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Best Waterproof Jacket: Stay Dry During The Bad Weather

Best Waterproof Jacket
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

Are you looking forward to your hiking in the hills but are afraid of bad weather? If so, then you need to choose the best waterproof jacket in order to keep yourself dry and warm. It is important to have the one of high quality so it can stand up to the rain.

It is no wonder that they are also called hard shells due to their role to protect and act as a protective layer. Therefore, the most important feature of every waterproof jacket is the material they are made of, which is what makes them different.

In this article we are going to take a look at some of the best waterproof jackets so you can choose at least one to your liking and make your outdoor activities more enjoyable.

Types of Waterproof Jackets

As we already said, the most important feature of every waterproof jacket is material. Since the role of this jacket is to form a protective layer and to keep you dry and warm, then this jacket should stand up to almost any type of bad weather including rain and snow.

Types of Waterproof Jackets

It is crucial to stay dry during the long hikes or any other outdoor activities for the sake of your health. Here are some of the materials commonly used:

  • Coated fabrics are created using the PU (polyurethane) but on the inner part of the fabric. Depending on the coating, they can limit breathability and they are usually recommended for mid-level activities and not those that might occupy you for days or weeks in the wild.
  • Laminates and Membranes belong to a group of fabrics that are famous for being waterproof and effective. There is a variety of brands on the market, but what is unique about them is that they consist of millions of tiny pores that enable the water to evaporate inside of them but won’t allow exterior moisture to break through completely and reach the coating. This is why this type of material is great for breathability.
    Some of the most famous ones are GORE-TEX®, eVent and Polartec Neoshell. However, these pores can get blocked up by other materials such as oils or tiny elements so they need regularly cleaning. Unless you clean them regularly, they will stop being waterproof.
  • Paramo is a brand but also a unique type of material. It is called the Directional Analogy fabric which consists of a permeable pump action liner. This type of material has a similar function as animal fur because it is able to reduce the clammy feeling you can get inside of your jacket and it also serves as insulation.

When it comes to different styles of waterproof jackets, they are divided into four different groups according to the number of layers they have. They are:

  • Two-layer waterproof jackets consist of an outer layer that is completely waterproof and the inner lining layer which is usually made of polyester. The role of the inner layer is to prevent the deterioration of the waterproof layer by creating a barrier between a person’s sweat and the outer layer. This is the most common type of waterproof jackets.
  • Three-layer waterproof jackets consist of an outer waterproof layer, a middle waterproof layer and an inner lining layer that serves as a breathable membrane. This type of waterproof jacket provides more protection.
  • 3-in-1 waterproof jackets consist of an outer waterproof layer with a detachable inner shell and an inner lining layer. This type of jacket is great because you can detach the fleece during the warm weather and put it back when it is colder.
  • A packaway, also known as a pakka jacket, is a very light waterproof jacket that can be easily stored in a rucksack. They are recommended for everyday use and short distance walks. Some people even put them over other jackets.

The Waterproof Rating

It is very important to consider which activities you plan to perform if you are going to choose a waterproof jacket. It is not the same as going for hike or a simple stroll through the park.

Waterproof Rating

When it comes to a waterproofness of a jacket, it is tested in the factory according to the British Standard and using a Hydrostatic Head test. The level at which the fabric stops withstanding the water is measured in mm. Some things to look out for are:

  • Hiking is a type of outdoor activity that requires a jacket that is highly breathable and has a hood for protection. The pockets are necessary but they should be out of your way so you do not harm yourself while climbing. The jacket should provide enough flexibility and a very high waterproof rating of 10,000 mm or above.
  • Hill walking requires a highly breathable jacket as well, a hood with a stiffened peak, and a rear draw cord. The waterproof rating is usually of 5,000 – 10,000 mm.
  • For everyday use, you can go for the simplest waterproof jacket that is coated, of lower cost and made of more affordable material. These jackets have a waterproof rating of 1,500 mm to 2,000 mm.

The Most Important Features

Let’s take a look at some of the most important features that might come in handy when purchasing a new waterproof jacket.

