10 Best Rain Jackets of 2024

Best Men’s Rain Jacket

Arc’teryx Beta LT

REASONS TO BUY

Great weatherproofness

Long-lasting waterproofing

Hood fits over helmet or thick beanie

Drop hem at back offers mobility

REASONS TO AVOID

Not highly breathable

Stiff fabric

Does not stuff into its pocket

SPECIFICATIONS

Waterproof Fabric Material 3-layer N40p GORE-TEX with tricot
Measured Weight 13.3 oz
Pockets 2 hand
Pit Zips Yes
Stows Into Pocket No

The Arc’teryx Beta LT maxed out almost every scoring metric in our review and quickly became a tester favorite. It’s a genre-bending jacket that’s equally at home on a rainy backpacking trip or on a snowy ski tour. According to our tester, it “fit comfortably over a heavy mid-layer but has a slim fit cut that prevented us from swimming in it in warmer weather.” The Beta LT even held up in side-by-side comparisons with hardshell jackets with one key difference: this jacket is significantly lighter and more mobile. We loved its simple and effective features, like an adjustable, helmet-compatible hood and watertight pockets. The waterproof coating in many jackets doesn’t stand up to all of our rigorous testing, but the Beta LT performed flawlessly from start to finish.

To this point, the Arc’teryx Beta was the most waterproof jacket in our men’s review and earned a near-perfect water resistance rating. From zippers to seams, we could not find a weak spot in this jacket. The drop-tail hem provides extra coverage in the back, the extra roomy hood keeps your face protected, and the outer Gore-Tex membrane finishes it all off with a waterproofing seal of confidence. During a shower stress test, our tester noted that the jacket is so waterproof that the biggest problem was that “water simply slid off of the jacket and onto our pants”. This just goes to show that if you choose to wear the Beta out in the weather, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is getting pants to match.

rain jacket - we found the fit of the jacket to be a happy medium. roomy enough to...

We found the fit of the jacket to be a happy medium. Roomy enough to layer, and trim enough to wear alone.

Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

This jacket has excellent construction, bulletproof water resistance, and features that just work, but it has a price tag to match its excellent performance. It is a big investment, and we think the Beta LT jacket is ideal for those who know they will frequently be dealing with wet, blustery weather. It is great for extended backpacking trips in the Pacific Northwest and has the durability to last through multiple years of wet and windy New England springs. However, if you live in sunny Colorado and you are looking for a just-in-case option for your day hike or car camping trip, it may be more than what you need in terms of cost and coverage.

The Beta LT is a more substantial rain jacket, so its breathability is reduced, especially if you run hot. This is a classic trade-off with any waterproof fabric where a high level of breathability and waterproofness cannot both be achieved at the same time. The fabric of the Beta LT, as effective as it is at repelling water, is somewhat stiff and crinkly compared to other jackets. This never impeded our movement, but some may find the fabric less pleasant to spend long periods of time in. However, Ben Applebaum-Bauch, our main tester for this jacket, noted that it still offers decent “mobility and a good balance of fit and performance features.” We realize the price tag of a high-performing jacket like this can be daunting, but the Beta LT offers excellent value – you get what you pay for. We highly recommend it for anyone looking for a top-of-the-line rain jacket with the versatility to replace multiple jackets in your closet. Still, if the Beta LT costs more than you want to pay, check out the Helly Hansen Loke, which performs notably well at a fraction of the price.

Read more: Arc’teryx Beta LT review

See women’s version: Women’s Arc’teryx Beta LT

It would be hard to top the Beta LT in our shower test because it kept us bone dry.

Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Best Women’s Rain Jacket

Outdoor Research Aspire II – Women’s

REASONS TO BUY

Comfy

Wind-resistant

Unique ventilation

Great for backcountry & urban use

REASONS TO AVOID

Expensive

Somewhat short sleeves

SPECIFICATIONS

Waterproof Fabric Material Gore-Tex Paclite
Measured Weight 10.5 oz
Pockets 2 hand, 1 chest
Pit Zips Yes
Stows into Pocket No
Not Waterproof?
We noticed a number of online reviews from users who bought the Aspire II and said water soaked right into the fabric. So, we purchased another one for testing to make sure the quality of this jacket hadn’t decreased. We put it through the wringer in our shower test, zipper test (where we lay the jacket flat and pour a cup of water over the zipper to test for leaks), and we wore it through real-world rainstorms, and Aspire II performed beautifully. We’re not sure what accounts for the negative reviews online, but we know that the DWR coating can settle into a fabric over time. If you think this is the case for your jacket, we recommend reaching out to Outdoor Research’s warranty department and checking out Gore-Tex’s website for info on how to refresh the DWR treatment on their material. Long story short: We retested and came up with the same results, so we stand by our review.

