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12 Best Waterproof Rain Jackets That Will Actually Keep You Dry

Say goodbye to leaky outerwear with these top-rated raincoats.

rain jackets

We updated this article in April 2022 to add more information about each featured product, based on extensive research done by our team.

We all know that terrible feeling when trickles of rain start to seep in through a jacket during a storm—suddenly, you’re waterlogged. Getting a raincoat that really does the job is worth the investment, so you can walk, train, or hike in comfort, even in wet weather.

Before you choose the best waterproof rain jacket, though, it helps to know what all the product claims really mean, plus key features to consider. Rainwear comes with three main types of shielding, but they all sound pretty similar. Kevin Lau, an REI retail sales specialist, helped us simplify what each means and suggested REI’s guide for more details.

Waterproof, water-resistant, water-repellant: What’s the difference?

Waterproof: “From a lab-results perspective,” says Lau, “a fabric is considered waterproof when it reaches a certain level of water resistance. We typically call a jacket ‘waterproof’ when its water resistance is sufficient to keep out driving rain.” These jackets are overall better for heavy rainfall and extended periods of exposure.

Water-resistant: This is the lower level of rain protection. Many companies will list a jacket as water-resistant so long as the fabric provides a thin barrier between you and a shower. “Water-resistant can handle light rain for a brief time—windbreakers and featherweight jackets, for example. If precipitation lingers or starts coming down sideways, these won’t be up to the task,” Lau says.

Water repellent: Maybe you have seen the term “Durable Water Repellent” or DWR on some jacket labels. DWR coating can be applied to both waterproof and water-resistant jackets for extra protection: When you see water bead up on a jacket’s surface and roll off, that’s the repellency in action. “A DWR coating doesn’t turn a water-resistant jacket into a waterproof one, but it does increase the level of water resistance of any jacket,” explains Lau. “It also prevents the surface layer of a waterproof/breathable jacket from getting saturated, enabling that jacket to operate at peak efficiency.” DWR can eventually wear out, like the soles of running shoes, but you can renew the coating when it does.

How we chose the best rain jackets

We consulted Lau, along with dozens of customer reviews to narrow down the best rain jackets. We took an in-depth look at the waterproof jackets on the market to find the ones that are durable, comfortable, and will protect you most from the elements. Our picks include rain jackets for running and walking, the best splurge and budget jackets, and the ones with the most style. While many companies categorize their jackets by gender, these are all great picks for anyone if the size is right.

Our top rain jackets

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    Best Overall
    Torrentshell 3L Rain Jacket

    • Three-Layer Construction
    • Hand-Warming Pockets
    • Self-Stuffing With Caribiner Clip-in Loop
    • Underarm vents

    • Some Users Say It Fits Snugly

    This jacket’s three-layer construction makes it highly durable and water repellent. Reviewers love its many features, including hand warming pockets and external and internal zipper storm flaps; plus, it can fold up into its own pocket. Some of the fabric is constructed from recycled materials, and the jacket is Fair Trade Certified and approved by Bluesign, a production standard test for environmental health.

    Best Budget Men’s Jacket
    Men's Watertight II Rain Jacket
    Now 33% off

    • Lightweight
    • Two-Layer Construction
    • Abrasion-Resistant Chin Guard

    • Not Suitable for Super Rough Conditions

    This low-priced jacket is a #1 men’s outerwear best seller on Amazon. Lightweight, with a two-layer construction, it has a larger fit for anything you might want to wear underneath. Though it’s not necessarily suitable for rough conditions, many reviewers note its excellent durability and overall wearability in moderate storms. It also features an abrasion-resistant chin guard and two zippered side pockets to keep belongings secure.

    “I have a much more expensive gore-tex rain jacket, but it is just too damned hot in warm weather. This fits my needs perfectly, plus it is lightweight enough that I can hang from my belt loop when the storm is over and hike for miles,” one reviewer writes.

    Best Value
    Women's Resolve 2 Jacket
    The North Face

    • DryVent Two-Layer Construction
    • Lightweight
    • 100% Windproof
    • Cinchable Waist Hem

    • Users Say Fit Can Be a Bit Tight for Layering

    There’s a reason 98% of customers recommend this North Face jacket. The Resolve 2 is durable, lightweight, and a great bang for your buck. Beyond the sleek cut, TNF engineered the Resolve 2 with a two-layer DryVent material that makes it both waterproof and windproof. The insulated fabric, mesh lining, and storm flap zipper will provide excellent protection on a windy, rainy day.

