The Best Rain Jackets of 2018

Top rated by REI Co-op Customers
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It’s hard to live a life outside without encountering rain. That’s why a good rain jacket (or two) is an important part of every outdoorsperson’s closet. To pick the right jacket you’ll want to make sure it is seam sealed with a waterproof and breathable fabric,and a quality hood. But the rest is up to you. Learn more about how to choose rain gear and different types of rain jackets.

To bring you the best rain jackets of 2018, we looked to our customers. Each jacket below is top rated by verified purchasers. That means your fellow outdoorspeople actually wore these jackets through days of downpours and came back to tell us just how they performed.

The North Face Venture 2 Rain Jacket - Women's

Best All-Around Multisport

The North Face Venture 2 Rain Jacket - Women's

Waterproofing: 2.5-layer DryVent waterproof breathable laminate
Weight: 10.6 oz.
Ventilation: Pit zips
Self-packing: Yes
MSRP: $119.00

If you want to stay protected from the water and wind in nearly any situation, this is the jacket for you. The 2.5-layer DryVent shell protects you from the weather while the cuff tabs and hem cinch-cord seal out nasty drafts. The whole jacket stows into its own hand pocket, making it a no-brainer to bring along on any adventure. Customers say the fit allows enough room to add a fleece or down jacket underneath for extra warmth in cooler weather.

“This is the best raincoat I've ever purchased. I keep one in my office and one at my family's ranch, where I wear it almost weekly in an outdoor setting. The pit zippers are a huge plus because they let air flow around your core while still keeping you nice and dry. My favorite part is the adjustable point on the top of the hood; I have it set perfectly so the rain doesn't get in my face, but the hood isn't falling over my eyes.” Anonymous

And thank you for making plus sizes, North Face. Plus sizes don't have to be boring, ugly or matronly!Ann M.

The North Face Apex Flex GTX Rain Jacket - Men's

Best All-Around Multisport

The North Face Apex Flex GTX Rain Jacket - Men's

Waterproofing: 3-layer GORE-TEX® waterproof breathable laminate
Weight: 1 lb. 8 oz.
Ventilation: Pit zips
Self-packing: No
MSRP: $229.00

Customers love the fit of this jacket—not too tight or too loose—with sleeves that are actually long enough. The 3-layer GORE-TEX membrane is waterproof, windproof and breathable for skiing, hiking or simply walking around town. The adjustable cuff tabs and hem cinch-cord seal out the cold and wet. And, best yet, the soft woven face and knit backer provide comfort and warmth.

“This is an amazing product, have been looking for a fully waterproof rain jacket for several yearsthe problem has always been that such raincoats are not breathable, until now! This is a great productbreathable and comfortable lining on interior, lightweight, but still fully waterproof with hood and stylish. I didn't know it was possible to have all these together.” Scooters Weatherman

Pit zips are a great feature as it allowed me to dump excess heat with ease and still stay dry as a bone!Jbryne

Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket - Women's

Best Lightweight

Waterproofing: H2No® Performance standard waterproof/breathable laminate
Weight: 10.6 ounces
Ventilation: Pit zips
Self-packing: Yes
MSRP: $129

Wind and rain don’t stand a chance with the Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket. The H2No® Performance Standard shell is lightweight, yet durable—plus it features a 100 percent recycled nylon face. The microfleece-lined neck provides a touch of comfort and the two zippered pockets and venting pit zips all feature storm flaps and DWR-treated zippers, so you and your stuff stay dry. Even better? This jacket stows into its own pocket with carabiner clip-in loop.

