Best Lightweight Waterproof Jackets Of 2022 | Featherweight Shells For Moving Fast In Tough Conditions - Outdoors Magic

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Waterproof Jackets

Best Lightweight Waterproof Jackets Of 2022 | Featherweight Shells For Moving Fast In Tough Conditions

Looking for a shell to accompany you on your fast and light adventures? Here are the options from 2022 that our gear testers rate

We’ve tested the best new lightweight waterproof jackets for 2022, suitable for everything from walking and hiking to trail running in the hills and mountains. The key criteria with all waterproof jackets are performance, value and how protective they feel; but with lightweight spring and summer jackets we were also interested in how packable they are for stashing in your backpack when they aren’t needed.

We’ve chosen lightweight jackets from the top brands using a variety of fabrics – top names including Gore-Tex plus leading own-brand fabrics. All the jackets are guaranteed 100% waterproof but come with a variety of options in terms of hoods, materials, pockets and stuff-sacks.

One of the main things to consider when choosing a lightweight and packable waterproof jacket is how much you’re prepared to compromise on features. Some super-lightweight jackets save grams by cutting back on things like adjustable hoods, cuffs, hems and zipped pockets; so consider what’s most important to you in a shell before buying.

For more information on choosing the right waterproof jacket, it’s worth checking out our waterproof jackets buyer’s guide. Or if you’re after a more heavyweight and durable offering, then take a look at our Best Waterproof Jackets article for a roundup of our top picks.

Our Favourite Lightweight Shells

Click the links below to navigate straight to each review.

BEST BUY: Haglöfs L.I.M Jacket

Price: £230
Weight: 230g
Best for: Hiking, backpacking, climbing, trail running
Key attributes: Lightweight and highly packable, high-spec fabric

LI.M, in case you weren’t aware, stands for less is more and that name does describe this waterproof jacket quite well. It’s simple but will deliver the goods when it needs to be pulled out of your backpack when the heavens open.

Haglöfs have used Gore-Tex’s relatively new Paclite Plus waterproof technology here. This is a two layer system involving a membrane that’s glued to a light outer fabric. In other words, there’s no backer fabric and therefore a fair bit of weight is saved by its exclusion.

Water resistant zips, very similar to YKK Aquaguard ones, feature on the main zipper and the chest pocket. On the subject of that pocket, that’s all the storage you get here (‘less is more’ remember). Still, it’ll look after your phone, car keys and/or your lift pass.

The cuffs are elasticated and don’t have any adjustment. The hem does have adjustment though and this is via a toggled drawcord at the hem.

As for the hood, this holds really securely thanks to its three-point adjustment and the laminated peak does the job it’s supposed to.

Full Specifications

Men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL / Gore-Tex Paclite Plus waterproof shell / 3-way adjustable hood with a laminated and reinforced peak / water-resistant zips / zippered chest pocket ‘ elasticated cuffs / reflective details.

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2020/21 – Here’s our full Haglofs L.I.M Jacket Review

BUY NOW: HAGLOFS.COM

 

Gore R7 ShakeDry Jacket

Price: £260
Weight: 118g
Best for: Trail running, cycling
Key attributes: Ultralight, breathable, doesn’t ‘wet out’

This new ultra light version of Gore-Tex called ShakeDry has been designed for people who want protection during high tempo activities; when it’s essential that the fabrics they’re wearing are light, water and wind proof as well as capable of managing hot, moist air.

Used here in the R7, the result is a jacket that weighs just 118g. The secret is that in ShakeDry, the membrane is switched to the outside of the jacket and the shell fabric, which you normally find on waterproof jackets, is removed altogether, therefore meaning there’s nothing to become saturated. Water will simply bead and run straight off, and the jacket will… shake dry.

The ultralight stats have been achieved not just by removing the outer fabric, but also by simplifying the feature set, taking a minimalist approach. There’s a simple hood with an elasticated rim, a full main zip, elasticated cuffs and then zipped handpockets – one of which doubles as a stuff sack for the jacket itself. When you’ve packed it all away, the result is a minuscule bundle the size of a fist.

