Best Waterproof Jackets For 2021 - Outdoors Magic

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Waterproof Jackets

Best Waterproof Jackets For 2021

From lightweight to heavyweight and everything in between, here are the best waterproof jackets out there in 2021

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 2020/21 and our 2021 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
  • Halti Next Generation DryMaxx Shell
  • Adidas Terrex Agravic Three-Layer
  • Klättermusen Allgron 2.0
  • Columbia OutDry Ex Eco II Tech
  • Patagonia Torrentshell 3L – Best Value Waterproof Jacket
  • Rab Ladakh
  • Fjällräven High Coast Hydratic
  • Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell
  • Montane Podium Pull On – Best Trail Running Jacket
  • Cortazu Mountain Hardshell

 

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.

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

Get the latest price at:
haglofs.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: Jamie Barnes

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.

Get the latest price at:
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

Get the latest price at:
webtogs.com

 

Halti Next Generation DryMaxx Shell

Price: £249
Weight: 600g
Best for: Three-season hillwalking, everyday use
Key attributes: Durable, eco-friendly

The Next Generation shell from Finnish brand Halti has been designed with sustainability in mind. It’s built from PFC-free recycled materials and is also recyclable, so at the end of its life it can be disposed of easily. But what we like most is that it can be easily repaired, since the zips, tabs and panels are all easy to remove and replace if they happen to wear out.

The main material is a two-layer polyester with 50% recycled content. The outer has a very durable feel but is still soft and smooth to the touch. It has a dropped hem and an adjustable peaked hood for excellent coverage. There’s also toggled hem adjustment and Velcro cuff tabs. The main zip has a big buttoned external storm flap and a small inner one too to guard against water ingress.

Though it isn’t particularly lightweight or technical, this is a good looking jacket that is perfect for country ambles or three-season hillwalking. It is also a very green choice, with impeccable eco credentials. And though we tested the women’s jacket, a men’s version is available too.

Full Specifications

Men’s sizes XS-4XL / Women’s sizes EU32-48 / DrymaxX Ultimate PRO waterproof fabric / grown on hood with peak / drawcord hem and Velcro cuffs

Selected for our 2021 Green Gear Guide – Here’s our Halti Next Generation DryMaxX Shell Full Review

Get the latest price at:
halti.com

 

Adidas Terrex Agravic Three-Layer

Price: £230
Weight: 231g
Best for: Trail running and hiking
Key attributes: Good waterproof and breathable fabric, simple but effective

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

Get the latest price at:
adidas.co.uk

 

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. 

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.

Get the latest price at:
klattermusen.com

 

Columbia OutDry Ex Eco II Tech

Price: £200
Weight: 260g
Best for: Hiking, backpacking and day-to-day use
Key attributes: Never saturates, durable, eco-friendly

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.

The fact that this contains none of those eco-hazardous PFCs that can often be found in technical waterproof clothing is a big tick. On top of that, all of the jacket’s trims are made from recycled materials. That includes the zip, toggles, eyelets, washers, labels and threads.

Full Specifications

Men’s sizes S-XXL / OutDry Extreme waterproof fabric / undyed cotton liner / external seam tape / adjustable storm hood / adjustable cuffs and hem

Selected for our 2021 Green Gear Guide – Here’s our Columbia OutDry Ex Eco II Tech Full Review

Get the latest price at:
columbiasportswear.co.uk

 

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L

Price: £300
Weight: 640g
Best for: Day-to-day wear, hiking, scrambling, climbing
Key attributes: Great value, durable, protective, eco-friendly fabrics

The last Patagonia Torrentshell went down well with Outdoors Magic gear testers when it was released a few years ago. ‘A sturdy, no-nonsense jacket at a great price,’ were the exact words used. Now for 2020, Patagonia have released a brand new variation of it, switching it up from a 2.5 layer waterproof construction to a 3 layer.

That previous Torrentshell, like all 2.5 layer waterproof jackets, featured an outer fabric, a waterproof membrane underneath it and then a backer layer that was laminated or sprayed on. 3-layer constructions, like this new update, use an extra layer of fabric for the backer. This not only adds to the overall durability of the jacket but it also helps to prevent the membrane from getting clogged up by your sweat and lovely natural body oils.

The face fabric is made from 100% recycled fabrics, the sewing is Fair Trade Certified, the membrane uses 13% bio-based content and PU rather than the harmful ePTFE that the likes of Gore-Tex use. Finally there’s bluesign approval, meaning it conforms to a number of strict standards when it comes to environmental health and safety.

Full Specifications

Women’s XS-XL, men’s XS-XXL / 3L H2No Performance Standard waterproof fabric / two-way adjustable hood with laminated peak / storm flap-backed zipper / handwarmer pockets (left doubles as stuff sack) / pit zips / Velcro cuffs / toggled hem / Fair Trade sewing / bluesign approved / 100% recycled nylon face / 13% bio-based membrane.

