The best waterproof jackets 2024: beat the conditions with a high quality rain coat

Collage of the best waterproof jackets
(Image credit: Future)

The best waterproof jackets are a year-round essential, whether you're heading to the mountains in the depths of winter or hacking through tropical vegetation. The protection they offer against the elements mean you can enjoy adventures in the most challenging conditions, while staying dry and avoiding becoming drenched in sweat in the process.

Of course, fleeces and down jackets are your friend when it comes to retaining warmth, but their lack of waterproofing means they aren't suitable as an outer layer in a deluge. Having one of the best waterproof jackets is therefore essential, so we've tested all these jackets extensively to ensure that they live up to their claims of being waterproof, breathable and wind resistant.

We rate the Arc'teryx Beta Lightweight as the greatest waterproof jacket around today, but each and every product in our selection is there on merit, performing its task superbly in challenging conditions.

The quick list

Here's our Quick List, starting with our top performers when it comes to quality waterproof jackets. For a more detailed look at these excellent hardshells, navigate further down this guide.

The best waterproof jackets we recommend in 2024

You can trust Advnture Our expert reviewers spend days testing and comparing gear so you know how it will perform out in the real world. Find out more about how we test and compare products.

The best waterproof jacket overall

best waterproof jackets: Arc'teryx Beta Lightweight Jacket

Julia testing the Beta Lightweight Jacket in Scotland's Arrochar Alps (Image credit: Future)
The best waterproof jacket overall

Specifications

Sizes: Men’s: XS-XXL; Women’s: XXS-XXL
Weight: 330g / 11.6oz (women’s S)
Colors: Solace / Fika / Sky Groover / Black / Forage / Jungle maze / Serene / Wicker sapphire / Phenom
Compatibility: Hiking, mountaineering, winter sports

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight with good coverage
+
Fully waterproof, windproof and breathable
+
Hem, cuffs and hood are all adjustable
+
Built-in RECCO reflector

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive compared to other jackets we tested

When facing down the elements there's usually a trade off among the best waterproof jackets between saving weight and high performance. The lighter a waterproof is, the harder it can be to trust it will live up to your needs in the backcountry. 

However, the waterproof Beta Lightweight jacket from Arc'teryx overcomes that obstacle, managing to deliver the goods, while not weighing you down. Of course, something's still got to give, and in this case it's the price, which is among the most expensive in this buying guide.

This jacket uses Gore-Tex in a light, breathable shell jacket and you really can count on it in the worst conditions - we tested it on an Alpine glacier trek and on soggy, lowland hikes, and it hit the mark each time. 

In theory, the Beta Lightweight should be classed as a hardshell jacket, offering full wind and water protection. The fabric though is light, breathable and pliable, reminiscent of a softshell rather than some kind of crunchy carapace. This makes it extremely versatile too. We think you’ll be hard-pushed to find a better performing jacket for all seasons and many outdoor activities, as long as you can handle the price.

Read our full Arc’teryx Beta Lightweight Jacket review

The best lightweight waterproof jacket

best waterproof jackets: Montane Spirit waterproof jacket

This streamlined waterproof jacket checks all the boxes for us, from sturdy shelter to lightweight packability (Image credit: Future)
The best lightweight waterproof jacket

Specifications

Sizes: Men’s: S-XXL; Women’s: XS-XXL
Weight: 330g / 11.6oz (women’s small)
Colors: Black / Eucalyptus / Saffron red / Saskatoon Berry / Oak green / Flame orange / Electric blue
Compatibility: Hiking

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and packs down small
+
Fit leaves plenty of room for layers
+
2.5 layer waterproof and windproof protection
+
Two map-sized hand pockets

Reasons to avoid

-
Recycled materials not used
-
No chest pockets

Montane’s Spirit waterproof jacket uses a 2.5 layer construction with Gore-Tex PacLite, meaning it's lightweight and highly packable. In fact, it's only a few grams heavier than the brand's ultralight Phase Lite jacket, and will cost you less, while still boasting a useful array of features.

