There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. So the expression goes. A great waterproof jacket proves the point.
With so many options to choose from, making a decision isn’t so easy.
To save you time, we’ve gathered a list of the best waterproof jackets available online and offline from which you can choose. Whether you wear it while walking the dog or climbing a mountain, your new purchase will come in handy.
There is a difference between premium waterproof jackets for more technical activities and those that save you from the discomfort of getting caught in the rain. This list contains both types, as well as many in between.
Patagonia Torrentshell 3L
Patagonia shook up the rainwear market with the release of the Torrentshell 3L in spring 2020. The jacket underwent a major shift from its predecessors, moving from a 2.5-layer design to a hardshell-like 3-layer construction that significantly pushed it forward in terms of performance. The latest version is more protective and durable, more breathable and, thanks to a thicker lining, more comfortable inside and less likely to feel wet and cold. Add the stylish Patagonia style, multiple available colorways and a ridiculously low price tag of $149, and the versatile Torrentshell 3L is currently our favorite rain jacket on the market.
For years, the Marmot Minimalist has topped this list with a softer-feeling shell that’s perfect for wearing around town. the Torrentshell 3L’s one significant drawback is that it’s stiffer and wrinklier than older versions and competitors like the Minimalist and Black Diamond StormLine. In addition, weight and pack size have increased by a considerable amount in the latest version, though we think these trade-offs are fair, as the Torrentshell is improved in almost every other way. For its reasonable $149 suggested retail price, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better made, better looking or more protective shell
ARC’TERYX BETA Waterproof Jacket
The Arc’teryx Beta Jacket is the best waterproof jacket available for the money. It’s lightweight and portable, beautifully constructed with attention to detail – just look at the precision bonding and finished seams. It’s made from a three-layer Gore-Tex fabric with Gore C-knit backing technology, which is a little confusing, but all you need to know is that it protects against wind and rain while still being breathable. Its hood has a slightly stiffened spike, ripstop lining and an adjustment loop, but note that there’s no room for a helmet underneath it. While its inner pocket is useful around town, it’s not as handy when you’re on the mountain. Overall, though, it’s an excellent versatile piece, and while it’s not cheap, it’s the most reasonably priced of this quality brand. If you need something more technical, you’ll find many other options in the Arc’teryx Beta line.
Helly Hansen Odin 1 World Infinity Jacket
Helly Hansen’s Odin line consistently delivers top-notch performance, and while the Odin 1 may not be as high spec as the Odin 9, it’s lighter, cheaper, and will safely get the vast majority of us through any adventure we might go on. It’s made from partially recycled Lifa Infinity material with a hydrophobic, non-PFC treatment on top, making it both completely waterproof and highly breathable. The jacket was designed with input from international search and rescue teams who know better than anyone what works when outdoor conditions are unfavorable. This jacket is built to handle the harshest of natural environments.
Other great features include a built-in Recco reflector so rescuers can find you more easily if you get caught in an avalanche or some other outdoor drama, and a built-in emergency whistle in the zippered bolt closure of the exterior chest pocket. The three-layer construction keeps you warmer than many hardshells, but this jacket also has excellent breathability – including pit vents with zippers – that let you vent excess heat easily and quickly. There are two side pockets and one chest pocket, both with zippers, but no internal storage. The hem, hood and sleeves are fully adjustable, and the helmet-compatible hood has a protective tip and a high zipper with chin guard.
REI Co-Op XeroDry GTX
The REI Co-Op XeroDry GTX is a beautifully designed model with a Gore-Tex fabric at an incredible price. While you can buy better, lighter or more storm-resistant rain covers, it’s hard to buy them for less. the Xerodry outperforms all of the less expensive options while offering comparable performance to many of the more expensive options. the Xerodry offers above-average weather protection and breathability at a good weight and pack size – at a price well below its competitors.
The model has some drawbacks, but these only appear when compared directly with more expensive models. For example, we found the interior of the XeroDry to be slightly moist and more prone to soaking than the spendier 3-layer model. However, these are subtle differences and the price of the model compared to its performance is hard to beat; it beats the competition by a similar price range.
Rabble Downpour Eco
The Downpour Eco Jacket is a clear sign of Rab’s commitment to truly sustainable products, made from recycled materials and designed with further recycling in mind. However, there is no compromise on quality here. The jacket is also very easy to store thanks to its ability to tuck into its own insert pocket. Perfect for lightweight backpacking, that’s for sure.
Downpour uses recyclable 2.5-layer Pertex Revolve fabric for both the inner and outer lining. Unlike some of their competitors, Rab has treated the fabric with fluorocarbon-free DWR to give it water repellency. Testing has awarded Downpour a hydrostatic head rating of 20,000 mm, which means it can withstand all but the worst floods.