The Best Rain Jackets Fully Reviewed

Not many people plan to go outside for a hike, walk or run in the rain, but often you may be caught outside in a downpour nonetheless. Being outside and wet can make the difference between life and death if it’s cold, and even if it is not cold enough for hypothermia, it is still unpleasant, and just maybe your Mum was right and you might just catch pneumonia. But since Charles Macintosh discovered how to bond rubber to a fabric in the 1830s there has been no need to be wet in the rain. After all, that’s what a great rain jacket is for, and you can find a high-quality rain jacket to keep you going strong in the great outdoors during every season of the year. With a solid rain jacket, you won’t have to worry about giving up your favorite outdoor activities during the winter or when the weather turns against you—and of course, if you love your outdoor activities, you’ll love the remedy that a good rain jacket offers.

However, rainproof material and jackets have come a long way since the 1800s and the bright yellow rain Macintosh, and breathable waterproof fabrics are now widely available. And believe me, unless you are planning to just stand or sit still in the rain, intending to walk, run or do any kind of activity, you’ll want a breathable fabric. Otherwise, with a non-breathable waterproof the rain will be kept out but your sweat will be kept in and you will end up just as wet as if you wasn’t wearing a rain jacket in the first place

There are so many great options for rain jackets on the market today, it can be difficult to find the time to research the information about them so that you make the best selection. So, to help save you some time, we’ve done the research for you and comprised a list of the ten best rain jackets you’ll find available for purchase today. Also, we’ll cover some criteria points you’ll want to evaluate to help you make your decision. That way, you can make your selection and wide up with the best rain jacket to match your needs.

Below, you’ll find our guide to the best rain jackets available today, starting with a popular option from Patagonia. Let’s dive in!

Our Top 3 Picks

Patagonia Cloud Ridge
  • Patagonia Cloud Ridge
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Durable & reliable
  • Price: See Here
Mammut Kento HS
  • Mammut Kento HS
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Excellent featureset
  • Price: See Here
Arc’Teryx Beta SL Hybrid
  • Arc’Teryx Beta SL Hybrid
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight and effective
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Rain Jackets

Arc’Teryx Beta SL Hybrid

The Arc’Teryx Beta SL Hybrid jacket provides you with the option of purchasing a high-quality jacket that is built with two layers to protect you from both the rain and the wind. Even with all of that waterproof protection on this jacket, this jacket is still very breathable, which makes it very comfortable. Also, if you are looking for a functional jacket that is also very fashionable, then you’ll love what this jacket has to offer, since it’s a combination of everything.
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Material: Gore-Tex

Layers: 3 Layer

Weight: 349 grams

Mesh or air vents: Pit zip vents.

Adjustable hood or storm hood: Storm hood and helmet compatible

Pockets: 2 pockets
Materials: Made from two different types of Gore-Tex fabrics this jacket hopes to maximize the performance in heavy and driving rain conditions whilst still allowing for good breathability and minimum weight. It’s very waterproof, and the Gore-Tex technology designed into this jacket is some of the best materials you’ll find on the market. Plus, the extra layers offer you a lot more protection when you find yourself caught outside in the rain.
Style: The overall appearance of this jacket is pleasing and it certainly looks the part and looks very waterproof. Well, it is as good as it looks. It is available in a range of colors from grays to bright reds, blues, and yellows. If you want something that is both functional and fashionable to help you out in the cold weather, this jacket is a good choice for you.
Features: The helmet compatible storm hood is a great feature, which with its adjustable cinch cords which can adjust the brim and lower hood, so that even in high winds this hood will not be blown off. The laminated brim will keep rain from dripping into your face, unless of course, the wind is blowing the rain into your face, then nothing short of a full face guard will keep your face dry. The Jacket is lightweight, waterproof and windproof but breathable and durable.
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Multiple colors available
  • Packs small
  • Durable
  • Taped seams
Cons
  • No storm flap over zips
  • Pockets not as waterproof as the rest of the jacket

