When looking to choose the right women’s waterproof jacket it’s important to consider the type of activity or activities you’ll be needing it for and the environments and seasons you’ll be using it in. For Munro bagging in the Highlands for instance, the best waterproof jacket for women will be one that’s tough and able to cope with very wet weather and cold temperatures, whereas if you need something for trail running in Spain during summer, then you’ll want something that’ll keep the rain out but that will be light and packable as it will probably remain in your bag for the duration. In assessing the suitability of a particular rain jacket, the main factors you want to consider are weight, packability, durability and most importantly, the levels of weather protection and breathability.
There are many different types of waterproof fabrics out there, including Gore-tex, Futurelight, Pertex Shield and Demizax. These all have various advantages and disadvantages over each other, particularly when it comes to breathability. To gain an understanding of the breathability of a jacket before you buy it, it’s worth assessing the MVTR. That’s the moisture vapour transmission rate. With this, the higher the figure, the more breathable the jacket. Ideally look for anything with an MVTR of over 20,000.
Technical features worth considering, and that we have addressed in these reviews, are how well the hood holds (if it lifts off at the slightest bit of wind it can be useless), pocket options and whether any of them will hold an OS map, how the zips are protected (if they’re not waterproof is there at least a storm flap?) and also adjustment options on the hem, neck and cuffs.
There’s also the fit. Baggy and loose means ventilation and also gives the options for layering underneath whereas a close trim can be more aerodynamic in strong winds and can also offer a lower weight overall.
It’s worth checking out our buyers guide to waterproof jackets if you want to learn more on what to look for when you’re choosing a rain shell. Got an old jacket that you need to get rid of? Our guide on what to do with old or damaged outdoor gear will help you there.
Our Team’s Women’s Waterproof Jackets Picks
We’ve selected our favourite jackets following our tests in the mountains of the UK. Here are the highlights in our top 10.
- Best Overall Women’s Rain Jacket: Arc’teryx Beta LT
- Best Casual Waterproof Jacket: Craghoppers Anderson Cagoule
- Best Budget Waterproof Jacket: Harrier Exmoor
- Best Ultralight Waterproof Jacket for Women: Berghaus Hyper 140
- Best Breathable Waterproof Jacket: Paramo Velez Smock
Best Overall Women’s Waterproof Jacket
Arc’teryx Beta LT
Best for: Climbing, mountaineering, hiking and backpacking
Key attributes: Quality build and durable, breathable materials
Lightweight but still durable, waterproof but still breathable, the Beta LT couldn’t be much better. Canadian brand Arc’teryx are specialists in mountaineering, climbing and snow sports, so you can expect plenty of features designed to help you through the rough stuff – features like a helmet compatible storm hood, protective water-resistant zips and glove-friendly cord locks. It’s top-level stuff and unsurprisingly comes at the top-level price of £420.
Also available in a men’s version / Gore-Tex Pro 3L Shell / helmet compatible, fully adjustable storm hood / Cohesive cordlocks / harness friendly / chin guard with microsuede / drop tail / adjustable hem / handwarmer pockets / internal chest pocket with zip.
Read our full Arc’teryx Beta LT Jacket review.
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Best Breathable Waterproof Jacket for Women
Páramo Velez Adventure Smock
Best for: hillwalking, day hikes
Key attributes: long-lasting, breathable, lots of useful details
We’ve used this jacket from British brand Paramo extensively over the years and we rate it very highly. Now technically this thing isn’t waterproof but you can still count on it keeping you protected from the elements. It does in fact stand apart from most wet weather shells out there because instead of using a moisture blocking membrane, which tends to be the common approach by brands, it instead uses a clever blend of water resistant fabrics and Nikwax’s hydrophobic treatment. And what this brings to the table is breathability, because with this kind of wet weather system moisture from rain is repelled and moisture from your own perspiration is allowed to escape too.
Related: Best Sports Bras for Hiking
We found the details on this jacket to be great too. You get a wire-stiffened hood, a big kangaroo pocket big enough for maps and more and a bunch of venting zips as well.
If you’re looking for a jacket for day hikes, this is a useful option – particularly in the cooler seasons. For stuff like summer backpacking, we have found that it is a little on the hot and heavy side. Something to bear in mind.
Nikwax Analogy® fabrics/ S-XXL/ red, blue & black colour options/ two-way main zip/ zipped vents throughout/ adjustable and wire-molded hood/ harness, pack and helmet compatible/ reflective details/ valuables pocket/ scooped hem with draw-cord adjustment
Selected for our Outdoor 100 2021/22. Read the our full Paramo Velez review.
