Unless you permanently live in a desert, you’ll never regret investing in a good waterproof jacket.

A quality waterproof jacket will be the difference between a damp, miserable slog, and powering through your day unimpeded by showers.

The best waterproof jacket doesn’t just keep you dry. It will also be comfortable, durable, and designed with features that enhance your experience.

But with so many waterproof jackets available, it’s not always easy to figure out which is the best waterproof jacket for you.

And that’s why we’ve done all the research for you and found the best waterproof jackets for every budget.

If we had to give a quick answer, the best waterproof jackets are:

6 Best Waterproof Jackets for Men:

6 Best Waterproof Jackets for Women:

Want to review these options in more detail? Keep reading…

Plus we’ll be sharing our top tips on what to consider when choosing a waterproof jacket.

Best Waterproof Jackets For Men

Best Overall Waterproof Jacket The North Face Alex FlexUltra-soft and impossibly dry, you’ll want to live in this. Although one of the more expensive waterproof jackets on our list, The North Face Apex Flex is worth the investment.

With a 3 layer Gore-Tex shell, this jacket will never let you down. It’s incredibly waterproof, windproof, and breathable.

Plus there are plenty of added features such as pit zips, velcro cuffs, fully adjustable hood, and secure pockets that make this waterproof jacket perfect for both everyday errands and outdoor adventures.

The sleek exterior combined with the soft interior makes this not only the comfiest waterproof jacket on our list but also the most stylish. Carefully designed to fit the curve of your body, the North Face Apex Flex provides a flattering fit.

What’s more, The North Face is so confident in the quality of this waterproof jacket that they provide you with a lifetime guarantee!

With unbeatable waterproofing and unrivaled comfort, this waterproof jacket from one of the most trusted outdoor brands is easily our top choice.

Pros
  • 3 Layer Gore-Tex Fabric
  • Exceptional waterproofing & breathability
  • Flattering & stylish
  • Adjustable hood, cuffs & hemline
  • Pit zips
  • Secure pockets
Cons
  • More expensive than most jackets
  • A little bulky & heavy for travel

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Best-Budget-Waterproof-Jacket-Columbia-MensIf you’re looking for the best budget waterproof jacket then you can’t go wrong with the Columbia Watertight II.

This simple, yet highly functional, jacket is ideal for both everyday wear and general outdoor activities.

It’s ultra-lightweight and compact, with the entire jacket packing neatly into the left pocket. Yet it’s still durable enough to withstand strong downpours.

Plus with the adjustable hood, cuffs, and hemline, you’re guaranteed a comfortable and snug fit.

When it comes to price to quality ratio, the Columbia Watertight II jacket simple cannot be beaten. Although for more extreme environments and sports you may want to invest in a more high tech waterproof jacket.

Pros
  • Lightweight & packable
  • Amazing value for money
  • Wide variety of colors & sizes
  • Adjustable hood, cuffs & hemline
  • Breathable
Cons
  • No pit zips
  • Not compatible with a helmet
  • No thermal protection
  • Hood feels loose in strong winds

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Black Diamond Mens M Stormline Stretch Rain Shell Waterproof JacketFor the quality of the fabric and the number of features, the Black Diamond Stormline Stretch waterproof jacket is very reasonably priced.

It’s lightweight, windproof, and waterproof, even in nasty weather conditions. Plus the unique four-way stretch design combined with the underarm gussets provides you with completely restriction-free movement. Which makes this waterproof jacket super comfortable for everyday use but also ideal for hiking and climbing where mobility is essential.

The adjustable hood can easily accommodate a wide range of helmets and the whole jacket packs into the right-hand pocket with a carabiner clip loop.

If you’re looking for a versatile and long-lasting waterproof jacket, then you the Black Diamond Stormline Stretch is a great choice.