OK so you have something that’s light, waterproof, and remarkably breathable also, but there’s a catch, and that’s that the Gore R7 isn’t very durable. It isn’t the kind of jacket to wear with a backpack, the risk here being that the straps and back panel might rub away and compromise the longevity of the membrane in these areas. So this ultimately discounts it as something to use for hikes and runs of more than a few miles, or for climbing or scrambling, but for those quick evening runs, or for cycling, it’s perfect.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s versions / Gore-Tex ShakeDry waterproof membrane / Close-ditting hood / full length main zip / zipped hand pockets / elasticated hem and cuffs / front zip pocket that doubles as stash / athletic fit.

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – Here’s our full Gore R7 ShakeDry review.

BUY NOW: GOREWEAR.COM

 


Montane Podium Pull On

Price: £110
Weight: 110g
Best for: Trail running, mountain marathons
Key attributes: Ultralight, packable, decent value

An exceptionally lightweight waterproof jacket, the Montane Podium Pull On has been made with mountain athletes in mind. If you’d signed up for something like The OMM, the Berghaus Dragon’s Back or Montane’s own event, the Lakeland 100, this will pass the scrutineers’ tests and keep you dry in a pinch.

The face fabric is light ripstop nylon, bonded to a waterproof membrane with a PU backer. In other words it’s a 2.5 layer jacket. The hydrostatic head measures 15,000mm and the moisture vapour transmission rate is 15,000g/m2/24hrs MVTR. While those aren’t world-beating lab figures, in testing, the Montane Podium did feel breathable, and with the tab on the sternum buttoned and the bottom of the ½ length zip opened up, you can actually get a heck of a lot of airflow.

It scrunches up to about the size of an apple, so this thing is understandably light on features. You get a semi-elasticated hood and cuffs, plus a fully elasticated hem. The quarter-length water-resistant zip has a protective inner storm flap. There aren’t any pockets, but it has a little mesh stuff sack.

Full Specifications

Sizes: XS-XL (unisex) / Aqua Pro Lite 2.5L fabric / Pre-elasticated trail hood with stiffened peak / ½ length YKK AquaGuard reflective front zip with internal storm flap / Shaped cuffs with partial elastication / Elasticated hem / Stuff sack.

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2020/21. Here’s our full Montane Podium Pull-On review.

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Montane Pac Plus XT 

Price: £240
Weight: 375g
Best for: Three-season hillwalking, climbing, scrambling, mountain trekking
Key attributes: Light, packable, Gore-Tex performance, recycled face fabric

The new Montane Pac Plus XT is a cracking example of a light and packable jacket that doesn’t skimp on useful mountain-ready features whilst still tipping the scales at an impressive 375g (in a men’s size medium). 

There’s two-way YKK Aquaguard pit zips, a helmet-compatible hood with three-way adjustment and a stiffened peak, 3 useful external pockets (including two map-sized, mesh-lined hand pockets with YKK Aquaguard zips), adjustable cuffs and hem, and a full-length two-way YKK Aquaguard front zip with internal storm flap. 

Crucially, however, you’ve got that waterproof-breathable Gore-Tex membrane that’s protective enough to keep you dry even in sustained downpours. This 40-denier nylon face fabric is also made from completely recycled materials. That’s a tick for sustainability and for lifetime durability too.

As the latest evolution of Paclite, Paclite Plus also has a special dry-touch backer rather than the raised print used to line most 2.5-layer shells. This makes it more comfortable and less clammy than many competitors, although it does sometimes feel a bit slick compared to a 3-layer shell.

Full Specifications

Men’s S-XXL, women’s UK 8-16 / three-season use / stuff pocket / Gore-Tex Paclite Plus waterproof-breathable membrane / 40-denier recycled nylon face fabric / two-way YKK Aquaguard pit zips / three-way adjustment helmet-compatible hood with stiffened peak / articulated arms / 3 external pockets / adjustable cuffs and hem / full-length two-way YKK Aquaguard front zip with internal storm flap / slim fit / Hydrostatic Head in excess of 28,000mm / MVTR of roughly 10-15,000g/m2/24hrs / dry-touch backer.

