Best Waterproof Jackets For 2022 - Outdoors Magic

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Waterproof Jackets

Best Waterproof Jackets For 2022

From lightweight to heavyweight and everything in between, here are the best waterproof jackets out there in 2022

It’s vital to travel in the mountains with adequate protection from the worst the weather can throw at us and that means having a quality waterproof jacket. When you’re in the wild, you want a good rain coat that you can count on.

The most obvious concern when buying a waterproof jacket is the type of protection that you’re getting, as this influences the price, weight, breathability and of course the level of waterproofing on offer. You obviously don’t want the jacket to start leaking water after just a month of wear, yet you don’t want to pay over the odds for something that may feel a little overkill for the type of activity that you’re buying the jacket for.

There are three main types of waterproof protection to consider; wax-coated (pretty rare for technical outdoor jackets these days), PU-coated, and membrane lined jackets. Give our Buyer’s Guide to Waterproof Jackets a read to understand the differences between the three waterproof protections.

You’ll notice that membrane lined jackets are the most common in this roundup. They’re favoured for their good balance between weight, breathability and waterproofness. The most common type of waterproof membrane is of course Gore-Tex, but we’ve also included some of the various own-brand waterproof technologies such as Columbia’s OutDry, Outdoor Research’s AscentShell and H2No by Patagonia.

Aside from the type of waterproof protection on offer, it’s also important to consider other features that the jacket carries in order to find the best waterproof jacket for you. Choose these features based on the type of activity that you’re buying the jacket for. For instance, if you’re going to be mostly cycling and trail running then a lightweight and breathable jacket will be the best option for you. A jacket that holds a mixture of features makes for a great multi-activity jacket that can be used and abused wherever you take it.

What To Look For When Buying a Waterproof Jacket

Venting – This not only comes from the breathability of the fabric, but manufacturers are also able to increase venting through the use of pit zips and mesh lined pockets.

Zips and pockets – The type of zip a jacket has influences how waterproof the jacket is. Premium zipper technology creates a zip that locks together tight, to remove the need for a PU or fabric coating that covers the entire zip. However, this also adds a little more to the price of the jacket.

Hoods – Hoods come in a variety of shapes, sizes and adjustability, which all depend on the type of brand you’re looking to buy – it’s again important to try them on before you buy. You’ll be looking for a good range of adjustability and if you’re climbing a lot, then a helmet compatible hood is essential.

Pockets – A good all-round jacket will hold a few pockets for stuffing various items in throughout the day. Considering the pockets based on the activity you’re buying the jacket for is important, as if you’re frequently strapping your backpack up, then you don’t want pockets that can’t be used whilst wearing a pack. Similarly, Napoleon chest pockets are essential for climbers who are frequently wearing a harness over their waterproof jacket.

Many of the jackets in this selection are featured in our Outdoor 100 2021/22 and our 2022 Green Gear Guide. Within these product guides, you’ll be able check out a more in depth review of each jacket, including tester’s verdicts and industry trade secrets.

  • Haglöfs L.I.M GTX Jacket – Best Waterproof Jacket 
  • CimAlp Performance 3F
  • Patagonia Granite Crest
  • Pàramo Velez – Most Breathable Waterproof Jacket
  • The North Face Apex Flex 2
  • Rab Downpour Eco
  • Klättermusen Asynja
  • Craghoppers Dynamic 12000 – Best Value Waterproof Jacket
  • Fjällräven High Coast Hydratic
  • Keela Munro Jacket – Best Durable Waterproof Jacket

 

BEST BUY: Haglöfs L.I.M GTX

Our tester Harris using the L.I.M GTX out in the Scottish Highlands earlier this season. Photos: Michael Drummond

Price: £250
Weight: 204g
Best for: Hiking, backpacking, climbing, trail running
Key attributes: Lightweight and highly packable, high-spec fabric

L.I.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.

It’s actually an evolution of a previous model, with new venting hand pockets added and updated materials.

Haglöfs have employed 2.5-layer Gore-tex Paclite Plus waterproof fabrics here. This involves a membrane that’s glued to a light outer material with a PU on the inside that guards the membrane from internal abrasion and prevents sweat and dirt from blocking up the membrane’s pores. It’s latest generation of Paclite, which now has a protective dry-touch carbon print instead of a raised backer. It definitely feels nicer against the skin than the slick and clammy Paclite fabrics of old, yet still has the same qualities of high packability and low weight.

Overall, it’s a protective yet impressively packable jacket with top-level performance and excellent comfort. It also has a neat and streamlined cut that makes this well suited to fast and light adventures. Our tester Will is 5 foot 10 and had this in his usual size, a size M, and he said it fitted perfectly, offering an athletic fit but still with plenty of room for layers underneath.

