19 best waterproof jackets 2019: shrug off the elements with these all-weather picks

Waterproof coats and jackets to keep you dry from the inevitable wet British weather, through every season, including our top picks from The North Face, Arc'teryx and Mammut

19 best waterproof jackets
(Image credit: The North Face)

Yes summer is finally here, but that doesn't mean you're safe from the odd downpour, which is why investing in the best waterproof jacket that's lightweight and breathable enough for warm weather wear is a smart purchase. 

Regardless of whether you're off hiking or just taking the dog for a stroll around the park, these types of protective and packable technical jackets keep you dry and safe from the worst of the bad weather throughout the seasons.

The majority of waterproof jackets featured in this buyer's guide have a lighter pack load. That means they can be stuffed in your backpack when not in use. Then, when the rain starts, you can whip out your waterproof and add an instant layer of protection over your clothes. 

Some are ace worn over fleeces when the temperature dips. Many are fast-drying too, so it won't be long before you can shove it, dry, back in your backpack.

So the best waterproof jackets keep you dry when it rains, yet are breathable enough to keep you cool and not clammy when you’re getting active outdoors. 

But one kind of weatherproof shell doesn’t fit every scenario. In fact, different types of jackets address different needs, which is why we’ve featured a broad range in this buyer’s guide. 

Some of them are far more packable than others, some are more breathable, and some are more waterproof (look for Gore-Tex). A couple manage to hit a home run in each of those areas. Bottom line: they'll keep you dry in a rain shower, and stave off the the worst of the wind too.

In a rush and want to know what our best waterproof jacket is above all others? Here you go...

Best waterproof jacket: our expert pick

  • As mentioned above, a great waterproof jacket will protect you from rain and wind, but it will also be lightweight enough that you won't feel as though you're being cooked alive while wearing it. In an ideal world, the jacket will be comfortable on and look stylish too, blending in with your daily wardrobe as well as your technical wear. Does such a magical waterproof exist? Actually, it does.
  • The North Face Apex Flex GTX 2.0 is our best waterproof jacket overall because it embodies all of those things. Yes there are lighter jackets in our round up below, which might be a better choice for wearing during impromptu showers at the height of summer, but the Apex Flex GTX 2.0 is a brilliant all-rounder for the majority of the year. It's hoodie-soft too, making it a dream to wear.

The best waterproof jacket: a man stands beside a waterfall while wearing a green waterproof jacket

Choosing the best waterproof jacket for you

Purchasing a good hard shell that 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 technical terms such as Gore-Tex and Polartec, then you need to figure out what you're going to be using your rain jacket for... other than staying dry, that is.

For example, if you're adventuring up hills, check out the Montane Minimus 777 Waterproof Jacket and get your footwear right with our guide to the best hiking boots. If you're trail running, check out our favourite trail running shoes and try the INOV-8 Race Ultra Race Shell HZ U.

If you're commuting, hitting the outdoors or just want a do-all waterproof jacket that fits every scenario, check out our top pick, The North Face Apex Flex GTX 2.0, then take a look at our best backpacks buyer's guide.

We've also got some brightly coloured options that might be a smart (highly visible) choice on long hikes up a mountain, especially if you're a lone ranger, and the best waterproof jackets from one of our favourite eco-friendly brands.  

The best waterproof jackets you can buy now

T3 Awards 2019 The North Face Apex Flex GTX 2.0 wins best waterproof jacket

1. The North Face Apex Flex GTX 2.0

Ultra-soft and impossibly dry, you'll want to live in this

Reasons to buy
+Superb wind protection+Light weight+Great colourways

The North Face has seriously upgraded its infamous Apex Flex GTX Jacket to create a much lighter, more stream-lined waterproof jacket. In fact, at first glance, you could mistake it for a snug hoodie.

While it boasts a tough three-layer Gore-Tex shell for superlative wind and rain protection, the soft-knit outer fabric is luxuriously soft. The stretch-knit liner also feels great against the skin, acting like a thin fleece for enhanced warmth, and giving you all the cosiness of a hoodie.

