Water repellency is a beautiful thing. It allows you to adventure harder and further, without being bogged down by rain or river crossings. It makes exploration enjoyable until the very end, no matter what nature throws your way.
For centuries, humans have tried to create water-proof masks for themselves and their belongings. From vinyl and oil canvas to cured seal intestines, we would use whatever we had on hand, as creatively as possible to keep ourselves dry and active. Now, thanks to modern advancements, waterproofing is done at a molecular level through materials and fabric that keeps water droplets out. These advancements not only allow you to become a waterproof superhuman, but they also make for lightweight, breathable and super packable materials. Amazingly, this technology is only getting better.
These days, different companies are toying around with new fabrics to make rain shells have a softer feel and allow for more versatility and mobility through stretchiness. The modern-day rain jacket is durable yet light, breathable, fully waterproof for any sort of storm or situation you come across, comfortable and slightly stretchy for ease of mobility.
Totally, but the rain jacket gods have answered by gifting us with this very type of jacket. We’re here to introduce you to these super-shells.
About Rain Jacket Materials
Before we get into our best-of list, it’s beneficial to look at what rain jackets are made of and what sets the quality jackets aside from the cheaper ones. The outer layer of most triple layered shells is made from a tough nylon or polyester fabric which has been treated with DWR or Durable Water Repellent. The inside layer is made of a microporous fabric coated or treated with Polyurethane or ePTFE which acts as the layer’s breathable and waterproof layer.
The back textile is then a gauze-like layer which is connected to the back of the membrane which eradicates any liner requirement. Breathable and waterproof technologies are typically related in the way that they function, however, certain brands come with their own personalized technologies such as NeoShell from Polartec which can either be a benefit or a downfall to brands, depending on how their technology fares with customers.
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If you have a raincoat or any type of waterproof outerwear in your closet, chances are it has the initials DWR printed on it. But what do these mysterious initials stand for?
DWE – is a coating that is applied to various types of fabrics that allows them to extract fluids. They’re usually made by complimenting waterproof membranes.
DWR – makes the outside of the fabric spiky, forcing water into beaded and rollable forms.
Once in these shapes, the liquid or water rolls off the material instead of saturating it. While this substance isn’t permanent, it can be revived easily.
How We Choose Our Ratings
We understand how important it is to spend money on quality products. We’re shoppers too, which means we actually get it.
You want to know that the product you’re buying will live up to its promises, which is why we take a lot into consideration when rating our products. We consider materials used, customer reviews, brand, price, and features when rating products so that you’re happy with every purchase you make.
Best Waterproof Jackets of 2018
Now that we understand how water resistant outerwear actually works, we know what to look out for in a jacket.
Our list contains the best waterproof jackets of 2018. Whether the brand or manufacturer uses their own personal rain resistant technology, or if they keep things simple, these jackets definitely get the job done.
While all these jackets are high-quality and extremely rainproof, some may appeal to you more than others, depending on your needs and preferences. We’ve dug deep to find all the details possible on these products so that you can shop confidently, not just bravely.
1. Marmot Eclipse Jacket
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We love this jacket, which is why we couldn’t wait to tell you about it. It’s part of Marmot’s EVODry Rainwear Collection, which utilized eco-minded technology, an idea that was created in partnership with Green Theme International.
These eco-minded materials are created with upcycled industrial nylon waste which lowers waste production while maintaining longevity and strength. It minimizes environmental impact so you can continue enjoying nature, with its wellbeing in mind.
According to Marmot, DWR on these materials will never require reapplication which is a huge step towards creating the ultimate user-friendly experience. On top of looking great on paper, it’s super water resistant and DWR resilient that looks great on you as well.
It’s made for the outdoors in more ways than one and comes with two extra-large hand pockets and a backpack hip belts along with underarm vents, inner pockets, and a fashionable adjustable hem and hood. We absolutely love this jacket and are sure you will as well. (it’s fairly expensive).
2. Portwest Men’s Classic Rain Jacket
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It isn’t every day that you find performance, quality, and price in a great looking jacket. However, Portwest Men’s Classic Rain Jacket has done just that. As one of the cheapest jackets on our list, it’s also one of the best performing and one of the lightest as well.
There are a lot of colors to choose from. The Portwest Men’s Classic Rain Jacket has an impressive water resistant abilities, it doesn’t need to try that hard.
