I remember it like it was yesterday. American snowboarder, Chloe Kim made history in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, becoming the youngest woman ever to win a gold medal in Halfpipe. As I watched her unleash back-to-back 1080s in the third turn, one question persisted in my mind. How was she able to withstand these extremely low temperatures? After some online research, I found out that it had something to do with waterproof jackets.

Even if you're not an Olympic athlete, however, a good waterproof can make all the difference. But high-quality waterproof jackets aren't cheap. Before you commit to one, it's important to know what to look for.

Product
Image
Details
Rating
Price
North Face Men's Venture 2
The North Face Venture 2 Jacket for Men Large Mid Grey Ripstop...

This unlined, weatherproof mens rain jacket is great for year-round use. Waterproof,windproof, and breathable, the adjustable hood and secure-zip hand pockets keep you dry and warm.

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Romanstii Women's Jacket
Romanstii Quick Dry Rain Jacket Women Windbreaker Packable Raincoat...

Firstly Different: this rain jacket has one bag to carry on this rain jacket, packable anywhere.

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Helly Hansen Seven J
Helly Hansen Men's Seven J Waterproof Windproof Breathable Rain Coat...

Waterproof, windproof and breathable shell jacket with Helly Tech 2 Ply fabric keeps water out and allows sweat to evaporate to keep you dry

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Diamond Candy Women's Jacket
Diamond Candy Waterproof Rain Jacket Women Lightweight Outdoor...

 

This Jacket is specially for women designed. The outer fabric is skin-friendly and lightweight. Inside is fleece material, So it is more soft and warm.

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Columbia Evapouration Men’s jacket
Amazon Essentials Men's Lightweight Water-Resistant Packable Hooded...

Winter made better: we listen to customer feedback and fine-tune every detail to ensure quality, fit, and comfort

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Arc’teryx Beta SL jacket
ARC'TERYX Beta SL Hybrid Jacket Men's (Rigel, Medium)

Superlight materials and design, emphasizing light weight and packability over durablity.

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Outdoor Research Men’s Foray
Outdoor Research Men's Foray Jacket, Black, Large

Waterproof, Breathable, Fully Seam-Taped, Laminated Construction, Windproof

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Columbia Women’s Arcadia II
Columbia Women's Arcadia II Waterproof Rain Jacket

This women's shell top jacket features an adjustable storm hood, drawcord adjustable hem, and zippered hand pockets for ultimate comfort.

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North Face Resolve
The North Face Women's Resolve 2 Jacket TNF Black Medium

 The North Face has been a trusted name in outdoor gear for over 60 years. Whether you're looking for rain coats, parkas, ski jackets, pullovers, windbreakers, or vests.

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Marmot PreCip Men's Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket
Marmot Men's PreCip Jacket, Gargoyle, XL

Waterproof/breathable 2.5-layer performance NanoPro fabric for moderate rain, snow, and wind with a membrane-protecting print that increases wicking

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Waterproof Jacket FAQS

A good waterproof jacket has to keep the elements out, have an easy-to-use hood, a collar to protect your neck and offer good ventilation. But that's not all.

What is a waterproof jacket?

Waterproof jackets are also known as hard shells. They act as a final protective layer between your body and weather conditions. This means that you should wear additional clothes underneath for warmth.

The difference between the waterproof layers is the fabric and level of breathability it provides. Breathability is the ability of a jacket to allow moisture to escape, so you don't feel damp.

Intense aerobic activities such as mountain climbing and hill walking require highly breathable fabrics. On the other hand, less demanding activities require a jacket with lower breathability features.

What makes a jacket waterproof?

A durable water repellant (DWR) is used to treat the fabric that makes a waterproof jacket. This makes water to form beads on the surface of the fabric and roll off. The DWR coating eventually wears out, and you will need to reproof your jacket with an aftermarket DWR.

To achieve a truly waterproof jacket, it needs to have taped seams. This is where a heat-applied thin waterproof tape covers tiny holes made by the needle in the sewing process so that the seams do not leak. Without proper seam taping, you will get even the best waterproof fabric wet.

Types of Waterproof Jackets

There are two different types of waterproof jackets available on the market: two layer and three-layer waterproof jackets.

The two-layer waterproof jackets are the most popular type. It is composed of an outer shell that is waterproof and an inner lining membrane to prevent the waterproof lining from deteriorating.

On the other hand, three-layer waterproof jackets are composed of an external waterproof fabric layer, a bonded protective lining for added comfort as well as an internal breathable laminate.

What to Look For in a Waterproof Jacket

Waterproof jackets are necessary when traveling or camping during winter or the rainy season. So how do you pick the best waterproof jacket for good ventilation and protection against the elements? Well, here is a list of factors to consider before making a purchase.

Waterproof Technology

Manufacturers use two different methods to make a jacket waterproof and breathable: coatings and membranes. Coatings are made of polyurethane spread on the fabric. This results in a bulkier garment with limited breathability.

