Best waterproof jackets 2020: Project yourself from rain and showers with these all-weather picks

The best waterproof coats and jackets to keep you comfortable and dry, whatever the weather

best waterproof jacket: Fjällräven Keb Eco-Shell Jacket
(Image credit: Fjällräven)

Are you weather-proof? If you're an outdoor type you'll know that wherever you go in the world there is always plenty of weather. Drizzle and downpours can ruin any trip, so it's important you have one of the best waterproof jackets. A quality jacket can make all the difference, turning a damp and miserable slog into a dry and comfortable day braving the elements. 

So what makes for a great waterproof jacket? The best waterproof jackets are the opposite of 'fast fashion'; they're well-made, often high-end garments that keep you dry during rain, of course, but they do a lot more than that. All have water and wind-proof hoods and water-tight pockets, but there are some major differences you need to know about before making that all-important buying decision. 

For example, some of the best waterproof jackets are lined to keep you warm, which makes them bulky yet irresistible in cold conditions. Others are lightweight so as not to weigh you down, packing down to a small size when not in use. Some of the latter category aren't designed to keep you warm, just dry, which makes them useful year-round anywhere with unpredictable weather. Ideal for guarding against summer showers, they can be used as part of a layering system in winter. 

In our guide, we've concentrated on technical waterproof jackets and coats that are protective, but packable. They're lightweight, yet breathable and windproof. They're designed to be stowed in a backpack and whipped out when a rain shower begins. 

Our handy tool will pull in all the best prices for each product in our list. Need some more buying advice? Head to the bottom of this article to learn how to choose the best waterproof jacket. If you're busy curating your collection of outdoor gear for future trips, you'll also want to equip yourself with a pair of the best hiking boots and a pair of the best walking trousers

The best waterproof jackets you can buy now

Best waterproof jacket The North Face Apex Flex GTX 2.0 in black and red

1. The North Face Apex Flex GTX 2.0

The best waterproof jacket for most people

Reasons to buy
+Superb wind protection+Lightweight+Ultra-soft+Great colourways

The North Face has seriously upgraded its famous Apex Flex GTX Jacket to create a much lighter, more streamlined 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.

best waterproof jacket: Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity Shell Jacket

(Image credit: Helly Hansen Odin )

2. Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity Shell Jacket

The best premium waterproof jacket

Reasons to buy
+Ideal for backcountry skiing and hiking+Sustainable fabric+Skiing features+Hood fits a helmet

The most versatile jacket for layering? A high-end choice for sure, the Odin Mountain Infinity Shell Jacket is a waterproof jacket ideal for hiking and mountaineering in all kinds of conditions, but it's also designed with skiers in mind. The large hand pockets are placed slightly higher than usual so they're not blocked by a backpack's hip belt. The jacket is also harness-compatible, while the large peaked and full adjustable hood can be worn over a helmet. There are zipped underarm vents and interior pockets for phones etc. while also inside is a zip-on, zip-off powder skirt and a stretch pocket for ski goggles. 

Fabulous design aside, this jacket is just as much about sustainability. Its sees the debut of Helly Hansen's proprietary polypropylene-based LIFA Infinity Pro, a three-layer fabric with a breathable microporous membrane that's water repellent and durable, but PFC-free. Its all-season shell design means you're going to need layers underneath in cold conditions, but here's a super-serious waterproof jacket that uses the very latest tech yet treads lightly on both you and the planet. 

Maier Sports Tangstad M

(Image credit: Maier Sports)

3. Maier Sports Tangstad M

The best packable waterproof jacket

Reasons to buy
+Lightweight design+Built-in storable hood+Soft, quiet fabric

Here's a high-end waterproof jacket that bridges the gap between serious waterproofing and pack-ability and is thoroughly enjoyable to hike in. Though designed for hiking and mountaineering, the Tangstad M is a three-layer jacket that somehow manages to be exceedingly lightweight as well. Its secret sauce is its PFC-free mTEX 20.000 membrane, a fabric that's breathability is increased by the appearance of a couple of two-way zips under the armpits – just where it counts! So easy to stow in a backpack, that fabric is soft and quiet, so there's no noisy scrunch as you move. The Tangstad M's width-adjustable cuffs are handy, as are its chest pocket on the outside and a dedicated dry pocket on the inside. Inside two generous hand pockets are drawstrings to tighten the jacket's skirt while there's also a roll-up hood that can be stowed in the collar. It's everything you need for a warm, dry hike. 

best waterproof jacket: Maier Sports Metor M

(Image credit: Maier Sports)

4. Maier Sports Metor M

The best budget waterproof jacket

Reasons to buy
+Well designed and reliable+Packs into its own pocket+Detachable hood+Velcro wrist cuffs

If you're on a slightly tighter budget, the best waterproof jacket for you is the Maier Sports Metor M. While it's not the cheapest entry on this list, it offers excellent value for money for what it offers. The first thing you notice when wearing the Maier Metor M is that it's soft. So soft. This jacket's mTEX 10.000 membrane also makes it seriously windproof, waterproof and breathable, and at just 550g, it's light enough to stuff in a backpack. Its hood has a handy rim for windy conditions as well as Velcro and poppers to keep it snugly in place, but unlike most, it's also detachable. However, the Metor M's stroke of genius is that it packs away into one of its hand-pockets, turning it into a travel-friendly package complete with a carabiner to hook it onto a belt or bag. Comfy and so easy to travel with, the Metor M is a hugely impressive effort. 