The adjustable cuffs, hem and hood, complete with stiffened peak, all helped keep our expert tester dry in a drizzle and a deluge while on test. And the relatively loose cut meant she could wear it over several layers, which is exactly what you need when facing down changeable conditions at different altitudes.

Admittedly, it's not as breathable as some jackets intended for running, but it more than does the job for hiking. Our only real complaint is that no recycled materials have been used in its construction, something we would really like to see.

This is a superb, lightweight waterproof jacket ideally suited for hiking that delivers high performance in a simple, classic package.

Read our full Montane Spirit Waterproof jacket review

The best waterproof jacket for hike leaders

best waterproof jackets: Helly Hansen Odin 9 Worlds 2.0 Outdoor Shell Jacket

A three-layer, professional-grade waterproof coat, the Helly Hansen Odin 9 Worlds 2.0 Outdoor Shell Jacket is capable of keeping out the very worst weather (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
The best waterproof jacket for hike leaders

Specifications

Sizes: Men’s: S-2XL; Women’s: XS–XL
Weight: Men’s: 610g / 1lb 6oz; Women’s: 525g / 1lb 3oz
Waterproof rating: HH 20,000mm
Breathability rating: >20000g/m²/day
Colors: Malachite / Cloudberry / Deep Fjord / Red / Black; Women’s: Black / Jade / Blue Fog / Red / Triple Espresso
Compatibility: Trekking, backpacking, hiking, camping, mountaineering and snow sports

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent waterproofing
+
Highly breathable
+
Well-designed hood
+
Recco reflector

Reasons to avoid

-
Fairly neat fit reduces layering options
-
Lacks an inside pocket or underarm vents
-
Not especially light
-
Expensive compared to other jackets on test

The Odin 9 Worlds 2.0 Outdoor Shell Jacket is part of Helly Hansen's Tech Professional range, with the company's top score for “extreme waterproofness” (it has a hydrostactic head of over 20,000 mmH2O). It is also considered “extremely breathable”, with a breathability rating of over 20,000g/m²/24. It also has large underarm vents with two zips on each side, which allowed us to quickly dump all that excess heat and then maintain a nice amount of airflow without letting in any rain in.

This is a jacket designed for the most unforgiving terrain and conditions, and it is more than built for the task, thanks to its three-layer construction and top of the range fabrics. You will be shelling out a significant wedge for this jacket, but in return you'll be getting a premium product that should last you for many mountain missions.

Read our full Helly Hansen Odin 9 Worlds 2.0 Outdoor Shell Jacket review

The best waterproof jacket for professionals

best waterproof jackets: Berghaus MTN Guide GTX Pro jacket

The GTX Pro jacket is an uncompromising waterproof for mountaineers (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)
The best waterproof jacket for professionals

Specifications

Sizes: Men's: XS-2XL; Women's: UK 8-18
Weight: Men's: 653g / 1.44lb; Women's: 585g / 1.29lb
Colors: Men's and women's: Goji Berry / Jet Black; Men only; Pinstripe & Jet Black
Compatibility: Winter mountaineering and alpinism

Reasons to buy

+
Top notch components
+
Insulated interior pocket for electronics
+
Exceptionally durable
+
More than 90% Bluesign approved fabrics

Reasons to avoid

-
Too heavy for speed hikers
-
More suited to winter than summer

The Pro Jacket is a serious waterproof jacket designed for mountaineering professionals. One of the key pieces of Berghaus' revamped Extrem range, we found it to be hugely robust and high performing, though it has a price point to match.

This is a jacket aimed at professionals, and it shows. Its construction uses Gore-Tex Pro Most Rugged, making it hugely hard-wearing, with strategically placed Gore-Tex Pro Stretch panels, which provide durability and freedom of movement. Ok, so it isn't the lightest, but this jacket isn't for ultralight obsessives. It's made for serious mountaineering conditions where you are likely to need several layers underneath, and probably a helmet, hence the roomy fit. On test, we found it hugely protective, while it didn't inhibit our movements. We liked the many zippered storage pockets, including a neat little insulated interior pocket for electronic devices. 