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Best Casual Waterproof Jacket
Craghoppers Anderson Cagoule Jacket
Best for: Country walkers, hikers, everyday use
Key attributes: Waterproof, recycled materials, functional
Craghoppers’ distinctive Anderson Cagoule might have the look and feel of a softshell, but it actually brings the performance of a hardshell to the table. In our tests, we found it to be protective and durable, though it is slightly on the warm and heavy side and, as such, we think it’s better suited to short hikes and casual wear, rather than for things like long distance backpacking.
It features a half-length zip at the front, rather than a full length. This makes the Anderson a classic over-the-head cagoule, which you may find charming or you may find it irritating that you have to remove it fully when sneaking an extra midlayer on or off. The front zip is protected by a triple storm flap, a feature also present on its two large zippered side pockets. You also get a hidden security pocket for valuable items like car keys.
Face fabric: 100% polyester (partially recycled) / dual-layer AquaDry membrane / EcoShield technologies / half-length front zip with storm flap / two zippered side pockets / hidden security pocket / concealed hood with drawcord / hydrostatic head rating: 15,000 mm.
Read our full Craghoppers Anderson Cagoule review.
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Best Ultralight Jacket for Women
Berghaus Hyper 140
Best for: summer hikes, trail and ultra running
Key attributes: very light and packable
In a size 12, this jacket weighs just 164g. That’s phenomenally light, especially considering it uses a three-layer waterproof fabric. That means it has an outer shell fabric, an inner membrane and then a protective liner material.
We’ve tested this extensively and have found it to be waterproof, breathable and incredibly packable. That combination, we’ve found, makes it absolutely perfect for things like ultra marathons and adventure racing.
What we would say, however, is that while it will keep you dry in short downpours or brisk country walks or runs, if you use it in really heavy and prolonged rainfall, the basic cuffs hood and hem aren’t quite reliable enough to prevent moisture from creeping in, especially when there’s blustery wind blowing rain into any and every orifice.
Details include two hand warmer pockets and YKK AquaGuard Vislon zip. It also comes with a little sack that the jacket can be stuffed into and compacted down to a size no bigger than an apple.
3-Layer Hydroshell Elite fabric / YKK AquaGuard Vislon zips / stuff into supplied stuff sack / two hand pockets / OEKTO-TEX Class II Certified / elasticated hem, cuffs and hood rim.
Read our full Berghaus Hyper 140 review.
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CimAlp Cascade Jacket
Best for: Hiking, general outdoor use
Key attributes: Versatile, practical, comfortable
CimAlp’s Cascade jacket is a versatile, practical and great value everyday outdoor/hiking jacket. It employs CimAlp’s own fabric technology, namely 3-layer HardShell with a windproof nylon face fabric and a waterproof-breathable membrane. Construction is commendably eco-friendly, employing organic dyeing, bluesign-certified manufacturing and a PFC-free DWR Teflon EcoElite treatment derived from renewable resources. That’s a tick in the sustainability box then.
The 3-layer fabric is very comfortable, with a pleasant next-to-skin feel. It’s well-made and finished nicely, so we’d also expect this jacket to be more durable than lighter alternatives. You get plenty of features, including water-resistant zippers, ventilation zips under the arms, two handwarmer pockets, two inside pockets and an adjustable hood and hem. Our favourite feature is the adjustable cuffs, since they have a little stretch for a tighter fit to lock out chilly gusts. It means they fit snugly over wrists but also over gloves without the sleeves riding up and exposing any skin.
Women’s sizes: XS-XXL / 3L HardShell fabric / ventilation zips under the arms / 2 handwarmer pockets / 2 inside pockets / adjustable hood / adjustable cuffs / windproof stretch cuff at wrists / adjustable hem.
|BUY NOW: CIMALP.CO.UK
Best Value Women’s Rain Jacket
Harrier Exmoor Jacket
Best For: Trail running, fast-paced hiking, just-in-case jacket
Key attributes: Compatible with race vests, plenty of venting options, fantastic price point
The Exmoor is constructed from a Polyester outer, a PU membrane and then a sprayed on PU backer. It has a lot of stretch to it, almost softshell jacket-type levels, but the material does come rated with a decent 15,000mm hydrostatic head. This, we found, will cope with heavy rain, without compromising too much on breathability.
The seams of the jacket are all fully taped, to comply with FRA race requirements. Integrated pit zips and press studs down the main zip seam allow plenty of venting options. The back panel of the jacket is nicely shaped to fit a race vest underneath, which we appreciated, and it’s constructed with not one, but two front zips.
Other features include the peaked hood, thumb loops at the end of each sleeve, silicone front strips (prevents race vest slipping), three zipped pockets on the front and one on the back.
Polyester outer / PU membrane and PU backer / hydrostatic head: 15,000mm / fully taped seams / integrated pit zips / press studs / peaked hood / thumb loops at the sleeves / silicone front strips / three zipped pockets at front / one back pocket / trail running vest compatible.
Read our full Harrier Exmoor review.
