Best Waterproof Jackets For 2020 | Top 10 - Outdoors Magic

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Waterproof Jackets

Best Waterproof Jackets For 2020 | Top 10

From lightweight to heavyweight and everything in between, here are the best waterproof jackets out there in 2020

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.

All of the jackets in this Top 10 are featured in our Outdoor 100 2019/20 and other previous editions. 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 Mountain Proof Anorak – Best In Test Waterproof Jacket
  • Berghaus Changste – Best Technical Waterproof Jacket
  • Arc’teryx Norvan SL Insulated Hoody – Best Insulated Waterproof Jacket
  • Adidas Terrex Agravic Three-Layer – Best Trail Running Jacket
  • Outdoor Research Interstellar – Best Breathable Waterproof Jacket
  • Rab Flashpoint 2 Jacket
  • Sprayway Torridon
  • Columbia OutDry Ex Reign
  • Haglöfs Grym Evo
  • The North Face Summit L5 FutureLight

 

BEST BUY: Haglöfs L.I.M Mountain Proof Anorak

 

Price: £340
Weight: 260g
haglofs.com

The Less is More range from Haglöfs represents a stripped down, lightweight collection that offers minimal bells and whistles in an effort to strip weight – something that’s certainly been achieved in the new L.I.M Mountain Proof Anorak.

Whilst the Mountain Proof might be light, it certainly isn’t at the expense of durability, as has been the trend with many ultra-light jackets that you’re seeing these days – we’re looking at you Gore-Tex Active. There’s also a slight bit of stretch to it to minimise the risk of the fabric catching, and to give your arms unhindered movement.

The Mountain Proof has a stripped down feature list that is perfectly suited towards light and fast adventures where you don’t want or need any faff, just equipment you’re able to rely on. Features included are a Napoleon style single chest pocket that’ll swallow up a map and phone together, Velcro sleeves, an adjustable hem and peaked hood.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s / sizes XS-XXL / Fluorocarbon-free DWR / drawcord-adjustable bottom hem / velcro sleeves / 3-way adjustable hood /zippered chest pocket / overlay tape details for seam durability

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – Here’s our Haglofs L.I.M Mountain Proof Anorak Full Review

Rab Flashpoint 2 Jacket

Price: £230
Weight: 185g
rab.equipment

The Rab Flashpoint 2 Jacket comes in at an incredibly light weight of 185g making it a great choice if you’re looking for something to keep stashed away in your pack to pull out in case of emergency, or as something to run or climb in. The key ingredient is its Pertex Shield fabric which is both light in weight and surprisingly durable.

As you’d imagine with a jacket that barely tips the scales at 185g, the Flashpoint 2 comes with few features, but you still have a helmet-compatible adjustable hood which has a slightly stiffened peak for added protection, adjustable velcro cuffs, zipped hand pockets that can be accessed under a hipbelt, and a YKK Vislon AquaGuard front zip.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s / 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

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2018 – Here’s our Rab Flashpoint 2 Full Review

 

Berghaus Changste

Price: £290
Weight: 375g
berghaus.com

You know there’s going to be a lot to get excited about when a jacket features three different types of Gore-Tex waterproof fabrics. At 375g, the Changste (which is also available in a men’s version) isn’t the lightest jacket out there, but this clever fabric innovation certainly makes for a very useful option for hiking, trail running and climbing, that still maintains high levels of breathability and waterproof protection.