“I bought this jacket specifically for a trip to Ireland, and I'm so happy I did. I love that the jacket folds up nice and compact into its own pocket. I was able to carry it easily with me wherever I went in the case of a rain shower. Great for keeping you protected from the wind. The fit was great—I'm about 5'8/slim and a small fit just right. Very happy with my choice!” dncr8887

“This jacket kept me dry on my eight-day backpacking trip, and is really lightweight so it didn't add much to what I already had to carry. Very comfortable, and it did its job! It's easy to layer underneath it for extra warmth, while still being fully able to move around comfortable. Love this!” cscott94

Outdoor Research Helium II Rain Jacket - Men's

Best Lightweight

Outdoor Research Helium II Rain Jacket - Men's

Waterproofing: 2.5-layer Pertex waterproof breathable laminate
Weight: 6.4 oz.
Ventilation: None
Self-packing: Yes
MSRP: $159.00

Unbelievably light, this waterproof jacket is what you need when heading out into unpredictable weather while hiking, backpacking, climbing or trail running. Details like the adjustable hood, interior stormflap, drawcord hem and elastic cuffs help seal out wicked weather. The zip chest pocket doubles as a stuff sack so you can pack and go. Pro tip from customer reviews? Buy one size up.

“This jacket does exactly what it was designed to do: Keeps you dry during those unexpected downpours, packs down incredibly small and weighs next to nothing. This jacket packs up quickly inside its stow pocket to about the size of a baseball—I have found the pocket is big enough to hold the jacket as well as a small snack and still be compact and light enough to forget about while clipped to my harness or tucked away in my backpack top pocket.” pegoodman

“This is my go-to multi-pitch emergency layer. Jacket packs up small enough to hang from my harness while climbing, and does a great job blocking wind and rain, which inevitably comes out of nowhere on multi-pitch climbs.BD Harris

Arc'teryx Beta SL Hybrid Jacket - Women's

Best for Downpours 

Waterproofing: Gore-Tex PacLite waterproof/breathable laminate
Weight: 11.6 ounces
Ventilation: Pit zips
Self-packing: No
MSRP: $399

Fast and light adventurers look no further, this jacket was made for you. Windproof, waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX PACLITE® fabric is used in the body and reinforced with GORE C-KNIT™ backer in high-wear areas, for durability. That means this jacket is super light while still being tough as nails. Pit zips let out sweat while articulated elbows and gusseted underarms make for unrestricted mobility. It also has a helmet-compatible hood, for all you climbers and mountaineers. Your reviews prove its ability to withstand days of downpour.

“The material is different than other Gore-Tex jackets that I've seen, it's much thinner and lighter but it performed the same or better. It's been holding up very well to the wet PNW weather I've been putting it through. The fit is definitely a slim fit and is very flattering.” Pnwanderer

“I have always wanted one of these jackets and finally purchased one. I love the fit, features and functionality of this jacket. I tried on all the other waterproof jackets in the store and this jacket had the best fit and features. Granted, this jacket comes with a steep price but I feel it is worth it. I use it in the city and for backpacking.” Renhiker

Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket - Men's

Best for Downpours 

Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket - Men's

Waterproofing: 3-layer N100p-X GORE-TEX Pro waterproof breathable laminate
Weight: 1 lb. 1.3 oz.
Ventilation: Pit zips
Self-packing: No
MSRP: $749.00

Durable and waterproof, this jacket is what you need for tough weather and tougher activities. It’s made for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, climbing and hiking. The do-everything 3-layer fabric protects against abrasions, rain, snow, sleet and wind. You can easily adjust the helmet-compatible StormHood™ while wearing gloves or mittens, and the six included pockets ensure your items stay dry and secure.

