We’ve picked out no fewer than 16 of the best waterproof technical shell jackets out there to help you choose one that’s right for you in the outdoors, whether you’re a straightforward hill-walker or someone who mixes up walking, scrambling and mountaineering.
They’re made from a variety of top-end waterproof fabrics including Gore-Tex, eVent and Polartec’s new NeoShell and all of them come from proven outdoors brands with a track record of producing excellent kit. We’d go as far as saying that there are no bad jackets here, but some of them will work better for you than others.
Stuff to look at includes the cut of the jacket, the fabric, features like pit-zips and vents – worth having if you run hot – pockets and their size and location, and crucially in British conditions, the hood. If you’re going to climb occasionally, you’ll need one that fits comfortably over a helmet without compromising your head mobility. We’d also suggest a wired or stiffened peak is desirable and arguably essential in the UK.
Make sure you can operate zip-pulls and cord adjusters even when you’re wearing winter gloves and, a bit more on pockets, check that ‘hand-warmer’ ones sit above a pack hip-belt or harness if you want to be able to use them at the same time.
Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately, we couldn’t test every jacket on the market, there are plenty other great options out there, but we reckon these are some of the best available and good broad overview of what’s on the market. Enjoy, explore and remember a good jacket is simply something that helps you go to great places and stay safer and more comfortable.
And if you’re on a tighter budget, watch out for our look at more affordable waterproof shells coming soon.
Last but not least, to check out the jackets either scroll down the page or follow the links below to jump straight to your favoured brand. The jackets are arranged in alphabetical order to make things easier.