The Outdoor Research Aspire II performs impressively across all metrics and has all the features you want and need. Jessica Albery, our main tester for this jacket, wore it in a variety of weather conditions and concluded that “this jacket is worth every penny for those looking to explore the outdoors in wet conditions.” This option sports soft fabric and a flattering shape. Its substantial Gore-Tex Paclite fabric can withstand harsh storms, protecting you from severe downpours. It has reinforced, sealed seams, water-resistant zippers, an adjustable hood, hip cinches, and elastic and Velcro to seal wrists. Don’t be worried about getting too hot in this well-sealed coat, as the pit vents extend the length and can be opened from the top or bottom to dissipate heat quickly. The Aspire earns our highest scores for design, fit, and performance. Though it doesn’t have a dedicated stow pocket, you can stuff it into its pocket for storage. There is also a key clip inside one of the hand pockets for extra security for your keys. The latest update to this jacket includes more size options for different body types, a longer torso length, and an updated design.

If you have ever worn a rain jacket in warm weather, you know the struggle of staying dry from the rain only to end up drenched in your own sweat. For this problem, the Aspire II offers one of the best solutions we have found to date. The TorsoFlo venting zippers run from the underside of the bicep all the way down to the hip. Dual-direction zippers make it easy to pinpoint the level and location of ventilation exactly where you need it. Like many of the best waterproof jackets, the Aspire sacrifices some breathability in the fabric, but we appreciate the innovative solution that Outdoor Research has found to combat this problem and find it to be the perfect balance for most cases.

Our controlled shower tests put the Aspire II through a heavier downpour than you would experience in most real-life situations, and it performed beautifully.

Credit: Matt Rowe

While it is not the most waterproof model in our women’s review (that title goes to the Arc’teryx Beta LT), that didn’t keep us from loving this jacket as a whole. With the 2-layer Gore-Tex Paclite fabric, our tester felt that the level of protection offered by the OR Aspire II was beyond sufficient for most rainy-day activities, stating that it is “a great choice for even the most intense squalls.” It easily outlasted many of its competitors in our controlled shower tests. When combined with its comfort and breathability features, we found it to be a well-rounded jacket perfectly suited to those who want to be prepared for anything, whether that’s a rainy hike, quick errands around town, or even a blustery day on the ski slopes.

While we wouldn’t call the Aspire II heavy at 10.5 ounces, we have tested lighter jackets, should that be a dealbreaker for you. However, the full-length side vents and the waterproof, dual-direction main zipper make the added weight acceptable. This jacket is for you if you seek impressive wind and water protection and breathability. The only area where this jacket scored average was for weight. If going ultralight is a priority, we recommend looking at the Outdoor Research Helium. Also, a few jackets detailed below score within a point or two of the Aspire and might be a better option if you put a higher premium on water resistance and breathability. However, according to Jessica, this jacket “offers an intersection of water resistance and breathability that is hard to match”, and it is one we’d recommend to anyone who doesn’t let a little weather keep them from being active.

Read more: Outdoor Research Aspire II review

The underarm vents on the Aspire II are extra long for maximum ventilation.

Credit: Jason Albery

Best Women’s High-Performance Model

Arc’teryx Beta LT – Women’s

REASONS TO BUY

Top-scoring weather protection

Excellent cut and fit

Clever water-resistant zippers

Excellent arm range of motion

REASONS TO AVOID

Does not compress into its pocket

High cost

SPECIFICATIONS

Waterproof Fabric Material 3L Gore-Tex
Measured Weight 12.3 oz
Pockets 2 hand
Pit Zips Yes
Stows into Pocket No

The Arc’teryx Beta LT provides superior wind and downpour protection compared to other options in this review. While evaluating rain jackets, Jessica Albery loved this model in particular, noting that “this garment separates itself from the pack with an exceptionally well-thought-out design”, and allows you to withstand the weather longer and extend your adventures. We threw every test at the 3L Gore-tex, including serious tropical storms, and it performed impressively. Despite the thicker and stiffer fabric, the Beta LT has gusseted underarms and a tailored design with a drop hem for a good range of motion.

At 12.3 oz, this jacket is one of the heavier models we tested and one of the few without a stuff pocket. It’s double the weight of a lightweight jacket like the Outdoor Research Helium. It’s also expensive. Some models that scored similarly, like the Outdoor Research Aspire II, are half the cost. However, this option is great for those who want the best extended wet weather protection and are not afraid to pay for it. In the words of our experts, when “an epic rainstorm rolls in, this is the jacket that will keep you dry for the longest no matter how wild the weather gets.

Read more: Arc’teryx Beta LT review

Testing water resistance capabilities on the zippers of the Arc’teryx Beta LT. This jacket passed our tests with flying colors.

