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Best waterproof jackets: fend off the worst winter weather

Included in this guide:

best waterproof jackets: Klättermusen Allgrön lifestyle shot
Having a reliable outer shell is essential in winter conditions (Image credit: Klättermusen)

When heading out into winter's icy grip, you'd better be equipped with one of the best waterproof jackets. No matter how advanced the rest of your kit may be, if you venture out without a quality hardshell you will be leaving yourself exposed to wind, rain and, ultimately, the cold. It's simply the most important piece of kit, especially in winter.

However, choosing the best waterproof jacket is no walk in the park. There's so much choice out there these days, with brands constantly optimizing their jackets, pushing for lighter, more protective and more eco-friendly options. If you don't know your GORE-TEX from your eVent, or your hydrostatic head from your breathability ratings, we're here to guide you to the best investment. 

best waterproof jackets: hiker looks out

When the weather turns, be ready with one of the best waterproof jackets (Image credit: Getty)

To whittle our selection down to twelve terrific choices, we've braved the worst of what winter can do in the mountains, testing the best waterproof jackets to the very edge of their capabilities. The jackets left standing here make up quite the desirable dozen, each worthy of high praise and each certainly a sound investment. Of course, we've done the same with the best women’s waterproof jackets too, designed specifically with the female form in mind.

Once you've got hold of the best waterproof jacket for you and you've got your best hiking boots ready, there's nothing to stop you enjoying the outdoors during this, its most savagely beautiful season. Be safe out there and enjoy!

How did we test the best waterproof jackets?

Our dedicated team of testers put our selection of the best waterproof jackets through their paces in everything from light drizzles to nigh-on biblical downpours. During our tests, we sought to gauge not only how well any jacket stood up to the elements, but also how well it performed in terms of practicality, comfort, and breathability, and its suitability for different types of adventure.

The best waterproof jackets for harsh winter conditions

best waterproof jackets: Mountain Hardwear Exposure/2 GTX Pro

(Image credit: Mountain Hardware)

Mountain Hardwear Exposure/2 GTX Pro

A top-quality Gore-Tex Pro shell designed to keep the nasty out, equipped with all the features we look for in a true winter mountaineering jacket

Specifications
Price: $650 (US) / £555 (UK)
Sizes: S / M / L / XL / XXL
Weight (men’s medium): 470g / 16.5oz
Colors: Gold hour / Cosmos purple / Fiery red
Reasons to buy
+Rugged and robust +Highly protective+Eco-conscious fabrics
Reasons to avoid
-No PFC-free DWR-Stiff and crinkly-Expensive-No women’s version

A jacket built for demanding mountain adventures, the Exposure is ideal for technical climbing or backcountry skiing. The 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro fabric is seriously protective, ensuring complete windproof and waterproof protection. The membrane is laminated to a very high-denier (80D) face made from bluesign-approved 100% recycled nylon, so it should be as tough as pretty much as any other mountaineering jacket out there, while also scoring well on the sustainability front. The vibrant colorways are also dyed using an eco-conscious solution too. The only negative is that the durable water-repellent (DWR) treatment of the face fabric is not PFC-free.

As you’d expect from the hefty price tag, it’s well equipped when it comes to features too. Single-pull Cohaesive cord-lock technology cinches the voluminous hood in tight. A laminated brim adds a little stiffness to deflect wind and rain away from the face. The bottom of the jacket has a pronounced drop tail and adjustable hem drawcords – again fitted with Cohaesive cord locks. Wide cuffs with chunky Velcro tabs fit over bulky winter gloves but provide a good weatherproof seal from the elements. You also get underarm vents, fitted with water-resistant laminated two-way zips, and two zippered hand pockets, again with water-resistant zips and chunky pull tabs, plus two oversized Napoleon-style zippered chest pockets. Inside the jacket, a stretch mesh dump pocket is a good place to temporarily stash gloves, and a small zipped security pocket provides safe storage for keys or electronic devices.