Gore-Tex Active brings the breathability aspect, then there’s Gore-Tex Paclite in the high-wear zones – the shoulders and along the arms – and finally Gore-Tex Topo Stretch is used on the hem, hips and cuffs to give the jacket a close fitting, natural fit that doesn’t require adjustment.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s / sizes S-XXL / bluesign approved / single point adjustable hood that’s helmet compatible / water repellant zipped chest pocket / water repellant two-way front zip / press stud at the base of the zip

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/18 – Here’s our Berghaus Changste Full Review

Arc’teryx Norvan SL Insulated Hoody

Price: €400
Weight: 270g
arcteryx.com

Similar to Columbia’s well-received OutDry waterproof fabric, Gore-Tex ShakeDry does away with the outer fabric normally found on traditional waterproof jackets – the one that eventually ‘wets out’ after persistent rain or when the DWR wears out and prevents the membrane underneath from ‘breathing’. With the membrane switched to the outside of the jacket, rain will be able to bead off permanently, in turn maintaining breathability and allowing the jacket to dry quickly.

 

The all-new Norvan SL Insulated Hoody continues on from the Norvan SL Hoody, but with the addition of CoreLoft insulating synthetic fibres underneath the ShakeDry fabric. It’s a combination that makes for an extremely lightweight, yet waterproof and insulated jacket that’s ideally suited towards fast and light missions in the mountains.

Related: Best Down Jackets

Just like OutDry, Shakedry suffers from the usual durability niggles you’d expect to come across when a waterproof membrane is applied to the outer fabric of the jacket – don’t expect the fabric to hold up too long if you’re pushing through branches or even wearing a backpack with niggly straps or a heavy load.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s / sizes S-XXL / ShakeDry waterproof fabric / CoreLoft insulation mapped across the body / roll away hood with slight peak / elasticated hem and cuffs / internal zipped chest pocket

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – Here’s our Arc’teryx Norvan SL Insulated Hoody Full Review

 

Adidas Terrex Agravic Three-Layer

Price: £230
Weight: 231g
adidas.co.uk

Adidas have been making more and more inroads in the outdoor world recently, most notably with their Terrex range of clothing and equipment which is geared towards performance sports in the mountains. This, the Agravic from Adidas Terrex lies well within this category, offering runners who like going into the mountains in rubbish conditions something that’s absolutely up to the task.

The Agravic carries an athletic fit that’s wider at the chest while snug in the lower body and sleeves. Aside from it’s lightweight wet weather protection, it’s the articulation it has in the arms which has impressed us, giving completely unhindered movement when you’re at full swing. Chuck in the effective adjustable hood, the elasticated hem that has a drawcord for good measure, plus the large zipped chest pocket and you’re left with an extremely capable jacket for going at high-tempo in unpredictable weather.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s / sizes S-XXL / seam-sealed durable Climaproof / long sleeves with elastic cuffs / 100% nylon ripstop / front zip pockets with waterproof zips / pack-it pocket

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – Here’s our Adidas Terrex Agravic Three-Layer Full Review

Columbia OutDry Ex Reign

Price: £155
Weight: 380g
columbiasportswear.co.uk

OutDry Extreme is a waterproof system that utilises an external waterproof membrane combined with a soft, wicking fabric lining the inside. As the membrane isn’t hidden beneath an outer fabric (as you’d expect to see on traditional three-layer fabrics), this method ensures that the fabric will always be able to uphold that satisfying beading of water that’s typically reserved for brand new, or freshly proofed jackets. Oh, and it means no DWRs with nasty, environmentally hazardous PFCs need to be used. This is the latest jacket from Columbia to use the system, and it’s a winning combination in our books.

Other useful aspects here include an adjustable storm hood, waterproof PU-coated main zip, and ventilation in the form of mesh hand pockets and underarm zips. It may not be the lightest waterproof jacket out there, but we’ve been impressed with the use of the OutDry fabric, and that pretty decent price tag.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s / sizes S-XXL / OutDry Extreme waterproof fabric / external seam tape / adjustable storm hood / underarm venting / PU coated centerfront and hand pockets / adjustable cuffs and hem

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – Here’s our Columbia OutDry Ex Reign Full Review

 

Sprayway Torridon

Price: £300
Weight: 640g
sprayway.com

This revival of the classic jacket from 1988 sees updates that bring it into the 21st century, with a PFC-free Gore-Tex membrane protected with a recycled polyester face fabric which offers 70D of abrasion resistance.

