The Best Rain Jackets
No matter where you live in the world, we all share the weather condition called rain. Rain is great for farmers crops, or our lakes and rivers, but for the common adventurer, it can be quite a buzzkill. The rain might stop some of us from experiencing the outdoors but for many, a quality rain jacket is the defense against the rain and allows for you to experience the outdoors no matter the weather. For every adventurer, it is highly recommended to have a quality rain jacket in your arsenal of gear. Now, if you have made the decision to invest in a quality rain jacket but with the number of options on the market, you do not know where to start in finding the perfect rain jacket for you. We have done the research and listed the best rain jackets on the market.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 10 hrs of research
C KNIT technology liner
Our Top Picks for the Best Rain Jackets
1. Arc'teryx Zeta LT Jacket
C KNIT technology liner
No pit zips
The Arc'teryx Zeta LT was designed for rugged and wet landscapes like coastal rain forests that can be found throughout BC or Alaska. With this in mind, the designers created a weatherproof jacket that is just as tough as the terrain you might seek to make your way through.Read more
The Arc'teryx is made with a three-layer premium Gore-Tex technology that allows for air flow and is waterproof. There are also two other layers: an inner lining and a lightweight outer shell.
Overall, this jacket tends to be a premium price, but it's a premium jacket and is worth the money if you are looking for lightweight, quality, and three layers combined. It is well insulated making sure you are warm and this jacket keeps all the warmth inside of it while you are wearing it.
The inner liner is, C-KNIT is light as a feather, which is exceptionally for packing and traveling with less weight and bulk. The finish on it is smooth and feels good to the skin. Of course, the inner layer wicks sweat to keep you cooler on the trails. An adjustable hood or storm hood: A simple storm hood comes with this jacket. It comes with a cord and toggle to adjust the hood's fit.
Mesh or air vents: No pit zips, but has a C Knit liner that keeps you feeling cooler by drawing sweat away from your body to avoid a clammy feel. Making sure you are kept dry and free of water this rain jacket ensures you can take on all types of weather conditions.
2. Arc’Teryx Beta SL Hybrid
Multiple colors available
No storm flap over zips
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.Read more
This Arc’Teryx Beta SL Hybrid jacket is 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.
This jacket has great insulation while wearing it not only keep you dry in bad weather conditions but also is insulated while wearing it to keep you warm.
Some great features for this rain jacket include its adjustable hood or storm hood: Storm hood and helmet compatible it also comes with 2 pockets to keep all of your personal items inside. 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.
When it comes to this rain jacket the extra layers offer you a lot more protection when you find yourself caught outside in the rain. It is water resistant and allows you to stay dry while wearing it on outdoor adventures. 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.
3. The North Face Dryzzle
The North Face Dryzzle jacket brings you an excellent opportunity for getting a great jacket that can perform well all-around and be very versatile for several different activities. You’ll get a jacket that can handle ski days or mountain hiking in the summer. Designed to be very waterproof with Gore-Tex Paclite fabric, you’ll get a lot of use of this durable, long-lasting jacket.Read more
Comprised out of synthetic material and featuring a DWR coating, this jacket also has a waterproof and windproof Gore-Tex PacLite Shell. Also, the jacket is very lightweight for the amount of weather protection it offers, and you’ll get two layers of protection. Those layers help to protect you not only against incremental weather but also help to make the jacket very durable.
This jacket is well insulated from the inside and even the pockets are insulated to make sure your personal belongings in them stay free of water and are kept dry.
This jacket has a very traditional style design behind it, and while its appearance isn’t striking, it’s still a jacket that would be great to wear either for everyday chores, or all of your outdoor adventures. The jacket does look good on and comes in a variety of color options so that you can pick the color you feel will look best on you. The jacket does look great once you’ve got it on, and you can wear it with just about anything. This jacket comes with a hook and loop closure and is also machine washable, so it is very easy to keep this jacket clean. You also get pit zip vents to help you when you need extra ventilation and breathability.
Also, the jacket has a storm flap with snap closure and is fully seam sealed. You also get a secure-zip Napoleon media pocket so you can protect your phone and bring it along with you while you are outside. Making sure you and your belongings are kept safe from rain or snow while wearing it is important.