Despite its array of features and robust fabric, this jacket tips the scales at 1 lb 1oz, or 470g (in a men’s medium). That’s impressively light for a winter-grade waterproof shell. Indeed, it’s nearly half the weight of other jackets we’ve tested that are designed for similar conditions.

best waterproof jackets: Klättermusen Allgrön 2.0

(Image credit: Klättermusen )

An eco-friendly, high-performance technical shell for year-round adventures

Specifications
RRP: $600 (US)/ £372 (UK)
Weight: (Men's M) 624g
Sizes: Men’s XS-XL
Waterproofing: >20,000mm HH
Breathability: >20,000g/m²/24hrs MVTR
Fabric: 3L Cutan 148 g/m² 50% Ultramid® Bio-Mass Balanced Polyamide, 50% Polyamide, bluesign approved fabric, fluorocarbon-free
Colors: Blue Sapphire / Burnt Russet / Dusty Yellow / Honey / Raven / Rust
Reasons to buy
+Great cut+Stretch fabric for freedom of movement+Eco-friendly fabrics+Good ventilation
Reasons to avoid
-Not the lightest-Slightly awkward cuff tabs-Hood peak could be better

The Allgrön 2.0 is a technical three-layer shell with excellent sustainability credentials, designed for year-round mountain pursuits. It looks great, performs well and offers plenty of practical features. Build quality is solid, while the overall fit is fairly trim – ideal for lean, rangy climber types.

Flexibility and overall freedom of movement are excellent, helped by the slight stretch in the eco-friendly waterproof-breathable fabric. The Allgrön 2.0 also feels reassuringly protective, yet the fabric possesses a softer handle that makes it noticeably quieter and more supple than Gore-Tex Pro, whilst still being completely windproof. It has huge two-way pit zips and mesh-lined pockets for ventilation, plus a two-way main zip with double storm flaps. The shaped hood can accommodate a climbing helmet, but has rear volume adjustment and double face drawcords to cinch in it tightly if the weather closes in.

The unusual cuff adjustment features elasticated drawcords rather than flimsy Velcro tabs, which promise improved long-term durability, though it’s a feature that you’ll probably either love or hate. Admittedly, this isn’t the lightest shell out there, but then it’s designed to be burly enough to wear all winter – it even has a RECCO reflector for avalanche safety. If you’re out and about in really demanding conditions year-round, this is definitely a jacket worth considering. 

Best waterproof jackets: Montane Alpine Resolve

(Image credit: Montane)

Trim-fitting top-end Gore-Tex Pro shell designed for demanding use in the toughest conditions

Specifications
RRP: $500 (US)/ £360 (UK)
Weight: (Men's M) 480g
Sizes: Men’s S-XXL
Waterproofing: >28,000mm HH
Breathability: >25,000g/m²/24hrs MVTR
Fabric: 3L Gore-Tex Pro (40 Denier main body with a 100% recycled nylon face, 80 Denier at shoulders, hips and elbows with a 100% recycled nylon face)
Colors: Firefly Orange / Citrus Green / Slate / Orion Blue
Reasons to buy
+Trim, streamlined fit+Superb technical features+Uses recycled fabrics
Reasons to avoid
-Stiff fabric-No in-built stretch

New for 2021, the Alpine Resolve jacket from Montane is the brand’s latest flagship waterproof shell for technical alpine climbing and winter mountaineering. Employing a mix of 40D and 80D recycled nylon fabrics to balance weight and durability without compromising on protection (or ignoring environmental principles), it employs a Gore-Tex Pro membrane for class-leading waterproof-breathable performance. The result is a jacket that feels like donning a suit of armour, ready to do battle with the worst the weather can throw at you. 