Selected for our Green Gear Guide 2021/22 – Here’s out full Montane Pac Plus XT jacket review. 

BUY NOW: MONTANE.COM

 

Patagonia Storm Racer

Price: £220
Weight: 173g
Best for: Trail running, ‘fast and light’ hiking
Key attributes: Durable, useful features

Unlike many other jackets primarily designed for trail running, the Storm Racer employs a fairly tough face fabric with impressive waterproof qualities. As such, it can deliver the goods even with a pack on, making it a viable option for lightweight hikers too.

The pretty unique, two zipped design is designed for use with a trail vest. The twin zips allow you to fold down the front collar of the jacket, improving ventilation and providing access to your hydration flasks. The jacket has also been built with a loose fit to accommodate this, so there’s no need to size up.

The jacket uses Patagonia’s own H2No three-layer fabric, with a 30-denier recycled nylon face. That and the double zippers adds a little extra weight to the Storm Racer, which comes in at a weight of 173g. While this is still an extremely lightweight option, that doesn’t quite match the 100g Montane Podium or Rab Phantom.

Full Specifications

Sizes: S-XXL (men’s), 32-46 (women’s) / Ceplex Advanced 2.5 layer waterproofing / two handwarmer pockets with waterproof zips / two-way front zip / underarm zips / adjustable hood / drawcord hem / Bluesign approved.

BUY NOW: EU.PATAGONIA.COM

 

Rab Phantom Pull On

Price: £155
Weight: 357g
Best for: Trail running, ‘fast and light’ hiking
Key attributes: Ultralight and packable

The Rab Phantom Pull On is part of a new collection called Skyline which is made specifically for trail running. It’ll suit both competition racers and casual trail runners. It weighs a remarkable 90g, and no, that isn’t a typo. Utilising a 2.5-layer Pertex Shield construction, it features a membrane laminated to a 7D micro-ripstop shell fabric, with a sprayed-on PU backer on the inside.

You get a simple elasticated hood with a lightly wired peak, an elasticated hem and partially elasticated cuffs. There’s also a ¼ length zip backed with an internal storm flap and a mini stuff sack. Lastly, a small valuables pocket on the inside of the chest completes the feature set.

Full Specifications

Sizes S-XL (men’s only) / 2.5-layer Pertex Shield fabric / 1 zipped pocket / ¼ length front zip / elasticated hood, cuffs and hem.

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2020/21. Here’s the full Rab Phantom review.

BUY NOW: RAB.EQUIPMENT

CimAlp Storm 2 Pro H

Price: £170
Weight: 320g
Best for: High-intensity activities, mountain walking, climbing
Key attributes: Lightweight, breathable, great value

As you’d expect from a jacket that’s been born in a close proximity to the Alps, the Storm 2 Pro has been designed with fast and light activities in mind. It uses a lightweight three-layer Ultrashell membrane that CimAlp claim offers 20,000g/m2 waterproofing along with 80,000g/m2 breathability – if that’s true, it’s crazy stuff.

As is standard with designs made with fast and light activities in mind, it has an athletic fit in order to minimise waste fabric and give the wearer a more aerodynamic feel. Complimenting this, there’s also a stretch built into the fabric which gives complete freedom of movement at high tempos.

A slim-fitting hood adds to the athletic design as well. CimAlp have made use of a magnet that holds this hood down to avoid it flapping about whilst running and thumb loops have been used to keep the cuffs around the wrists. There’s also a single chest pocket which will take a power gel and mobile phone.

Full Specifications

Three-layer Ultrashell membrane with 20,000g/m2 waterproofing and 80,000g/m2 breathability / low weight wet weather protection at 320g / athletic fit / stretch built fabric / slim-fitting hood with magnetic hold / thumb loops on cuffs / chest pocket.