All in all, it's a hugely accomplished jacket for serious mountain adventurers. There’s a lot to love about the protection and practicality offered by the Pro Jacket. No doubt, it’s overkill for summer hiking and, unless you have mountaineering or winter walking aspirations, it’s difficult to justify the cost. However, if you do enjoy technical adventures in challenging conditions, this jacket is almost flawless.

Read our full Berghaus MTN Guide GTX Pro jacket review

The best waterproof jacket for harsh conditions

best waterproof jackets: Artilect Shadow Canyon Jacket

A stunning three-layer, ready for anything outdoor jacket, for year-round hikers, climbers, scramblers and skiers   (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
The best waterproof jacket for harsh conditions

Specifications

Gender specification: Men’s / Women’s
Sizes: Men’s: XS-XXL; Women’s: XS-XL
Waterproof rating: HH 30,000mm
Breathability rating: 30,000g/m2/24hrs
Materials: Polyamide; 40D two-way stretch nylon ripstop shell, with GTT Empel treatment; ‘High and Dry’ membrane; 20D 100% recycled jersey backer; YKK Aquaguard main zip
Weight (Men’s large): 510g / 1lb 2oz
Colors: Men’s: Ash & black / Hot spot & ash / Slate & black; Women’s: Black & ash / Lemon & ash / Slate & ash / Ember & ash
Compatibility: Backpacking, hiking, trekking, climbing, snow sports and travel

Reasons to buy

+
Three-layer construction
+
Very wind- and waterproof
+
Breathable, with good underarm vents
+
Very adjustable and highly versatile 

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks a snow skirt
-
Vents have single zips only
-
Pockets aren't waterproof
-
Pricey compared to other jackets on test

The Shadow Canyon by Artilect is a super stylish PFA-free shell jacket made from top-quality components (including some recycled materials, which we're always pleased to see). We found it offered excellent protection from the elements, including severe rain, snow and wind. It's a three-layer jacket, with a tough 40D two-way stretch nylon ripstop exterior face fabric, a 20D 100% recycled jersey backer, and the Bluesign- and Oeko-Tex- approved ‘High and Dry’ membrane in the middle. You don't need to worry about getting wet or sweaty in this jacket as it scores breathability and waterproofing ratings that are right at the upper end of the scale.

There are two large zipped hand pockets that will each fit a sheet map, plus a zipped chest pocket that's perfect for tucking away essentials that you want to keep close at hand.

It's easy enough to dump heat quickly, thanks to the large underarm vents. The hood is helmet-compatible and can be easily adjusted and tightened around the top of your head and upper face with a toggle at the back. It also features a stiffened peak to keep the rain off your face and give you great visibility in the worst conditions.

Read our full Artilect Shadow Canyon Jacket review

The best waterproof jacket for durability

Patagonia Men’s Triolet Alpine Mountaineering Hardshell

The Triolet kept our reviewer warm and dry while getting a bearing in a snowstorm at -4°F (-20°C) (Image credit: Craig Taylor)
The best waterproof jacket for durability

Specifications

Sizes: XS-XL
Weight (men's): 19.4oz / 550g
Colors: Men’s: Plume gray / Black / Classic navy / Cabin gold / Wax red; Women’s: Fresh teal / Rosehip / Current blue / Black
Compatibility: Hiking, mountaineering and alpine pursuits

Reasons to buy

+
Reliably water and windproof
+
RECCO Reflector built in
+
Stylish enough to wear casually
+
Great eco credentials

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavier than other jackets on test
-
Hood may let some water in during heavy rain
-
Expensive compared to many others we tested

An ultra hard-wearing hardshell, we think the Patagonia Triolet is a good-looking yet functional jacket that can hold off the very worst of the weather – and it gave us the ability to stride out in confidence.

You'll be grateful for it if you encounter bad weather up in the mountains. However, this confidence comes at a price, as the Triolet is at the more expensive end of the spectrum compared to other jackets we tested. It's also pretty heavy, tipping the scales at 550g / 19.4oz just in a size small, which is as much as some ultralight tents. You'll be grateful for it if you encounter bad weather up in the mountains.

