Introduction to the best waterproof jackets
If you're heading to the hills in spring, summer, autumn or winter in the UK, getting the best waterproof jacket is key, which is why T3 has collected the top lightweight men's coats money can buy.
Purchasing a good hard shell which will stand up to the rigour of a day’s worth of rain isn’t as straightforward as it might seem.
First of all, you need to get to grips with some overly-technical terms, such as Gore-Tex, Polartec, and rain flap, and then you need to figure out what you’re going to be using your rain jacket for, other than, er, staying dry that is.
If you'll be climbing up some Great British hills then check out our guide to the best hiking boots, if you're trail running check out our favourite trail running shoes, and if you're commuting why not take a look at the best backpacks around.
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Canada Goose Alderwood Shell
Canada Goose is well known for its Arctic down jackets, but the Alderwood Shell is a lightweight coat which will protect you from wind, rain, sleet, or even light snow. The new S16 design has been crafted from a laminated microporous bi-durance.5 layer fabric. It features a two-way adjustable hood, suede lined collar, mesh panel, and it can be folded into the left-hand exterior pocket.
Columbia OutDry Extreme Platinum
According to Columbia, OutDry Extreme is the first ever water and breathable fabric technology constructed with a waterproof layer on the outside and soft, wicking fabric inside. It's all very technical, but essentially means the rugged exterior features millions of microscopic perforations that allow water vapor to escape but don't let any water in - which is exactly what you want with a waterproof coat, really.
This is part of Columbia's Titanium line, which means the shell is fully seam-sealed with bold, external seam tape and packs high-tech Light Rail zippers.
Hunter Original 3-Layer Poncho
More well known for its pricey wellies, Hunter has also turned its hand towards all-weather clothing. We love this soft and lightweight unisex poncho. It's completely waterproof and crafted from three layers of breathable ripstop fabric with welded seams. Featuring an AquaGuard zip, large internal pocket at the front, and Hunter heritage brand mark placed on the top snap.
£220 | Hunter
Mammut Runbold Light IS
The Mammut Runbold is a lightweight and stylish water-resistant jacket insulated with 40g Primaloft Silver. The coat is reversible, and the interior is a contrasting colour, so can be worn either way depending on your outfit. The Runbold can be folded into an incredibly compact package, and even paired with Mammut's foldable Runbold trousers for a fully-foldable wardrobe.
Musto Evolution Sardinia Gore-tex
With its roots firmly in sailing, Musto knows a thing or two about dealing with adverse weather conditions and waterproofing. It also knows how to make functional look appealing, which is probably why the Duchess of Cambridge wears one. This Evolution Sardinia Gore-tex jacket looks great with its classic silhouette while also being packed with great tech, such as two-layer Gore-Tex, and articulated sleeves.
£250 | Musto
The North Face Men's Fuseform Eragon Wind Jacket
Despite its name, this shell from North Face is completely windproof AND waterproof, using FuseForm technology to take minimalism, weight saving, and performance to the next level. Engineered from totally waterproof fabric (0CFM) with transitions from a ripstop on the yoke and sleeves to a plain weave for adding durability where it’s needed. Best of all it weighs in at a mere 140g.
£105 | The North Face jackets
Patagonia Alpine Houdini
The Patagonia Alpine Houdini is there one moment, then folded away and gone the next... see what they did there? This featherweight shell is now H2No Performance Standard, offers an ultralight 100% nylon ripstop shell with a DWR finish (durable water repellent) and a waterproof/breathable membrane.
It's emergency rainwear suitable for the UK or half-way up the Jungfrau, that blocks wind and rain. When you're done with it, the coat packs into a single chest pocket and clips onto your rucksack. Perfect for carrying everywhere you go.
£150 | Patagonia jackets
Arc’teryx Norvan SL Hoody
Canadian outfit Arc'teryx is renowned for its huge range of technical outdoor clothing, whether it's mountain climbing or running up a hill, but it also caters for the more 'casual' outdoors person with its range of hard shells. The ultra-minimalist hoody is lightweight and breathable; its Gore-Tex shell treated with Permanent Beading Surface protection for increased defence from the elements whilst keeping you cool inside.