Although lighter than its predecessor – TNF shaved off 40g of the original's weight – the Apex Flex is still hefty at 800g. Breathability is great, though, and pit vents further aid cooling, so we forgive its heaviness. 

As you'd expect from such a design, the fit is nigh-on perfect, staying close to the body in all the right places, without ever feeling tight or restrictive, even when worn with other technical layers.

The super-light construction of the Apex Flex GTX also helps you stay nimble as you cross challenging terrain. This, combined with expert wind and rain protection, makes it the best waterproof jacket for outdoor explorers and for those of you who enjoy being active outside. 

We love this waterproof layer so much, we crowned it our Best Waterproof Jacket at the T3 Awards 2019. Check out more of this year's award winners on our main T3 Awards 2019 page.

Best waterproof jackets: Arc'teryx Men's Beta AR Jacket

2. Arc'teryx Beta AR Jacket

Fully weatherproof and with plenty of room for essentials

Reasons to buy
+Large Pockets+3L Gore-tex+Helmet-compatible hood

Arc’Teryx's best waterproof jacket is a three-layer design with high-end Gore-Tex Pro innards. It feels bombproof, which it nearly is thanks to a toughened exterior that withstands scrapes and tumbles.

More importantly, the Beta AR makes the cut here because of its enhanced waterproofing and impressive breathability – added armpit zips keeps thing fresh and breezy when you're really trekking hard. 

Although durable, this windproof jacket is surprisingly light for a three-layer, and it’s roomy despite the athletic fit, which is able to accommodate a helmet under the hood. Get over the price tag and you'll find a very capable all-weather jacket for outdoor pursuits.

Best waterproof jacket: Mammut Masao Light

3. Mammut Masao Light Waterproof Jacket

An incredibly light waterproof hardshell for big adventures

Reasons to buy
+Super-lightweight+Breathable+Available in men’s and women’s

A brilliant, highly technical waterproof jacket for mountain-based adventures and more, the Masao Light Jacket will wow you with its barely-there feel yet super-tough performance. Wind and rain means very little to this durable hardshell, and it sits happily under backpacks, climbing harnesses and other outdoors gear.

There’s loads of room to make this a custom fit for your shape and needs, too. The fun starts with adjustable cuffs and hems – simply adjust the width to suit – and an adjustable (via a toggle), helmet-friendly hood designed with a reinforced peak.

The new Masao is one of the lightest models in our best waterproof jackets round-up, and therefore packs down incredibly small when not in use. Trust us, you won’t even notice it stashed in your backpack.

Ultimately, while we prefer the snug, soft-touch, can’t-stop-wearing-it feel of the Apex Flex GTX 2.0, this is a smart-looking and reliable hardshell that can be stuffed into your bag for use as an instant waterproof layer whether you’re heading into the mountains or rambling in the country.

Best waterproof jacket: Kathmandu Aysen Men’s Gore-Tex Jacket

4. Kathmandu Aysen Men’s Gore-Tex Jacket

Give wind and rain the heave-ho with this streamlined waterproof jacket

Reasons to buy
+Longer length for better coverage+Two-point adjustable hood+Inner cord port for headphones

If you have a longer torso or simply want a waterproof outer shell that offers more coverage than the average, you’ll do well with the Kathmandu Aysen Gore-Tex Jacket. It’s not restrictive in any way, instead promoting a full range of movement for whatever you’re doing outdoors.

It’s rugged and scratch-resistant, being made from a Gore-Tex PacLite two-layer fabric that protects you against the worst of the rain and wind. We’ve worn it in torrential rain and when we got home, the jacket was still dry on the inside. 

The two-way front zip is another very useful addition, as you can open the jacket from the top or bottom. We also like the internal chest pocket, where we stashed our earphones and phone. The only downside? No proper hand-warmer pockets, but that isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker as this is a reliable, fully waterproof jacket that does its main job very well.

The Kathmandu Aysen also sports two-way pit zips to boost ventilation when you need it. Our backpack also sat neatly over the jacket without bunching up at the shoulders or front, which is always a pet peeve of ours. When not in use, simply roll it up, stick it in your pack and forget about it until the heavens open.