    “This jacket is so lightweight, but kept me so warm. I wore it during vacation where it was rainy and windy,” one Amazon reviewer writes. “It kept me warm and dry the whole time! Great buy!”

    Most Stylish Women’s Rain Jacket
    Girl On The Go Insulated Trench Coat
    Eddie Bauer
    Eddie Bauer

    • Versatile
    • Detachable Insulation
    • Zip-Off Hood

    • Users Say Sleeves Run Tight

    This trench is a great option if you want something versatile, fashionable, and durable. The detachable insulation layer allows it to double as a winter coat to keep you warm in temps as low as -25 degree weather (as long as you’re not sitting still!). One reviewer wrote, “Great for rain, and toasty warm for cold weather. When the insulated lining is detached, it becomes a light jacket. And it's dressy enough to wear as a wrap for going out to dinner.”

    Rave Reviews
    Women’s Arcadia™ II Rain Jacket

    • Seam-Sealed Contruction
    • Adjustable Storm Hood
    • Self-Stuffing

    • Users Say It’s on the Thin Side

    This jacket comes in a broad range of colors and features zippered pockets, a stylish cinched waist, and an adjustable storm hood. It’s the #1 best-selling women-specific jacket from Colombia, and customers love the soft and breathable mesh lining. One husband who bought this for his wife wrote, “Her former jacket left her coming in soggy all the way through, but now she stays dry through the heaviest of downpours.”

    Best Budget Women’s Jacket
    Women's Waterproof Rain Jacket
    Now 20% off

    • Affordable
    • Adjustable Hood and Cuffs
    • Breathable Mesh Lining

    • Users Say It’s Not as Waterproof

    Breathable mesh interior lining and a 100% polyester exterior will keep wind and rain out while giving your body proper ventilation. A detachable hood and adjustable cuffs help cater your perfect fit, and two zipper pockets will stow your keys and phone perfectly. “I purchased the pink one which is absolutely a lovely shade. Its also very comfortable. It's true to size too,” a reviewer writes.

    Best Eco-Friendly
    Women's PreCip Eco Jacket
    Now 30% off

    • Made of PFC-Free and Recycled Nylon
    • 2.5-Layer Construction
    • Lined Chin Guard
    • Underarm Vents

    • Users Say Lining Thins After a Few Years

    This jacket has recently received an eco-friendly revamp: The waterproof and breathable outer fabric is made from PFC-free and recycled nylon. The 2.5-layer construction provides lighter protection than the Torrentshell, but it will definitely protect you in moderate weather. “From a lightweight everyday rain jacket to an outer shell for snowboarding, the PreCip has held up very well and has great versatility,” said one Marmot customer who has used theirs for two years.

    Best for Running
    Women's Running Rain Jacket

    • Reflective
    • Back Ventilation
    • Five Pockets

    • Users Say It Could Be More Breathable

    Running or cycling in the wind and rain creates a safety issue if you aren’t wearing the proper gear. This jacket will not only keep you dry, but its reflective material will keep you visible to others. Its five zippered utility pockets will keep belongings safe and moisture-free, and it’s super lightweight and packable, making it ideal for taking on trips.

    “It is windproof, waterproof and remarkably warm for such a thin, lightweight jacket. Very happy with my purchase,” one reviewer writes.

    Best Lightweight
    Zeta SL Rain Jacket

    • Gore-tex Lining
    • Storm Hood
    • Adjustable Cuffs

    • No Underarm Ventilation

    The Arc’teryx Zeta SL is a life-saver for anyone caught in a heavy downpour. This pick is on the pricier side, but the brand is known for top-of-the-line quality rain products that will last. At 10.9 ounces, it’s light enough to feel comfortable on a run and the Gore-tex material provides full waterproof coverage. While you won’t have to worry about leakage after hours in the rain, the one downside is that there are no pit-zips for ventilation.