Credit: Jessica Albery

Best Men’s Bang for the Buck

Helly Hansen Loke

REASONS TO BUY

Excellent price for performance

Pit zips

Good packed volume

REASONS TO AVOID

Wets out faster than ideal

Zipper lets in water

SPECIFICATIONS

Waterproof Fabric Material HELLY TECH
Measured Weight 9.5 oz
Pockets 2 hand
Pit Zips Yes
Stows Into Pocket Yes

The Helly Hansen Loke offers decent performance at a price point that is substantially friendlier than other options. The Loke’s breathability comes from mesh pockets, pit zips, and a waterproof fabric that’s friendly to your sweat. The waterproofness of this option is excellent for climates on the milder side where rain or snowfall totals remain modest. We loved the Loke’s weight/packability and hardly noticed it in our packs, making this an excellent just-in-case layer that won’t break the bank. According to lead reviewer Ben Applebaum-Bauch, the style and cut of the fabric make this jacket “practical for front-country use because it remains highly functional while also looking good.

The Loke isn’t the most waterproof option if you plan to spend extended time in the rain. Helly Hansen built a velcro flap to cover the zipper rather than making the zipper waterproof- this isn’t the most efficient way to storm-seal an article of clothing. We also saw more wear and tear in the mesh pockets than we’d like — we recommend keeping an eye on that pocket fabric in case holes emerge to steal your car keys or chapstick. If you’re heading on some real-deal backcountry adventures and you know that you’ll be up against inclement weather, it’s worth it to spend the extra dough on the high-performance Outdoor Research Foray II. For occasional and light use, Ben acknowledges that “you get way more than you pay for with the Loke”. Most folks don’t need to spend big bucks to get the right jacket, and in that context, we definitely recommend the Helly Hansen Loke.

Read more: Helly Hansen Loke review

One of the best budget jackets we have ever tested: The Helly Hansen Loke.

Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Best Women’s Bang for the Buck

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L – Women’s

REASONS TO BUY

Impressive water resistance

Fabric quality

Eco-conscious production

Good value

REASONS TO AVOID

Front zipper is a weak spot

Stiffer fabric

SPECIFICATIONS

Waterproof Fabric Material 3L H2No Performance Standard ECONYL
Measured Weight 12.2 oz
Pockets 2 hand
Pit Zips Yes
Stows into Pocket Yes

The Patagonia Torrentshell 3L offers excellent water repellency relative to its price. This is one of Patagonia’s most classic product lines, and we’ve been reviewing some iteration of the Torrentshell for several years. Many of our reviewers have written love letters to the Torrentshell after epic, stormy trips, including comments noting that it is a “high-performing workhorse that will keep you dry no matter the conditions” and that it “showed no signs of weakness during our testing period or beyond.” For these reasons, we couldn’t be more thrilled that Patagonia continues to offer and improve this classic. The latest version of the Torrentshell gifts a larger stuff pocket, and the DWR fabric coating is made without PFCs (also known as “Forever Chemicals”). This jacket lacks some of the flashier features that the top-of-the-line rain shells boast, but it’s an excellent waterproof layer that will keep you dry even in the nastiest storm. The best part? The price point of the Torrentshell is far more accessible than many in our review. Anyone who needs a quality and affordable rain jacket should heavily consider the Torrentshell.

The Torrentshell is constructed with a 3-layer fabric that offers decent waterproofing, but it comes at the cost of the jacket feeling a bit stiff and crinkly. As with many rain jackets, the stiffer feel comes with the territory, and we got used to it quickly. The zippers also don’t entirely seal, and the jacket uses a more dated system of a fabric flap over the zipper for water resistance. Despite these asterisks, our team believes the Torrentshell “is a good investment for those looking for top-notch water resistance at a mid-range price point”. If price is the number one consideration before water resistance, check out the Marmot PreCip Eco. It’s even more affordable, but it’s less breathable and bound to get your underlayers wet in bigger storms. If you want the best of both worlds, the Torrentshel is an incredible option on a budget and is worthy of your consideration.

Read more: Patagonia Torrentshell 3L review

See men’s version: Men’s Patagonia Torrentshell 3L

Shower test for the Patagonia Torentshell 3L.

Credit: Jason Albery

Great Performance for Women on a Tighter Budget

Marmot PreCip Eco – Women’s

REASONS TO BUY

Simple, functional design

High pockets for a waistbelt

Great value

REASONS TO AVOID

Less durable

Disappointing hood

SPECIFICATIONS

Waterproof Fabric Material NanoPro
Measured Weight 9.2 oz
Pockets 2 hand
Pit Zips Yes
Stows into Pocket Yes

The Marmot PreCip Eco is a great choice for weather protection without the sticker shock. This jacket celebrated its 20th anniversary with updated fabrics and continued design improvements. It has impressive water-repelling features, dual storm flaps on the main zipper, an adjustable hood with a brim, and fully taped seams. This jacket is made of recycled material and weighs a scant 9.2 ounces, making it friendly for the environment and your wallet. The PreCip Eco’s larger hood can be swiftly rolled and stowed in the collar, which offers appreciated wind and cold-temperature neck protection, and our main reviewer, Jessica Albery, notes that the internal lining of the collar “is soft and luxurious- feeling against the skin”. This lightweight option also has a stuff pocket for easy transportation on adventures.

