The best rain jackets for fall, winter, and beyond (updated for 2018)

Here are all the best rain jackets on the market right now

Winter is just around the corner, bringing thoughts of cold days outside hiking, snowshoeing, skiing or snowboarding. While you’re itching to play in the snow, winter also brings the possibility of inclement weather. From cold rain to bone-chilling sleet, it’s likely there will be some sort of precipitation in the forecast.

Don’t let the fear of winter keep you from getting outside — there are plenty of waterproof shells to keep you dry no matter your outdoor pursuits. There is an abundance of worthy options on the market, from high-tech, lightweight shells to modern-looking, waterproof trench coats. Whether you’re running errands around town, heading into the great outdoors, running, biking, hiking or anything in between, we’ve got you covered. Put plainly, if you want to go outside and stay dry, these are the best waterproof jackets for the job. For more tips and advice on buying an outer shell, check out our buying guide which will help you navigate the features that set these jackets apart.

The best for winter hiking
Marmot Eclipse

best rain jackets marmot eclipse2

Thinking about taking a hike through the woods to enjoy some freshly fallen snow? Whether you’re traversing through forests or ascending hillsides, the Marmot Eclipse jacket keeps you dry while also offering excellent breathability and comfort. Unlike most shells that are coated with a DWR finish that eventually wears off, the Eclipse embeds the DWR treatment directly into the fabric. It lasts longer and won’t wash off to contaminate streams and lakes. The jacket also is constructed using recycled nylon in a process that minimizes water usage and is PFC-free.

Wind-proof, waterproof, and ultra warm, this lightweight and environmentally friendly shell makes for an awesome trekking jacket if you’re expecting sleet or snow on your ventures. Other features include zippered ventilation, a drawcord hem, and two roomy side pockets that won’t interfere with a backpack waist belt.

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The best lightweight
Outdoor Research Helium II

best rain jackets outdoor research helium ii fall 2018

If you’re looking for something lightweight (very, very lightweight), look no further than Outdoor Research’s Helium II. This award-winning rain jacket is a long-time favorite among outdoor enthusiasts and comes in styles for both men and women. Designed originally for rock climbers, it features a carabiner loop, reflective logos, and an elastic drawcord hem. At 6.4 ounces, the Helium is one of the lightest jackets currently available.

Furthermore, its compressibility makes it feel even lighter than it is, packing down to the size of an orange that easily fits into a stuff sack inner pocket. It also boasts YKK AquaGuard Zippers, a zip chest pocket, and an adjustable hood. To top it off, it dries extra fast, keeping you supremely protected from the elements.

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The best for biking
Showers Pass Refuge


Cold, wet weather is no match for the Refuge jacket by Showers Pass. Showers Pass may not be a household name, but in the cycling community, the brand is known for its high-quality waterproof and breathable gear. Unsurprisingly, the Refuge jacket has all the features you need in a cycling jacket and then some.

The 3-layer jacket is 100 percent waterproof with fully taped seams and 2-way YKK waterproof zippers. Underarm ventilation lets you cool off, while a reinforced shoulder allows you to wear a cycling pack without damaging the jacket. The jacket features 360 degrees of 3M Scotchlite reflective material for maximum visibility and removable hood large enough to fit over a helmet. Our only gripe is the location of the pit zips which are uncomfortably close to the pockets. We often found ourselves opening the vent shown we wanted to get into the pockets.

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The best for running
Arc’teryx Norvan SL Hoody

best rain jackets arc'teryx norvan hoody lifestyle

This is the time of year when runners need an extra layer to brave the elements so they can squeeze in a run. If you’re the type of athlete who prefers wide open spaces to a sweaty gym, then Arc’teryx’s Norvan makes a great running partner. Made specifically for trail-running, it features ShakeDry, a type of Gore-Tex technology that skips the face fabric, making the jacket lighter than other Gore-Tex shells. At 4.4 ounces, it’s even lighter than the Helium (the SL in its name stands for “super light”) and is nearly as compressible. The hood rolls back and snaps when you’re not using it and best of all, the jacket is airy and breathable.

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REI or Backcountry

The best men’s lifestyle
Mountain Hardwear ZeroGrand Trench Coat

best rain jackets mountain hardwear zerogrand trench lifestyle

Just because you want to stay dry doesn’t necessarily mean you want to look like you’re heading into the wilderness for two weeks. If what you’re after is a raincoat that keeps you from getting soaked but still looks stylish, this is the one. With Mountain Hardwear’s patented Thermal Q Elite insulation to keep it warm and a fully waterproof Stretch Ozonic shell, it keeps your work clothes from getting wet when you step outside. It’s even lightweight and compressible with elastic cuffs to block the wind — everything you need in an urban raincoat.

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REI Mountain Hardwear

The best women’s lifestyle
Toad & Co Overshadow 2.0 Trench

best rain jackets toad & co overshadow 2.0 tech

Even if it weren’t waterproof, this coat would still be a knockout. Chic and lightweight with a two-way front zipper, Toad & Co’s Overshadow 2.0 Trench also comes outfit with a hood that folds down into the collar with a quick and effortless snap. It’s tailored to be flattering to different figures and offers a drawcord at the waist to choose how loose-fitting (or not) it is. On top of that, it has the technical features needed to stay dr — fully sealed waterproof seams and 2.5-layer breathable laminate featuring a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish. Add to that an inside zipper to stash a smartphone or wallet and this is one of the best waterproof trench coats on the market.