Haglöfs Roc Spirit
This waterproof jacket from Haglöfs is for hardcore climbing, not your leisurely trek up a hill in the Lake District. Fully featured, and built in lightweight 3L Gore-Tex Pro fabric, this is perfect if you're after something a bit more extreme. The hood has a laminated, wire-reinforced peak to keep the rain out of your eyes, too.
£350 | Haglofs jackets
Helly Hansen Odin Minimalist
Named after thunder god Thor's even more badass dad, this lightweight jacket has sealed zips and waterproof fabric to fend off storms. What's more, the reflective trim keeps you visible during the most apocalyptic conditions.
INOV-8 Race Ultra Race Shell HZ U
Made for trail runners, this is the lightest jacket INOV-8 make, coming in at a featherweight 125g. That's less than something that weighs 126g! The fabric is transparent so your race number remains visible, and it can pack away into the hood.
Jack Wolfskin Arroyo
If your outdoor activities tend to involve a little more rough and tumble – whether it’s navigating through brambles, or rubbing shoulders with mates down the pub - you might want to consider a jacket that’s a little more hardwearing. The Arroyo from Jack Wolfskin is just that – with an outer construction that basically has extra fabric in it, it can withstand tearing and abrasion that bit better than conventional lightweight jackets. It’s also got a Texapore two-layer waterproof construction to keep you dry and free of sweat on light walks.
Kathmandu Pocket It Rain
While it won't win any awards for technical innovation and it certainly doesn't get any points for style, Karhmandu's simple waterproof jacket is all you need in a shower. It might not have anywhere near the breathability of more expensive garments, but the Pocket It jacket Is perfect for taking with you anywhere - it's light and packs down to a tiny size. It also has a large front pocket for stowing your valuables.
£20 | Kathmandu
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite
At just 87g, this is one of the lightest waterproof hard shell jackets we know of, allowing you to pack it down to almost nothing and carry it at all times - perfect for minimal adventures. This low weight doesn't sacrifice its water-shedding abilities, with 15D ripstop nylon fabric and Z-Grav technology built in, which combines waterproofing and breathability to take care of any water, whether it's on the inside or outside.
£80 | Mountain Hardwear
Montane Tigertooth Pro
Montane’s Direct Tigertooth waterproof jacket is great for walking or more arduous mountain hikes, and is ideal if you’re the kind of person that works up a sweat. The Polartec Power Shield Pro embedded into the fabric is similar to Gore-Tex, by its nature working to prevent rain and wind from getting in, and letting trapped moisture escape out.
£250 | Montane
Weighing in at 185g, with our new best friend Pertex Shield+ three-layer fabric in its corner, the Flashpoint from Rab disperses rain along its surface for quicker evaporation. The single pocket is sealed completely, and you can fit the entire jacket inside the pocket to zip-up, if the sun comes back out.
Odlo Air Minimal
Norwegian-born Odlo designs its gear to suit a variety of outdoor activities - erring on the sporty side - and its latest jacket, the Air Minimal, is just that: perfect for any occasion where you're working up a big sweat, such as running or cycling. It has a high level of waterproofing thanks to Pertex, so it's able to quickly wick away moisture so you don't feel clammy.
If you absolutely must have the lightest waterproof jacket available, then British-built OMM is the company for you. If it's not lightweight, then OMM doesn't want to know. The OMM Aether is one of the firm's lightest at 240g, with a close fit and Event for maximum waterproofing and breathability, making it ideal for sports activities where performance is your main goal.
Outdoor Research Helium II
Built to protect you during torrential downpours, the Helium is lighter than air - see what they did there? Made from Pertex Shield+ fabric, which is breathable as well as a water defender. It folds into its own tiny, 180g pouch with a carabiner for attaching to packs or harnesses.
£90 | Outdoor Research jackets
Páramo makes jackets with Nikwax-engineered fabric built-in, offering the highest level of waterproofing, breathability and comfort. Its Helki jacket is the company's all-rounder, great for a variety of activities. Its soft construction makes it perfect for anything where you need a greater range of movement, and a built-in hood with adjustable peak means you can shrug off the worse the weather has to offer. Hardcore hikers also get an OS map pocket for convenience.