Best waterproof jacket: Patagonia Rainshadow in blue

5. Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow

A simple yet highly effective shell that's good for the earth

Reasons to buy
+Great stretch+Small pack size

This easy-to-wear best waterproof jacket contender is made from Patagonia’s H2No Performance Standard shell fabric, which is breathable and designed to protect you from wind chill. It also contains ECONYL, which is a 100 per cent recycled nylon yarn created from discarded fishing nets and other materials. 

The Stretch Rainshadow jacket is coated with a DWR fabric finish to repel light rain and snow, so while it isn’t the most robust choice in super-intense torrential downpours, it will keep you plenty dry in light showers and drizzle. 

There’s plenty of other features to dig into, including a helmet-friendly hood with laminated visor, vented pit zips for further breathability, two hand-warmer pockets and an adjustable drawcord hem to keep the rain out. You can buy this beauty in a range of colours too, and in men’s and women’s sizes. 

19 best waterproof jackets 2019: Columbia OutDry Ex Reign Jacket

6. Columbia OutDry Ex Reign Jacket

A fully-seamed weather beater to keep you dry on big adventures

Reasons to buy
+Fully waterproof+Seam sealed for enhanced rain protection+Underarm venting for moisture control

When it’s really throwing it down and you’re at the start of a multi-day adventure, the highly breathable Columbia OutDry Ex Reign will keep you dry and protected from the worst of the wind and driving rain. 

Fully seam sealed, Columbia’s robust waterproof jacket will keep you dry in anything short of complete and utter immersion. 

The Reign is designed with a large storm hood that’s fully adjustable, depending on the fit you want to achieve, along with adjustable sleeve cuffs and a drawcord hem, enabling you to keep every drop of rain out. 

There’s underarm venting to keep you cool on the move, plus useful zippered hand pockets, which you could keep small outdoors tech in.

Best waterproof jackets: Montane Mens Minimus 777 Jacket

7. Montane Minimus 777 Waterproof Jacket

A great ally for taking on arduous mountain treks

Reasons to buy
+Keeps rain out, lets sweat out+Engineered for fast moving activities+Weighs just 140 grams

The clue to this jacket’s purpose is in its name: the Minimus is, erm, minimal. At just 140g, it’s over a fifth of the weight of the The North Face offering. 

Its three-layer Pertex Shield+ laminate, which combines with a seven-micron breathable membrane, might be wafer-like, but offers excellent water resistance as well as ample sweat-wicking.

This high-performance waterproof jacket can also be scrunched up to the size of a tennis ball and stowed away in your backpack when not needed.

The Minimus 777 is perfect for arduous Alpine activities, as its articulated arms, toughened seams and under-helmet hood make it particularly well-suited to rock climbing.

Best waterproof jackets: Musto XVR BR1 Jacket

8. Musto XVR BR1 Jacket

The waterproof jacket that's good enough for royalty

Reasons to buy
+Modular+Outstanding waterproof protection+Articulated sleeves

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. 

The XVR BR1 offers outstanding waterproof protection, is breathable and can be paired with combined with a XVR Primaloft Dock jacket when the conditions get really cold.

Best waterproof jackets: Berghaus Mens Hillwalker Jacket

9. Berghaus Hillwalker Jacket

Perfect for stylish country walks in all kinds of weather

Reasons to buy
+Great fit+Gore-Tex Shell+Taped seams

The Berghaus Hillwalker comes across like a modern take on the wax cotton jacket, and suits leisurely rambles in the countryside. Mild-mannered, sure, but you get top-notch waterproofing and breathability thanks to Gore-Tex. 

As a two-layer type, the performance isn’t on par with a three-layer, but what you do get is a light insulated lining, big front pockets and soft-lined hand-warmer pockets, which is what you want when you’re out in the cold. The downside? The sleeves could be longer, but then that depends on how long your arms are.

The Hillwalker from Berghaus can withstand tearing and abrasion that bit better than conventional lightweight jackets, and sports taped seams to keep you dry and on drizzly walks.