The jacket has two generous hand warmer pockets, two large chest pockets (with waterproof zips) and a large inner stash pouch, which we found ideal for carrying gloves, maps or anything else we wanted to keep out of the weather. It also comes with two huge underarm vents that allowed us to dump heat while keeping dry and features a built-in RECCO reflector in the neck.

Read our full Patagonia Triolet Alpine Mountaineering Hardshell review

The best insulated waterproof jacket

Craghoppers Waverley Thermic Jacket

Craghoppers' Waverley Thermic Jacket is a seriously warm, reliably waterproof and windproof jacket with a great hood and absolutely loads of pockets (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
The best insulated waterproof jacket

Specifications

Gender specification: Unisex
Sizes: S-XXL
Waterproof rating: HH 15,000mm
Breathability rating: 10,000g/m2/24hrs
Materials: AquaDry Membrane stretch ripstop construction, EcoShield PFC-free DWR and hollowfibre insulation
Colors: Mahogany / Black
Compatibility: Ideal for low intensity adventures such as hiking on cold, wet days

Reasons to buy

+
Impressively warm
+
Reliably waterproof and windproof
+
Well-designed hood
+
Partly made with recycled materials

Reasons to avoid

-
Potentially too warm for challenging ascents
-
Bulky compared to non-insulated hard shells
-
Heavy compared to most other jackets on test

The Waverley Thermic is a very warm waterproof jacket with a design that covers off your midlayer and outer shell needs in one. It's perfect for when the conditions are chilly and damp, but it's not part of a layering system or the kind of jacket you can tuck into your backpack when the sun comes out. We found it was far too much of a chunky monkey for that – but when feisty weather has set in for the entire day and you’re going to be out in cold, wet and windy conditions, it’s got your back. 

The fill is made up of ThermoAir+ fibres, which are designed to trap body heat in, and on test in sub-zero conditions we found this to be an extremely warm coat – on a par with some of the best puffer jackets, but with the added benefit of being fully weatherproof.

With a hydrostatic head rating of 15,000mm, the level of waterproof protection it offers is exceptional for such a warm jacket. The storage is great too – there are 11 pockets peppered throughout this coat, with several secure zipped options on the interior for safely stashing wallet, credit card, money and so on.

Read our full Craghoppers Waverley Thermic Jacket review

The best waterproof jacket for speed hiking

best waterproof jacket: inov-8 VentureLite Jacket

Inov-8’s hiking jacket debut is a success, with a quality, lightweight waterproof that’s fit for the fells and mountains (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)
The best waterproof jacket for speed hiking

Specifications

Sizes: XS-XL
Weight : 450g / 15.9oz (men's)
Colors: Green / Black / Orange
Compatibility: Fast hiking and hill bagging

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and packable
+
Highly breathable
+
Solid waterproofing
+
Recycled materials

Reasons to avoid

-
No way to close the pit vents
-
No zippered pockets other than the handwarmers

This is a high quality jacket directly aimed at hikers who like their adventures fast and light. We think it's a perfect three-season jacket, although we think you'll need to do some serious layering up if you want to wear it in the winter too.

It's lightweight, despite being constructed from a 3-layer waterproof fabric, and has a respectable hydrostatic head rating of 15,000mm. We like the fact that it incorporates recycled materials, which is something we'd like to see as standard.

Where the Venturelite truly excels is in the breathability stakes, where it boasts an impressive 40,000g moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR), higher than most of the best waterproof jackets. Our tester said jackets like this made uncomfortable sweaty ascents a "distant memory".

What inov-8 are aiming for here is a jacket that remains comfortable when you’re pushing hard uphill. It’s a jacket that allows moisture given off by your exertions to escape.

