As the seasons start to turn and fall brings its characteristic downpours and colder temperatures, one piece of gear becomes so crucial that leaving for an outdoor adventure without it is, to say the least, ill advised. A fully waterproof rain jacket, whether you’re hiking, running, mountain biking or climbing, allows you to spend more time outdoors when most hang up their gear and glue themselves in front of a TV. So do yourself a favor and pick up one of the best rain jackets on the market.
Additional contribution by J. Travis Smith.
Mountain Hardwear Quasar Lite
Whether you’re peak bagging or heading to work in the rain, Mountain Hardwear’s Dry.Q Elite membrane will keep you dry inside and out. It’s air permeable which allows any moisture your skin generates to evaporate out while being fully waterproof on the outside.
UK-based Montane is known for their ultralight, high-performance alpine adventure gear, and the surge jacket is no exception. It features Gore-Tex C-Knit fabric that is fully waterproof, but feels much more like a knit fabric against the skin.
You may not have heard of Strafe, but they’ve been making quality outerwear in Aspen, Colorado since 2010. The new Scout Jacket is Strafe’s version of an ultralight waterproof jacket. It has a 20k waterproof rating while also boasting a 15k breathability rating. The proprietary fabric features a decent amount of stretch as well that allows for a greater range of motion than most jackets.
Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow
If you demand the most range of motion possible out of your rain jacket, the Stretch Rainshadow is your pick. It offers unsurpassed stretch in a highly water-resistant fabric perfect for climbing, hiking, or any other aerobic outdoor activity.
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Arc’teryx Beta SV
For the absolute highest-grade waterproof shell on the market, Arc’teryx offers the Beta SV. The stitching alone justifies the price tag, but if that isn’t enough to convince you, the Beta SV also features Gore-Tex Pro Shell fabric to keep you dry even in the harshest of conditions.
Fjällräven Keb Eco-Shell Anorak
As a more environmentally friendly option that doesn’t compromise on performance, the Fjällräven Keb Eco-Shell Anorak delivers. The Eco-Shell fabric features recycled polyester with fluorocarbon-free impregnation that’s easier on the environment than most membranes. It’s also an anorak, which cuts down on weight and by nature is less likely to let water penetrate the zipper.
Outdoor Research Axiom
The OR Axiom jacket has been a mainstay in the Seattle, Washington-based company’s line of hardshells, and for good reason. It offers stretch fabric and waterproofing, along with Gore-Tex’s Active breathable membrane, which allows heat and moisture to escape from inside the jacket.