The trim fit means no excess fabric to bunch or billow around, yet clever 3-D patterning ensures plenty of articulation – despite the fabric’s lack of inherent stretch. Armed with all the features you’d expect of a top-end technical shell, this is one of the very best winter-ready Gore-Tex jackets on the market for mountaineering and hillwalking.

best waterproof jacket: berghaus changtse jacket

(Image credit: Berghaus)

All the right Gore-Tex fabrics in all the right places make this a high-performance waterproof jacket

Specifications
RRP: £290 /€350
Sizes: S-XXL
Weight : 375g/13oz (size M)
Colors : Haute red/Deep water blue/Graphite
Reasons to buy
+Body-mapped Gore-Tex technology+Venting+Hood adjustable from a single point
Reasons to avoid
-Only one pocket-Expensive

A serious price for a serious jacket, the Changtse has been designed for hikers who not only head into uncompromising hills and mountains, but who are dynamically active when they get there. Its science lies in the use of three different Gore-Tex fabrics, bodymapped to zones where each can function optimally. Active Shell, the most breathable Gore-Tex, features around the torso to keep hikers cool; robust Paclite Plus is used in areas that suffer the most abrasion, such as the chest and arms; and Topo Stretch appears around the hem and cuffs for stretchable waterproof protection – ideal when scrambling or climbing. Pit zips allow for a through-flow of air, while an innovative (and patented) Vapour Storm vent at the top of the back helps to stop sweaty spine syndrome. The hood, which accommodates a helmet, is adjustable from a single point, and naturally, at this price the jacket is ruggedly waterproof. 

Best waterproof jacket: helly hansen verglas jacket

(Image credit: Helly Hansen)

Helly Hansen Verglas 3L

A tough, fully-featured waterproof jacket for year-round use

Specifications
RRP: $325 (US)/£260 (UK)
Sizes : S-XXL
Weight: 520g/1lb 2oz
Colors: Papaya/Royal blue/Fir green/Azid lime/ Glacier blue
Reasons to buy
+Excellent hood+Robust 3-layer construction+Glove-compatible main zip
Reasons to avoid
-Limited pockets

The fact that the Verglas is as likely to be seen on ski slopes as it is in hills and mountains says much about its all-round, all-season weather protection. It’s not insulated, but the three-layer construction of outer shell, membrane and liner are wind and waterproof as well as breathable for higher energy outdoor activities, while all seams are sealed. If you want to spill heat, open the pit zips for extra ventilation; conversely, if you want to conserve heat simply tighten the inner waist cord. A helmet squeezes under the hood, and on those occasions when you really need to batten down the hatches the hood closes to little more than a letterbox opening. The large main zip tag is adjustable with gloves, but there are only two pockets so you’ll have to stow essentials in your pack.

Best waterproof jackets: Paramo Velez

(Image credit: Paramo)

Paramo Velez Adventure Smock

This jacket adopts a radically different technological approach and style, and has won legions of fans

Specifications
RRP: £245
Sizes: S-XXL
Weight: 720g/1lb 9oz
Colors: Black/Dark green
Reasons to buy
+Breathability+Huge pockets+Wired peak hood
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy-Needs regular reproofing

Rather than the industry standard of shell and membrane, Paramo uses a DWR finish on the outer surface and Nikwax Analogy fabrics to draw water as well as vapour away from the skin and through the outer layer (most membranes only allow vapour, rather than condensed water to escape). It’s a warmer solution, best suited to chilly days and requiring a lighter baselayer than other waterproof shell jackets. The substantial wired hood rolls away when not in use, and two lengthy front zips open to provide good ventilation and access to an inner pocket. The fit is generous, delivering first class freedom of movement, while the longer tail extends the waterproof protection. The smock design is unusual and the styling won’t appeal to all, but it does allow for a huge, practical chest pocket – just be careful what you stow in it if you’re a regular Instagrammer as it can lead to an unflattering side profile.