Read our full inov-8 Venturelite Jacket review

The best waterproof jacket for portability

best waterproof jackets: Columbia OutDry Extreme Mesh Waterproof Hooded Shell Jacket

This is a rugged and reasonably packable rain shell with a streamlined design (Image credit: Future)
The best waterproof jacket for portability

Specifications

Sizes: S-XXL (XS in women's)
Weight Men's: 313g / 11oz (men's)
Colors: Red hibiscus / Black
Compatibility: Hiking, backpacking, camping

Reasons to buy

+
Totally waterproof and breathable
+
Hood stays up in strong winds
+
Pockets large enough for maps
+
Lightweight and packs into its own pocket

Reasons to avoid

-
Zip can stick a little
-
Slightly awkward fit in the front
-
Shiny fabric won't be for everyone

Columbia has made a slightly unusual design decision with its OutDry Extreme Mesh Waterproof Hooded Shell jacket, putting it waterproof membrane on the outside, which makes for a lighter and more watertight shell, and a shiny finish that won't be to everyone's tastes.

It has taped seams and adjustable cuffs and hem, which we found really did keep the rain out when we encountered a deluge on test. The liner might not be the softest we've encountered but it does a great job of wicking sweat and is highly breathable, meaning that, at least on milder treks, the lack of underarm vents wasn't an issue.

The adjustable hood pulls in tight nicely around your head to keep it firmly in place during high winds. The low cut keeps you dry when sitting on wet rocks. Two hand pockets are big enough to easily stash a map or guidebook, and their stretchy mesh inner panels means the whole thing can pack inside either one making this a strong choice  – if not the most stylish – for wet weather adventures, even when you’re trying to cut down on weight and bulk.

Read our full Columbia OutDry Extreme Mesh Waterproof Hooded Shell Jacket review

The best waterproof jacket for eco credentials

best waterproof jackets: Patagonia Torrentshell

This three-layer waterproof jacket is made from recycled fabrics and stuffs into its own pocket for easy carrying (Image credit: Jonathan Manning)
The best waterproof jacket for eco credentials

Specifications

Size : XS-XXL
Weight : 394g/14oz
Colors: Roots red / Supply green / Mango / Andes blue / Forge grey / Fire / Industrial green / Classic navy / Coriander brown / Black

Reasons to buy

+
Portability
+
Eco-friendly
+
Wired peak hood

Reasons to avoid

-
Rucksack hip belts can cover pockets

The huge range of colors to choose from will be your only difficult decision when it comes to the Torrentshell, which scored very highly on test, and has ten options for men and nine for women.

It has a sweat wicking membrane and a knitted tricot liner that felt lovely next to the skin. The neck also has a micro-fleece lining to make life cosier when the heavens open. When it does rain, the outer shell, which is made from a tough, recycled nylon, will protect you from the deluge.

When faced with the joy that is sideways rain, the velcro cuffs and hem drawcord, internal and external storm flaps and adjustable hood do a lot of heavy lifting to keep the water out.

Should you be lucky enough for conditions to dry out, the hood folds and hooks down, and pit zips help you let off steam, which we found very useful. And when it’s sunny, we were able to stuff the whole jacket into its own hand pocket for easy carrying. It’s constructed from recycled materials, and to top it all, is fair-trade certified.

Read our full Patagonia Torrentshell waterproof jacket review

The best two layer jacket

Salewa Puez Paclite GTX waterproof jacket

The level of protection offered impressive when you consider the very reasonable price tag (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
The best two layer jacket

Specifications

Sizes: Men's: S-XXL; Women's: XS-XL
Weight (Men's Large): 373g / 13.2oz
Materials: 2-layer Gore-Tex, 100% recycled polyester, PFC-free DWR finish
Waterproofing rating: HH 28,0000mm
Breathability rating: RET <6 m2Pa/W
Colors: Men’s: Black / Blue electric / Golden brown / Dark olive / Autumnal orange / Yellow gold; Women’s: Beige oatmeal / Black / Golden brown / Pink mauvemood / Pink zephyr / Red syrah
Compatibility: Alpine trekking, mountaineering, backpacking, hiking, climbing, snow sports

Reasons to buy

+
Very light
+
Reliably waterproof and highly breathable
+
Comfortable and quiet to wear
+
Plenty of great features

Reasons to avoid

-
No armpit vents
-
Not a lot of stretch
-
Only has two pockets
-
US version uses Pertex instead of Gore-Tex and has a lower HH rating

This stylish lightweight but extremely weatherproof outer jacket from Salewa is made with Gore-Tex Paclite and it shows. It has highly impressive figures when it comes to breathability and levels of waterproofing, and even the pockets are designed to keep the elements out. The level of protection offered is even more impressive when you consider the price tag, which is very reasonable for a technical piece of alpine trail and peak-ready apparel such as this. And it’s made with 100% recycled polyester, with a PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) finish, so the eco creds are excellent too. 