Mammut Kento HS

The Mammut Kento HS Jacket offers you a great option if you want a great rain jacket that is stylish and provides you with a lot of weather protection. Designed from high-quality materials and featuring 2.4 layers of waterproof protection, you’ll be safe from any incremental that might otherwise deter you from staying active while you are outside. Plus, the jacket is also very comfortable and breathable, so you’ll never have to worry about overheating anytime you wear it. You’ll love all of the benefits this great jacket can provide you with.
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Material: Polyurethane Membrane

Layers: 2.4 Layer

Weight: 400 grams

Mesh or air vents: Underarm vents

Adjustable hood or storm hood: Adjustable

Pockets: 3 pockets
Material: This jacket is designed for high alpine terrain weather protection. The use of breathable material will keep you dry and enable you to regulate your temperature. And if it gets too hot you have the option to unzip the underarm vents to allow air circulation. The material is comprised out of Polyurethane Membrane and features 2.4 layers of waterproof protection, so you’ll always be protected from the elements anytime you use this high-quality jacket.
Style: The jacket is rated to 20,000 mm so it is incredibly waterproof, also it looks quite stylish and available is 6 colors. The 3 pockets are all positioned so that they can be accessed even when wearing a pack. This jacket provides you with the opportunity to get a very functional jacket that is also very fashionable, and you’ll love wearing it anytime you decide to be active in the great outdoors.
Features: The hood is helmet compatible and tailored to be adjustable, so that it will fit snug and the hood shield is reinforced to withstand even the strongest winds. The sleeves also have adjustable cuffs with easy to use Velcro type fasteners. You’ll be able to easily organize your important items with this jacket’s pockets, and you should be able to easily carry everything you need along with you at anytime.
Pros
  • 3 pack accessible pockets
  • Helmet compatible hood
  • 6 colors to choose from
  • waist draw cord
Cons
  • No stuff sack

Rab Muztag

The Rab Muztag jacket is an excellent, breathable jacket that’s comprised out of high-quality materials and offers ample waterproof and weather protection. With three full layers of waterproof protection, you’ll always be safe anytime the weather takes a turn while you are outside. Also, you’ll love how fashionable the jacket looks and how comfortable it feels whenever you wear it outside. If you want a jacket that can do it all, this jacket provides you with a great option.
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Material: eVent

Layers: 3 Layer

Weight: 340 grams

Mesh or air vents: No

Adjustable hood or storm hood: Adjustable

Pockets: 2 pockets
Materials: This jacket from Rab is an extremely lightweight, waterproof and breathable. It was designed for adventure racing and mountain marathons so it has to be light, but that said it is still just as useful for day hiking or backpack adventure. This jacket comes with 3 layers of waterproof protection, so you’ll always be well-protected from the elements each time you venture into the great outdoors. Also, the eVent material in this jacket means it offers great ventilation, and is designed to be highly breathable.
Style: It is available in 3 colors, which might not give you much choice, but the zippers and draw cords have been color coordinated to give the jacket an attractive appearance. The jacket offers you both function and fashion, and if you are concerned about getting both of these things from a jacket, then you shouldn’t need to look any further here. The jacket will always give you a stylish appearance, and you’ll love wearing it each time you put it on.
Features: The hood is helmet compatible and adjustable with a wired peak to enable you to adjust the hood shape to best protect from driving rain. The Zippers as well as being waterproof zippers also have an internal storm flap for extra waterproofing protection. The cuff is adjusted with Velcro and easy to adjust with one hand. The many features of this jacket gives you a lot of options for bringing your items along with you, and zipping them in for full waterproof protection.
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Colour coordinated zippers and cords
  • Storm flaps to protect the waterproof zippers
  • Packs small
  • Durable
Cons
  • Not too many colors options
  • No underarm vent
  • No extra vents

Berghaus Arran

Berghaus Arran
The Berghaus Arran provides you an excellent option in durable, high-quality jackets that offer a lot of weather protection. While this jacket runs on the heavy side, it offers a lot of fashion and functionality combined into one design. You’ll also get an adjustable hood and four pockets, so you’ll have plenty of areas to store your important items in and take them along with you anytime you need them.
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Material: Hydroshell Elite Polyurethane membrane