I wanted the most durable shell and went with the Alpha SV for that reason. Compared to the Beta AR, the SV is slightly thicker and more durable, but the trade-off is that the material is noisier than the thinner Beta AR. With that said, I love the thickness of it and I'm pretty sure this thing is indestructible.Eric E

“If you have never had a jacket of this quality you should know that water just sheds off even in the heaviest of downpours. The pocket layout is perfect when wearing a pack. It's held up to the abuse from hiking well over 100 miles in the southern Arizona mountains through cacti and rough brush without showing wear.Tigger

REI Co-op Rainier Rain Jacket - Women's & Men’s

Best Under $100

Waterproofing: Peak 2.5-layer waterproof/breathable laminate
Ventilation: Pit zips
Self-packing: Yes
MSRP: $89.95

Rainy skies getting you down? Be blue no more with the REI Co-op Rainier Rain Jacket. It’s windproof up to 60 mph winds (that’s wind that uproots trees!) and features bluesign® approved fabric, which means that we took deliberate steps during manufacturing and production to minimize negative impacts on the health of the environment and on the workers who made the fabric. A drawcord hem and hook-and-loop cuffs adjust to seal out snow and wind while a weatherproof zipper further ensures no nasty weather ruins your adventure. The entire jacket packs away into its own pocket too—for fast and light travel.

“This jacket is my 4 season rain shell. At 6'2" 225 lbs. the XL is cut just right with room for layers yet not too over-sized to wear by itself in warm weather. The outer fabric is smooth, not crinkly. The collar is lined with a micro-fleece and very comfortable. I like how the neck protector works. It tucks out of the way when not in use but easily deploys into position when needed. The inner liner material is light and soft. Also has a hem cinch, hood adjustment, and armpit zips.” Blue Whale

“After years of hiking and camping I realized I didn't own a rain jacket. The Rainier has all of the features I was looking for while still being affordable. Not only does it perform well in the backcountry, I also find myself grabbing it for just day-to-day activities. I would absolutely recommend this jacket. I would say it's pretty true to size with maybe even a little wiggle room for you to layer under it.” Lauren

Shop All Women's Rain Jackets

Shop All Men's Rain Jackets

Types of Rain Jackets and Buying Advice

Not all rain jackets are created equal, and the one that’s best for you depends on how you plan to use it. Here are few tips that can help make sure you end up with the rain jacket that will keep you dry wherever you’re headed.

Waterproof vs. water-resistant

Waterproof jackets can stand up to seriously bad weather whereas water-resistant jackets can handle light rain for a brief amount of time. Waterproof/breathable jackets stop rain from getting through the jacket while still allowing sweat to escape, and are best for high-aerobic activities. Waterproof/nonbreathable jackets simply keep the rain off your skin, and are good for sitting and standing in the rain but not for high-impact activities.

Hard shell vs. soft shell

A hard shell is a waterproof/breathable jacket without insulation whereas a soft shell features an insulating layer plus a water-resistant shell. Hard shells are great for downpours. Soft shells are best for high-exertion activities where warmth is important.

Rainwear layers

There are three types of layers in rainwear: 2-layer, 2.5-layer and 3-layer designs. 2-layer jackets are made up of a coating applied inside an outer fabric layer, plus a liner to protect that coating. These are best for urban or travel rainwear and offer the quietest option. 2.5-layer jackets are made of a durable outer fabric, a polyurethane laminate or coating inside and a protective sheen or print over that laminate or coating. These jackets are lighter and more affordable than 3-layer jackets. 3-layer jackets are the most durable and breathable, ideal for harsh backcountry environments. They are made by sandwiching a membrane between a rugged face fabric and a liner.

Key features

Choosing the right features is an important part of choosing your jacket.

  • Seam taping: A true rain jacket must be fully seam taped for it to be waterproof.
  • Zippers: To keep rain out, zippers require a rubberized coating or a storm flap.
  • Hood design: Most jackets have brims and adjustments whereas some have zip-off or stow-away hoods.
  • Vents: Even breathable rainwear can get hot in strenuous activity, so pit zips help keep you cool and dry.
  • Adjustment features: Jackets often have a drawcord at the bottom hem plus wrist closures that adjust.
  • Pockets: Decide between hand pockets above the hipbelt, pockets with cord ports and hidden pockets.
  • Packability: Some jackets have pockets that double as a storage pouch.
Learn More: How to Choose Rainwear

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