This is a 2-layer jacket, so it isn’t quite as warm as 3-layer shell, but the trade off is that it’s very light and easy to stash in a backpack or daypack, ready for when you need to deploy it in wet or windy weather. The fit is quite snug (Euro style), and there isn’t a massive amount of room for wearing a bulky mid layer beneath this jacket, so if you’re intending to use it at higher altitudes and/or in colder climes when you might need a puffer layer or down jacket, you may need to consider going up a size.

Read our full Salewa Puez Paclite GTX review

The best waterproof jacket for versatility

Jack Wolfskin Moonrise 3-in-1 waterproof jacket

The Jack Wolfskin Moonrise 3-in-1 jacket comes with a fleece mid layer that you can easily zip in and out, depending on the conditions (Image credit: Future)
The best waterproof jacket for versatility

Specifications

Gender specification: Women's only
Sizes: XS-XXL
Weight: 750g / 26.5oz (size S)
Waterproof rating: HH 10,000mm
Breathability rating: 6,000g/m2/24hrs
Materials: PFC-free Texapore Core outer shell, with a Polartec 200 inner jacket
Colors: Night blue, Black, New magenta
Compatibility: Lower level hikes and hill-walking

Reasons to buy

+
Zipped hand pockets on the outer shell
+
Joining system is simple to use
+
No PFCs used
+
Some recycled materials

Reasons to avoid

-
Fleece pockets have no zips
-
Hood is on the small side
-
Women's version only - for the men's equivalent see the Taubenberg 3-in-1 jacket

This is a versatile jacket made up of two pieces that zip apart - an outer shell and an inner fleece. The shell has a decent level of waterproofing (HH 10,000mm) that will see you right in fairly hefty downpours but may not be suitable for the very worst conditions. Instead, this is a jacket for cold, but not freezing, days, lower level hikes and hill-walking. The outer is reasonably breathable (6,000g/m2/24hrs) and on test both waterproofing and breathability performed well during an absolute deluge, despite a lack of underarm vents.

It has two large hand pockets that are zippable, making an easy place to store valuables, and a high quality YKK front opening zip, with a nicely made zip garage to stop long hair or skin getting caught in it. Adjustable velcro cuffs help to keep the rain out, but we would have liked to see some kind of tightening system on the hood as well. There's no chest pocket, but this isn't a jacket for intrepid explorers. It's a mid-level jacket designed for mid-level conditions and it does that task well.

The inner is made from recycled Polartec 200 fleece and is super soft against the skin. It also has two hand pockets, but these don't zip up, which felt like an oversight to our tester. The inner and outer zip together at the front, with loops and poppers at the neck and cuffs and these were simple to use, whether putting the two parts together or separating them. For the men's equivalent see the Jack Wolfskin Taubenberg 3-in-1 jacket