Layers: 2.5 Layers

Weight: 652 grams

Mesh or air vents: No

Adjustable hood or storm hood: Adjustable

Pockets: 4 pockets
Material: The jacket is made from Berghaus Hydro-shell material which is a polyurethane membrane backed fabric with a DWR coating on the surface. The means the jacket is waterproof breathable and more durable than other less flexible membranes You get 2.5 layers of waterproof jacket built-into this jacket, all of which will help keep you warm and dry anytime you are active outside.
Style: The Berghaus Arran Jacket is heavier than all of the other jackets in this guide, and at 652 gram almost double the weight of some. However, the design and look of the jacket mean it looks good if you are shopping in the town center or hiking in the mountains. The wire peaked hood completely rolls away into the collar. Although the jacket is heavy, you’ll get plenty of functionality and fashion with it, and you’ll look good each time you wear it.
Features: The jacket has 4 very usable pockets one of which is inside the jacket and therefore more suitable for items which you need to keep dry, the other pockets two hand warmers and a chest pocket are all zipped and protected with storm flaps. The cuffs are adjusted with Velcro type adjusters and the hem can be adjusted with the hem draw cord. To top it all it comes with Berghaus lifetime guarantee, so you know the manufacturer stands behind this product. That’s a certain sign of a high-quality product that is designed to be durable and long-lasting.
Pros
  • Colour coded with two colors giving it a street fashion feel
  • All zippers have storm flaps
  • Wire peaked hood completely rolls into the collar
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Limited choice of colors
  • No extra air vents
  • No Pit vents

The North Face FuseForm Dot Matrix

The North Face FuseForm Dot Matrix
The North Face’s Fuseform Dot Matric Jacket is engineered with some of the best waterproofing protection around since it is designed with Gore-Tex technology. You get 3 layers of weather protection in this lightweight jacket, and it’s also designed to be very breathable with a lot of ventilation. You’ll get all the comfort you need out of this jacket, and with its adjustable hood, you’ll always be able to keep your head warm and protected.
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Material: Gore-Tex

Layers: 3 Layer

Weight: 350 grams

Mesh or air vents: Pit-zip venting

Adjustable hood or storm hood: Adjustable

Pockets: 3 pockets
Material: The FuseForm looks very waterproof, it has an almost shiny rubbery appearance, which gives you the feeling that it will be very hot once you are wearing it. However, this should not be the case as it has been made with breathable Gore-Tex fabric. This jacket features 3 layers of waterproof protection, so you’ll get a jacket that is very good at protecting you effectively from the elements.
Style: The jacket was designed for climbing and vertical movement, which give the sleeves the reaching movement you need from climbing but with adjustable cuffs to keep water from running down your arms and into the jacket. The seams have been specifically engineered to withstand the extra punishment climbing puts on material regarding stretch and durability. The jacket is fashionable, and also gives you a lot of functionality built-into the design. So, you’ll have a stylish jacket that’s meant to protect you from the weather anytime you are outdoors and it takes a turn for the worse.
Features: The hood is helmet compatible and fully adjustable. The front zipper is made from polyurethane and in its self is waterproof. Available in three colors Navy blue, Urban and Fuse(red), 3 pockets, one chest and two-hand warmers. The breast pocket is accessible when wearing a pack but the two side hand warmer pockets might not be fully accessible when wearing a pack or climbing harness. Also, the jacket comes with an excellent hood that is easy to cinch down if you want extra protection and warmth for your head.
Pros
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Designed for climbing
  • 100% windproof
  • Waterproof Polyurethane pocket zippers
  • Hem cord
Cons
  • Only three color options
  • No extra air vents
  • No pit vents

Outdoor Research Helium II

Outdoor Research Helium II
Outdoor Research’s Helium II Jacket is made to be lightweight and comfortable, offering you 2.5 layers of weather protection so you never have to worry about the wind and rain when you’re outside being active. It features waterproof zippers and an adjustable storm hood, and will help keep you warm and dry anytime it rains outside. Also, the jacket is very stylish, and comes in a wide variety of color options and choices.
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Material: Pertex Shield+ Polyurethane film coating