4. Columbia Watertight II
The Columbia Watertight II jacket is one excellent affordable option if you need a good jacket with waterproof protection and you are shopping on a budget. This jacket comes with a two-layer design that helps make it very waterproof. It also features a mesh liner and feels very comfortable when you wear it. This jacket can be worn for either casual errands or when you venture into the great outdoors.Read more
Made out of an outer combination of 100% nylon 2L full dull plain weave materials, you get a very waterproof jacket that is built to protect you from the weather elements when you are outside and the weather takes a turn for the worse. You’ll get a lot of durability with this jacket’s overall design since it has two waterproof layers packed into a lightweight punch. Also, the jacket is breathable with a mesh liner, and also has an inner lining for extra warmth that is made up of 100% polyester materials.
This Columbia Watertight II has a mesh liner which helps for the jacket to be kept dry and for you to be kept warm while wearing it.
This jacket offers you a traditional look in appearance and comes in several solid color choices. You’ll be able to look good and feel great in this jacket. While it isn’t particularly striking in fashion, it does offer a nice, stylish look that is meant to match with just about anything you wear. So, this jacket can be worn for your daily chores or for your outdoor sports activities, depending on what you plan to use it for.
This jacket is machine washable, which is certainly a nice feature to have since it is very easy to wash this jacket and keep it clean. You’ll also get front-zip waterproof pockets and zippered side-entry pockets at the hip. Plus, this jacket features a nice drawstring hood that you can use anytime you need to keep your head warm and protected.
5. Marmot Men's PreCip Jacket
Adjustable storm hood
Some find the fitting to be a bit off
The Marmot PreCip is a heavyweight contender on this list, as it has a light feel that works for a wide variety of those heading into the wilderness wanting the lightest load possible. This jacket has a waterproof coating as well as pit zips to keep you dry and ventilated in almost any rainy day situation.Read more
PreCip is a light, compressible, waterproof, and breathable fabric made by Marmot. It offers moisture-wicking fabric and venting that can keep you dry from sweat and rain. This round of PreCip has been designed and updated for optimal protection from the elements.
A key feature of the PreCip fabric is its barrier technology. It is a microporous polyurethane that includes silicon dioxide particles. The barrier created by these ingredients creates small, consistent holes that allow small water vapor molecules, like sweat, to escape, but it blocks rain from entering. In short, the materials keep the rain out, but let's allow perspiration to work it's way off your body and out of the jacket.
The PreCip is great because it can be compressed to fit into a water bottle for storage, and aesthetically, it comes in a variety of colors, which is always a nice bonus. The PreCip is a simple design that, in essence, boasts a no-nonsense type of look. It's a solid color that ranges from black, red, green, blue, and other options.
This Marmot Men's PreCip Jacket has an outer shell that offers water resistant and weather resistant features for you to be kept dry on rainy days.
6. The North Face Men's Venture 2 Jacket
Designed for climbing
Comes in a lot of colors
Wearers suggest using layers underneath
The North Face’s Venture 2 Jacket is a relaxed fit jacket that not only looks great but has a great amount of usability and functionality, too. When heading into the hills, mountains, or even a rainy night while camping. The Venture 2 is waterproof and windproof has a breathable ripstop exterior that is durable. An added bonus is that the hood is adjustable so that helmets or extra hooded layers can be comfortably fit. Overall, this jacket is an all-around superstar.Read more
This The North Face Men's Venture 2 Jacket is made from 100% DryVent™ nylon ripstop.
This jacket is known for its mesh or air vents and pit-zip venting to help insulate you while wearing it. The reason that this jacket may not fare so well as others, is because reviewers have said that it isn't as breathable as the PreCip, for example. The older version of this jacket, the Venture, was an incredibly popular coat that served users well with versatility and affordability. The Venture 2 offers the same benefits but seems to be made with better quality and more thought, so it is a great option for any outdoor enthusiast going for function and on a budget.
The North Face Men's Venture 2 Jacket has an adjustable hood or storm hood with covered secure zipped hand pockets to keep all of your personal belongings safe inside.
This 2.5 layered jacket is constructed with nylon Dry Vent material. It isn't lined like other jackets but does provide a suitable covering for any base layers. While this jacket isn't the top dog on the list in terms of overall performance and the quality is enough to keep you dry and comfortable.
7. Outdoor Research Helium II
Seven colors to choose from
The internal pocket is its stuff sack
Hood does not fold away
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.Read more
This Outdoor Research Helium II jacket is made from Pertex Shield+ Polyurethane film coating. 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 rain jacket is insulated as well as the pockets including the chest pockets to make sure you and your belongings stay dry while wearing it in the rainy conditions.