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – Here’s our full Patagonia Torrentshell 3L review.

Get the latest price at:
webtogs.com

 

Rab Ladakh

Price: £340
Weight: 614g
Best for: Hiking, scrambling,
Key attributes: Gore-Tex, premium materials, proven performance

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. The Ladakh is one of Rab’s classic all-mountain waterproof jackets with a strong heritage. Its three-layer Gore-Tex fabric with C-Knit backer offers reduced weight, increased breathability and a smooth, soft-touch texture for next-to-skin comfort.

The two-way, deep-venting pit zips help improve moisture management and you also get an advanced, helmet-compatible mountain hood with an integrated wind collar, a laminated peak and windproof three-way adjustment. In addition to a secure internal zipped pocket, quick-stash storage comes from a zipped chest pocket with internal securing clip and a pair of harness-compatible YKK AquaGuard zipped hand pockets. Breathability is pretty good too, considering how durable, waterproof and windproof the Ladakh is.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s (XS-XXL) and women’s 8-16 / YKK AquaGuard Vislon front zip with internal storm flap / Three-way fully adjustable helmet compatible hood, with wired and laminated peak, roll down hood tab and wind collar / Recycled fabric with Gore C-Knit backer technology / Two YKK AquaGuard zipped hand pockets with internal securing clip / YKK AquaGuard zipped chest pocket / Two-way full venting YKK AquaGuard pit zips / Internal zip secure pocket / Fully adjustable cuffs & hem

Get the latest price at:
webtogs.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. 

Get the latest price at:
blackleaf.com

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.

Get the latest price at:
hellyhansen.com 

 

Montane Podium Pull On

Price: £110
Weight: 110g
Best for: Trail running, ultra marathons and fast packing
Key attributes: Ultra-light, good value

At just 110g, Montane’s Podium Pull On is an exceptionally lightweight waterproof jacket. It’s one of those options that’s designed to be barely noticeable in a pack (or when clipped onto your harness) while also being well capable of doing the job you need it to when it’s called upon.

The waterproof material Montane have opted for with the podium is a micro fabric called Aqua Pro Lite. It’s super, super thin. So thin it’s actually slightly transparent. Don’t worry, it’s not as fickle as it might sound. It actually feels slightly tougher than some similar jackets in its category. 

As you’d expect for something so light, this is pretty light on features. You get a hood that’s semi-elasticated around its rim, the hem is elasticated as well and so are the cuffs (slightly though). Then there’s that quarter-length zip which is made from water resistant YKK Aquaguard with a protective storm flap on the inside. 

Full Specifications

Unisex in sizes XS-XL / elasticated hood with slight stiffened peak / Aqua Pro Lite fabric / 15,000mm hydrostatic head / 15,000g/m2/24hrs MVTR / reflective details / elasticated hem.

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2020/21 – Here’s our full Montane Podium Pull On review.

Get the latest price at:
montane.co.uk

 

Cortazu Mountain Hardshell

Price: €399
Weight: 620g
Best for: Mountaineering, climbing, hillwalking, skiing
Key attributes: High spec materials, good features, part of layering system

This is a waterproof jacket that’s made for backcountry pursuits such as ski mountaineering, climbing and backpacking, but it also has a sleek, subtle look that would fit in on the daily commute. Is this thing going to keep you dry and comfortable in the mountains? You betcha. Cortazu have used Toray’s high spec Dermizax material here, a three-layer waterproof fabric that brings a hydrostatic head of 25,000mm and breathability rating of 25,000g/m2/24hrs. If those numbers don’t really mean much to you, they basically put this jacket up there with the big hitters. This material brings the feel of a durable, high quality Gore-Tex Pro jacket and it’s got just a touch of stretch to it too, so you won’t feel it’s hindering your movement at all.

Cortazu have decked their Mountain Hardshell out with features to support more demanding excursions. You get loads of pockets (including a lift pass arm pocket), a three-way adjustable slightly peaked hood that’s easily big enough to accommodate a helmet when required, and glove-friendly tabs for cuff and hem adjustment. The jacket also has two-way zipped ventilation at the armpits for when you’re working hard and need to dump heat and there’s a tiny RECCO reflector built into the fabric. The hardshell can also be integrated with Cortazu’s Mountain Mid Layer via zips to create a warm and dry layering system.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s (XS-XXL) and women’s (XS-XXL)/  Athletic fit and technical stretch for extra comfort / Three-layer Dermizax EV waterproof fabric / Breathable fabric / Internal Recco technology / Waterproof YKK AquaGuard zippers / Zip-in system to connect to Mountain Mid-Layer or Fleece / Armpit zippers for ventilation / Soft chin guard / Dropped hem at rear / Adjustable cuffs / Sleek shoulder anti-slip / Athletic sleeves / Taped seams / Laminated brim / Sunglass & goggle wiper / Ski pass pocket on sleeve

Read our full Cortazu Mountain Hardshell review

Get the latest price at:
cortazu.com



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