Layers: 2.5 Layers

Weight: 180 grams

Mesh or air vents: No

Adjustable hood or storm hood: Adjustable

Pockets: 1 pocket
Material: Helium is a good name for this jacket, not just because it is lightweight, but somehow the name just suits the jacket. It is made from Nylon with a Pertex interior laminated coating and DWR outer coating, this keeps the weight extremely low. This jacket features 2.5 layers of waterproof protection, which is an excellent benefit and makes the jacket not only very weather proof, but also very durable.
Style: This jacket is ultra-light weighing around 180 grams that are only slightly heavier than a cell phone. It is available in seven colors. The jacket is fashionable, but probably not as striking in style as some other options on our list. You’ll get a shiny outer layer that is a solid color and attractive, so as long as you are okay with a shiny look, you’ll probably love the style of this jacket.
Features: The zippers are waterproof and the internal pocket doubles as a stuff sack with a loop to clip it to your pack or carabiner. The hood is adjustable but if it is helmet compatible I am not sure. The hem has a drawstring but the cuffs are elasticated, this might allow for water to run inside the jacket when climbing. The overall appearance is shiny and sort of rain Macintosh look to the fabric, but the selection of colors and option of zipper colors will appeal to many.
Pros
  • Ultra lightweight
  • Seven colors to choose from
  • Hem cord
  • Internal pocket is its stuff sack
Cons
  • Elasticated cuffs
  • Hood does not fold away
  • No storm flaps on zippers

The Criteria We Used To Find The Best Rain Jackets

When you are shopping around to purchase one of the best rain jackets that can meet all of your needs, you’ll need to take some time to do some research and analyze some of your choices. To help you understand how to evaluate what each jacket offers so that you make the best decision to fit your needs, you’ll need to consider a few concepts. We’ll cover each one of these concepts in a bit more detail below.

Just remember, when you are trying to find the best rain jacket for you, you’ll need to think about how often you will be wearing it, where you will be wearing it, how much ventilation you need, and how much money you can spend. Also, make sure you understand concepts about the jacket’s materials, features, style, and functionality, because considering all of these ideas can help you make a well-informed selection when you finally decide on what jacket to purchase.

Which fabric is best?

When looking for a rain jacket the most important feature is that it actually keeps you dry from the rain. And although a cheap plastic or rubberized raincoat will do this, it will also keep your sweat inside the jacket. So you need a breathable but also waterproof fabric. Gore-Tex is the oldest and possibly the world leader in breathable waterproof fabrics, but others are available, eVent, Sympatex, MemBrain Strata to name a few, plus the many generics are now available. You also have the choice of laminate or coated fabrics.

All breathable and waterproof fabric work because they prevent or repel water from the outside but also allow perspiration vapor to escape allowing for the body to maintain a good temperature via the evaporation of sweat. To do this the fabric has to have special features on the inside and outside of the fabrics.

The outside of the fabric, the side that will face the elements and rain (or face fabric) will be treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. The purpose of this finish is to cause water to bead and roll off the fabric instead of soaking into the fabric and adding to the weight. Over time this coating may become less effective due to dirt, grease, abrasions. It is advisable to clean these fabrics regularly, and occasionally you may need to re-apply the DWR with a spray on DWR.

The inside of the fabric, the interior will either be coated or laminated. The coating is liquid chemical solutions which have been applied to the inside of the fabric, like painting the wall. Obviously, these coatings are super thin and a lot more flexible than paint.  Laminates are another material, a waterproof and breathable membrane is applied to the fabric wall. Similar to covering your kid’s school books with sticky back plastic or a cell phone screen protector. The laminates are either a stretched PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), or Teflon to use DuPont the paint and chemicals companies brand name, PU (polyurethane) film or Polyester film.

PTFE Membranes

Both Gore-Tex and eVent use a PTFE membrane laminate. PTFE membrane under a very high powered microscope you will see millions of holes, Gore-Tex stated one square centimeter of PTFE membrane has around 1.4 billion holes.

Wait a minute, we are putting a membrane that is literally full of holes on a fabric to make it waterproof, well yes and it works because the holes in the membrane are too small to let liquid water molecules through, but large enough to let water vapor molecules out.

PTFE also has a low surface energy, opposed to water which has a high surface energy, what does that mean, when water hits a PTFE membrane if beads up to form droplets and just runs off, you can try this at home. Pour a small amount of water in a steel cooking pan and the water flattens out, pour a small amount of water in a non-stick frying pan (it has a Teflon coating) you will see the water bead up on the surface, even though gravity is trying to push it flat.

