Best Waterproof Jackets For 2019 | Top 11 - Outdoors Magic

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Waterproof Jackets

Best Waterproof Jackets For 2019 | Top 11

From lightweight to heavyweight and everything in between, here are the best waterproof jackets out there in 2019

Due to their unique geographical features, mountainous areas are more than happy to throw a storm or two your way, even when you’re slap bang in the middle of what was turning out to be a lovely day. Therefore, it’s vital that we always travel around the mountains with adequate protection from the best the weather can throw at us – and this is where waterproof jackets come in. 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 buying into 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 (we’re still keeping our eyes peeled for the elusive FutureLight from The North Face to hit the shelves).

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 (there’s more on that on our guide to the best lightweight waterproof jackets). 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 pocks are essential for climbers who are frequently wearing a harness over their waterproof jacket.

The majority of the jackets that made it into our list of the top jackets for women featured in our Outdoors Magic Winter 100 for 2017/18 and the Outdoors Magic 100 2018.

Haglofs L.I.M Comp Jacket

Price: £280
Weight: 265g

Haglöfs’ L.I.M (Less is More) series of clothing represents a feature-light range that focuses on getting the weight of each product down as low as possible to aid you on your fast and light trips where every gram counts. The L.I.M Comp Jacket is one of the main focusses of that range. At just 265g, it’s certainly lightweight, but the full waterproof protection is definitely there.

It utilises the ultralight Gore-Tex Active waterproof membrane. Light, breathable and with a bit of stretch, it’s not the most durable of fabrics by any means, but this jacket’s not made for things like scrambling or mountaineering – it’s for those who like to move quickly.

Full Specifications

Available in a women’s version also / Gore-Tex Active waterproof fabric / 2 zipped pockets / fluorocarbon free DWR treated surfaces / elasticated hem and cuffs / mesh windows in pockets to enhance airflow / reflective details /

Full Review

Rohan Elite

Price: £250
Weight: 335g

Rohan is a British brand that’s perhaps best known for making products that are functional enough to take on most UK conditions but that aren’t too technical looking; stuff you can wear off the hill as well as on it. With their Elite Jacket however, they’ve gone full blown techy.

What you have here is a three-layer waterproof jacket that offers a great balance between rain protection, breathability and weight. They’ve managed to get the weight down to a decent 335g, yet have still been able to pack in two sizeable zippered hand pockets, a zipped internal security pocket and an easily adjustable hood that can cinch in comfortably around the head. All-in-all, it’s a technical option that gets two thumbs up from us.

Full Specifications

Available in a women’s version also / sizes S-XXL / Barricade waterproof fabric with DWR treatment / two zipped hand pockets set high to provide clearance for a rucksack waistband / fixed hood with single pull adjustment / elasticated hem and cuffs / internal zipped chest pocket which doubles as a stuff sack /

Full Review

Outdoor Research Interstellar

Price: £290
Weight: 329g

This is the lightest three-layer hardshell that US-based Outdoor Research has ever produced. It’s made from their hugely impressive AscentShell fabric which has a lovely bit of stretch to it (so it’s perfect for climbers), but best of all it really does offer some top notch wet weather performance. You don’t find many jackets out there with breathability levels like this. You’ve also got a fully adjustable hood to accommodate climbing helmets, an internal storm flap behind the main zipper for full waterproof protection, a chest pocket and handwarmer hip pockets – all at the usefully light weight of 329g.

Full Specifications

Sizes: S-XXL / three-layer AscentShell waterproof fabric also gives additional stretch to the jacket / 20D ripstop face fabric / dynamic reach underarm panels / helmet compatible hood /

Full Review

Arc’teryx Beta LT

Price: £420
Weight: 345g

Arc’teryx are known for making clean looking, yet feature packed garments and, with the Beta LT jacket they’re certainly keeping up that reputation. The Beta LT comes into its own during wintery mountain activities for skiers, mountaineers, climbers and hikers. The longer back length, for example, extends coverage and fits comfortably under a harness, while the ergonomic, articulated construction delivers enhanced mobility and comfort. Throw into the mix a well-fitted, helmet compatible hood, good pocket options and vented underarms for when you’re working hard, and this here is a three-layer, high-spec jacket ready for any occasion.

Full Specifications

In a women’s version also / sizes: S-XXL / Gore-Tex Pro / two large zipped pockets / weight 345g / helmet-compatible StormHood / trim fit /

Full Review

Sherpa Lithang

Price: £250
Weight: 565g

Named after a Nepalese town that sits at 4,014m above sea level, the Lithang is one of Sherpa’s best sellers; a durable jacket that should be ideal for mountaineers and alpinists. It’s made from Sherpa’s own Himaltec waterproof fabric, a 3-layer system that has a tough and stretchy outer layer protecting the membrane underneath. This makes it perfect for resisting consistent exposure to rough rocks, and well capable of withstanding wear and tear when constantly lugging a heavy backpack filled with ropes and harnesses. It might not be light, but by gosh it’s built for the mountains and it’s built to last.