The PreCip Eco hood adjustment has a cord through the brim’s edge that, when tightened, prevents the brim from being long enough to offer rain protection for your eyes. If you want an expedition jacket for torrential rain, this thinner jacket isn’t as protective despite the good DWR coating. Jessica sums up overall performance by saying it is “proficient at repelling moderate water for a decent amount of time.” Not incredible, but not bad, and in a group full of intense competitors, the performance and price of the PreCip Eco make it a high-value choice. If you want more breathability and water resistance and are willing to pay more, compare the Eco to the Torrentshell 3L.

Read more: Marmot PreCip Eco review

See men’s version: Men’s Marmot PreCip Eco

rain jacket - we've tested several versions and colors of the precip eco and think...

We’ve tested several versions and colors of the Precip Eco and think it’s a solid value rain jacket.

Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Best Men’s Option for Stretch and Mobility

Outdoor Research Foray Super Stretch

REASONS TO BUY

Highly mobile

Great ventilation

Versatile hood

Well-sealed, variable pockets

REASONS TO AVOID

Bulky load when packed

Subpar in heaviest rain

SPECIFICATIONS

Waterproof Fabric Material GORE-TEX Paclite
Measured Weight 15.0 oz
Pockets 2 hand, 1 left chest
Pit Zips Yes
Stows Into Pocket No

The OR Foray Super Stretch boasts incredible comfort and mobility in a class usually known for bulkier garments, in part due to the Elastane panel found in the rear of the jacket. However, Craig D’Innocente, who took on the testing for this jacket, says that this is “not to undersell the mobility of the main fabric of the jacket, which also moves well with the user” and notes that it is one of the most comfortable jackets of the group. The Gore-Tex Paclite fabric maintains breathability while still holding up well to inclement weather. Despite high breathability, this fabric is very durable and rip-resistant. Double zipper vents are present on both sides of the torso, in addition to the elastane section on the back. The overall effect of this is high control over personal temperature, allowing this jacket to excel in a wide variety of conditions.

Mobility and breathability come at a certain cost – the OR Foray Super Stretch is not as robust in heavy rains as other jackets in the lineup. However, this is only likely to present a problem in the most extreme conditions. In common conditions, this jacket is a comfortable and versatile choice, whether using it as a light jacket, windbreaker, rain jacket, or even a spring ski jacket. For torrential storm days, we recommend a burlier jacket like the Arcteryx Beta LT. For a more budget option, the Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 offers comparable comfort and mobility at a lower price point. But if you want a duz-it-all kind of jacket, the Foray Super Stretch is an excellent choice.

Read more: Outdoor Research Foray Super Stretch review

The stretchy rear panel gives you unrestricted movement for your upper body.

Credit: Craig D’Innocente

Women’s Most Versatile Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic – Women’s

REASONS TO BUY

Seriously stretchy

Impressively comfortable

Long arms

REASONS TO AVOID

Hood isn’t the most protective

Not windproof

Minor durability issues

SPECIFICATIONS

Waterproof Fabric Material 2.5L Dry.Q
Measured Weight 9.7 oz
Pockets 2 hand, 1 chest
Pit Zips Yes
Stows into Pocket Yes

The Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic redefines the rain shell. This jacket is thin, super soft, and unbelievably comfortable. In other words, it “feels light as a feather and is quiet as a mouse,” according to Jessica Albery, our head tester for women’s jackets. It offers outstanding protection in a flexible jacket that is highly versatile. This is a shoo-in for you if you have a long torso or longer arms. Adjust it to your size; it moves when you move, protecting you from exposure to the elements. The Ozonic has stretchy, breathable material with large pit vents to dump heat. It also sports a large-toothed zipper that is easy to use and packs in its pocket.

The Stretch Ozonic is less ideal for prolonged rain storms and isn’t wind-resistant. In testing, we felt the wind sneak through the fabric when it grew beyond a light breeze, which is the downside to a highly breathable material. Additionally, we discovered small amounts of water dampening our underlayers in heavier rainfall in quicker storms and even in light rainfall in longer storms. If you prioritize maximum water resistance over comfort, we’d recommend you check out the Outdoor Research Aspire II. Still, the Stretch Ozonic was a tester favorite due to its versatility for several sports and its unparalleled comfort and “we regularly found ourselves reaching for this jacket when we knew we would be breaking a sweat but still wanted protection from the elements”.