The best waterproof jackets: Paramo Men's Alta III Jacket

(Image credit: Paramo)

5. Paramo Alta III waterproof jacket

The best waterproof jacket for hikers

Reasons to buy
+Nikwax Analogy fabric +Wired-peak hood+Upper arm vents+Reinforced back panel

There are more high-spec and specialised options on this list, but the Paramo Alta III waterproof jacket is a great all-rounder that'll work just as well for a rainy day on the mountain as a drizzly walk through the park. One of the highlights is surely the wired-peak hood, which stows in the collar, but crucially gives you ultimate visibility when you're in wet and windy conditions. It's made from Nikwax Analogy Waterproof fabric, which guards against water leaking, while a waist cord ensures a really snug fit that keeps out the wind. There's also a clever design to help stop the build-up of sweat, and its adjustable cuffs can be easily rolled-up for cooling while upper arm vents can be unzipped to let a little air in. Rather unusually, it’s also got a reinforced back panel to make carrying a backpack a little more bearable. 

The best waterproof jackets: Fjällräven Mens Keb Eco-Shell Jacket

(Image credit: Fjällräven)

6. Fjällräven Mens Keb Eco-Shell Jacket

A top quality, hi-tech waterproof jacket

Reasons to buy
+Lightweight+Recyclable Eco-Shell fabric+Wired-peak hood+Two handy chest pockets 

If you're willing to spend a bit more, the Fjällräven Mens Keb Eco-Shell Jacket kinda does it all. This clever technical waterproof jacket has been designed by people who know what it's like to hike. For starters, it has no hand-pockets. Why not? If you’ve ever hauled a backpack up a slope you'll know that the hip-belt blocks access to hand pockets. So they're replaced here by impressively deep and well-designed chest pockets that are both roomy and have elasticated pouches to store gadgets (and even a loop-though for headphones). 

Other unique features include a wired hood that stands up to fierce weather and can fit over a ski or cycling helmet, while ventilation openings at the side allow the sweaty hiker to let off steam. In use the Keb Eco-Shell feels custom-made for the mountains, and it stays dry in driving rain thanks to both a flap behind the zip, and its stretchy recycled polyester Eco-Shell fabric. Unlike many waterproofs that fabric is made without the use of harmful PFC chemicals, so needs a squirt of re-proofing spray slightly more often. However, a waterproof jacket this special worth the hassle.

Best waterproof jacket: Arc'teryx Zeta AR Jacket

(Image credit: Arc'teryx)

7. Arc'teryx Zeta AR Waterproof Jacket

Waterproof, windproof, breathable and stylish

Reasons to buy
+Durable+Quiet fabric+Pit zips aids ventilation

Arc'teryx makes very good waterproofs, albeit at fierce prices. However, the clean lines, solid build and thoughtful design of the Zeta AR Jacket will go on delivering long after cheaper 'so-called waterproofs' have gone off to the reproofing room in the sky. The Zeta AR is a stunning jacket, sculpted from N70p 3L Gore-Tex fabric with Gore C-Knit backer. That makes it comfortable and quiet to wear, and while it's windproof and waterproof, it isn't too warm for walking and hiking (depending on the temperature you're out in, of course).

The cut of this jacket is all about boosting breathability and lowering weight, with a trim that's long enough to tuck under a rucksack hipbelt (with pockets that can also be accessed while wearing a rucksack). It's also articulated in the arms. In short, if you can swallow the price, this shell will be your go-to waterproof jacket for years. There's also a women's Arc'teryx Zeta AR Jacket

Best waterproof jacket: Marmot Bantamweight Jacket

(Image credit: Marmot)

8. Marmot Bantamweight Men's Jacket

The best super-lightweight waterproof jacket

Reasons to buy
+Stupidly light+Decent featureset+Astonishing packability 

The Marmot Bantamweight jacket is many things, but the most impressive is that it’s very, very light. Clocking in at under 140g, this is 'the lightest fully featured rain jacket' Marmot has ever made. Making super-light waterproofs has been a fun game for years, but making them actually functional in bad weather is very tricky. Here, Pertex Shield 2.5 Layer Fabric with two-way stretch takes care of the weight drop without losing shape and function, while internal and two external pockets give storage space. Finally, an adjustable hood and hem leave you fully equipped for sudden outdoor dampness or strong winds – and all for half the weight of a can of Coke. 

best waterproof jacket: Jack Wolfskin Mount Isa Women's jacket

(Image credit: Jack Wolfskin)

9. Jack Wolfskin Mount Isa Women's jacket

A great all-round shell jacket for women

Reasons to buy
+Breathable and moisture-wicking+Smooth, soft material+Adjustable sleeves, hood and hem
Reasons to avoid
-Pockets not completely waterproof