Full Specifications

Men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL / Gore-Tex Paclite Plus waterproof shell / non-adjustable hood with elasticated rim and laminated and reinforced peak / water-resistant zips / zippered mesh pockets / elasticated cuffs / adjustable hem / reflective details.

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2022/23 – Here’s our full Haglofs L.I.M GTX Jacket Review

BUY NOW: HAGLOFS.COM

 

CimAlp Performance 3F Jacket

Price: £137.99
Weight: 
530g
Best for: 
Hiking, general outdoor use
Key attributes: Versatile, practical, comfortable

CimAlp’s Performance 3F 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.

Credit: Chris Johnson
Credit: Chris Johnson

The 3-layer fabric is very comfortable, with a pleasant next-to-skin feel compared to most 2.5-layer jackets. 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.

Full Specifications

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.

Selected for our Outdoor 100 2021/22. Read our full CimAlp Performance 3F Jacket review.

BUY NOW: CIMALP.CO.UK

 

Patagonia Granite Crest

Price: £260
Weight: 400g
Best for:
Key attributes: Eco-friendly, good features, protective

The Granite Crest comes with all the eco credentials we’ve come to expect from Patagonia. With a three-layer construction using the brand’s own H2No waterproof-breathable tech, it’s designed to be both high performance and responsibly made, using recycled fabrics with no nasty PFC-based water repellent treatments.

It’s a well-equipped jacket too, ticking all the boxes for a reliable hillwalking shell. The main zip and external chest pocket feature laminated, water-resistant zips, while those on the two hand pockets and pit zips are both reverse-coil designs, protected by storm flaps. The hood has a laminated brim and three-point adjustment. It cinches in well, offering good face protection.

Full Specifications

H2No three-layer waterproof fabric / 100% recycled fabric / PFC-free waterproofing / fair trade certified sewn / laminated main zip and external chest pocket / water-resistant zips / two hand pockets / pit zips / storm flap protection throughout / hood with laminated brim and three-point adjustment / roomy fit / Velcro cuff tabs / single hem drawcord / stuffs away into chest pocket.

BUY NOW: EU.PATAGONIA.COM

 

Our tester Grant with the Velez in Snowdonia. Photo: Jamie Barnes

Pàramo Velez

Price: £300
Weight: 605g
Best for: Hiking, climbing and mountain biking
Key attributes: Eco-friendly, lightweight and very breathable

The most important thing to know about this jacket is that it’s not technically waterproof. Don’t let that put you off though, because it still brings top quality protection with the added bonus of super high breathability. The secret is in its Nikwax Analogy fabric which uses a water resistant solution that actively pushes moisture away while allowing moisture vapour to escape from the inside. 

The Velez was created by Páramo as a slightly lighter alternative to the Alta III, bringing almost all the same qualities as that jacket (including that breathable Nikwax Analogy fabric) but at a lighter 600g.

Photos: Chris Johnson

Details on the Velez include a two-way main zip, zipped vents on the arms and venting hand pockets too (the one on the right also has a mini zipped pocket for valuables inside it). Then there’s the hood which is adjustable, can be worn over a helmet and has wire-moulded peak. The hem can also be adjusted via a toggle and the cuffs have Velcro tabs.

As well as new reflective details and the added valuables pocket, one of the other main updates to the Velez includes the addition of a new lighter fabric in certain parts of the jacket (including the arms and base of the torso). This, from what we can see, brings the same level of durability and moisture resistance as the previous fabric, but with a bit more breathability.

Full Specifications

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.

BUY NOW: PARAMO-CLOTHING.COM

 

The North Face Apex Flex Futurelight

Price: £270
Weight: 450g
Best for: Hiking, mountaineering
Key attributes: Very comfortable and breathable

This uses The North Face’s new proprietary waterproof and highly breathable fabric called Futurelight – and it’s impressive stuff. Simply put, it’s a waterproof membrane with added air permeability thanks to a unique construction method called nano-spinning.

The Apex Flex Futurelight also uses a three-layer design, with the waterproof layer sandwiched between a face fabric and inner scrim. It is made from a solid 50-denier and 55-denier Futurelight fabric, with 91.2% recycled polyester and 8.8% elastane with a recycled polyester backer and DWR finish. The Futurelight fabric is breathable, waterproof and seam-sealed with a soft, recycled, stretch-woven face and a recycled, stretch-knit backer for warmth and comfort. It’s 100% windproof too.

Our tester Raji with the Flex Futurelight in Snowdonia. Photo: Chris Johnson

A big selling point of the Apex Flex Futurelight is its comfort. The fabric is soft, tactile and has a slight stretch to it, delivering far greater comfort than a traditional hardshell – which can feel stiff, crinkly, noisy and uncomfortable. It also has everything you’d expect from a waterproof: you get sealed seams, an attached and fully adjustable hood, Velcro wrist cuffs, an internal front zip stormflap to keep wind and rain at bay, hem cinch-cord, drop-tail hem (for coverage over your backside), two hand-warmer pockets and an internal zippered pocket for valuables.