  • Breathability is very important because the jacket should not only prevent water from going in, but also make sure that perspiration has a way out. If the jacket is not breathable, then your sweat won’t be able to get out resulting in your inner clothes feeling damp.
    You might even feel as if your jacket has leaked when it is the perspiration from the inside that is causing you discomfort. Ventilation is usually provided by pit zips and mesh lined pockets.
  • Protection is important but so is your comfort. Make sure that your jacket is large enough so you can put other clothes beneath it; your back should not be exposed during the cold weather. Additionally, the jacket should not be too tight, otherwise you won’t be able to move fast.
  • A hood protects your head from poor conditions so it is a must when you go to buy a jacket. However, it should not restrict your view. Take into consideration jackets that have adjustable hoods, because they can be removed and washed separately.
  • Zips should be of high quality because you do not want them to break during your long hike without any chance to replace them. They should be waterproof and able to sustain cold. They are also a source of ventilation since they allow for the airflow to pass.
  • Almost every jacket has at least two front and inner pockets and you will certainly need them, at least for storing a compass or map. However, it is important that pockets have storm flaps over the zips as to ensure that whatever is inside stays dry.
  • Drawcords make sure that your jacket is adjusted properly, but not all models have them. If you like when your jacket fits your body like a glove and stays in place, then you should look for the models that have drawcords. They are usually found at the bottom of the jacket and at the back of the hood.

How to Clean Your Jacket?

It is important to regularly clean your waterproof jacket so it does not get blocked up and stop functioning properly. You should clean it with a non-detergent based product after each use if it is possible.

Clean Your Jacket

Proofing is not necessary each time you wash a jacket, but if you notice the water beads on it then you should definitely reproof it. One of the most recommended products for cleaning is Nikwax. Usually after 3 to 5 washes, your jacket might need reproofing. Do not forget to check the label to see what is suggested as the best solution.

7 Best Waterproof Jacket Reviews

Now we are going to cover 7 waterproof jackets of high quality that are designed to protect you from the bad weather and keep you warm and dry. If are a hiking enthusiast, then you will definitely find at least one jacket among these 7 that will fit your needs and requirements.

Columbia Men’s Outdry Ex Platinum Shell Jacket

Columbia Men's Outdry Ex Platinum Shell Jacket

Weight: 2 pounds

Best Use: hiking, hill walking, everyday use

Design Features: it is made of 100% nylon, attached hood with peripheral adjustability, it comes in four colors: black, blue, yellow and white.

Description: This amazing Columbia Men’s Outdry Ex Platinum Shell Jacket is made of nylon which means that it can stand up to the bad weather but also keep you warm. It is created with the OutDry Extreme technology which allows for breathability by constructing a waterproof layer on top of it.

It is fully seam-sealed with an external seam tape and it also features a protective hood. There are also cuffs and 2-way underarm venting, including the 2-way center front PU Vision zipper.

You can use the pockets for storing smaller things. You can also use this jacket for everyday use if you live in the area with colder climate.

Musto Evolution Sardinia Gore-tex

Musto Evolution Sardinia Gore-tex

Weight: 2.2 pounds

Best Use: hiking, hill walking, everyday use

Design Features: made of a 2-layer GORE-TEX® fabric, attached hood with water resistant zips, lining made of 100% Polyester.

Description: This Musto Evolution Sardinia Gore-tex is created for more extreme outside activities such as hiking, primarily because it was made of a durable 2-layer GORE-TEX® fabric which reduces any risk of getting wet and cold.

However, that does not mean that you cannot take it for a walk to the city.

It is breathable which means that you won’t be sweating inside and it has the zips of high quality that won’t break easily. The sleeves, which are articulated, allow you to move freely, and the warm lining will give you comfort.

Arcteryx Norvan SL Hoody

Arcteryx Norvan SL Hoody

Weight: 7.2 ounces

Best Use: hiking, hill walking, everyday use

Design Features: consists of a Gore-Tex permanent beading surface that eliminates the need for DWR coating, ultralight, packable for anywhere you wish to go, fitted hood.

Description: This amazing jacket by Arc’teryx is created for men who love hiking and spending a lot of time outside, even when it is cold and rainy. This jacket is a great choice because it will give you breathability and you will never feel like suffocating during your running.

But you will also never feel cold, even if the outer layer is completely wet. It also looks stylish and you might take it for something as simple as a stroll through the town.

What also makes it great is that it is ultralight and compressible, which means that you won’t have to worry about bringing an additional bag on your adventure.  The hood has an elasticized brim which ensures full visibility.

Helly Hansen Odin Minimalist

Helly Hansen Odin Minimalist

Weight: 1 pound

Best Use: hiking, hill walking, everyday use, backcountry skiing

Design Features: consists of 100% Polyester, created with the Durable Water Repellency treatment (DWR), CIS-compatible, 2-way stretch, comes in 6 different and vibrant colors.

Description: This Helly Hansen waterproof jacket is made with one of the best treatments– DWR, which means that it was made in order to stand up to even the worst rain ever. The fabrics may seem wet but you won’t feel even a drop of water on your inner layers of clothing.

The stretch material makes it possible for you to feel comfortable without using drawcords and it is perfect for a variety of activities, even backcountry skiing.