Other useful features include long underarm ventilation with waterproof zips, an internal valuables pocket, Velcro cuffs and a drawcord at the hem. There are also two huge zipped handwarmer pockets that can be accessed when you’re wearing a backpack hipbelt or climbing harness. You can’t get your hands on this already classic jacket just yet, but expect it to be released in winter 2019.

Full Specifications

Sizes S-XXL / three-layer Gore-Tex PFC-free technology / two zipped hand pockets set high to provide clearance for a rucksack waistband / fully adjustable stormproof hood/ long underarm ventilation  / internal valuables pocket

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – Here’s our Sprayway Torridon Full Review

 

Haglöfs Grym Evo

Price: £310
Weight: 580g
haglofs.com

A long cut and durable three-layer waterproof material here gives you a jacket that’s built to last and one that you can really hunker down in for full protection from the elements.

Haglöfs are working hard to create eco-friendly products across all of their ranges, and this is certainly true with the Grym Evo, with a DWR finish that’s free of any nasty PFCs, a membrane built from recycled materials and full bluesign approval in the pipeline for AW19.

Nifty features here include handwarmer pockets with storm flaps and popper seals, a built-in RECCO reflector, zipped chest pocket, two-way front zip and three-way adjustable hood. Interestingly the seams have all been ‘ultrasonically bonded’, where a machine applies vibrations of such a high frequency that heat is generated and sets of polymers join to form a bond. The idea behind this is to get a super tight, protective and reliable closure that keeps the fabric completely smooth and flat against the skin.

It’s one very impressive jacket from the Swedish brand that strikes the difficult to achieve lifestyle/mountain performance balance perfectly.

Full Specifications

Sizes S-XXL / treated with a fluorocarbon free DWR / ultrasonic-welded seams / three-way adjustable hood with reinforced peak / RECCO reflector in brim of hood / underarm pit zips / two storm hand pockets with snap buttons / one zippered chest pocket

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – Here’s our Haglofs Grym Evo Full Review

 

Outdoor Research Interstellar

Price: £290
Weight: 329g
outdoorresearch.com

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

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2018 – Here’s our Outdoor Research Interstellar Full Review

 

 

The North Face FutureLight Summit L5

Price: £550
Weight: 660g
thenorthface.co.uk

The FutureLight part of this jacket’s name refers to its membrane, which is rather special. In fact, The North Face have called it the most breathable waterproof fabric ever created and they might just be right there. We’ve tried a number of products that feature it over the past year, including the Summit L5 featured here, and we’ve been very impressed. It really is breathable – and it gives a nice bit of stretch to boot.

There’s plenty to like from an eco perspective as well. It’s produced in solar-powered factories, is made from over 90% recycled materials and there are none of those nasty PFCs used either.

The jacket itself, the North Face FutureLight Summit L5, is very much a high mountain option and the price tag reflects that. It’s designed to protect the wearer through some mightily rough conditions and help them carry and operate all of their technical equipment. What we mean here is that it’s cut for harness and helmet compatibility and there are loads of deep pockets in all the right places. There are also plenty of adjustment options so that you can really hunker down in it.

The L5 is available in both men’s and women’s versions and has also been split up depending on the intended use of the jacket – for example, there’s a heavier weight version suited towards ski mountaineering, and a lightweight version suited towards climbing and alpinism.

We’ve also recently tested out their superlight FutureLight offering. Check out our The North Face Flight FutureLight review for more on that.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s versions / three-layer 70D x 70D 93% nylon fabric with 7% elastane / 3D ergonomic patterning / fully adjustable, helmet-compatible hood with perforated chin guard and wire brim / two chest pockets and bellowed front pocket – all harness-compatible / three internal pockets / internal elastic thumb loops.

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – Here’s our full The North Face Apex FutureLight L5 Summit review. 



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