Read our full Jack Wolfskin Moonrise 3-in-1 jacket review

The best waterproof jackets comparison table

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Best waterproof jackets comparison table
Waterproof jacketPriceWeightBest use
Arc'teryx Beta Lightweight Jacket$500 (US) / £450 (UK)11.6 oz/ 330 g (women’s small)Hiking, mountaineering, winter sports
Montane Spirit Jacket$259 (US) / £190 (UK)330g / 11.6oz (women’s small)Hiking
Helly Hansen Odin 1 World Infinity Jacket$500 (US)/ £400 (UK)Men's: 440g / 15.5oz; women’s: 400g / 14ozHiking, backpacking, hut-to-hut trekking, winter and alpine mountaineering
Berghaus MTN Guide GTX Pro Jacket£500 (UK) / €550 (EU)XS to 2XL (men’s) UK 8 to 18 (women’s)Winter mountaineering and alpinism
Artilect Shadow Canyon Jacket$570 (US) / £450 (UK)510g / 1lb 2ozBackpacking, hiking, trekking, climbing, snow sports and travel
Patagonia Men's Triolet Alpine Mountaineering Hardshell$399 (US) / £350 (UK)19.4oz / 550gHiking, mountaineering and alpine pursuits
Craghoppers Waverley Thermic Jacket£160 (UK)Ideal for low intensity adventures such as hiking on cold, wet days
inov-8 Venturelite Jacket$300 (US) / £230 (UK) / $270 (EU)450g / 15.9 ozFast hiking and hill bagging
Columbia OutDry Extreme Mesh Waterproof Hooded Shell Jacket$250 (US) / £225 (UK)11oz / 313gHiking, backpacking, hut-to-hut trekking
Patagonia Torrentshell$150 (US) / £150 (UK)394g / 14ozHiking, backpacking, hut-to-hut trekking, skiing
Salewa Puez Paclite GTX$140 (not GTX) (US) / £200 (UK) / €230 (EU)373g / 13.2oz (men's large)Alpine trekking, mountaineering, backpacking, hiking, climbing, snow sports

How we test waterproof jackets

Our reviewers test waterproof jackets and shell layers during wet and wild weather in a range of environments, from hills and peaks to coastal paths and woodlands, on day hikes and longer treks. Features (including waterproofing, breathability, ventilation, materials, style, pockets, hoods, snow skirt, weight and overall comfort) are tested against claims made by the brand, and we assess factors such as value for money, durability, functionality and environmental impact.

Meet the testers

best waterproof jackets: Helly Hansen Odin 9 Worlds 2.0 Outdoor Shell Jacket
Pat Kinsella

Writer, editor and enthusiast of anything involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing adventure stories. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet.

best waterproof jackets: Arc'teryx Beta Lightweight Jacket
Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Adventure.com. She is an author, mountain enthusiast and yoga teacher who loves heading uphill on foot, ski, bike and belay. She recently returned to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland after 20 years living in the USA, 11 of which were spent in the rocky mountains of Vail, Colorado where she owned a boutique yoga studio and explored the west's famous peaks and rivers.

inov-8 Venturelite Jacket: hiking along the summit
Alex Foxfield

Alex is a freelance writer and qualified Mountain Leader with an insatiable passion for the mountains. A Cumbrian born and bred, his native English Lake District has a special place in his heart, though he is at least equally happy in North Wales, the Scottish Highlands or the European Alps. Through his hiking, mountaineering, climbing and trail running adventures, Alex aims to inspire others to get outdoors. He is currently President of the London Mountaineering Club, training to become a Winter Mountain Leader, looking to finally finish bagging all the Wainwright fells of the Lake District and hoping to scale more Alpine 4000ers when circumstances allow.

how to puff your down jacket: Matt Jones
Matthew Jones

An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest.

best fleece jacket: Patagonia Better Sweater
Craig Taylor

Growing up just south of the glorious Brecon Beacons National Park, Craig spent his childhood walking uphill. As he got older, the hills got bigger, and his passion for spending quality time in the great outdoors only grew - falling in love with wild camping, long-distance hiking, bikepacking and fastpacking. Having recently returned to the UK after almost a decade in Germany, he now focuses on regular micro-adventures in nearby Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons, as well as frequent trips to the Alps and beyond.

best hiking backpack: Jonathan Manning
Jonathan Manning

After spending a decade as editor of Country Walking, the UK’s biggest-selling walking magazine, Jonathan moved to edit Outdoor Fitness magazine, adding adrenaline to his adventures and expeditions. He has hiked stages or completed all of the UK's national trails, but was once overtaken by three Smurfs, a cross-dressing Little Bo Peep, and a pair of Teletubbies on an ascent of Snowdon. (Turns out they were soldiers on a fundraising mission.)