Full Specifications

Futurelight waterproof-breathable fabric / three-layer design / recycled materials / DWR finish / windproof / sealed seams / adjustable hood / Velcro wrist cuffs / internal front zip stormflap / hem cinch-chord / drop-tail hem/ two hand-warmer pockets / internal zipper pocket.

Selected for our 2021/22 Outdoor 100. Read our full North Face Apex Flex 2 review

BUY NOW: THENORTHFACE.CO.UK

 

Rab Downpour Eco 

Price: £110
Weight: 320g
Best for: Eco-conscious hikers, challenging British weather
Key attributes: Recycled materials, high performance, packs away small 

The Downpour Eco Jacket is a clear indicator of Rab’s drive towards truly sustainable products, being forged from recycled materials and designed with further recycling in mind. However, there’s no compromise on quality here. The jacket is also incredibly packable thanks to the way it stuffs into its own hand pocket. Excellent for lightweight backpacking, that’s for sure. 

The Downpour uses a recycled 2.5-layer Pertex Revolve fabric for both its inner and outer membrane. Unlike some of their rivals, Rab are already using fluorocarbon-free DWR to treat the fabric, bestowing it with its waterproof qualities. Testing has awarded the Downpour a hydrostatic head rating of 20,000mm, meaning it can withstand all but the worst deluges.

Our tester demonstrating the hood low profile. Photo: Chris Johnson
Cuff tabs allow large gloves to be worn beneath. Photo: Chris Johnson

The front is zippered up its length, with a button fastening on the brushed tricot chin guard. Handy zippered handwarmer pockets are large enough to stash a map, whilst you can open up the pit zips for added ventilation. All the zippers are protected by a storm guard flap, enhancing the jacket’s ability to fend off the element and there’s fully adjustable Velcro cuffs, giving you the option to loosen when donning gloves. The Downpour is also non-helmet compatible, so climbers, alpinists and winter walkers are better served by some of Rab’s more high-end options.

Full Specifications

Climate neutral company / recycled 2.5-layer Pertex Revolve fabric inner and outer membrane / PFC-free DWR / hydrostatic head rating of 20,000mmm / brushed tricot chin guard / zippered map-sized pockets / pit zips / storm guard flap protected zippers / hood adjustment points at front and rear /polymer peak on hood / non-helmet compatible / hem adjustment points / adjustable Velcro cuff tabs / regular fit. 

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2021/22 – Here’s our full Rab Downpour Eco review. 

BUY FROM  

 

Klättermusen Asynja

Price: £329
Weight: 345g
Best for: Hillwalking, backpacking, climbing
Key attributes: Good eco-creds, breathable, high-spec

There’s a lot to like about this jacket. Actually, there’s a lot to like about this brand as a whole. From our experience of testing their gear over the last few years, every product they make seems to be really well thought through and it’s clear they put a lot of effort into lowering their environmental impact too.

In this case, with the Asynja, the brand have used a 100% recycled face fabric and no eco-hazardous PFCs are present throughout. It’s high spec too, with the brand’s impressive three-layer Cutan fabric deployed here. This stuff’s protective but breathable and it also has a nice bit of stretch to it.
 

Our team trialling the Asynja out in the Highlands of Scotland. Photo: Michael Drummond

Using it out in the Highlands of Scotland, and in Albania’s Accursed Mountains, this thing helped our testers see off some long days of rain. Given its light weight and packability, it also proved to be a handy option for those days when it spent more time in the pack than being worn. Basically, you can stash it away and forget it’s there.

Whether it’s for hiking or climbing or simply just wearing to work, the Asynja is a versatile, stylish jacket that might be somewhat pricey, but it does at least ooze quality.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s versions / 3-layer Cutan fabric / 20,000mm HH / 20,000 gg/m² / slanted two-way zipper / 3D-adjustable hood with integrated brim / mesh hipbelt friendly pockets / zipped chest pocket / 100% recycled polyamide bluesign approved fabric / fluorocarbon free.

BUY NOW: KLATTERMUSEN.COM

 

Craghoppers Dynamic 12000

Price: £120
Weight: 720g
Best for: Hiking, backpacking and day-to-day use
Key attributes: Eco-friendly, innovative, reliable

This jacket really impressed us when it was assessed for our Green Gear Guide earlier this year. What’s incredibly unique about it is that it comes with a special mesh lining that’s imbued with six natural minerals and this, Craghoppers say, is capable of reflecting your body’s own infra-red rays back into you. What does this achieve? Greater circulation of oxygen-rich blood, apparently, and then faster cell regeneration as well. That means deep tissues can heal quickly to keep you active for longer.