Read more: Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic review

See men’s version: Men’s Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic

rain jacket - the stretch ozonic is a favorite while out on hikes; its stretch...

The Stretch Ozonic is a favorite while out on hikes; its stretch fabric moves with us while keeping us protected from the elements.

Credit: Bligh Gillies

Best Men’s Air-Permeable Jacket

Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0

REASONS TO BUY

Good storm protection

Breathable

Stretchy

Versatile

Well-designed hood

REASONS TO AVOID

Wets out faster than non-stretchy options

Average weight and volume

Opposite zipper

SPECIFICATIONS

Waterproof Fabric Material Proflex fabric with a breathable waterproof membrane
Measured Weight 14.4 oz
Pockets 2 hand, 1 interior left chest
Pit Zips No
Stows Into Pocket No

If your upper body craves unparalleled freedom of movement, the Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 is the jacket for you. Ben Applebaum-Bauch, our head tester for men’s jackets, likes that “the stretch fabric facilitates mobility in areas where it’s most needed.” Whether embarking on an alpine climb or running your dog around the block, this option will keep your arms unencumbered and your body protected from the elements. The breathability offered by the Kinetic Alpine is one of the best of any jacket we tested, and it felt like it could almost replace the softshell jacket in the closet. In lighter-duty storms, we felt cozy in this jacket, and its breathability allowed us to keep the outdoor activities rolling without getting wet from the inside out.

The Kinetic Alpine is less water resistant than other Gore-Tex options, though that is to be expected of a jacket that feels like a soft shell with so much stretchy fabric. There are more substantial jackets available for hanging out in a downpour if that’s what you’re into. If your adventures will include high winds, high altitudes, and heavy downpours, the Arc’teryx Beta LT offers the most in terms of nasty weather protection. On the flip side, the Kinetic offers solid weather resistance if you’re recreating in a moderately rainy climate. When testing out on the trail, each wearer noted that “even when we felt cold, we never felt damp,” which is a great sign of breathability. If you’re looking for a jacket that can dually serve as a rain shell and as a breathable softshell, look no further than the Kinetic Alpine 2.0 — especially if you play in friendlier climates.

Read more: Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 review

See women’s version: Women’s Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0

We worked up a sweat in the Kinetic Alpine 2.0 to see just how breathable it really is.

Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Best Women’s Ultralight Option

Outdoor Research Helium – Women’s

REASONS TO BUY

Ultralight

Highly compressible

Good water resistance

SPECIFICATIONS

Waterproof Fabric Material 2.5L Pertex Shield Diamond Fuse
Measured Weight 6.3 oz
Pockets 2 hand
Pit Zips No
Stows into Pocket Yes

If you want something ultra-light for travel, the Outdoor Research Helium is hands-down the best for weight and packability. This jacket is perfect for backpacking and adventures where size and weight are top priorities. In fact, Jessica Albery describes the fabric as “so light that it’s easy to forget you’re wearing a piece of outerwear.” The Helium is also very breathable thanks to a thin design that keeps you dry. The latest technology was also impressively rain-resistant, repelling rain from the fabric and zippers. Previous versions of this jacket lacked hand pockets, but Outdoor Research now includes them on its latest iteration of the Helium, which we appreciate. Ultimately, many users will want a jacket for that just-in-case rainstorm in an otherwise dry climate. In that context, the Helium is exactly what we’d steer you towards, as it may stay in the bottom of your bag more than it is worn.

Thanks to the thin design, the Helium is not the best for cold-weather adventures. The fabric is also not our favorite for direct skin contact. It has a shorter torso than we usually like on a rain layer. However, as an ultralight and packable emergency layer, this jacket is top-notch. It is also available at a good price, and no other jacket tested is close to as light. The next closest was the PreCip Eco, which is about 50% heavier. Jessica says that for a “lightweight, packable rain jacket, we’re super impressed and think the Helium really can’t be beat,” and it is a great option for backpackers looking to shed a few more oz from their load.

Read more: Outdoor Research Helium review

See men’s version: Men’s Outdoor Research Helium

If weight and packability are factors that you’re considering while shopping for a rain jacket, look no further than the OR Helium.

Credit: Jessica Albery

Best Men’s Rain Jacket Under 50$

Tommy Hilfiger Waterproof Breathable

REASONS TO BUY

Warmer than average for a rain-shell

Cozzy feeling interior

Nice slim fit

REASONS TO AVOID

Mediocre freedom-of-movement

Wets out quicker than most

Not great for more aerobic activities

The Tommy Hilfiger Waterproof Breathable jacket is a trendy piece of weather protection gear for blustery days and modest drizzle. One of our review team’s favorite things about this jacket is its lining, which is described as “slightly thicker and cozier than most of the models we tested”. This makes it nice for folks looking for a city jacket since it provides a little more warmth than your average rainshell. All of our testers also loved the feel of this lining, even on bare arms when wearing a t-shirt. We appreciated the combination of a mesh liner around the torso for better breathability and solid nylon in the arms to make it easier to layer over grippier materials like fleece or a wool sweater.