This means that the only ways in which water can penetrate through a PTFE membrane are either the PTFE becomes contaminated or damaged in some way, or the water is pushed at high pressure onto the membrane, in excess of 13psi, even the strongest winds will not produce a pressure greater than 3psi, well unless you happen to be in a hurricane, but if you are, becoming wet will be the least of your worries.

Polyester and Polyurethane Films

Polyurethane and Polyester films as laminates work in a very similar what to PTFE laminates. They have some advantages over PTFE laminates, such as they are usually lighter, they can handle being stretched without damaging and are generally less expensive, however, PTFE membranes are harder wearing and will take more punishment before failing, and PTFE membranes have better breathability.

Coating

A coated fabric is simply a polyurethane coating on the interior of the fabric. This coating can be either waterproof and breathable or waterproof and non-breathable. Coated fabrics are less expensive than laminated, however, it is less breathable and a little heavier than laminated fabrics, and can be affected by contamination, and dirt or detergents which can cause it to start leaking.

Gore-Tex and eVent

Both Gore-Tex and eVent use a PTFE membrane as a laminate, Gore-Tex also applies a very thin polyurethane film as a protective layer on the PTFE to protect it from dirt and other contaminates, eVent doesn’t. Both have many advantages. Both have excellent waterproof performance, both have excellent durability, but eVent has better breathability than Gore-Tex.

Layers

You will see rain jackets stating the layers, 2-layer, 2.5-layer and 3-layer. The layers don’t refer to the insulation value, but how many layers of protection is provided to the jackets membrane or coating.

2 Layer

The membrane is applied to the inside of the jacket fabric, forming a single material. A light and loose jacket liner is added to protect the membrane. This is mainly found in jackets used for general everyday walking around town use.

2-Layers offer good waterproof and breathability, but they are heavier than 2.5-layer and 3-layer, but are usually reasonably priced.

2.5-Layer

This is the lightest way of creating a waterproof and breathable fabric. They take the fabric and apply the membrane to the inside (layer1), then they apply a polyurethane coating is applied to the first layer (layer 2), then a protective print (.5 layer) is placed over the second layer. These are generally not as breathable as other methods but a lot lighter if this is an issue for you.

2.5-Layers offer good waterproof and breathability and are ultralight and are generally the least expensive.

3-Layer

These are the hardest-wearing and will take the most punishment. There are no coatings to be rubbed off or contaminated. The membrane is sandwiched between an outer face fabric and an interior lining fabric.

3-Layers give the best performance, with regards to waterproof and breathability and are lightweight, but are generally priced the highest

Other Important Factors To Consider

Every rain jacket needs a hood, and the hood needs to be useful for you. Most hoods have adjusting cords to adjust the fit and opening of the hood. Many jackets have hoods which can be rolled up and stored in the collar or even slipped off completely. Pockets, how many do you need or want, some jackets have so many pockets you might not need a day pack at all, other have a minimal amount or none. Will you want to be able to access your pockets whilst wearing your pack? Check the positions of the pockets are good places for you. Check the zips, are they coated zips to maintain the waterproofing, do the pockets double up as air vents with mesh inners.

And maybe most importantly, how easy is it to pack, is it light, does it pack really small, does this even matter to you. Maybe you just like the color.

FAQ

Q:  What do I need to know about waterproofing materials and treatments so I select a rain jacket that offers good protection from the weather?

Depending on what brand and style of jacket you decide upon to purchase, you’ll want to know a little bit about the waterproofing methods used by the manufacturers. There is really no consistency with rating how waterproof a jacket really is, and even though some jackets are advertised with what sounds like great waterproofing protection, it’s important to remember that not all waterproof jackets are created equally. A lot about how waterproof a jacket is will depend on the coats, layers, laminates, and other factors. The jackets we’ve listed above all offer decent water protection at the very least, and what that waterproofing method was we discussed with each jacket. Also, when you are taking a look at how waterproof a jacket is, you’ll need to take a look at how good is, how well the cuffs seal, if the jacket is fully seam-sealed, how the hood covers your head, the pockets, pit zips, and front-zip closures.