Membranes provide better breathability and are more expensive. They feature an ultra-thin waterproof and breathable laminate that is sandwiched between two other protective layers. Common membranes used include GORE-TEX, eVent, Polartec Neoshell, and the Paramo waterproof system.

Outdoor Activity

To find the right type of waterproof jacket for your needs, consider how you're planning to use it. For mountain climbing, you'll need a jacket that's highly breathable, has a hood that's compatible with a helmet, and pockets that will stay out of the way of a climbing harness.

On the other hand, the ideal waterproof jacket for hill walking is one that's highly breathable and has a hood with a rear drawcord or stiffened peak.

Lastly, a waterproof jacket for everyday use should be breathable and coated.

Design

Waterproof jackets are cut differently for women and men. Jackets made for women have a more tailored fit and shorter arms. Jackets for men have broader shoulders.

Ensure that the jacket covers your lower back even when you lift your arms. It should be large enough to fit another layer of clothing underneath it.

Hood

It's important to pay attention to how your hood fits. In very cold weather conditions, your body loses heat through your head. Therefore, the hood should cover your head and move with it without restricting your view. When you're mountain climbing, your hood should be compatible with a helmet.

Zippers and Pockets

Zips need to be waterproof to prevent water from slipping through the cracks into your body. They also serve as a great source of ventilation to regulate your body heat.

Pockets come in handy for maps and snacks. Some jackets provide an inside pocket to keep your OS map protected from rain. Make sure pockets have storm flaps on the zips for maximum dryness.

How We Reviewed

Shopping for a waterproof jacket can be complicated, especially with all the different names that brands have for their fabrics. This is why we spent some time researching the best options out there. We discovered some great waterproof jackets from Amazon’s list of best sellers as well as brand sites. We took note of those with the highest ratings, reviews, and features. What follows are our top picks of jackets that offer the ideal mix of comfort, protection, and durability.

Pricing

All waterproof jackets on our list are available on Amazon, with prices ranging from as little as $14.99 while others have price tags as high as $262.55.

Best Waterproof Jackets of 2018

Now that you know what factors to consider when buying a waterproof jacket. It is time to find out the best-selling brands on the market. Below, in no particular order, are our top picks for 2018.

North Face Men's Venture 2

The North Face Venture 2 Jacket for Men Large Mid Grey Ripstop...
QUALITY
PRICE
RATING

$$$

4.4 of 5 stars

The North Face Men’s Venture 2 offers excellent value for the average hiker, skier, backpacker or someone in need of a good rain jacket. It provides good ventilation features for a budget-friendly jacket. It is light and packable with average length zips that have storm flaps.

The North Face Venture 2 jacket provides great water resistance, mobility, and comfort. Its cuffs do a good job at keeping the elements out without feeling bulky around your wrists when you wear gloves.

Customers are relatively happy with the jacket and rated it 4.4 out of five stars on Amazon. However, some people felt that the sizing could run a bit big.

Romanstii Women's Jacket

Romanstii Quick Dry Rain Jacket Women Windbreaker Packable Raincoat...
QUALITY
PRICE
RATING

$$$

4.0 of 5 stars

The Romanstii women’s jacket offers an ideal mix of style and function. Its design can help you achieve a dressed up or a casual look. Its hood has a removable zipper to transform the jacket into a trench coat. The hood also packs an adjustable drawstring to keep your head dry in wet conditions.

The waist has an adjustable drawstring to slim the waist. It is ideal for most outdoor sports activities, and everyday casual wear The Romanstii features a breathable mesh liner to absorb sweat so you can still layer underneath.

Amazon customers rated the jacket 4.0 out of five stars. Overall, customers were happy about its trendy look and capabilities, but some complained that the angled pockets don't have any closure, so items are exposed to rain.

Helly Hansen Seven J

Helly Hansen Men's Seven J Waterproof Windproof Breathable Rain Coat...
QUALITY
PRICE
RATING

$$$

4.6 of 5 stars

The Helly Hansen Seven J has great waterproof capabilities to keep you dry from the outside and comfy inside. Its adjustable cuffs ensure a perfect fit for whatever outdoor activity you choose. It is a great option for biking, hiking, and trekking.

Its mesh liner does a great job even under the warmer weather to keep the outer shell away from your skin. It also features an adjustable bottom hem cinch cord to trap heat.

The jacket has 4.6 out of five stars on Amazon. While most customers were happy with it, some customers complained that the front and pocket zippers were too small.

Diamond Candy Women's Jacket

Diamond Candy Waterproof Rain Jacket Women Lightweight Outdoor...
QUALITY
PRICE
RATING

$$$

3.9 of 5 stars

The Diamond Candy Women’s jacket features 100% nylon quality fabric. It's well suited for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. This jacket offers the perfect combination of weather protection and comfort features. The anti-microbial treatment means you can wear the jacket for several months without even washing.