The downside of Tommy Hilfiger is that while waterproof might be its name, the tag attached to the jacket only labels it as water-resistant. The results of our in-depth testing showed that this jacket does not perform as well as the premium jackets in big-time downpours. It lacks elements like taped seams and wetted out notably faster than most others we tested. We think it serves up enough weather protection for short, passing drizzles and is nice to throw on for those days when it might rain a little bit, but you know you won’t be spending much time out walking around in the elements. Most folks looking for a more casual use rain jacket will appreciate it, and our testers note its “cozy feel and stylish appearance”, but be aware this jacket isn’t really suited for extended time in wet weather. It’s not the jacket we recommend for folks needing serious protection for a backpacking trip in a wet climate, for example. If you have the extra funds and know you’ll be in the rain for more than a few minutes, the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L earned a substantially higher overall score but doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

rain jacket - this jacket but not particularly breathable, but it's cozy to wear.

This jacket but not particularly breathable, but it’s cozy to wear.

Credit: Ian Nicholson

Best Women’s Rain Jacket Under $50

SoTeer Lightweight Hooded – Women’s

REASONS TO BUY

Thin

Great breathability

Affordable

REASONS TO AVOID

Unusually short sleeves

Pockets don’t close

Questionable build

Sometimes, you just need anything to keep the water off your skin for a short period of time. If you’re looking for a highly affordable polyester layer to throw on between the parking lot and the store, the SoTeer Lightweight Hooded will get the job done. It’s paper-thin, and considering that we tested it head-to-head with some of the most tried and true, sought-after adventure gear brands on the planet, we were impressed by how long this jacket endured our rigorous testing before eventually getting soaked. Although we wouldn’t recommend taking the SoTeer on a backpacking trip to the Pacific Northwest, our team suggests this model as a “good option to keep stuffed in your car trunk in case of a rogue storm.

The low cost, low weight, and high breathability of the SoTeer bring some downsides along with their benefits. It’s easy to tell that little to no research and development has gone into this jacket, as shown by the stitching that’s not built to last, the oddly short sleeves, and the hood drawstrings that practically go to the waist. The pockets are completely devoid of any type of closures, so it’s probably not the best idea to use them for your irreplaceables, such as keys or your phone. Our gripes aside, we can’t deny that the SoTeer kept us dry during our testing, albeit only for a short amount of time. If you have a bigger budget, the Marmot PreCip Eco costs a bit more, but it is definitely still what we would consider to be “budget-friendly” considering its overall great performance.

rain jacket - the soteer is a super-thin, super-lightweight polyester jacket that...

The SoTeer is a super-thin, super-lightweight polyester jacket that will keep you dry in light rains for short amounts of time.

Credit: Laura Casner

How We Test Rain Jackets

GearLab’s test teams have purchased close to 100 rain jackets over the last 14 years, covering both women’s and men’s products. Our expert testers use them extensively in the field, testing them in various activities and climates for hundreds of hours.

We are constantly on the lookout for new and compelling jackets to test. We purchase all products in our review from retailers just like you do to ensure an unbiased testing process and final results. Our recent update includes the best jackets you can buy today, which we subjected to more than 350 field hours of hiking, biking, camping, mountaineering, and more to assess breathability, mobility, water resistance, etc. Testers kept detailed notes and observations about performance across metrics and chose award winners after much consideration and hours of use. We tested women’s jackets and men’s ranging from ultra-lightweight to three-layered jackets for colder climates.

Rain jackets were tested across 5 performance metrics:

The Kinetic Alpine 2.0 is a great jacket for a wide range of wet...
The Kinetic Alpine 2.0 is a great jacket for a wide range of wet weather adventures.
A reliable rain jacket at a reasonable price.
A reliable rain jacket at a reasonable price.
A rainy day in the PNW? The Odin has us covered.
A rainy day in the PNW? The Odin has us covered.

Why Trust GearLab

Our testing teams are composed of wet weather experts who appreciate the details of rain jacket performance. We have separate teams for each gender to ensure we can properly evaluate fit and performance on designs that are tailored in a gender-specific manner. Our women’s rain jacket review lead is Jessica Albery. Jessica is no stranger to wet weather, having worked outdoors in Oregon, New Zealand, and Australia. She lives in Truckee, California, where several atmospheric river storms have hit in recent years. These storms bring extreme precipitation and flooding, but Jessica believes the right gear can help people stay safe and dry outdoors. Jessica’s journalism degree has taught her the importance of conducting objective and unbiased research. She also believes in conducting hands-on research whenever possible. This combination of skills and experience has made her an expert on atmospheric river storms and how to stay safe in them.