Pros
  • Lightweight & packable
  • Super soft interior
  • Provides good insulation
  • Hood is compatible with a range of helmets
  • Restriction-free movement
  • Adjustable hem, cuffs & hood
Cons
  • No pit zips
  • Not as breathable as other jackets
  • Not very form-fitting

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Fjallraven - Men's Keb Eco-Shell JacketIf you’re willing to spend a little more, then the Fjallraven Eco-shell is the best waterproof jacket that you can find. This innovative and beautifully designed jacket kind of does it all.

In addition to the typical features, you’d expect from a top tier waterproof jacket, such as superior waterproofing, high breathability, and supreme comfort, the Fjallraven Eco-shell includes unique details that enhance your outdoor experience.

Designed with hikers in mind, the hand-pockets have been replaced by impressively deep and well-designed chest pockets. Both are roomy and feature elasticated pouches for storing valuables and gadgets. There’s even a loop-through for your headphones!

Another unique feature is the wired hood that can fit over a helmet and stand up to fierce winds. Complete with ventilation openings at the side, the hood also allows you to let off steam.

Not only is the super stretchy shell of this jacket made from recycled materials, but it’s also completely free of harmful PFC chemicals. This does mean it needs re-proofing a little more often. However, this top-performing waterproof jacket is definitely worth the extra care.

Pros
  • Surprisingly Lightweight
  • Superior ventilation
  • Super stylish design
  • Incredibly durable
  • 2 ergonomically designed chest pockets
  • Wired, peak hood
  • Made from recycled materials
Cons
  • Expensive
  • A little bulky
  • Eco fabric requires re-proofing more often than traditional waterproof fabrics.

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Marmot Best Lightweight Waterproof Jacket MensThis waterproof jacket from Marmot is many things, but the most impressive is that it is very, very light. In fact, this jacket is so light you almost forget you’re wearing it. Until it starts pouring with rain, then you remember it’s on because you’re still bone dry!

Making a super-light waterproof jacket that’s actually functional in bad weather has always been tricky. But here, the 2.5 layer Nenopro fabric takes care of weight drop without losing function, shape, or breathability. Allowing this waterproof jacket to provide protection from rain, snow, and wind without overheating.

What’s more, this jacket offers unrestricted mobility, thanks to Marmot’s patented built-in Angel-Wing movement design.

And if that’s not enough, when the weather improves, the entire jacket can be stuffed in its interior pocket and stored in your backpack.

All of this, combined with a lifetime guarantee from the brand, makes the Marmot PreCip our best lightweight waterproof jacket for travel.

Pros
  • Ridiculously lightweight
  • Astonishingly packable
  • Lifetime brand guarantee
  • Fully waterproof zippers on pockets
  • Pit Zips for ventilation
  • Move freely without restriction
  • Adjustable hood & waist for a secure, comfortable fit.
  • Hood can be stored inside the collar
Cons
  • Fabric can be a little noisy
  • Care instructions tricky to follow
  • Inner pockets aren’t super strong

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Mountain Hardwear Men’s Stretch Ozonic Jacket Most Breathable Waterproof JacketWhen it comes to breathability, the Mountain Hardware Stretch Ozonic waterproof jacket is the best choice.

Utilizing Mountain Hardwear’s Dry Q Active waterproof technology, this jacket provides the perfect mix of breathability and performance, exactly what you need to stay active on days where the rain just won’t stop.

The flexible, yet durable, fabric combined with a stretch construction ensures that none of your movements are unrestricted. Whether you’re climbing up a mountain or simply reaching for something high up, this jacket provides great mobility.

This simple, yet carefully crafted, waterproof jacket is the perfect combination of functionality, affordability, and effortless style.

Pros
  • Extremely breathable & waterproof
  • Pit zips for ventilation
  • Super flexible & durable
  • Lightweight for travel
  • Water-resistant pocket zips
  • Wide range of colors available
Cons
  • No thermal protection
  • The structured hood can fit weird
  • Slim fit not great for adding layering underneath

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Best Waterproof Jackets For Women

Marmot Essential Women's Best Waterproof JacketThe Marmot Women’s Essential Waterproof Rain jacket is, just as the name suggests, essential. It’s super stylish, incredibly waterproof, ultra-breathable, windproof and packable; everything you could ever need or want from a waterproof jacket!

