During our recent travels, we have been caught out by rain more than once. In fact, sometimes typhoons and tropical storms seemed to become almost a daily occurrence. We have therefore come to realise that having the best rain gear we can pack is a necessity rather than a luxury. If you are looking for the best rain jacket for any of your travel needs, this review rounds up the various options of rain gear available now.
Guide to choosing the best rain jacket for your needs
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To choose a suitable waterproof coat you need a good idea of what kind of activities and climates you will be facing during your travels.
If you plan to trek the national parks of the Pacific Northwest, you will need the best rain gear for hiking you can afford, given the likelihood of facing sustained downpours.
Conversely, if you are planning to backpack around southern Europe in summer, then you will probably only need a light raincoat for withstanding the odd (if heavy!) shower.
However, there are a number of factors to be considered, that will determine which is the best rain jacket for your personal travelling needs.
Waterproof versus water-resistant
This is important. A fabric that is water-resistant will only offer limited rain protection and will quickly soak through. There are many cheap rain jackets available that are described as water resistant.
However, the best rain jacket will be made from fully waterproof fabric will keep you much drier for much longer.
Membranes are used to ensure that fabric is properly waterproofed. Gore tex is the most recognisable name that refers to a 3-layer construction, with the central membrane being the gore tex itself. It offers a breathable yet fully waterproofed fabric.
Some of the more light waterproof jackets may be 2 layer, or 2.5 layers – still waterproof but often less suitable for sustained heavy use. However, if you plan some serious hiking, then consider investing in the best gore tex jacket you can afford.
Features of the best rain jacket
Taped seams will ensure that your rain jacket does not leak through the seams. Taped seams tend to come as standard on any good rain jackets.
Even on the most lightweight waterproof jacket, you want a storm flap covering the zipper in order to keep leaking rain out. Some of the best hiking rain jackets feature laminated zippers to ensure full waterproofing around the zipper area.
The best breathable rain jackets, made from porous fabric such as gore tex, maybe don’t need additional ventilation flaps. However, if your choice of fabric is more “plasticky” then do make sure that the rain jacket has underarm ventilation (or “pit zips”). This will ensure that your skin breathes, and you will sweat less.
If you opt for a more lightweight raincoat, you may have to sacrifice pocket space in order to decrease weight and increase packability.
Weight and packability
This can often be a trade-off against other factors such as price and sturdiness of the fabric. If you are looking for the ultimate lightweight fabric to pack as small as possible AND get the best waterproof jacket for your money, you will find you need to invest more in a higher-end product.
Rain jackets for men vs women
As you will see from this list, there is no significant difference in the best mens waterproof jacket versus womens waterproof jacket. All jackets are available in both male and female styles, with fabric and features consistent across both styles.
Fit and colours are the only variations between raincoats for women and men.
With all this in mind, below are our recommendations for the best waterproof rain jacket depending on your travel needs.
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Best rain jacket
|The North Face Mens Venture 2 Jacket||All round best rain jacket||2.5 layer Dryvent fabric|
|The North Face Womens Venture 2 Jacket||All round best rain jacket||2.5 layer Dryvent fabric|
|Columbia EvaPOURation rain jacket||Lightweight rain jacket||2.5 layer moisture-wicking fabric|
|Columbia Sportswear Women's Evapouration Jacket||Lightweight rain jacket||2.5 layer moisture-wicking fabric|
|Marmot Men's Precip Jacket||Packable rain jacket||2.5 layer construction|
|Marmot Women's Precip Jacket||Packable rain jacket||2.5 layer construction|
|Arc'Teryx Men's Beta AR Jacket||Rain jacket for hiking||3 layered Gore tex|
|Arc'teryx Womens Beta AR Jacket||Rain jacket for hiking||3 layered Gore tex|
|Marmot Men's Minimalist Jacket||Minimalist hiking rain jacket||2.5-layer Gore-Tex PacLite|
|Marmot Women's Minimalist Jacket||Minimalist hiking rain jacket||2.5-layer Gore-Tex PacLite|
|Waterproof Jacket Mens Raincoats-GIVBRO||Cheap rain jacket||Gore-Tex|
|Waterproof Jacket Rain Coats for Women -GIVBRO||Cheap rain jacket||Gore-Tex|
|Soteer Womens Lightweight Raincoat||Fashion-friendly women's rain jacket|
All round best rain jacket
All things considered when choosing a suitable rain jacket for most weather eventualities, the all round best waterproof coat we found is the North Face Venture 2 jacket. Available for both men and women, it has a number of features that we think make it overall the best backpacking rain jacket available.
This fully waterproof jacket is made from 2.5 layer Dryvent fabric. As well as taped seams, the fabric is also fully windproof. It has zippered pockets, and the relaxed fit means it is comfortable to wear.
If you do plan on wearing it in very cold weather, make sure to take a size bigger so you can layer up underneath – although it is windproof, it does not come with any inner lining.
The models for both men and women come in a large range of colours.