The best waterproof jackets for great value

best waterproof jackets: Alpkit Definition

(Image credit: Alpkit)

Offering fortress-like protection from the elements at around half the price of the premium brands, Alpkit’s highly regarded Definition jacket is undoubtedly one of the best value waterproof shells around

Specifications
Price: $300 (US) / £250 (UK)
Sizes: Men’s S / M / L / XL / XXL; Women’s (UK): 8 / 10 / 12 / 14 / 16 /18
Weight (men’s medium): 525g / 18.5oz
Colors: Nemo blue / Chili red
Reasons to buy
+Tough fabric+Highly protective+Eco-friendly water-repellent finish+Great value
Reasons to avoid
-Fewer pockets than some mountain-focused shells-Side vents awkwardly placed-Trim fit may not suit all body shapes

The Definition is British brand Alpkit’s top-tier waterproof shell, designed to be the “ideal mountaineering jacket for Scottish winter epics, committed alpine climbing and year-round Munro bagging”. It competes with high-end Gore-Tex Pro shells yet is priced at a competitive £250 GBP ($300 USD). The jacket uses a non-branded waterproof-breathable 3-layer fabric, but one that promises waterproof performance, rated at 30,000 HH and offering excellent breathability.

The fabric itself is also very tough, with a high-denier nylon face. That ensures excellent tear and abrasion resistance, while the fabric's plain weave also creates a smooth surface that resists snags. The inner surface of the fabric has a tricot backer for added comfort and wicking performance. The latest version of the Definition now has the highest performing environmentally-friendly durable water repellent (DWR) finish available.

The jacket’s technical capabilities are apparent in its mountain-focused cut. Pre-shaped arms allow excellent mobility, while a longer length in the arms and torso prevents it from riding up and exposing wrists, back or stomach. It also stays nicely tucked in under a climbing harness. Up top, a large hood works with or without a climbing helmet, with a wired peak and three-way elastic drawcord adjustment for a closer fit. The gusseted cuffs have chunky Velcro tabs and fit easily under or over gloves.

The main zip employs a two-way, water resistant YKK Vislon Aquaguard zipper, with an internal storm flap. You get a single large external chest pocket – easily big enough to take an OS map – plus two hand pockets. One unusual feature are the jacket’s zipped side vents, placed at the upper torso. Supposedly, this placement makes them easier to open and close when overheating than traditional underarm pit-zips. 

Overall, this is a fabulous jacket that outperforms many other more expensive jackets in the hills and mountains. Its stand-out features are its great cut, rugged fabric and versatile, protective hood, but there are some other welcome little elements – like those gusseted cuffs – that also give it an edge over mainstream rivals.

best waterproof jackets: Jack Wolfskin Go Hike jacket

(Image credit: Jack Wolfskin)

Jack Wolfskin Go Hike jacket

A weather repelling outer layer made entirely from recycled materials

Specifications
RRP: £145 (UK)
Weight: : 429g / 15oz
Sizes: S / M / L / XL / 2XL / 3XL
Waterproofing: 20,000mm HH
Breathability: > 15,000 g/m²/24h
Fabric: Texapore Ecosphere stretch (100% recycled polyester), recycled-fabric mesh lining
Colors: Fiery red / Basil green / Blue
Reasons to buy
+Recycled materials used+Good price
Reasons to avoid
-Some wetting out in heavy conditions-Hood hard to adjust

Big respect to Jack Wolfskin for making a jacket entirely from reused and recycled materials (PFC free and Bluesign ticked) – this is absolutely the way of the future, and the brand hasn’t slapped a heft price tag on the Go Hike to make a point either. With a full-length, robust and waterproof zip, several adjustment points (hood, hem, cuffs) and a decent array of other features such as practically placed and good-sized pockets, there’s plenty to like about this jacket. And in most conditions we did like it – a lot – however, in extremely challenging conditions we found some wetting out was occurring. Other minor irritations included the fact that the hood was quite tricky to adjust (easy to tighten, less so to release). It is, however, entirely windproof, and in most trail scenarios looks and performs well.   