3. Fjällräven Greenland Eco Shell Jacket
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Fjällräven has built the Greenland Eco Shell jacket with the environment in mind, thanks to the newly developed Eco-shell fabric. And we love it.
This fabric is the brand’s high-quality breathable and waterproof shell that uses hydrophilic systems to transport any moisture or liquid away from the body, while ol’ DWR keeps it from seeping in through the fabric from the outside. This makes the material less affected by oils or dirt that usually degrade membranes.
This eco waterproof jacket isn’t just smart, but it’s beautiful too. It’s long, sporting two large front pockets and a two-way zipper to help with ease of movement. It has a timeless look with class and rigor that keeps water out in style. Perfect for someone looking for an everyday rain jacket as opposed to a lighter hiking jacket.
4. The North Face Allproof Stretch Jacket
Of course, North Face is on the list. As one of the all-star outdoor wear companies, North Face has created a stretchy waterproof rain jacket that is perfect for any adventure or activity. Stretch is the fabric to get for raincoats in 2018 and North Face does it the best. I mean, this jacket is super stretchy
The Allproof’s exterior fabric is nylon while its inside fabric has almost a rubbery feel to it. While this fabric may be off-putting to some people and has made it a bit less breathable than other options on this list, it also comes with underarm vents to help with overheating.
It’s extremely waterproof, like most options on this list and is light and super packable as well.
5. Marmot Minimalist
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This rain jacket is gorgeously designed that can be worn almost anywhere. The shell lining is less plastic-like than budget-friendly jacket options and doesn’t become stuffy while hiking. The hood is thick and beautiful feeling with a bill that can take on any wind or rain you may encounter.
In terms of make, this jacket is built to last. However, the thick fabrics and lack of pockets make this jacket a bit less appealing for people who want a jacket other than for rain proofing themselves, especially during summer hikes. It also should come with a water-proof zipper since it is set at a higher price.
There have been some complaints from customers who have said it doesn’t do too well in heavy rain, which is pretty unfortunate. However, despite the complaints, this jacket is tough and made fairly well that looks great for multiple occasions.
6. REI Co-op Dry Point
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The Columbia Men’s Watertight II is one of the better entry-level rain jackets on the market. It is constructed with two-layer fabric technology and a mesh liner, comfortable and waterproof for around town. This is a very good option for cool weather work and casual hiking or a day of resort skiing.
7. Outdoor Research Interstellar
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Outdoor Research has exchanged their Realm jacket with the new Interstellar. Although it is technically a new jacket, it still holds some similar traits: the AscentShell membrane offering a breathable, stretchy and highly waterproof experience, the lightweight and packable feel.
When it comes to the Interstellar, you can tell a lot of thought went into it. It comes with a helmet-compatible hood and pockets that are designed specifically for harnesses. This makes this jacket perfect for almost any outdoor adventure you take on: skiing, mountain biking, backpacking or climbing, whatever you choose, Interstellar has your back. And your entire upper body for that matter.
Outdoor Research also put effort into making it every day-friendly as well by including hand pockets, however, it’s primary job is for performance settings. Since the hood is made for helmets, it does seem a bit big and unnecessary for casual hiking or everyday wear and comes with a more technical and perhaps “hard-core” look than most jackets on this list.
However, despite the hood, we love this jacket. It’s stretchy, comfortable, has a great weight and works as an efficient hard-shell.
Buyer’s Guide: Most Water Resistant Rain Jackets
The creation of rain-proof jackets has become an art of sorts. It takes a lot of thought and science to create a versatile, efficient, breathable and truly rain-resistant jacket for trek days and off days.
When you go to buy yours, consider the following:
- How often will you use it?
- Is it just for rainy days or will you be going on a lot of adventures?
- What’s your budget like?
In the end, you want to be sure that you get a jacket suited to your needs, but not one that blows your budget. There isn’t much sense in spending a fortune for a fancy water resistant jacket if it is only going to be used once in a blue moon.
If you are an adventurer, then treating yourself to something durable will serve you well for years to come. There are so many companies who are doing some awesome things with water-resistant technologies while maintaining a packable, light and attractive feel. However, it’s no doubt that these brands are today’s water resistant outdoor attire leaders.
Whichever jacket you choose, you’ll be sure to love its almost effortless ability to keep you protected and venturing through your preferred wilderness for longer, with more zest and vigor than before.
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