Featuring Gore-Tes with Paclite Technology, the 3 layers of Marmot’s Essential Rain Jacket provide the perfect balance of protection, comfort, and packability. The lightweight microporous Gor-Tex membrane prevents the wind and rain from getting in while drawing internal moisture out. Whilst the super comfy Paclite interior helps regulate temperature whilst keeping weight and bulk to a minimum. It features fully tapered seams that protect against leaks and pit zips for optimal ventilation.

And if that’s not enough, the sleek and elongated cut is wonderfully flattering on all body types!

If you’re looking for the ultimate waterproof jacket for women, then look no further than the Marmot Essential Women’s Rain Jacket.

Pros
  • Extremely breathable & waterproof
  • Lightweight & packable
  • Pit zips for added ventilation
  • Flattering cut
  • Weatherproof tapered seams
Cons
  • No inner pockets
  • Velcro rather than zippered pockets

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 Best Budget Waterproof Jacket Columbia Arcadia Women's Rain JacketIf you’re looking for a simple everyday waterproof jacket then you can’t go wrong with the Columbia Women’s Arcadia II.

It’s lightweight and easily packs away into its own pocket, making it perfect for running errands, general leisure activities, and traveling.

Despite the low price, the Columbia Arcadia features some well-designed elements including 2 zippered hand pockets, a soft mesh lining, and a smooth front zipper that prevents any water leakage.

Although it’s not the most breathable, this waterproof jacket will never let you down when it comes to waterproofing and durability.

Offering great performance at such a low price, the Columbia Women’s Arcadia II is the best waterproof jacket for those on a tight budget.

Pros
  • Great value for money
  • Lightweight & packable
  • Adjustable hood, hem & cuffs
  • Ideal for layering
  • Variety of colors available
Cons
  • Not very breathable
  • No mesh lining on the sleeves
  • Sizes come up a little big
  • Not great for more extreme weather

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Berghaus Women's Paclite 2.0 Best Waterproof JacketBerghaus is known for creating beautifully designed outdoor gear that’s built to last, and the Women’s Paclite 2.0 is no exception. Made with Gore-Tex fabric and Paclite technology, this jacket provides you with total wind and rain protection without compromising on weight, breathability, or durability.

The Berghaus Women’s Paclite 2.0 features 2 fully water-resistant outer zips pockets that will keep your valuables completely dry. The hood has a firm rim and 2 sets of toggles for adjustment, ensuring it stays exactly where you want it to. Plus the whole jacket packs down super small so it’s ideal for travel and outdoor activities.

What’s more, it’s smart enough to wear as a normal jacket in case of showers but also strong enough to withstand even the heaviest of downpours.

If you want a reliable waterproof jacket that looks great, and will last for many years, then the Berghaus Paclite 2.0 is a solid choice. It’s definitely worth spending that little extra for such a versatile waterproof jacket.

Pros
  • Superior waterproofing
  • Very lightweight & packable
  • Incredibly breathable
  • Durable & long-lasting
  • Adjustable hood & cuffs
Cons
  • Sizes run a little small
  • Hem cannot be pulled in tight
  • No thermal insulation

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Best high end womens waterproof jacket Arc Terya ZetaIf you’ve got the budget to invest in a luxurious waterproof jacket, then the Arc’teryx Zeta SL Rain jacket is the entire package.

Not only is it lightweight, packable, stylish, and soft to touch but it’ll also protect you from the stormiest of weather.

The Arc’teryx Zeta SL Rain jacket is constructed from lightweight Gore-Tex material and 40-denier ripstop nylon. It’s extremely waterproof, windproof, and hard-wearing.

With its watertight front zipper, ventilation friendly construction, and adjustable storm hood, this waterproof jacket is practical for both everyday wearers and adventure seekers.