Best waterproof jackets: Patagonia Torrentshell 3L jacket

(Image credit: Patagonia)

This three-layer waterproof jacket is made from recycled fabrics and stuffs into its own pocket for easy carrying

Specifications
RRP: $150 (US)/£150 (UK)
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+Good price
Reasons to avoid
-Rucksack hip belts can cover pockets

The only difficult decision in choosing the Torrentshell as a waterproof jacket is picking a colour – there are 10 available for men and nine for women. The outer shell is made from a tough, recycled nylon, with a membrane to let sweat escape, while a ‘knitted’ tricot liner provides a soft layer next to your skin – with comfort levels enhanced even further at the neck by a micro-fleece lining to snuggle into when the heavens open. Velcro cuffs and a hem drawcord provide a seal against sideways rain, as do the internal and external storm flaps on either side of the front zip, while the hood adjusts for a close, face-hugging fit. When the weather is more benign the hood folds and hooks down, and pit zips help you let off steam. And when it’s sunny, the whole jacket stuffs into its own handpocket for easy carrying. It’s constructed from recycled materials, and to top it all, it’s fair-trade certified.  

The best waterproof jackets for fast and light adventures

best waterproof jackets: Beyond Clothing Yuba Ultralight K6 Rain Anorak

(Image credit: Beyond)

Beyond Clothing Yuba Ultralight K6 Rain Anorak

A handsome and handy-to-pack anorak with loads of storage and decent performance levels

Specifications
RRP: $285 (US)
Weight: 227g / 8oz
Sizes: S / M / L / XL / 2XL
Waterproofing: 20,000 HH
Breathability: 30,000g
Fabric: Ultra lightweight three-layer Pertex
Colors: Rescue red / Black / Coyote / Navy / Rustic green
Reasons to buy
+Light+Very packable +Smart looking+Lots of pockets
Reasons to avoid
-Flimsy hood with no peak-Not much venting-Possibly too many pockets…

This new American-made anorak offers hardshell-levels of waterproofing performance with a vastly reduced weight penalty, thanks to the three-layer Pertex construction. It has pockets all over the place, from the sleeves to a large pouch across the gut, which is useful for stashing a paper map in. The side pocket angles backwards – which means you can carry the contents without it flapping around too much while you’re moving – and this also functions as a stow pouch to make the jacket extra packable. 

The waterproofing is reliable, but there isn’t much in the way of venting, with just a half-length front zip. That said, we found it to be pretty breathable. The hood can be adjusted via one toggle at the back, and can be tightened to some extent, but with the emphasis being on making the jacket as light as possible, there is no peak or structure to the hood to help keep the elements out when things get really wild. It can also be tightened at the waist. The Yuba is a fantastic looking piece of apparel (at least until you put the hood up), well styled and available in a range of nice colorways).  

Best waterproof jackets: north face impendor jacket

(Image credit: North Face)

The North Face Impendor Futurelight

Cutting edge fabric technology make this a waterproof jacket for fast-paced high-level adventures

Specifications
RRP: £320
Sizes: S-XL
Colors : Black & asphalt grey/Black & flame orange
Reasons to buy
+Nano-spun waterproof breathable fabric+Adjustable, helmet compatible hood+Good ecological values
Reasons to avoid
-Shorter fit

As the shampoo ads say, “And now for the science bit…” The Impendor takes advantage of Futurelight, The North Face’s new fabric technology (their answer to Gore-Tex), which involves the spraying of nano-sized particles to create a waterproof, breathable film. The boffins behind the cutting-edge development have ensured the film’s fibres are small enough to let moisture pass through, while keeping water (rain) out, to create the foundations of an exceptionally breathable waterproof jacket. The result is a super-supple jacket, ideal for high energy activities in the mountains, with a wired-brim hood large enough to accommodate a helmet. Extra protection from the elements comes in the form of waterproof zips and taped seams, while an inner chest pocket provides a safe space for a phone. Materials include recycled nylon and the jacket is impregnated with a non-PFC durable water repellent – all good news for the environment.