The Aspire is the only rain jacket to feature fully zippered sides...
The Aspire is the only rain jacket to feature fully zippered sides for a poncho like ventilation when things get really muggy.
Putting the Arc'teryx Beta LT jacket through its paces during a...
Putting the Arc’teryx Beta LT jacket through its paces during a downpour in Hawaii to test its capabilities.
We love how easy it is to always have this rain jacket with you no...
We love how easy it is to always have this rain jacket with you no matter where you adventure.

Ian Nicholson and Ben Applebaum-Bauch are our men’s rain jacket testing leads, and have impressive rain jacket testing resumes. Ian is an international (IFMGA) Mountain Guide with over 2,000 days of experience guiding in the Andes, the European Alps, and the Pacific Northwest. He has worn a rain jacket for over 800 days in the last 20 years and has helped over 1,000 clients choose gear for outdoor adventures. Ben is a guide and avid thru-hiker with a decade of experience in windy northern New England. He has tested rain jackets in various conditions, from torrential downpours to blizzards. Ian and Ben have the expertise and experience to test and evaluate men’s rain jackets in the most demanding conditions. They are committed to finding the best rain jackets for our readers, so you can be sure you are getting a high-quality product that will keep you dry and comfortable in any weather.

How to Pick the Best Rain Jacket for You

Regarding rain jackets, there is more to consider than finding something to keep you dry. Before making your final selection, consider waterproofing level, layers, size (weight), and the climate and activity you plan to use it for. For many, this can mean multiple activities and climates that could necessitate purchasing multiple jackets or making concessions in what you want to meet the varying needs of each activity or area with a single product.

rain jacket - this photo shows the dwr treatment doing its job and causing water...

This photo shows the DWR treatment doing its job and causing water to bead.

Credit: Brandon Lampley

Most rain jackets feature a cut that is tuned to fit the average male or female body. Most people tend to purchase a jacket designed for their gender but don’t hesitate to try on one in either gender and choose the one that works best for you. Besides differences in cut, we sometimes see different gender versions of the same model jacket differ in functional details like pocket sizes and locations.

Men’s Rain Jackets

We provide comprehensive and detailed testing of the best rain jackets for men. The chart below summarizes our overall performance scores of the best men’s rain jackets available today:

Women’s Rain Jackets

The GearLab expert female testing team put all of the best women’s rain jackets through a gauntlet of tests to assess the performance of each, as shown in the chart below.

Care and Cleaning

Every jacket will require care and maintenance, no matter what company or style you choose. If you ignore your jacket and fail to clean it or reapply water-repellent coatings, it will eventually fail you in the field, leaving you wet when you don’t want to be. Each jacket comes with its own care and cleaning guide, and we recommend following these recommendations and tips to the letter to keep your gear in top condition. After spending over a hundred dollars or more, it is a small price to pay to keep the outdoor wet weather fun going.

rain jacket - the or helium ii features pertex shield ds stretch with 2.5-layer...

The OR Helium II features Pertex Shield DS stretch with 2.5-layer, 30D. It kept us dry but didn’t score as well as we hoped in the water resistance category.

Credit: Bligh Gillies

Waterproof or Water Resistant?

The goal of any great rain jacket is to keep you dry. However, to what degree and which products it uses to meet this goal varies from jacket to jacket. Some jackets withstand the worst storms, while others are meant more for the occasional light rain in warmer weather. Finding the right option to meet your needs can save you money if it helps you avoid getting “more” jackets than you need or if it means finding the right jacket on the first purchase so you don’t need to purchase more than one.

We submit each jacket to rigorous testing in real rain and simulated high-pressure shower scenarios.

Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Some products use waterproof and breathable materials, while others rely on surface treatment with more water-resistant fabrics. Knowing each garment’s waterproofing elements and properties can help you find the one right for your goals and needs.

rain jacket - all jackets tested offered decent water resistance. dig into the...

All jackets tested offered decent water resistance. Dig into the review to see which ones gave the best protection.