Although it’s significantly more expensive than the other jackets on our list, if you take of it properly the Arcteryx Zeta SL Rain jacket will be the last one you’ll ever need to buy.

Pros
  • Extremely durable & hardwearing
  • Superior wind & rain protection
  • Breathable when active
  • Lightweight & packable
  • Adjustable hood, cuffs & hem
  • Fully water-resistant zippers
  • Super soft & comfy
  • Sleek & stylish design
  • Range of colors available
Cons
  •  Expensive
  • The Hood is quite big & shapeless
  • Not the latest Gore-Tex fabric
  • No pit zips
  • Maybe a little bulky for travel

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Outdoor Research Women's Helium II Best Lightweight Waterproof JacketThe Outdoor Research Women’s Helium II is the lightest waterproof jacket on the market.

Thanks to its superior waterproofing and minimalist design, this jacket has become an essential item in every outdoor adventurer’s bag. Although the Outdoor Research Helium II doesn’t have any innovative features, it’s Pertex fabric makes it a reliable choice. Plus it’s so light and compact that there’s absolutely no reason to leave it behind.

This waterproof jacket is best suited for travel and short activities. It packs into a tiny bag that can easily be clipped on and forgotten about. Although the paper-thin material doesn’t excel in terms of ventilation and longevity, it definitely suits those looking for the most lightweight waterproof jacket.

Pros
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Folds down to almost nothing
  • Pertex technology provides superior wind & waterproofing
  • Adjustable hood
  • Water-resistant YKK AquaGuard zippers
Cons
  • Not very breathable
  • Only 1 small chest pocket
  • Thin fabric wears easily

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Mos breathable waterproof Jack Wolfskin Women's Mount Isa Waterproof Rain Jacket

If breathability is your priority then you can’t go wrong with this super lightweight yet high performing waterproof jacket from Jack Wolfskin. With soft, smooth fabric and plenty of additional features, this jacket is a pleasure to wear.

The flexible outer layer is ultra-breathable yet still provides total protection from wind and rain. A mesh inner layer keeps it super comfy without adding any unnecessary weight or bulk. A drawstring hem keeps the wet and winds out and the double drawstring hood ensures your field of vision stays clear.

What’s more, the sleek and smart design is incredibly flattering and there’s a wide range of colors to choose from.

Pros
  • Super soft & flexible
  • Water-resistant zips
  • Extremely breathable & moisture wicking
  • Lightweight for travel
  • Different colors available
Cons
  • No thermal protection
  • Slim fit doesn’t give much space for layers underneath

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What to look for when buying a waterproof jacket

Just like waterproof backpacks, not all waterproof jackets are created equal. When you’re choosing a waterproof jacket there are a few things you should consider.

Choice of Fabric

How To Choose The Best Waterproof JacketThe most important things to look for in a good waterproof jacket is breathability, durability, and waterproofing. All of which is determined by the type of fabric the jacket is made of.

A lighter jacket will compromise on durability, but heavier jackets will offer less breathability. The very best waterproof jackets will combine all three. But these will offer by the most expensive. Your budget and activity level will help you determine the best waterproof jacket fabric.

Waterproofing

When it comes to waterproofing, look for Gore-Tex, eVent, and any fabrics by Polartec or Pertex. These innovative and patented fabrics offer the very best waterproofing.

The waterproofing of fabric is often measured by its Hydrostatic Head (HH). Simply put, this is the millimeters of rain that the fabric is able to withstand. The higher the number the better the waterproofing.

Ideally, you want this to be between 5,000 mm and 10,000mm+ depending on the environment you’ll be using the waterproof jacket. Anything below 1,500mm and you’ll end up getting wet quite quickly.

Breathability

Breathability is usually measured by its Moisture Vapour Transmission Rate (MVTR). The higher the MVTR, the more breathable the jacket.

Cheap and lightweight jackets, sometimes called ‘Macs’, will be made from rubber-like material which doesn’t offer any breathability. In fact, these fabrics will make you sweat more.