Q: What is DWR treatment on a jacket?

Many jackets use DWR treatments to help make their jackets waterproof. DWR is an effective way to make a jacket water resistant, although DWR alone can’t make a jacket fully waterproof. Some jackets that use DWR coatings have other waterproof layers tied into them as well, which can help add a boost of waterproofing to the otherwise usually water repellant DWR. Many brands use DWR coating methods, and just like waterproofing, not all DWR treatments are equal to others. However, many nylon and polyester jackets are designed to be hydrophobic and also feature DWR treatments on the jacket to pack a double punch. One problem we see sometimes with DWR laminates is that if you wash them too often, they can wear off quickly. However, DWR coatings can be maintained or replaced, depending on what caused the DWR coating to wear off.

Q: How breathable do I need my jacket to be?

You do need to consider how breathable your jacket is before making your purchase. You need some kind of effective ventilation technique designed into your jacket to keep your comfortable each time you wear it. Without good ventilation methods, your jacket can overheat you and cause you to sit for hours in your own sweat, which is a very uncomfortable experience. In fact, that type of experience can be so miserable, it might make you call it quits on any outdoor adventure you are busy taking at the time, which can be extremely frustrating. Breathability can be a matter of personal preference, depending on how much ventilation a person feels he or she really needs. However, some kind of breathability is going to be important anytime you wear your jacket, so that you can stay comfortable while outside. So, look for jackets that have various ventilation methods, including mesh panels, arm pit zips, and other vents and features if you know you will want a jacket that can breathe quite well. Most of us know just about how much of our own sweat we can take when we are active, so factor that into your decision.

Q: Is it important to make sure I get a jacket that is lightweight?

A lightweight jacket is an excellent idea if you know you’re going to be packing your jacket and bringing it along with you on your trips. If you like to hike or backpack, and need to carry your jacket along with you, then the weight factor is certainly something you’ll want to look into. However, the weight of your jacket might not really be an issue if you aren’t going to be packing it down and carrying it with you. So, if you are simply planning on wearing it around for casual errands or outdoor activities that are relatively short in nature, then weight shouldn’t be a problem unless you prefer to wear jackets that are comprised of lightweight materials. If you do prefer wearing lightweight jackets and clothes when you are active, then of course, go for a jacket that is more lightweight. However, if you aren’t going to be carrying the jacket along with you often, then you have some room to move when you try to decide upon the weight factor of your jacket.

Q: Should I worry about fashion when I select my jacket?

Some people are quite particular about what they wear, even if they are purchasing a jacket to help them while they are active outside. Fashion is really one of those things that is up to personal preference, and how much style you really need when you are looking for a jacket that will perform well while you are outside. If fashion is important to you, we have listed several stylish fashion options on our list for you, functionality really should be your primary concern. However, there is no reason why, if you like one of the more fashionable jacket choices and like the amount of functionality that jacket can provide you, you can’t buy it. So, if style is important, then take a look at some of the more stylish choices to help you make your selection. Just remember that you don’t want to consider fashion over functionality when you try to make your selection, and keep your mind open to how well the jacket performs first for you over fashion and style before you purchase your jacket.

Q: What are some of the features I should look at before I purchase my jacket?

We’ve covered the jackets that have the best features on our list, and mentioned the different features each product had that made the jacket a good choice. When you are considering your features, you want to make sure you get a jacket that is fully seam sealed so that it is very waterproof. Also, make sure you take a look at the jacket’s hood and ensure that it cinches fully around your neck, feels comfortable, and can protect your head from the weather. Wrist cuffs are another important thing to look at because if the wrist cuffs don’t cinch down or hold in place, then it becomes very difficult to ensure the jacket is totally waterproof. Also, look at the zippers on the jacket, as some are fully waterproof, while others are not. If you can get a jacket with waterproof zippers, then you’ll never have to worry about your items getting wet when you zip them into your pockets. This is a great thing to have if you plan on carrying a lot of electronic items, or even just your cell phone, along with you when you are active outside. Also, make sure the jacket has enough pockets for you so that you’ll be able to more easily organize your items and take them along with you anytime you need to.