Credit: Katy Scott

Waterproof Materials

  • ePTFE Fabrics: Materials like Gore-Tex (the oldest) are stretched membranes with a specific dimension designed to escape water vapor but prevent liquid from entering. This sweet spot results from the pore size (20,000 smaller than a water drop) and the low surface tension (preventing liquid water absorption without significant pressure).
  • Polyester, Polyurethane, or PU Films: PU is a laminate waterproof layer between the outer and inside material. An ePTFE layer often joins the mix. Why? The PU layer will be exceptionally thin when laminated to an ePTFE layer. The ePTFE must be thicker with the PU laminate to reach the desired waterproofness. Products that use PU tend to be lighter. They also tend to be more stretchy than those that use only ePTFE fabric.
  • Coated Fabrics: Coated fabrics are typically used in budget-friendly jackets and are usually less breathable with lower durability over time. A coated, waterproof, and breathable material slips between the outer fabric and interior layer. Coated fabrics have an advantage: they combine well with stretchier materials, offering a superior range of motion.

Durable Water Repellent

Durable Water Repellent (DWR) is a chemical applied to the outer shell. Its job is to resist and bead water on the surface to prevent the fabric from becoming saturated. Saturation is the bane of breathability and can create a feeling of dampness. Waterproof fabrics use some DWR; it is also somewhat common in water-resistant textiles.

rain jacket - despite its "two-layer" construction, the arc'teryx zeta sl was one...

Despite its “two-layer” construction, the Arc’teryx Zeta SL was one of the least “clammy” feeling models we tested.

Credit: Ian Nicholson

Considering the Layers

You might not have noticed the layer inside a rain jacket. There is a good reason for this. Unlike other jackets, they are not separate layers; you can not remove a layer if needed. These sandwiched layers, often laminated, cannot be “seen.

2 Layers

Two layers are the simplest rain jack you can buy. This type includes an outer fabric layer treated with a water-repellent (most likely DWR) and an inner waterproof membrane like Gore-Tex for waterproofing and breathability. This design can have problems. The waterproof layer typically isn’t super skin-friendly.

2.5 Layers

Two-point five (2.5) layers include the two already mentioned and an added half layer. Wait… what the heck is a half-layer?? The half-layer is a lightly sprayed or painted-on protective coating on the inner membrane. It isn’t an actual layer of fabric but creates another layer, thus, the .5/half layer status. These designs tend to be less expensive but are also less durable.

3 Layers

Three layers is a 2-layer jacket with a liner fused inside (some are textured). The third layer protects the breathable membrane from body oils and grime. They require less laundering to keep it breathable. The third layer lowers overall breathability, making the design more suitable for colder climates. Three-layer jackets offer the best rain protection, but the triple-layer means it is thicker and stiffer. However, 3-layer jackets offer the best, most consistent protection and performance in the worst storm conditions.

Use and Climate

Choosing the right rain jacket for your needs depends on your budget, activity plans, and the climate you’ll be playing in. These factors can influence the number of layers you decide to look for and the waterproofing of the jacket. The colder the climate, the more layers you will likely need. The more heated the activity, the more you might consider pit vents. The more activities, the more versatility you’ll need. Paying attention to features (does the hood fit a helmet?) and the metrics that matter the most for your goals will give you the details you need to find the right jacket to meet your goals.

Venting

Venting will be more or less important to you depending on your activity, exertion level, and ambient air temperature or humidity. While any jacket can use its main front zipper to dump the build-up of internal body heat, some offer additional “pit vent” zippers to better regulate the release of excess heat without creating a cold or clammy feel. If you plan to exert yourself through activities like mountaineering or hiking and your wet weather climate will be relatively warm, then pit vents will feel more like a must-have. If your needs lean more toward camp sitting in colder climates, then vents might not be mandatory. Alternatively, some folks feel it’s better to have them and not need them than to be without them. If you plan to indulge in multiple outdoor adventures or your climate will vary, the lack of pit vents could be a dealbreaker.

rain jacket - the marmot precip eco is one of very few jackets we tested with...

The Marmot PreCip Eco is one of very few jackets we tested with zippered armpit vents – an ideal way to dump heat without getting wet while you keep moving in the rain.

Credit: Laura Casner

Hoods

In a rainstorm, a hood is a must-have. Hoods have different designs and features you should consider as they apply to your chosen activity. If you need to wear a helmet for your outdoor fun, a hood that is large enough for a helmet is necessary. Also, note if the hood has some adjustability and a brim to protect your eyes and face while maintaining your peripheral vision. No one hood is perfect for everyone, but some hood designs are better and more versatile than others.

rain jacket - this hood is big enough to fit over a helmet but just barely...

This hood is big enough to fit over a helmet but just barely. Depending on how bulky your climbing or bike helmet is, you may want to consider wearing your hood underneath your helmet.

Credit: Ian Nicholson

Conclusion

A rain jacket has one of the most important jobs our gear can have: keeping us outside playing, no matter what. We’ve done the hard part for you — now you just need to decide which jacket is the right fit for you and your wallet. We’ve spent years testing the latest and greatest rain jackets. 2024 offers the best lineup yet, and we’re stoked to see you out there – whether that’s in the mountains, on the ocean, on the trail, or at the coffee shop.

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