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Best of the Rest
Montane Pac Plus XT
Best for: Climbing, scrambling, hillwalking
Key attributes: Light but tough, eco-friendly aspects, good feature set
The Pac Plus XT is an evolution of the Montane Pac Plus jacket, which was released a couple of years ago. The main changes are that the face fabric has been toughened up from 30-denier to 40-denier and it’s now made from 100% recycled nylon. That’s a tick for sustainability and for lifetime durability too.
This is a jacket for fast and light adventures, whether that’s climbing, scrambling or trekking. Expect 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 front zip with internal storm flap. That’s a great array of features, particularly for a jacket that still weighs under 400g.
Available in women’s (8-16) and men’s (S-XXL) versions / Gore-tex Paclite Plus / helmet-friendly hood / 3 pockets / two-way main zip / two-way pit zips / cuff and hem adjustment / 100% recycled 40D face fabric.
Read our full Montane Pac Plus XT jacket review.
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Best for: trail and ultra running
Key attributes: Stretchy, breathable and quiet fabric
This offering from the mountain marathon specialists is made from a waterproof fabric that’s lightweight and that also has a bit of stretch to it. We’ve tried it out in a number of jackets that use it and it’s never failed us. One for the runners, OMM’s jacket has a practical design to help you comfortably and quickly cover ground in bad weather. It has an aerodynamic close fit, pockets that double up as vents, thumb loops to stop the sleeves from riding up and a hood that holds closely and comfortably.
Available in a men’s version / 20,000mm hydro head / 4-way stretch – YKK Aquaguard zip / fully adjustable peaked hood / reflective detail / adaptable cuffs / zipped hand pockets / reflective detail / drop tail / available in black red or purple.
Read our full OMM Kamleika Jacket review.
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Klättermusen Allgron 2.0
Best for: Climbing, mountaineering, hillwalking, hiking
Key attributes: Eco-friendly, high-spec, well-built
This jacket is aimed at mountain-loving climbers, with features designed for technical use. This includes RECCO reflectors in case of avalanche, while the pockets and main zip, for example, have been deliberately positioned so as to not interfere with a climbing harness and the arms are articulated to allow high, unhindered reaches. You also get a 3D-adjustable peaked hood and underarm ventilation. The sleeve cuffs feature adjustable toggles and elastic sleeve ends, so they can be worn over the wrist or as little thumb loops to help the sleeves stay put.
The Klättermusen Allgron 2.0 is made from Ultramid Biomass Balanced Polyamide, which is a more sustainable way to produce synthetic fabrics. It also has a PFC-free durable water repellent coating. The fabric has a slight bit of stretch to it but it also feels hardy. During our tests, this was able to stand up to most abrasion and we expect it to last a long time.
Unisex XS-XXL / 3L Cutan made from 50% Ultramid Bio-Mass Balanced Polyamide and 50% Polyamide / bluesign approved fabric / PFC-free / water column rating: 20,000 mm, MVTR: > 20,000 g/m/24h / fixed adjustable peaked hood / venting zips underarms / RECCO reflector.
Read our full Klättermusen Women’s Allgron 2.0 jacket review
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Patagonia Dual Aspect
Best for: Technical assaults, stormy weather, alpine climbing
Key attributes: Eco-friendly, fully-featured, protective, stormproof
In an era of so-called ‘green-washing’ by many consumer brands, it’s refreshing to think that Patagonia walks the walk as well as talking the talk. The latest Dual Aspect jacket is a case in point, employing a 3-layer H2No Performance Standard fabric made from a 100% recycled nylon ripstop face with a slick jersey backer, a waterproof/breathable PU-based membrane and a PFC-free durable water repellent finish. The garment is also Fair Trade Certified sewn in Vietnam, with the membrane supplied by Toray industries in Japan. Both factories are audited and monitored for their ethical standards.
All the details that you’d expect in a technical mountain shell are present and correct. That includes a helmet-compatible hood with a laminated visor and reinforced brim, plus two-way adjustment. There’s a two-way main zip, two chest pockets with storm flaps; two watertight handwarmer pockets, two-way pit zips for ventilation, engineered underarm gussets, low-profile Velcro cuffs, a hem drawcord and a built-In RECCO avalanche reflector. All that in a shell that tips the scales at under 500g.
Eco-friendly brand / 3-layer H2No Performance Standard fabric made from 100% recycled nylon ripstop face / waterproof-breathable PU-based membrane / PFC-free DWR finish / Fair Trade Certified / helmet-compatible hood / laminated visor / two-way main zip / two chest pockets with storm flaps / watertight handwarmer poackets / two-way pit zips / underarm gussets / Velcro cuffs / hem drawcord /built-in RECCO avalanche reflector / 30-denier ECONYL nylon face fabric.
Selected for our Green Gear Guide 2021/22 – Read our full Patagonia Dual Aspect jacket review.
|BUY NOW: EU.PATAGONIA.COM