The Jack Wolfskin Mount Isa jacket is a great all-rounder for women. The fabric is soft, smooth and comfortable to wear, while providing that all-important total protection from rain and wind. The outer layer is breathable, with a soft mesh inner layer to keep things comfy without adding unnecessary bulk or weight. There are plenty of additional features to make this waterproof jacket a pleasure to wear: a drawstring hem to keep the wind and wet out, a fixed hood with two more drawstrings that can be adjusted to ensure your field of vision stays clear, water resistant zips, and two hand pockets. The design is also sleek and smart, with a range of colourways to choose from. The only slight downside is that we found the outside pockets let some water in at the bottom in very rainy conditions.

best waterproof jacket: Montane Hydrogen Direct Insulated Jacket

(Image credit: Montane)

10. Montane Hydrogen Direct Insulated Jacket

A travel-friendly option that doubles as a warm layer

Reasons to buy
+Doubles as a warm layer+Great for travel+Reasonably lightweight

Rather unusually for a lightweight waterproof jacket, the Montane Hydrogen Direct Jacket includes a microfleece inner. As well as feeling really soft against bare skin, it adds an extra layer of warmth that will be welcome on blustery days. As such it's a great jacket to take on your travels, since it doubles as a warm layer as well as a waterproof jacket. Weighing just 391g, the Montane Hydrogen Direct Insulated Jacket also has fleece-lined hand-warmer pockets, a chest pocket for storing a phone, and a warm elasticated hood that will help in wet and windy conditions. That all makes it great value, though it's all-in-one warm design does make cooling-off tricky. 

best waterproof jacket: Berghaus Deluge Pro

(Image credit: Berghaus)

11. Berghaus Deluge Pro Waterproof

This smart-looking waterproof is the best budget buy

Reasons to buy
+Very cheap +Waterproof Hydroshell fabric+Lightweight design+Slim fit

The Berghaus Deluge Pro is a great value and durable waterproof jacket for both sexes, which won't break the bank. Fully waterproof due to its Hydroshell fabric, and good ammunition against blustery showers thanks to its adjustable hood, the Deluge Pro is a stylish, but not over-engineered product that copes well with British weather. It's perfect for a long walk or hike, with a fully adjustable hood, and a couple of pockets upfront that close to the elements using waterproof zips, but there are no chest pockets. Its biggest boon is that it weighs a maximum of 378g. That makes it great for taking outdoors as an emergency must-have waterproof layer. 

best waterproof jacket: Snugpak Torrent

(Image credit: Snugpak )

12. Snugpak Torrent

The best insulated waterproof jacket

Reasons to buy
+Keeps you warm down to -5°C+Waterproof and breathable+Detachable hood
Reasons to avoid
-Might be too hot for hiking-Heavy

If you're heading out into wintry conditions, look no further than the Snugpak Torrent. Able to keep you warm down to -5°C, it uses Paratex Dry fabric on its fully taped seamed exterior and Paratex Light on the inside. It's basically a trade-off between warmness (which it excels at), waterproofing and breathability (both of which it's pretty good at). As such it's better for situations where you're going to be relatively inactive – such as stargazing (with one of the best telescopes) or doing some night photography – rather than for a full-on physical hike (you'll get too hot). However, its underarm vents are useful for adjusting your own temperature, and for when it gets really cold, windy and rainy, its lined neck warmer, deep handwarmer pockets, and glove-friendly Velcro wrist cuffs really come into their own. However, all that comes at a cost; at 950g this is not a jacket to be worn lightly. 

How to choose the best waterproof jacket

First up is to determine whether a jacket is fully waterproof or just water repellent. The best waterproof jackets keep you completely dry – think a mountain peak in driving rain – while water repellent jackets guard against light showers of the kind that quickly come and go. When choosing the best waterproof jacket for you, let that distinction dominate your choice. 

What are you going to be using your waterproof jacket for most regularly? Are we talking multi-day hikes in summer where something lightweight – and which packs down small – would make your life easier? Or are you going to be using it mainly for walking the dog on rainy days? In which case go for something bulkier and lined for extra warmth.  

Either way, waterproof jackets with eco-friendly credentials are now all the rage among the top brands. This welcome trend centres on garments that don't use PFCs (PerFluorinated Compounds), toxic chemicals that saturate our environment. They've traditionally been used to make weatherproof clothing because of its water and dirt-repellent characteristics. The top brands now actively eschew PFCs in favour of new eco-friendly fabrics and make a big noise about them. 

As well as guarding against water, these new fabrics are generally breathable to limit how clammy and sweaty you get while being active. Some are quick-drying, which is useful when you're out walking in showers. 

However, with many of these options, you'll still need to layer-up to stay warm in cold conditions, so you'll also want to pick up one of the best fleece jackets and one of the best base layers. That way you can keep you warm when the temperature dips and strip off when it warms up. 

The colour you choose may not seem important, but brightly coloured options are a wise choice if you plan to hike up mountains. That will keep you visible as well as dry as you proudly march up a mountain or go for a long hike while wrapped in the waterproof jacket of your dreams.