    “I decided to spend extra $$ on an Arc’teryx jacket versus other brands because I’ve heard such great things from friends and this jacket did not disappoint. Even though it’s ultra thin and lightweight, it does a great job of insulating. Definitely rain proof and I stay dry on wet hikes!” one reviewer raves.

    Most Stylish Men’s Rain Jacket
    Moss Jacket
    Helly Hansen
    Helly Hansen

    • Longer Cut
    • Versatile
    • 100% Polyurethane
    • Welded Seams

    • Limited Sizing

    A combination of trendy, well-priced, and durable waterproofing, this raincoat is Helly Hansen’s most popular. The flattering urban look has a longer cut that keeps your thighs dry, whether you’re out on the trails or commuting to work. The only drawbacks are limited size options, and the Polyurethane (PU) material makes it slightly less breathable than nylon or polyester options.

    One reviewer says it “has lasted a year of heavy use and daily heavy duty washing,” adding: “Kept me dry with water running over my hood and shoulders most of the mornings. Only now showing signs of wear, if you want this to be a regular use jacket it will probably last forever. Flexible enough to work in for long days.”

    Best Lightweight
    Stormline Stretch Rain Shell Jacket
    Black Diamond

    • Four-Way Stretch
    • Self-Stuffing
    • Affordable

    • Users Say It’s Not as Waterproof

    The stretchy 2.5 layer construction and soft interior set this jacket apart—it’s one of the most comfortable pieces of rain outerwear out there, featuring four-way stretch for comfortable movement. This is another reasonably-priced daily use option that packs down into a pocket, and one reviewer noted, “It’s virtually impossible to find a shell at this price point that performs to this standard.”

    Best Pull-Over
    Men's Phantom Pull-On Jacket

    • Casual Style
    • Includes Stuff Sack for Easy Packing
    • 1/2 Zip Detail Offers Optional Ventilation

    • Not Suitable for Super Rough Conditions

    This casual style that slips overhead is ideal for everyday wear, especially for runners and hikers. It feels as lightweight and comfortable as your favorite sweatshirt with the added bonus of keeping you dry. It’s also super lightweight and compact, so you can easily keep it on you during a hike just in case a storm decides to roll in.

    “No complaints here. The shell packs down to the size of my fist and is easy to throw in any sized pack for a hike/run/ride,” one reviewer writes. “Throw it on when the wind picks up and it's barely noticeable due to great breathability, fit and a bit of stretch.”

    How to choose the best waterproof rain jacket
    prevention line break

    There are certain features to keep in mind when choosing the right jacket, and you have to base your purchase on what you plan on doing in the rain. “While the technology in the fabric is the biggest factor in the cost of rainwear, construction details also play a role,” says Lau. “Rain jackets with a robust feature set will reflect that in their price.” However, he also points out that you might see a jacket with a top-tier fabric but few extra features, especially pockets, if an ultralight design is the goal.

    Pick your protection: The words “jacket” and “shell” are frequently used interchangeably, and there are a couple of different types of shells to choose from. A soft shell foregoes heavy insulation and full waterproofing in favor of lightweight materials and versatility. Hard shell is an alternative term for waterproof outerwear and these tend to provide more coverage against the elements, greater insulation, and are somewhat more durable.

    Check for reflective material: Are you up before the sun or a night owl runner? Jackets with reflective zippers or logos will keep you visible to drivers and bikers as you log those miles.

    Mind the zipper: Two-way zippers are a great addition to help with breathability and movability. For example, if you want to sit comfortably, unzipping from the bottom will give you extra room.

    Go for cinches: Cinched waists or cuffs (Velcro counts) allow you to customize the jacket to fit your body, and they create another barrier between you and the elements. A cinched hood will ensure that it stays on your head in the gustiest weather.

    Think about ventilation: Perforation, interior mesh, and armpit zips are essential for breathability in a rain jacket. These three features will increase airflow, critical for any strenuous activity like hiking, running, or walking in warmer weather. If there’s no airflow during exertion, your jacket will begin to feel like a sauna.

    Consider packability: If it’s a cloud-burst kind of day or you’re going on a long walk, you won’t want to carry a bulky coat. Many rain jackets pack down for easy stowing and have loops you can attach to a carabiner.

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