BUY NOW: CIMALP.CO.UK

Salomon La Cote Flex 2.5L

Price: £130
Weight: 299g
Best for: Hiking and hillwalking
Key attributes: Comfortable, good articulation, well-featured, water-resistant front zip

There’s a lot to like about the Salomon La Cote Flex 2.5L waterproof jacket. It offers fantastic waterproof and windproof protection thanks to the 2.5-layer waterproof fabric, while also feeling comfortable and allowing you to move completely unrestricted on your hikes and hillwalks.

The two-tone design looks quite cool (although there’s a plain black version if you prefer a more understated look), and you get a comprehensive feature set for your £130. The two zipped external pockets have a mesh lining for increased airflow, the hood and hem have adjustable drawcords, and the cuffs can be tailored to your wrists with adjustable Velcro tabs.

The fit is long enough to comfortably cover your waist with space for extra layers underneath, and the material has an impressively soft and rustle-free feel to it. The weight is starting to creep up slightly compared to others in this test, but it still feels very lightweight and packable for storing in your pack on spring and summer days. An excellent hiking jacket.

Full Specifications

Sizes S-XXL (men’s), XS-XL (women’s) / 2.5-layer waterproof fabric / two zipped pockets; water-resistant zip / adjustable hood, hem and cuffs.

BUY NOW: TREKKINN.COM

Berghaus Hyper 140

Price: £190
Weight: 138g
Best for: Walking, running, cycling
Key attributes: Amazingly low weight and small packed size, two zipped pockets, supplied stuff-sack

Berghaus have been releasing versions of the Hyper for the past few years, and this new release for spring 2019 is just as impressive as its predecessors. It doesn’t match the astonishing 75g weight of the Berghaus Vapourlite Hyper Smock 2.0, but as far as super-lightweight hiking waterproofs go this takes some beating.

The Hyper 140 is by far the lightest jacket we tested, which gives it a big tick, but it would be impossible to make those weight gains without sacrifices elsewhere. You get a 2.5-layer Hydroshell Elite waterproof fabric, two external zipped pockets and supplied stuff-sack that lets you scrunch it down to roughly the size of an apple – perfect for stashing either in your pack or pocket on days with a risk of rain.

The downsides are a very thin and slightly rustly material that offers little insulation, plus no adjustment on the hood, cuffs and hem. The price is also quite high for a back-up layer, but there’s no arguing that the Hyper 140 is a superb lightweight waterproof layer for warm spring and summer days.

Full Specifications

Sizes: XS-XL (men’s) / Hydroshell Elite 2.5L fabric / hydrostatic head of 20,000mm / YKK AquaGuard Vision front zips / ergonomic cuffs / 2 zipped external pockets / internal security pockets.

BUY NOW: BERGHAUS.COM

Rab Kinetic Plus

Price: £180
Weight: 317g
Best for: Walking, climbing
Key attributes: Superb comfort, great freedom of movement, excellent breathability, adjustable hood and cuffs, two large zipped pockets

The Kinetic Plus is a very interesting waterproof jacket from Rab. It has all the flexibility, comfort and versatility of a softshell, with a stretchy Proflex waterproof membrane hidden inside to keep you dry when the heavens open. With a hydrostatic head of 10,000mm it can’t compete with purely dedicated waterproof jackets for being completely impervious to rain, but it’s not far behind.

We were big fans of the Kinetic Plus as soon as we opened it – thanks to the impressive flex in the material and body-hugging slim fit – but we were even bigger fans once we started using it. The jacket moves brilliantly with your body as you walk and the soft, brushed material feels extremely breathable.

At 317g there are lighter waterproof jackets out there, but the Kinetic Plus makes up for that by feeling so different to its competitors. It has two huge zipped pockets, a Velcro adjustment on the wired peak and wrist cuffs, and feels as breathable as a soft shell with the added bonus of that stretchy waterproof layer. Bravo Rab!

Full Specifications

Sizes S-XXL (men’s), 8-16 (women’s) / Proflex waterproof fabric / taped seams / stretch hood with stiffened peak / YKK AquaGuard water-resistant front zip / Velcro adjustment on hood and cuffs.

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