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 Jacket – Best Waterproof Jacket 
  • CimAlp Performance 3F
  • Pàramo Velez – Most Breathable Waterproof Jacket
  • The North Face Apex Flex 2
  • Rab Downpour Eco
  • Klättermusen Allgron 2.0
  • Craghoppers Dynamic 12000 – Best Value Waterproof Jacket
  • Fjällräven High Coast Hydratic
  • Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell
  • Montane Pac Plus XT

 

BEST BUY: Haglöfs L.I.M

Price: £220
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.

OM staffer Giles using the L.I.M out in Snowdonia. Photo: Chris Johnson

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 2021/22 – Here’s our full Haglofs L.I.M 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

 

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 Allgron 2.0

Price: £450
Weight: 624g
Best for: Hillwalking and mountaineering
Key attributes: Eco-friendly construction, durable construction

The Klättermusen Allgron 2.0 might come with an eye-watering price tag, but you can at least expect to get top notch quality here. It also boasts some impressive eco credentials as well. 

It’s made from a unique material called Ultramid Bio-mass Balance, a Polyamide that’s derived from renewable resources. There’s also a water resistant coating that’s completely free from any eco-hazardous fluorocarbon chemicals. 

Our tester with the Allgron in Pembrokeshire.

It’s also mentioning, on the sustainability front, that the zip is designed so that it can be easily replaced if and when it breaks, so it won’t have to go to the landfill due to one small malfunction.

One thing we particularly like about the Allgron 2.0 is its durability. The fabric has a slight bit of stretch to it but it also feels hardy – you can sense it’ll stand up to most abrasion and ultimately last a long time.

Features include a 3D adjustable hood, a RECCO reflector, underarm ventilation and an storm flap that covers the main zip.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s versions / 3L Cutan 148 g/m² 50% Ultramid Bio-Mass Balanced Polyamide / Bluesign approval / 20,000mm Hydrostatic Head / 20,000mm g/m² / fluorocarbon-free / two-way zip / 3D adjustable hood / RECCO reflector / pit zips / cuff tabs.

BUY FROM  

 

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  

 

Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell

Price: £350
Weight: 471g
Best for: mountaineering, ski mountaineering, hillwalking
Key attributes: Very durable, eco-friendly

Made using a super tough three-layer fabric that feels much like Gore-tex Pro, the Verglas is the kind of jacket that’ll help you see out some very rough conditions

Helly Hansen’s Lifa Infinity membrane is used here. This features polypropylene hydrophobic fibres which are highly microporous, meaning that moisture can escape through the jacket from the inside when it’s in vapour form, but nothing in liquid form can seep through from the outside.

OM editor Will using the Verglas in Snowdonia. Photo: Chris Johnson

Not only is the membrane free from any eco-hazardous chemicals but so too is the face fabric. This is treated with a PFC-free DWR for water repellency.

Other cool features include large pit zip vents, a three-way adjustable hood, a hem cinch and Velcro tabs on the cuff. You also get two huge pockets on the torso that can be used as handwarmers or for storing a bunch of small items. 

Full Specifications

Eco-friendly fabrics / non-chemical based membrane / PFC-free outer fabric / S-XXL / HELLY TECH® 3-layer fabric construction / pit zip vents / adjustable hood / hem cinch / Velcro tabs on the cuff / big torso pockets / RECCO reflector.

Selected for our 2021/22 Outdoor 100. Read our full Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell review.

BUY NOW: HELLYHANSEN.COM

 

Montane Pac Plus XT

Price: £240
Weight: 375g
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. 

Full Specifications

Available in men’s (S-XXL) and women’s (8-16) 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.

Selected for our Green Gear Guide 2022 – Here’s our full Montane Pac Plus XT review.

BUY NOW: MONTANE.COM

 

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