Full Specifications

Available in a women’s version / Himaltec three-layer four-way stretch waterproof fabric / 65D face fabric / helmet compatible hood with a stiffened brim / low profile media system with a media port and earbud guides /

Full Review

Páramo Alta III

Price: £420
Weight: 702g

With it’s long cut, 702g weight and membrane-less waterproofing fabric, this is certainly a jacket that goes against the grain. The Alta III relies on a wax treatment and special fabrics to provide quality waterproofing with breathability that’s unmatched by any Gore-Tex jackets. This method is called Nikwax Analogy, and it works very, very well, keeping you protected, dry, and fresh, while also offering a really quick drying time. Best of all, it’s eco-friendly – which is something Páramo have long been able to boast ahead of other brands.

Full Specifications

Available in a men’s version also / Nikwax Analogy treated / upper arm vents / two handwarmer pockets / large external map pocket / internal pocket for valuables / fully adjustable hood with wired peak / hood stoves in collar / two-way locking front zip with poppered internal storm flap / adjustable cuffs / waist cord adjustment /

The North Face Apex Flex 2.0

Price: £250
Weight: 800g

This is made from Gore Tex Apex, a fabric that holds full waterproofing qualities but with a softshell feel and stretch to it – so much so we didn’t feel like this was a waterproof jacket until we saw the taped seams. An additional stretch-knit backer makes this capable of moving with your body whilst retaining hoodie-like comfort for when you’re relaxing after your walk or climb. All the right features are there as well: zipped handwarmer pockets, a small valuables pocket that will fit a map, hem and cuff adjustment and a three way adjustable hood. At 800g, it’s by no means light, so perhaps look elsewhere if you want something for trail running, but if hillwalking, mountaineering or just day-to-day ambling is your bag then it’ll be a great shout.

Full Specifications

Available in a women’s version also / Sizes: S-XXL / Gore-Tex Apex waterproof fabric / slim fit / two zipped pockets / chest stash pocket on right / fully adjustable hood / adjustable Velcro cuff tabs /

Patagonia Cloud Ridge

Price: £240
Weight: 391g

Patagonia are well-known for their efforts in defending the environment, whether that’s fighting against government policies, encouraging people to reuse or recycle their kit rather than buying new Patagonia stuff or using recycled face fabrics in their waterproof jackets, as is the case here. The jacket itself is constructed nicely, with smart touches like the microfleece at the back of the neck and on the chinguard, and also the ventilating hand pockets and helmet compatible hood. With its climber-friendly features and simple aesthetic, it’s another one of those jackets that’s versatile enough to use for extreme stuff but also for short and simple jaunts.

Full Specifications

Available in a men’s version also / 3L H2No Performance Shell / 100% recycled polyester ripstop face fabric / two ventilating hand pockets / helmet-compatible hood with laminated visor / watertight front zip / adjustable hem and cuffs / stows away into stuff sack /

Jack Wolfskin Sierra Trail Jacket

Price: £150
Weight: 430g

We were excited to hear about the release of this jacket from Jack Wolfskin when it was first previewed around a year ago, and we’re pleased to tell you it’s now finally on the market. The reason for our hype is because this waterproof jacket is the first ever one to be made from 100 per cent recycled materials, and that includes the waterproof membrane. It’s a good performing jacket as well, that’s the truly remarkable thing about it.

Full Specifications

Available in a men’s version also / 100% recycled Texapore Ecoshpere 2L membrane / water column rating: 20,000 mm, MVTR: > 15,000 g/m / fixed hood with back cinch / venting zips underarms / reflectors /

Full Review

Black Yak Pali GTX Pro

Price: £565
Weight: 398g

Here’s a brand that not many people in the UK will know about – Black Yak are a Korean company that have only just started shipping here after all. We expect them to make waves pretty quickly though, especially when you consider they’re capable of making jackets like this, the Blackyak Pali GTX Pro 3L. It’s a real top-level offering, with everything a serious alpinist, climber or backcountry skier could want. Apparently products in the Pali line all undergo rigorous testing at altitudes of up to 5,000m in Tibet.

Full Specifications

Available in a men’s version / 2 chest pockets with zips / 1 inside storage pocket / 1 sleeve pocket / hood adjustment system / hood peak stiffener / hemline adjustment / exist slits for earphones / Velcro cuffs /

Montane Fleet Jacket

Price: £270
Weight: 327g

If you’re after a decently light, comfortable, well-featured, very breathable, all-round hill and mountain waterproof with an excellent, protective hood, the Montane Fleet ticks a lot of boxes.

This successor to Montane’s original, minimalist Spine Jacket uses the same super-breathable Gore-Tex Active fabric, but in a less uncompromising, more featured design with three pockets and a very protective hood. It’s quiet, light and comfortable, offering decent all-round protection while also being breathable enough to double as a windproof shell for hiking and trekking. This would also make for an excellent deluxe packable trekking shell.

Full Specifications

Available in a women’s version also / Gore-Tex Active main fabric with 40D Gore-Tex rip-stop reinforcements at shoulders and hips / YKK Aquaguard zipped chest / twin zipped, mesh-lined venting hand pockets / adjustable hood with wired peak / adjustable hem and cuffs / YKK Aquaguard Vislon front-zip / microfleece chin guard /

Full Review

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