Keeping in mind that this jacket comes in a two-ply construction, which means that it provides higher comfort, you won’t feel as if you are suffocating inside of it. If you decide to go for this jacket, you will definitely enjoy your hikes even more.

Jack Wolfskin Arroyo

Jack Wolfskin Arroyo

Weight: 1.2 pounds

Best Use: hiking, hill walking, everyday use

Design Features: consists of a Texapore weather material that resists against the rain and wind, lightweight, breathable, UltraLight hood provides protection with adjustable toggles for a custom fit, double-zip fastening at the center, two hand pockets with zip fastening, comes in two colors – black and olive.

Description: Take a look at this amazing waterproof jacket designed by Jack Wolfski. It is made of protective Texapore material which is able to make you feel comfortable even when you are walking across the roughest terrain imaginable.

The hood will keep your face protected while you can adjust the toggles for a better fit. The two hand pockets are perfect for keeping your hands warm or for storing some of the smaller things that you wish to keep dry and secured with a zip fastening.

The outer layer of the jacket will prevent the rain and wind from turning you to ice. Additionally, this warm jacket is extremely light so you will be able to run or climb faster.

Whether you need a jacket for everyday use or for hiking, this model is definitely worth checking out because it is both fashionable and effective.

Patagonia Alpine Houdini Jacket

Patagonia Alpine Houdini Jacket

Weight: 4 pounds

Best Use: hiking, hill walking, alpine excursions

Design Features: nylon shell with a laminate membrane, DWR coating, interior storm flap, single-pull, adjustable, helmet-compatible hood,  interior left chest pocket doubles are zippered, elasticized cuffs, comes in two colors – grey and green.

Description: If you are tired of the useless jackets and need a perfect hiking water proof jacket instead, then this Patagonia Alpine Houdini Jacket might be it!

It is the best choice for climbers because it is made of the water-resistant material of best quality and it provides breathability, comfort and durability.

Created with the lamination technology, this jacket consist of GORE-TEX membranes that prevent even the smallest drop of water to enter your jacket’s interior.

You will be bewildered how warm and dry you will feel on the inside while the rain is pouring outside. It is also windproof and a great choice for alpine excursions. This is considered one of the best models in the GORE-TEX industry.

The North Face Men’s Fuseform Eragon Wind Jacket

The North Face Men's Fuseform Eragon Wind Jacket

Weight: 1 pound

Best Use: hiking, hill walking, everyday use

Design Features: FuseFormTM construction, ultralight, highly wind-resistant, durable water-repellent (DWR) finish.

Description: Having in mind that everyone dislikes bad weather during their favorite outside activities, this North Face Men’s Fuseform Eragon Wind Jacket might save your day if you have not checked it out yet. It is ultralight and packable which means that you can take it anywhere you wish and pack it inside a small bag.

Even though it is light, that does not mean that there is no protection; on the contrary, the DWR construction will stand up to the harshest winds and most stubborn rain. If you are going for durability and security, then this one is for you.

Conclusion

To sum up, we have covered the most important features and the best models of waterproof jackets. These jackets are all considered waterproof but they all differ when it comes to materials and what makes them durable, breathable, and comfortable.

Bring your Waterproof Jacket

If your jacket cannot stand up to the harsh wind and rain, then it is useless. That is why it is very important to look out for those that are made of known materials of high quality that are really water-resistant.

We have also covered 7 great and amazing waterproof jackets that can be used in a variety of outdoor activities, making them a fit for everyone.

After you have decided which activity you’re engaging in and which material is most suitable, go over the other features, such as the a hood, drawcords, colors, design et cetera to see if they are features you are interested in.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comment section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Mark Watson

    I am a Columbia man all the way. Love them. Definitely worth the price every time. I do my research before I make any big or expensive purchases and it’s hard for me to find people who aren’t living their Columbia made stuff. I should branch out but why when you know what works already!

  • Julie Stuart

    Oh great information about proofing and re-proofing with the Nixwax. I never thought about that. I guess that’s why I stopped using raincoats. I just thought they probably didn’t work or stopped working. What a great idea. I had a purse and I bought the rain repellant for it and I never even thought it would work the same way with a rain jacket. Great information to have. As always, thanks for the informative article!

  • Daniel Carraway

    The Columbia brand has been in the market ever since I can remember. It has a loyal following and most are pleased that the quality has been consistent throughout the years. I think brand loyalty is remarkable, in light of numerous products coming out in the market. But you might want to get out of your comfort zone and try other stellar brands. You won’t regret it!

  • Daniel Carraway

    You’re welcome Julie and thanks for dropping by. We all need waterproof jackets and I see that you used that rain repellent for it. 🙂 You could also try surfing though sites to see what will work for you.

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