When the season changes from twenty degrees and snow to forty degrees and rain, it’s time to update the outerwear. (For our southern readers wearing year-round tank tops and squinting in the sun, read about sunglasses and go slip on a pool deck or something.) The new season means new elements to prepare for, and a Burberry trench coat with a thousand dollar umbrella looks a little off on the trail, or on a bike, or on the way to the mailbox. Sometimes you need a coat that’s lightweight and waterproof, while also being paradoxically windproof and breathable. Check out the best jackets for the rain and the wind that also make that swooshing sound wherever you go.
Additional contribution by AJ Powell.
Patagonia Alpine Houdini
Patagonia’s Alpine Houdini is essentially its Houdini windbreaker with the added benefit of DWR. It’s lightweight, packs into its own pocket, and is ready to go anytime you get caught in an afternoon rain shower.
Arc’teryx Beta LT
Of all the rain jackets we’ve tested over the years, the Arc’teryx Beta LT still holds our top pick. Beyond the incredible stitching and craftsmanship apparent in each Arc’teryx piece, it is durable beyond compare. We put one to the test through 27 straight days of rain in Norway, countless mountain bike adventures, and adventures of a different sort on the NY subway system – – all without issue for over five years.
RAB Firewall Jacket
Just like stretch revolutionized denim, Rab’s Firewall is among a new wave of waterproof jackets bringing comfort and mobility to hardshells. The Firewall shines in providing all day comfort, especially when wearing a pack.
Mountain Hardwear Plasmonic Jacket
At $150, the Mountain Hardwear Plasmonic Jacket is hard to beat. It features Mountain Hardwear’s Dry Q EVAP dry-wicking technology that is built protect you from getting wet from both rain and sweat.
Cotopaxi Tikal Shell
Cotopaxi’s Tikal shell is an all-around lightweight rain jacket designed to take on the duties of traveling, hiking, commuting to work, and just about anything else you can think up along the way. As an added bonus, Cotopaxi donates money to high-impact organizations in impoverished areas around the globe, so you can stay dry with a clear conscience.
Jöttnar Hymir Mountain Smock
Jöttnar can most easily be described as the British version of Arc’teryx. Its Hymir Mountain Smock features similar tight stitching, a performance bent, and technical performance that stacks up to any of the bigger brands. The anorak design sheds weight and is a great choice for climbers and hikers alike.
Black Diamond Dawn Patrol LT
Like the Rab Firewall, Black Diamond’s Dawn Patrol features mechanical stretch that allows you to move more easily in high-output, active situations. The Schoeller fabric provides the stretch, while BD’s Nanosphere technology keeps you dry regardless of how intense the weather gets.