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Waterproof Jackets

6 of the Best Lightweight Waterproof Jackets 2016/17

We've picked out six of the top lightweight waterproof jackets to make your life less wet.

Here are six influential lightweight waterproof jackets on the outdoors market so you know what’s hot going into winter 2016/17.

The jackets are from a range of brands with various fabrics, functions and prices to give you an idea of what to look out for when parting wish your cash.

So what actually is a “lightweight” waterproof jacket? Well, there is no definitive answer by most jackets around the 500g mark or below are considered lightweight then anything below 200g is deemed ultra-lightweight. We’ve included both examples to give you an idea of the whole lightweight spectrum.

When it comes to garments this light, you’d assume there’s an obvious trade off with durability, and you’d be right to some extent, however, as technologies continue to improve there are more and more products with longer lives. In our round-up of six of the best we describe what fabrics are helping these lightweight waterproofs live for longer.

Arc’teryx Zeta AR Men’s Jacket

The Canadian brand’s latest all-round mountain waterproof shell jacket combines the breathability and waterproofness of Gore-Tex with the close-to-skin comfort of the Gore C-Knit technology.

When Arc’teryx launch a shell jacket, you’d expect it to be a serious piece of kit – the Zeta AR is no exception.

It’s built with the durable waterproof, windproof and highly breathable N70p 3L Gore-Tex fabric, but is super comfortable too with the addition of the Gore-Tex C-Knit Backer Technology.

Like all the brand’s previous shells, the Zeta has a very active, sporty cut and is well-equipped with adjustable hems and chords, plus a helmet-compatible hood. Not bad, ey? Quite pricey though.

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Montane Women’s Surge Jacket

The Cumbrian brand’s latest women-specific mountain shell, combining breathable Gore-Tex fabric with the Gore C-Knit Backer technology for added comfort.

Like the Arc’teryx Zeta, the Surge possess the strong combination of two Gore fabrics for optimum weather protection and the added bonus of next-to-skin comfort.

The 30 Denier Gore-Tex rip-stop fabric is as lightweight and breathable as you get on the outdoors market, while the increased stitch count on the seams deflects wind and in turn traps more heat.

The all-important cut has been very well managed too – the articulated elbow darts for a more ergonmoic fit and it also has a fully adjustable hood designed with any headwear. Fairly pricey, but it has a lot going for it.

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Alpkit Gravitas Jacket

The British brand has produced one of the world’s lightest waterproof jackets, designed for ‘fast and light activities like trail running, biking and adventure racing’.

Made with the super lightweight 47gsm layers fabric, the Gravitas is a 3-layer waterproof shell with a very simple but effective construction.

It packs away very small, is highly breathable, 100% windproof and most importantly can fend off downpours when most needed – possibly during an adventure race.

In fact, most features of the jacket have been minimilised including the seams, while there are also neat little features like semi-elastic cuffs so you can pull your sleeves up, quite literally. Overall, very decent jacket relative to price.

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Patagonia Men’s Torrentshell Jacket

The US brand’s answer to not getting wet, but not having to carry around something weighing you down, the Men’s Torrentshell Jacket is unashamedly made to be durable and versatile.

It’s a jacket that does “exactly what it says on the tin” with a decent, unpretentious look and made with the ultra-tough H2No Performance Standard protection 2-layer fabric.

You’d expect that a completely waterproof, windproof, breathable and recycled product to be pricey, well, it’s not – £100 is right at the bottom end of the scale.

And at only 343 grams, we’re talking pretty lightweight too, especially considering there’s a few extras like the welted exterior storm flaps and DWR-treated zips. What’s the catch? We’re not sure as of yet.

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Rab Flashpoint Jacket

Rab, a brand known for its outdoors protective wear, makes our top six with its lightest ever waterproof shell jacket – the Flashpoint – and we’re pretty excited about it.

It uses one of the lightest 3-layer fabrics on the market, Pertex Shield, which is designed to offer the ultimate balance of weight and performance.

The latest Flashpoint is the reincarnation of the slightly heavier past model, but this time around it remains fully featured – i.e. helmet compatible hood, AquaGuard zipped chest pocket and integrated stuff sack – but weighs just 185 grams.

That’s about the same weight as a large apple, and although it won’t give you your daily does of vitamin C, it will protect from downpours and keep you cool on the run.

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Jottnar Asmund

The Norwegian brand’s latest mountaineering shell is aimed at the serious adventurers among us, delivering on high performing fabrics, features and is still lightweight and packable.

Made from the world’s lightest grade of micro rip-stop Polartec NeoShell – a clever fabric that stops wind and water seeping in, but releases moisture into the atmosphere, so keeping you dry and cool.

For an active sport like mixed climbing, the participants need to have these high levels of breathability, while the Asmund has an improved, more athletic articulated cut for traversing the rocks.

Other features include an iPhone 6-sized pocket, glove compatible zip pulls and anti snag split hem draw cords. So when it comes to winter / mixed climbing, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better suite waterproof  3-layer shell.

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