Best waterproof jackets: Haglöfs Mens Astral III Jacket

10. Haglöfs Men's Astral III Jacket

A versatile waterproof jacket for trekking

Reasons to buy
+DWR treated surfaces+Storm flaps+Bluesign approved

This waterproof jacket from Haglöfs is for trekking, offering well balanced features and performance. Fully featured, and built in lightweight Gore-Tex 2L fabric, this is perfect if you're walking hills and smaller mountains. The hood has a laminated, wire-reinforced peak to keep the rain out of your eyes, too.

Best waterproof jackets: Helly Hansen Mens Voss Jacket

11. Helly Hansen Men's Voss Jacket

Would probably keep you dry during Ragnarok

Reasons to buy
+Highly visible+Classic design+Affordable

This iconic design is has been protecting fishermen in the coldest of seas in all kinds of weather. The lightweight jacket has welded seams and is made from Helox+ (100% polyurethane) waterproof fabric to fend off storms. What's more, the bright yellow keeps you visible during the most apocalyptic conditions.

Best waterproof jackets: Rab Mens Downpour Plus Jacket

12. Rab Downpour Plus Waterproof Jacket

A fast-drying rain jacket with fleece lined chin guard

Reasons to buy
+Fleece-lined chin guard+Left pocket doubles as integrated stuff sack+Great colour and fit

Weighing in at 340g, with our new best friend Pertex Shield 2.5 layer fabric in its corner, the Downpour Plus from Rab disperses rain along its surface for quicker evaporation. There's a fleece lined chin guard, and the left pocket doubles as integrated stuff sack.

Best waterproof jackets: Fjallraven Men's Sten Jacket

13. Fjallraven Men's Sten Jacket

This stylish waterproof jacket fits right in with nature

Reasons to buy
+Everyday wearability+Natural+Great brand

In 1960, Åke Nordin founded Fjӓllrӓven in his basement in the Swedish town of Örnsköldsvik. From its very first innovative framed backpacks and lightweight outdoor jackets, Fjӓllrӓven has stayed true to its original mission of making it easier for more people to enjoy and stay comfortable in the great outdoors. 

The Sten is a comfortable jacket made with durable G-1000 and G-1000 Lite fabric. It's a practical everyday garment that also works well in nature. It can be waxed for added protection from wind and rain.

Best waterproof jackets: Tog24 Thorne Men's Milatex Jacket

14. Tog24 Thorne Men's Milatex Jacket

A year-round waterproof shield for the city and park

Reasons to buy
+Casual style+Affordable+Windproof ripstop fabric 

While it won't win any awards for technical innovation, Tog24's simple waterproof jacket is all you need in a shower. It might not have the super-technical functions of the others garments on this list, but it looks good and can be worn in urban environments as well as natural ones. 

The waterproof, breathable and windproof ripstop fabric features a mesh-and-taffeta lining, as well as a rollaway hood with fused peak for extra protection.

Best waterproof jackets: INOV-8 Race Ultra Race Shell HZ U

15. INOV-8 Race Ultra Race Shell HZ U

The ideal lightweight weatherproof jacket for a trail run

Reasons to buy
+Transparent+Packs away easily
Reasons to avoid
-Not very breathable

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.

Best waterproof jackets: Canada Goose Mens Riverhead Jacket

16. Canada Goose Riverhead Jacket

Waterproof fabric with a buttery-soft finish

Reasons to buy
+Sueded tricot lined flap pockets +Underarm venting+Great brand

Canada Goose is well known for its Arctic down jackets, but the Riverhead is a lightweight coat which will protect you from wind, rain, sleet, or even light snow. 

The new S18 design has been crafted from Strati-dry 3L three layer fabric. It features a two-way adjustable hood, suede lined pockets, underarm venting to enhance, and adjustable cuffs with snap closure.

Best waterproof jackets: Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite

17. Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Waterproof

Perfect to stuff in your backpack, 'just in case'

Reasons to buy
+Super lightweight

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.

Best waterproof jackets: Odlo Air Minimal

18. Odlo Air Minimal

Perfect for any occasion you're working up a sweat

Reasons to buy
+Perfectly breathable

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.

Best waterproof jackets: Outdoor Research Helium II

19. Outdoor Research Helium II

Helium is lighter than air (almost)

Reasons to buy
+Comes with a carabiner for attaching to packs

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.