So if you know you’ll be active, it’s worth investing in an ultra-breathable waterproof jacket.

Durability

Durable waterproof jacketOften the durability of a waterproof jacket goes hand in hand with the overall weight. For example, a 200gram shell jacket is less durable than a 400gram shell jacket.

Usually, the heavier the jacket the more durable and hardwearing the fabric is. Although other features will also impact the overall weight such as pockets, hood size, etc.

The best lightweight waterproof jackets will have patches of more durable material to reinforce the most hardwearing areas, such as where a rucksack would sit. This maximizes durability without adding weight.

Durability is also affected by the number of layers a waterproof jacket consists of. A ‘3 layer’ waterproof jacket will, of course, be more durable than a 2 layer jacket.

Features of a good waterproof jacket

Hood

A well-designed hood is critical to a waterproof jacket. The hood of a good waterproof jacket will have a comfortable cinch cord that you can pull tight around your face.

Not only will this prevent the hood from blowing off in the wind, but it also ensures that the hood moves with you as you turn your head. Otherwise, you’ll just end up looking straight into the side of your hood!

Also if you want to use your waterproof jacket for cycling or climbing, make sure the hood is compatible with a helmet.

Pockets

Exterior and interior pockets are useful for storing your valuables and hands. The best pocket arrangement for you will come down to personal preference.

But remember that the more pockets on your waterproof jacket the less breathable it will be. Even if the jacket is made of a highly breathable fabric, the added layers will reduce the overall breathability. The most breathable waterproof jackets will feature mesh pockets.

If you’re frequently wearing a backpack with a hip belt over your waterproof jacket then any pockets around your hip area will be inaccessible. So in this case you might want to choose a waterproof jacket with chest pockets.

Zips

The zips of a waterproof jacket will either be water-resistant or protected by a flap of waterproof fabric. Some designs will use an additional flap secured with velcro over the top of the zip. Although these provide slightly more protection they also add extra weight and unnecessary bulk.

If you know you’re going to be very active in your waterproof jacket then it’s best to get one with armpit zips as these provide optimal ventilation.

Cuffs

The best waterproof jackets will feature secure cuffs that gather around the wrist to prevent water from wicking up the arm. Look out for either tapered velcro or elastic cuffs.

Lastly, the best waterproof jackets will have tapered seams. This prevents water from seeping through the stitching.

Fit & cut

How to fit a waterproof jacketWhen you’re looking to purchase a waterproof jacket, one of the first things you should consider is how you want it to fit. The fit of a waterproof jacket will depend on the circumstances in which you’ll be using it.

For example, if your plans involve hiking mountains in icy winds then pick a looser fit with plenty of room for layers underneath. You really don’t want to feel restricted when facing those steep inclines! Some waterproof jackets will offer a ‘mountain’ fit or you can simply go up a size.

On the other hand, for temperate climates and more leisurely outdoor activities, a form-fitting waterproof jacket is better. You want the waist, sleeves, and neck to fit reasonably close to your body to prevent any rain or cold air from reaching your skin. This is usually referred to as a standard fit.

Waterproof jackets that are designed for running or moving fast will usually have a ‘slim’ or ‘athletic’ fit as you won’t be wearing much underneath.

Conclusion

Whether you’re jetting off to a new dive destination, heading out hiking, or simply exploring your local area, you want a waterproof jacket that is reliable. And if you choose one of the top waterproof jackets we’ve listed above you definitely won’t be disappointed!

Do you already have a great waterproof jacket? Or did you just buy a new one?

Let us know your experience in the comments below!

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Alexa Worswick Administrator

Alexa Worswick is a PADI and SSI scuba diving Instructor, recreational freediver and freelance copywriter. She first learnt to scuba dive in the UK aged 15 and has since travelled and dived in multiple locations across 3 different continents. After quitting her marketing job in London in 2016, Alexa is now based in Indonesia where she can pursue her passion for the ocean fulltime. 

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