Best waterproof jackets: rab downpour alpine

(Image credit: Rab)

Rab Downpour Alpine

Cutting edge fabric technology make this a waterproof jacket for fast-paced high level adventures

Specifications
RRP: £160
Sizes: S-XXL
Weight: 400g/14oz
Colors: Blueprint/Maya/Sulphur/Black
Reasons to buy
+Helmet compatible hood+Large chest pockets
Reasons to avoid
-Less durable than a 3-layer fabric

Cumbria’s lakes don’t fill themselves, and you’re more likely to need a waterproof than sunscreen in Snowdonia, which is where the Rab Downpour Alpine enters the fray, ready to deliver all day weather protection in the most challenging conditions. Unusually and impressively for a jacket at this price, it uses a proprietary rather than own-brand fabric to square up to downpours. Made from 2.5-layer Pertex Shield, the Rab Downpour Alpine features a membrane bonded to the face fabric, with a coating on the inside. It’s less durable than a three-layer jacket, but it allows for freer movement and a smaller pack size when not in use. Two large chest pockets sit well above rucksack belts and easily swallow an Ordnance Survey map, while pit zips bring a breath of fresh air to sweaty armpits. The fleece-lined chin guard is a thoughtful touch for days when you’re grimacing into a climatic onslaught, and the malleable-peaked hood cinches to create a close, snug fit around your head.   

Best waterproof jackets comparison table
Waterproof jacketPriceWeightStyleBest use
Mountain Hardwear Exposure/2 GTX Pro $650 (US) / £555 (UK)MediumHigh performance, technical shell with Gore-Tex4 season use: hiking, backpacking, hut-to-hut trekking, winter and alpine mountaineering
Klättermusen Allgrön 2.0$600 (US) / £372 (UK)HeavyHigh performance, technical shell with Gore-Tex4 season use: hiking, backpacking, hut-to-hut trekking, winter and alpine mountaineering
Montane Alpine Resolve$500 (US) / £360 (UK)MediumHigh performance, technical shell with Gore-Tex4 season use: hiking, backpacking, hut-to-hut trekking, skiing, winter and alpine mountaineering
Berghaus Changtse£290 (UK) / €350 (EU)LightHigh performance, technical shell with Gore-Tex4 season use: fastpacking, hiking, backpacking, hut-to-hut trekking, skiing, winter and alpine mountaineering
Helly Hansen Verglas 3L$325 (US) / £260 (UK)MediumHigh performance, technical shell4 season use: hiking, backpacking, hut-to-hut trekking, skiing, winter and alpine mountaineering
Paramo Velez Adventure Smock£245 (UK)HeavyHigh performance shell4 season use: hiking, backpacking, hut-to-hut trekking, winter and alpine mountaineering
Alpkit Definition$300 (US) / £250 (UK)MediumHigh performance, technical shell4 season use: hiking, backpacking, hut-to-hut trekking, winter and alpine mountaineering
Jack Wolfskin Go Hike jacket£145 (UK)MediumWaterproof shell made from fully recycled materials4 season use: hiking, backpacking, hut-to-hut trekking
Alpkit Balance£180 (UK)MediumStandard waterproof shell4 season use: hiking, backpacking, hut-to-hut trekking, skiing
Patagonia Torrentshell$150 (US) / £150 (UK)LightLightweight waterproof shell4 season use: hiking, backpacking, hut-to-hut trekking, skiing
Beyond Clothing Yuba Ultralight K6 Rain Anorak$285 (US)Ultra lightLightweight waterproof shell4 season use: speed hiking, fastpacking, backpacking, hut-to-hut trekking, skiiing
The North Face Impendor Futurelight£320 (UK)LightLightweight, high performance shell with Futurelight fabric4 season use: hiking, backpacking, hut-to-hut trekking, skiing, winter and alpine mountaineering
Rab Downpour Alpine£160 (UK)MediumStandard waterproof shell4 season use: hiking, backpacking, hut-to-hut trekking, skiing

Choosing the best waterproof jacket for you

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

The best waterproof jackets have many zips for pockets and ventilation (Image credit: Getty)

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.

best waterproof jackets

Your waterproof should leave enough room for your mid layers (Image credit: Getty)

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. 

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.)