Check prices for North Face Venture 2 jacket for MEN.
Check prices for North face Venture 2 jacket for WOMEN.
Best Lightweight rain jacket
The Columbia EvaPOURation mens lightweight waterproof rain jacket weighs in at just under 350 grams, making it the best light rain jacket we found. It has an elasticated hood to adjust the fit around the face, and adjustable Velcro wrist straps, which make it more effective at keeping the rain out.
Made from 2.5 layer moisture-wicking fabric, it is highly effective even in very heavy rain, whilst keeping the skin dry. Armpit zips ensure adequate ventilation.
The Columbia EvaPOURation jacket also has two mesh pockets. One of these can be used to pack the jacket into a compact size for stowing into a backpack or day bag.
Although not offering much in the way of warmth, overall this is the best lightweight waterproof jacket we found and a competitor for the best packable rain jacket to boot.
Best packable rain jacket
Marmot PreCip rain jacket boasts that it can be compressed into a standard wide-mouthed water bottle, as well as one of it’s own built in pockets, meaning we can recommend it as the best packable rain jacket on this list.
Weighing in at under 325g, it can also rival the Columbia EvaPOURation for best lightweight rain jacket for travel too.
It comes in at the more budget-friendly end of the scale for branded rain jackets. Nevertheless it still features an adjustable hood and cuffs, storm flaps and a 2.5 layer construction.
The Marmot PreCip is actually my personal choice of womens lightweight rain jacket simply because I absolutely love the shade of the “Deep lake” colour it comes in!
Best rain jacket for hiking
Buying a rain jacket for hiking will need to consider levels of warmth and durability as well as waterproofing and weight. Getting the best hiking jacket for your own needs means thinking about the conditions you will be hiking in (sunny, heavy rain, snow or sleet) and the other layers you will be carrying or wearing.
The sturdiest hiking rain jacket we can recommend would be the Arc’teryx Beta AR jacket. This jacket features a large hood and high collar that wraps around the neck, offering additional protection against downpours.
It is made from 3 layered Gore tex. This high-tech fabric combined with the pit-zips for additional ventilation make it probably the best breathable rain jacket on this list.
This is an extraordinarily durable jacket, ensuring the very best protection against wind and rain. The price tag and the weight of the jacket does reflect this, however the Arc’teryx Beta AR jacket is proven to stand up to even extreme weather conditions.
For this reason, it is the best rain jacket for hiking that we can recommend, if you are planning to trek through changeable weather conditions.
If your budget cannot stretch to the Arc’teryx, or if you are looking for something a little lighter for less extreme hikes, then the Marmot Minimalist jacket is a good-value compromise. It offers 2.5 layer Gore-tex protection, combined with Pac-lite technology.
This means it’s lighter than the Arc’teryx but still offers a high level of rain and wind proofing via the large hood and adjustable wrist cuffs.
However, the “Minimalist” moniker seems to refer more to the simple design aesthetic than the weight itself – this is certainly not the lightest jacket on this list. The fabric is also not quite as breathable as the Arc’teryx jacket above, although the pit zips do allow you to get rid of excess heat.
Nevertheless, it is a high-performing jacket at a more budget-friendly price point than the Arc’teryx, which remains our top choice for the best rain jacket for hiking.
If you are planning on doing some serious hiking, then you may want to consider investing in something additional to cover your bottom half. The North Face Venture 2 waterproof pants combined with your hiking rain jacket will create full-body waterproofing – the best rain suit for all wet weather conditions. For women’s models of waterproof pants, click here.
Best cheap rain jacket
If budget is your primary consideration then we also have you covered. The best hooded rain jacket with a purse-friendly price tag is the Givbro Mens Outdoor Hooded rain jacket. This soft-shell jacket has taped seams, pockets and a hood as well as being constructed from waterproof and windproof breathable fabric.
Although it describes itself as lightweight, it comes in at between 600-800g – which is not the most feather-like mens lightweight waterproof jacket on this list! However, at under USD 50, it won’t bust your budget and don’t worry, the Givbro also comes as a women’s raincoat with hood too.
Best fashion-friendly womens rain jacket with hood
Finally, for any female fashionistas who are looking to combine form and function into a womens rain jacket with a hood, then the womens Soteer lightweight rain coat is a popular option.
With a more elegant and feminine cut than the traditional outdoors style jackets listed above, it is also waterproof, windproof, quick-drying and small-packing.
Combined with a tiny price tag, it makes a great budget-friendly addition to your travel wardrobe. Check the latest price on Amazon.
As you can see, the best rain jacket for you will really depend on where you are planning to travel to, and the kind of activities you will be doing whilst wearing it.
Any of these jackets listed above will keep you perfectly dry during a quick walk in a rain shower. However, you should consider the extra investment if you are planning to use your rain jacket for extended periods outdoors or as part of a layering system for keeping warm and dry during winter hikes.
We hope this list helps you make the best choice of rain jacket for your travel needs!
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