This jacket has great features including an adjustable hood or storm hood and one large pocket to keep all of your personal items in and to keep them dry and safe. 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. 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 and is a great feature to keep you comfortable and dry in the rain.
This jacket features 2.5 layers of waterproof protection, which is an excellent benefit and makes the jacket not only very weatherproof but also very durable. 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.
8. Marmot Minimalist
The Marmot Minimalist Jacket comes with Gore-Tex Paclit fabric and is designed to be durable and long-lasting. You’ll get a well-designed jacket with this option that offers amazing weather protection and is very lightweight. You’ll wind up both looking and feeling great anytime you wear this jacket outside in the great outdoors.Read more
Comprised out of 100% polyester materials, the Marmot Minimalist jacket also comes with Gore-Tex waterproofing technology. Gore-Tex is some of the best weather protection available on the market today. Also, you’ll get 2.5 layers of waterproof protection, which also helps to add a lot of durability to this jacket.
Also, this jacket is designed with pit zips for extra ventilation and breathability, and the venting system extends all the way into the body of the jacket. This jacket is well insulated making sure you are kept dry in all types of weather conditions.
This jacket is stylish and looks like a classic hardshell jacket that comes in several solid color options. While there is nothing extremely fancy or striking about the appearance of this jacket, it looks great with just about anything, and you’ll be able to wear it comfortably anywhere. Also, you’ll love both the fashion and functionality designed into this jacket.
This jacket comes with Gore-Tex protection and also has Paclite technology designed into it. It features an attached adjustable hood and is fully seam taped for extra waterproof protection. You’ll also get zippered hand pockets to give your items extra protection when you take them along with you.
9. Mammut Kento HS
3 pack accessible pockets
6 colors to choose from
No stuff sack
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.Read more
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.
This jacket provides you with the opportunity to get a very functional jacket that will keep you warm with its insulation and you’ll love wearing it anytime you decide to be active in the great outdoors.
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 any time.
The jacket is rated to 20,000 mm so it is incredibly waterproof, also it looks quite stylish and available in 6 colors. The 3 pockets are all positioned so that they can be accessed even when wearing a pack.
10. The North Face Men's Apex Bionic 2
More color options needed
The North Face Men's Apex Bionic 2 jacket is an excellent, breathable jacket that’s comprised out of high-quality materials and offers ample waterproof and weather protection. It is a comfortable jacket with a waterproof shell to protect you from rainy weather. This jacket is great for adventures as it is easy to pack with how lightweight it is and saves a lot of space with how compact it is.Read more
This jacket is made from 100% polyester and is extremely lightweight, waterproof and breathable. It was designed for fishing, traveling, hiking, biking, and all outdoor activities.
This North Face Men's Apex Bionic 2 is a great rain jacket that is made from 100% windproof and waterproof fabric that makes sure the jacket is well insulated to keep you dry in the rainy season.
This North Face Men's Apex Bionic 2 rain jacket has a breathable mesh lining to help you stay dry, and even a reflective strip waterproof front pockets with PU taping to keep your personal stuff and valuables dry. There is even a small top pocket for your smaller personal items such as credit cards or even to keep your money in safely.
This The North Face Men's Apex Bionic 2 rain jacket is known for its breathability, water resistance, wind resistance, and is very lightweight.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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.
Insulation is all about having very good waterproof and breathable materials. 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 every day 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. 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. 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
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, others 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.
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 of 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.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When deciding which jacket is best-suited to your requirements, 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 evaluate the jacket’s materials, features, style, and functionality because considering all of these can help you make a well-informed final selection
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 contaminants, eVent doesn’t. Both have many advantages. Both have excellent waterproof performance, both have excellent durability, but eVent has better breathability than Gore-Tex.
Other Factors to Consider
When trying to select the best rain jacket for you, you’ll need to consider when you plan on wearing your coat, where you plan to perform your outdoor adventures, how long you plan to be outside, and how often. Some more casual outdoor enthusiasts will be fine with a lightweight jacket while others might need something more extreme for their year-round activities. Comfort and movement both become very important features to examine when looking for the best rain jacket to suit your needs since you don’t want any movement restriction or lack of focus to create injury. However, much of what you may need in your rain jacket will depend on your budget and plans, so make sure you factor that in before you purchase the best rain jacket for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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 are up to personal preference, and how many styles 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 the 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: 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: 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 you 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, armpit 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: 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-repellent 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.