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A good waterproof jacket is more important than it sounds. If you’re hiking, walking or generally using an over jacket for day-to-day work in the UK, it’s likely you’ll need it to protect you against the rain, and it’s worth investing in a good one to make sure you’ve got proper protection.
What to look for in a waterproof
Firstly, look for the type of material and its weight – a lighter weight jacket will be more suitable for more strenuous energetic activities and also give you improved reach and stretch – if you’re out on the mountains you’re not going to want to be restricted in your movement. A heavier jacket perhaps will give you more warmth, but it’ll be heavier, less breathable and harder to move around in.
Does the jacket breath?
Breathability is a big factor if you need a jacket to wear whilst on the move. If you’re laying up for mountain wear, for example, you’ll want something that will wick away sweat and isn’t going to trap body heat. Likewise, look for a decent waterproof rating (at least 5,000mm) as this refers to the maximum amount of water resistance in the fabric.
Do the pockets zip shut?
Many good waterproof jackets come with taped seams and zips, meaning what’s in your pockets will stay dry, but it’s a good idea to check as versions can differ. Finally, some jackets have vents to keep you cool when active – if you’re going to be hiking or trekking with your purchase, these come in really handy if you’re otherwise layered up.
Our round-up of women’s waterproof jackets is here
Here is our list of seven of the best waterproof hiking jackets on the market.
Rab Zenith Jacket
Key Specs: Weight, 330g; Material, GORE-TEX; Waterproof Rating; 15,000mm; Pockets: 2; Stuff Sack? Yes; Colours: 3
Rab are a company founded in Sheffield in the early 1980s, so needless to say they know a thing or two about walking in the Great British weather.
Their lightweight Zenith jacket is designed to be a jacket ‘made for the mountains’ – this was one of our favourite jackets tested.
It has reinforcement panels in the side and the hood, and comfortable sleeve articulation which means striding out on a long walk or climb is easier. Even though was a slim fit, we importantly found it easy to layer underneath.
Columbia Rain Scape Jacket
Key Specs: Weight, 500g; Material, Polyester; Pockets: 2 zipped hand pockets, 1 zipped inside pocket; Stuff Sack? No; Colours: 5
We liked the prominent drop-tail on this jacket, which means in particularly bad weather it prevents the top of your trousers getting wet and allows water to drop down your back more effectively.
We also liked the numerous venting options, including underarm venting, which all told made it feel like a light, breathable and easy to use waterproof jacket for walking and hiking.
Helly Hansen Odin Infinity Shell Jacket
Key Specs: Weight, 600g; Material, LIFA Infinity Pro 100% Polypropylene; Pockets: 1 zipped chest pocket, 2 zipped hand pockets, inside zipped valuable pockets; Stuff Sack? No; Colours: 1
Despite the high price, this Helly Hansen jacket offers some seriously impressive performance and material innovation.
Using LIFA fibres, a first-to-market technology, Helly Hansen have managed to develop a sustainable fabric adapted from their performance base layers, without the need to add any chemicals.
This is a professional-grade jacket – we’d recommend using it on multi-day hikes in challenging terrain, or perhaps off-piste or backcountry skiing and mountaineering. An impressive package.
Quechua Men’s Mountain Walking Waterproof Jacket
Key Specs: Weight, 538g; Material, 78% Polyamide, 22% Polyester Coating; Waterproof Rating; 15000mm; Pockets: 2 zipped hand pockets, 1 zipped inside pocket, 1 inside pocket; Stuff Sack? No; Colours: 3
Quechua are well-known for providing affordable options for everyday wear. We liked the 3 storm-layer membrane and included elastane for extra stretchiness when on the trails. A simple, straight-forward waterproof jacket good enough for day-to-day wear, dog and weekend walks.
Berghaus Athunder GORE-TEX Waterproof Jacket
Key Specs: Weight, 565g Material, GORE-TEX, Polyester; Pockets: 2 zipped hand pockets; Stuff Sack? No; Colours: 3
GORE-TEX jackets lead the way as a waterproof technology for many brands, so it’s not surprising to see it on this list.
It’s also not surprising to see Berghaus on the list either, who for many have been go-to suppliers of everyday hiking and outdoor equipment in the UK for generations.
A 3-layer waterproof system is included on this jacket, which makes the jacket feel sturdy, durable and robust, with a thickness you’d trust in most conditions and a traditional look to suit most people.
We tested a size medium, and found it to be especially generous size-wise, especially in the sleeves, which made it particularly easy to layer underneath.
Key Specs: Weight, 396g; Material, Recycled Nylon; Pockets: 2 zipped hand pockets; Stuff Sack? No; Colours: 9
One of the simplest jackets on the market, you can’t go wrong with well-known brand Patagonia’s straight-forward waterproof offering.
We found it to be another great option for both day-to-day wear or longer walks or hikes – it’s comfortable and like others on this list, it also packs up into its own bag if you’re tight on space.
Additionally, and importantly, it also is made with 68% recycled materials, so it’s a great sustainable option.
Sundried Softshell Jacket
Key Specs: Weight, 500g; Material, Polyester; Pockets: 2 zipped hand pockets; Stuff Sack? No; Colours: 1
Another option on the more affordable side, this softshell jacket is soft to the touch and is made using sweat wicking fabric, allowing sweat to evaporate from the body during lengthier or tougher hikes.
We found the fleece lining to be very comfortable, and the jacket adjustable enough to find a good personalised fit.