OM editor Will demonstrates the high collar on the hood. Photo: Chris Johnson

During our tests, we’ll be honest we haven’t really noticed any infra-red boosting, what we have noticed, however, is that this is a very decent jacket given it’s pretty decent price tag. All the features you want from a hiking jacket are there, including large pockets, a protective hood and good ventilation. There are also some admirable eco efforts on show. In fact, over 60 plastic bottles are used to create the face fabric and the whole garment is free from any environmentally harmful chemicals. 

A very decent jacket at a great price. 

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s versions / AquaDry membrane / waterproof 10,000mm / main & trim: 100% Polyester / lining: 91% Polyester, 9% Elastane / 4 pockets including venting handwarmers / mesh inner / adjustable hood, cuffs and hem.

Selected for our 2022 Green Gear Guide – Here’s our Craghoppers Dynamic 12000 review.

BUY NOW: CRAGHOPPERS.COM

 

Fjällräven High Coast Hydratic

Price: £200
Weight: 317g
Best for: Hillwalking and day-to-day wear
Key attributes: Packable and eco-friendly

Built with versatility in mind, Fjällräven’s High Coast Hydratic Jacket utilises a light and packable 2.5-layer construction that is easy to stuff in a hillwalking pack or your work bag. Like almost all of the Swedish brand’s kit, it’s also an eco-friendly garment, made from 100 % recycled nylon with a PFC-free waterproof-breathable laminate and durable water repellent finish. This is finished with a raised inner print for improved performance and better next-to-skin comfort. As such, it’s a classic 2.5-layer waterproof shell, which is a solid choice for an all-round outdoor jacket with the emphasis on lightweight, packable performance.

Our tester Neil with the High Coast in Snowdonia's Moelwynion range. Photo: Chris Johnson

The High Coast Hydratic is intended for casual hikes and everyday outdoor use. It’s not a hardcore technical shell for the gnarliest mountain days; instead, it’s a practical and versatile waterproof jacket that will do double duty for the week-long 9-to-5 and weekend escapes in the countryside. Having said that, it boasts more features than most entry-level jackets, with a protective hood and pit zips for ventilation.

There’s also a three-way adjustable hood and zipped hand pockets, as well as underarm pit zips for ventilation. The main two-way zip is covered by an external storm flap with a bottom press stud to stop it flapping around too much. You also get Velcro cuff tabs and a hem drawcord. There are reflective details at the cuffs and on the hood – ideal for urban use – and a rear hanging loop at the base of the hood.

Full Specifications

Earthy colourways / 2.5-layer construction / recycled nylon / PFC-free waterproof-breathable laminate / DWR finish / protective hood / pit zips / regular fit / vintage styling / zipped hand pockets / Velcro cuff tabs with a hem drawcord / reflective details.

Selected for our 2021/22 Outdoor 100. Read our full Fjällräven High Coast Hydratic review. 

BUY FROM  

 

Keela Munro Jacket

Price: £210
Weight: 1124g
Best for: mountaineering, winter hillwalking
Key attributes: Durable, protective, long-lasting and decked out in features

This is just about as protective as waterproof jackets get. In fact, we can’t think of any other jacket we’d want with us when we’re out on a Scottish mountain and all hell is letting loose.

Our tester Rob using the Munro near Glencoe

This might be too heavy to serve as the kind of jacket for summer hiking, where it’s likely to spend a lot of time your backpack, but if you’re in the market for a burly fortress of a jacket to wear on cold and wet weather mountain adventures – and it would probably also make a decent ski jacket as well – this one’s a compelling option, especially when you consider the relatively reasonable price tag.

The Munro uses a material called System Dual Protection. It’s essentially a 2-layer hard shell that combines a waterproof and windproof outer fabric with a special drop liner. The laminated face fabric keeps water out, while a high wicking hydrophilic mesh inner draws moisture away from the body. Between the two layers, an air gap creates a natural thermal barrier, protecting against heat loss.

Does it work? Well, yes, in certain conditions. On test the Munro proved to be breathable enough when its pit zips were opened up, and the double-layer construction gives it a reassuring protective feel too.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s versions / System Dual Protection fabric / four-way adjustable rollaway hood with protective wired peak / neck baffle with one-handed drawcord adjustment / two-way front zipper with double storm-flap, hook-and-loop closure and snap fasteners / two large, zipped chest pockets protected by storm-flaps / internal zipped pocket, sized to take an OS map / secure mobile phone pocket / reinforced shoulder panels for extra durability / underarm ventilation zips with double storm-flaps.

Selected for our 2021/22 Outdoor 100. Read our full Keela Munro Jacket review.

BUY NOW: KEELAOUTDOORS.COM

 

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