How to choose a waterproof jacket

Regardless of their RRP or reputation, the best waterproof jackets have to be right for you personally, whether you hike in country parks, rugged moorland or up on the high flanks of unforgiving mountains. It's all part of knowing how to stay dry while hiking

To help you find the perfect fit for you body type and needs, we've put together a list of factors to consider when buying: 

1. Fabric

Gear manufacturers deploy different technologies to make the best waterproof jackets, er, waterproof. The first layer is durable water repellency (DWR), which makes rain drops bead on the surface of the jacket. Walkers who take care of their kit can restore the DWR finish by washing a jacket with a specialist cleaning product, such as Nikwax, and then tumble-drying it. The second line of defence is the shell or barrier fabric, which gives the best rain jackets their structure, anti-abrasion protection, and determines whether it’s supple or stiff, silent or noisy.

best waterproof jackets

The Klättermusen Allgrön 2.0 jacket features stretch fabric for freedom of movement, essential for more technical terrain (Image credit: Klättermusen)

2. Membrane

Attached to the outer shell is a membrane, the scientific bit of the design, which stops water soaking through but lets sweat evaporate out as vapour – to deliver so-called breathability. Gore-Tex is the best-known membrane, but many gear manufacturers have developed their own technologies along similar lines – most recently TNF with Futurelight. The membrane is typically protected by an inner mesh. Different types of membrane provide varying degrees of waterproofing, which is usually denoted by their hydrostatic head

Our guide to breathable waterproof fabrics explains the differences between the various options.

best waterproof jacket

Revolution Race's Cyclone Rescue 2.0 features stretch fabric for freedom of movement (Image credit: Revolution Race)

3. Ventilation

In-store swing tags may promise that the best waterproof jackets are both waterproof and breathable, but the truth is that you’ll still feel sweaty climbing a hill in damp conditions with a backpack. If you've got your layering right, with a base layer and a mid layer (such as a fleece jacket), there will be times when your waterproof on top of all this is just too much, even when it's raining. Strategically designed vents and (arm) pit zips that facilitate a flow of air through the best rain jackets and can reduce condensation and leave you feeling less sweaty.

best waterproof jackets

Klättermusen Allgrön 2.0 jacket features features that enable great ventilation (Image credit: Klättermusen)

4. Hood

For maximum protection the hood needs to cover the whole of your head, ideally with enough space to accommodate a your best hiking hat underneath in winter. Climbers and mountaineers need to check the hood can swallow a helmet, too. The hoods of the best waterproof jackets move with your head (for unobstructed vision when crossing a road), so a cinch or ties are useful to secure a snug fit. Make sure any ties tuck away unless you fancy being whipped in the face when it’s windy. Finally, a stiff, wired hood will keep its shape in a gale.

best waterproof jacket

The Revolution Race Cyclone Rescue 2.0 jacket is one of the best waterproof jackets on the market (Image credit: Revolution Race)

5. Zips and seams

Sneaky old H2O seems determined to infiltrate any waterproof jacket, so it’s vital that all seams are taped and that zips are either stormproof or covered by a storm flap. If you plan to walk in winter, make sure you can operate the zips while wearing hiking gloves.

best waterproof jacket: Salewa Puez GTX on Tryfan

A large fit is important for fitting your other layers beneath a waterproof (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

6. Fit

Leave enough space under your jacket for wearing a base layer and mid layer (check out our quick guide to mid layers) , such as a down jacket, for walking in colder conditions. Jacket length is a matter of taste – longer jackets naturally offer greater protection – and adjustable cuffs and hem will keep you warm and watertight or let you spill heat by loosening them.

7. Weight

For much of the year a waterproof jacket is an insurance policy – carried in a backpack in case of rain. Like the best one-person tents, the best rain jackets that are light and fold up small are easier to carry, but will typically offer less protection and be less durable. If you’re going to rely on one jacket for year round walking it’s far better to choose a robust jacket for the worst of winter and carry a few extra grams in summer, than depend on a featherweight jacket when December’s rain is blowing horizontally.