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The best for snowshoeing
Black Diamond Stormline

best rain jackets black diamond stormline

The Black Diamond Stormline has all the little features that make it an outstanding jacket for snowshoeing. It has a roomy fit for layering and just the right sized hood for using without a helmet or with one if you also enjoy skiing. The hood has a stiff rim that keeps moisture away from your face and can cinch down to protect you from the driving wind and sleet. It only has back cinch for adjustment which closely quickly but doesn’t deliver the precise fit you get from front and back adjusters.

Great are repelling wind and water, the Stormline has a slight stretch that allows the coat to move with you. A coated main zipper and storm flaps on the side zippers will keep the elements out. When the heat from exertion dials up, the ample pit zips help cool you to the core.

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The best for backcountry pursuits
Arc’Teryx Beta AR

best rain jackets arcteryx beta ar jacket hardshell
The Arc’Teryx Beta AR is one of the best all around hard shells money can buy, but you’ll need a lot of that cash if you want to add this jacket to your winter kit. The $575 Beta AR has been a staple in Arc’Teryx’s lineup and is known for its Gore-Tex Pro waterproofing and rugged 80D and 40D fabric. It’s a winning combination that’ll withstand the harshest conditions winter can throw at you.

The Beta AR has a roomy hood that’ll fit a helmet and convenient drawcords that are easy to adjust even when the weather is inclement. The hood is seperate from the collar allowing it to wrap snugly around your neck. With a microsuede lining, it is one of the most comfortable and cozy collars we have tested. Other niceties include two-way zippers, ample underarm ventilation, and roomy side pockets that ride high so you can use them with a backpack.

The jacket falls at the hip with spacious and comfortable fit. Designed to be an all-arounder,  the beta AR is a verstaile jacket that’ll keep you warm and dry while bushwahcking or backcountry skiing.

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The best all-around
Outdoor Research Interstellar

best rain jackets outdoor research interstellar

Outdoor Research’s Interstellar jacket gets tops marks for its AscentShell technology which perfectly balances breathability and waterproofing. Rain, sleet and wet snow is no match for this 3-layer jacket. There are no pit zips for additional ventilation, but the jacket is so breathable you really don’t need them. If you want to let off some steam, you can unzip the side pockets which are backed by mesh allowing for airflow. The pockets do ride up high making them easy to access when you are wearing a backpack or climbing harness. There’s also a convenient chest pocket for storing small items.

Unlike most rain jackets which have a stiff and plastic feel, the 3-layer Interstellar coat is soft and supple to touch and has just the right amount of stretch to provide some freedom of movement. It has a nice fit that not as tight as a performance jacket and not as loose as a boxy coat. It’s simple styling that holds up well both on the trail and in everyday life.

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The best under $100
Eddie Bauer Cloud Cap Flex

Eddie Bauer Cloud Cap Flex

Want something that offers the bevy of tech features of pricier jackets at an affordable cost? This slick and stylish waterproof shell has recently been updated with stretch zones to offer a full range of movement, reducing that stiff-and-crinkly feeling some raincoats have. Built with Weatheredge technology, it feels light and breathable and if that’s not enough, it’s got pit zips to keep wearers cool if they start working hard. A coating of StormRepel DWR sheds water and the adjustable hood lets anyone go umbrella-free. Perhaps the best part is that it’s capable of being washed over and over again without losing its waterproof qualities. One of our favorite coats, without a doubt.

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Eddie Bauer

The most eco-friendly
Columbia Outdry Ex Eco

Columbia Outdry EX Eco jacket

Columbia’s Outdry Ex Eco 2-layer jacket is one of those rain shells that provides outstanding moisture protection when you need it most. Columbia was careful in designing the jacket using recycled plastics to manufacture the shell and skipping the dyeing process to save 13.5 gallons of wastewater in the manufacturing of each jacket. It also doesn’t use the PFC-based DWR waterproofing that can be harmful to the environment. As a result, the Ex Eco material feels different than other jackets, but that doesn’t affect performance. In our testing, the Outdry material is wholly waterproof and highly breathable.

The Ex Eco features a stiff-brimmed hood that keeps precipitation off a wearer’s face and is large enough to accommodate a helmet. DWR-treated zippers, an adjustable hem cord, and velcro cuffs combine to keep moisture from seeping in unexpectedly. The jacket wears warm at temps about 50 degrees and we wish it had pit zips for extra ventilation but at lower temperatures, its roomy cut is near perfect for layering.

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The best for alpine climbing
Patagonia Galvanized Jacket

Patagonia Men's Galvanized Jacket

The Patagonia Galvanized Jacket is the ideal jacket for cold weather climbs when the risk of wet weather is high. This waterproof jacket is plenty stretchy enough to provide for a full range of motion while climbing. Three layers of fabric provide for a degree of insulation for chilly fall temperatures or when ascending to high elevations. The trusty H2No Performance Standard shell guarantees complete waterproofing and breathability.

Three pockets with waterproof zippers compliment an attractive design that accommodates a backpack hip belt or climbing harness. The hood is equipped with a single cord-lock system that lets you adjust between a bare head and a helmet. There are fully venting pit zips for when you’re moving fast. The Galvanized is a fully featured jacket, complete with velcro adjustable inner cuffs with polyurethane liner that grips gloves, a hem drawcord, and a soft jersey knit liner.

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