The Diamond Candy offers sufficient air flow to stay fresh and relaxed. You have the option to choose between four different colors. It also allows room for extra layering for added warmth.

Customers have rated the jacket 3.9 out of five stars on Amazon. Most customers were happy with the jacket, but some complained that the sleeves were puffy and not long enough. Others said that the zipper was hard to maneuver.

Columbia Evapouration Men’s jacket

Amazon Essentials Men's Lightweight Water-Resistant Packable Hooded...
QUALITY
PRICE
RATING

$$$

4.0 of 5 stars

The Columbia Evapouration Men’s jacket delivers high performance for temperature regulation on the trail and dry comfort at an affordable price. It uses Columbia’s trademark Omni-tech protection for maximum water resistance. All its seams are sealed to provide 100% waterproof protection from rain. Its sleeves are nice and long, and the underarm vents deliver great breathability.

Customers on Amazon rated the jacket 4.0 out of five stars. Unfortunately, some customers complained that the shell has a plastic-like feel to it that makes it swoosh when you move. Others stated that it was bulkier than other minimalist jackets.

Arc’teryx Beta SL jacket

ARC'TERYX Beta SL Hybrid Jacket Men's (Rigel, Medium)
QUALITY
PRICE
RATING

$$$

5.0 of 5 stars

The Arc’teryx Beta SL jacket features an awesome hood design and long-lasting DWR. It uses the Gore-Tex Paclite waterproof technology that results in a lighter and breathable fabric.

Its hood is by far the best on this list. It has a stiffened brim to keep water from your face, and it easily fits a helmet. Also, the low profile Velcro wrist closures minimize the amount of water that runs down your sleeves. Its two pockets can still be accessed when wearing a climbing harness.

Customers rated the Beta SL 5.0 out of five stars on Amazon. While most expressed a positive sentiment towards it, some complained that it does not feature any additional ventilation features such as pit zips. Other customers complained that the jacket was too expensive for a Gore-Tex Paclite jacket.

Outdoor Research Men’s Foray

Outdoor Research Men's Foray Jacket, Black, Large
QUALITY
PRICE
RATING

$$$

4.5 of 5 stars

The Outdoor Research Men’s Foray has incredible functionality and overall durability. It's made from the Gore-Tex Paclite fabric and features pit vents for ventilation. You can unzip the side vents down to the waist and wear the jacket like a poncho for maximum airflow.

Amazon customers rated the blanket 4.5 out of five stars. Although most of the ratings were good, some people complained that it was heavier than other Gore-Tex Pactile jackets.

Columbia Women’s Arcadia II

Columbia Women's Arcadia II Waterproof Rain Jacket
QUALITY
PRICE
RATING

$$$

4.5 of 5 stars

The Columbia Women’s Arcadia II is both functional and fashionable. This reliable shell packs into one of its hand pockets making packing it easy. The Omni-Tech laminate and fully taped seams guarantee dryness. The jacket is highly breathable that ensures comfort when working up a sweat.

The Columbia Arcadia II features mesh linings that enhance ventilation. This helps you not to feel sweat-soaked in warmer temperatures or cold when it gets chilly. The hand pockets have secure zips, and the hood can be cinched down with the hem for extra protection.

Customer ratings on Amazon were 4.5 out of five stars. Overall, customers loved this jacket, but some felt that the mesh was uncomfortable.

North Face Resolve

The North Face Women's Resolve 2 Jacket TNF Black Medium
QUALITY
PRICE
RATING

$$$

4.5 of 5 stars

The North Face Resolve is a 3-layer jacket that serves well as a rain shell for short hiking trips and around town. It features fleece fabric around the neck for comfort. Its DryVent technology provides maximum protection in cold weather. There are cinch cords at the bottom and on the hood to trap heat.

Customer ratings on Amazon were 4.5 out of five stars. However, people complained that the mesh liner was uncomfortable. Other people claimed that the jacket had entry points for water.

Marmot PreCip Men's Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket

Marmot Men's PreCip Jacket, Gargoyle, XL
QUALITY
PRICE
RATING

$$$

4.5 of 5 stars

The Marmot Precip jacket features breathable fabric with a variety of ventilation features to keep you cool. It has two large pit zips that you can operate with one hand. Mesh-lined pockets ensure airflow when they are left open. The hood has three adjustment points for maximum protection from blowing rain.

This waterproof jacket only had one Amazon review as of this writing. Therefore, we only based our decision using the features mentioned above.

Our Verdict

If you're planning an outdoor adventure, a waterproof jacket should be one of the essentials to include in your backpack. Each jacket we reviewed had their unique selling point. Our best overall waterproof jacket in 2018 is the Arc’teryx Beta SL jacket. Even though it had limited ventilation features, it still stood out with the best hood, cuffs, pockets and waterproof features.

Have you recently gone for an outdoor adventure wearing any of the waterproof jackets on our list? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below.

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