It fits beautifully but with room for layering underneath. Pair with jeans and little leather boots and you’ve got one heck of an autumn vibe.

Buy now

JoJo Maman Bebe printed fleece-lined fisherman’s jacket: £42, JoJo Maman Bebe

Have you ever seen anything more joyful than this rainbow print fisherman’s jacket? There’s something especially cheering about bright colours on clothes which are designed for rain. Made from polyester but with a PU coating, the texture is really rubbery and soft – it feels lovely.

This is weightier than a standard raincoat because of the plush fleece lining. It is completely waterproof, with firmly reinforced seams and Velcro flaps to add extra insulation. It is also machine washable – which is music to our ears.

Buy now

My 1st Years raincoat: £35, My 1st Years

There are few things cuter than an infant in a bright yellow raincoat. This version can be personalised with your little one’s name on the left breast panel – which will ensure it never gets lost. The material is tactile and robust while managing to be lightweight. With a roomy hood, this is wind and rain proof.

This coat was true to size, but given it is unlined, we advise going up a size so that it can be worn with a thick woolly jumper underneath if necessary. Available for children aged six months to four years – and also in a navy blue for a subtler look.

Buy now

Hunter original little kids lightweight rubberised jacket: £75, Hunter

This offering from Hunter comes in a range of colours but we plumped for the red – a bright, jolly statement. It is totally waterproof, thanks to neatly welded seams and a roomy hood.

However, it’s not heavy or cumbersome and there are plenty of ventilation holes to keep little ones from getting clammy. This is a really well-made piece – one that will go the distance and no doubt serve as a hand-me-down a couple of times over.

Buy now

Frugi explorer gilet: £35, Frugi

Warm body, free arms: It’s no wonder gilets are such a hit with energetic youngsters. This natty little number is bright, cosy, organic – and best of all, reversible. We found this true to size and a brilliant choice of outerwear for autumn – keeping the chill out without feeling heavy or hot.

Best of all, it can be layered from beneath with long sleeved tees or jumpers but also, it will serve as extra insulation when winter comes along with inevitable cold snaps. Our three-year-old tester described it as “so squashy” which is a compliment – no child can get on board with rigid clothes. And she was right, it is soft and squashy. If pink is not your favourite hue, there are other colourways to choose from.

Buy now

Gap bomber jacket: £22.48, Gap

Llamas are still having a moment and children are absolutely here for it, so this silky bomber jacket is bang on trend. This is not going to shield little ones from an excess of inclement weather but it is the perfect outerwear for sunny autumn days.

Our four-year-old practically levitated when she saw this – it fits like a dream and brings some sass to any outfit. This is, however for younger children only – for one to five-year-olds.

Buy now

Joules waterproof coat: From £49.95, Joules

For children aged between three and 12-years-old, this is really lovely piece. Classic, practical and smart – there’s a lot of versatility here. It fastens with both zip and buttons and there is the option to match with mum.

The fabric is both breathable and waterproof thanks to critically taped seams. It is also warm with a polar fleece lining. Our seven-year-old tester said she felt “grown up” and “comfy” and we think this just about sums it up.

Buy now

Velveteen varsity jacket: From £109, Alex & Alexa

Yes, this is on the pricier side but would you take a look at how awesome this jacket by Velveteen is? It’s made from a medium thickness knit which is soft to the touch. This is the perfect outerwear for autumn in that is keeps chills at bay but wearers aren’t going to feel hot and bothered. Our tester looked really cool in this. The only downside is that it’s hand wash only.

Buy now

Barbour Liddesdale quilted jacket: From £41.62, Country Attire

What was once the preserve of country-dwelling chaps has become a staple for wardrobes both rural and urban; for grown-ups and their offspring. The Liddesdale jacket is quilted, cosy, soft and light, which is exactly what your youngster needs in the gap between summer.

It will come into its own in all sorts of locations from muddy fields and farm yards to lunches out and the theatre. We love how light this feels. Yes, Barbour is not for anyone with a tight budget, but the quality of every detail – from the fabric to the press-stud poppers – ensure that this jacket is built to last.

Buy now

The verdict: Kids’ jackets for autumn

For something trendy, cosy and cute we think the Next hooded jacket is perfect for autumn. However, if you insist on something waterproof JoJo’s rainbow fisherman jacket is the one. 

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.