The Best Waterproof Jackets 2016-17
We put this year’s best waterproof jackets to the test. Here’s what we discovered...
Buying a new waterproof jacket seems like an straight-forward task, one you could happily do during your lunch break. Then you start doing the research and suddenly you realise there are dozens of outdoor brands to choose from - all with an astonishing array of jackets made using different technologies. But which one is right for you?
"Whether you are a trail runner or a snowboarder, we’ve got the best jacket for you"
First of all, you need to think about which sport you need your jacket for. Are you a keen road cyclist who also likes hiking in the Lake District? Or are you an alpine mountaineer who wants the warmest jacket money can buy? Next, your budget. How much are you willing to spend on your jacket? And thirdly, what are the most important features for you?
Our team have reviewed and tested the following products, carefully selecting the best outdoor waterproof jackets on the market this winter. So whether you are a trail runner or a snowboarder, we’ve got the best jacket for you here.
Scroll down to view all jackets, or skip to a particular brand using the links below.
Alpkit | Arc’teryx | Berghaus Extrem | Berghaus VapourLight | Burton | Columbia | Eider | Finisterre | Fjällräven | Marmot | Montane | Mountain Equipment | Mountain Hardwear | Páramo Ciclo | Páramo Velez | Patagonia | The North Face Flight Series | The North Face FuseForm
All photographs by Dan Milner
Alpkit Balance Hardshell Jacket
If you are a looking for light, versatile waterproof jacket, look no further than Alpkit’s Balance Hardshell. Whether you are trail running in the Alps or bikepacking through Scotland, this jacket is perfect for throwing in your bag and pulling on during a downpour.
The Balance Hardshell is a no-frills, three-layer waterproof jacket with two large pockets and an adjustable hood. The design is simple and the price is very reasonable for a high quality hardshell. What more could you ask for?
Arc’teryx Alpha SV Jacket
When you are clinging to the icy face of a mountain in a severe snowstorm, you want a jacket that is going to keep you bone-dry. Arc’teryx are the masters of high-quality, durable mountain gear suitable for the most extreme weather conditions.
The Alpha SV is one of their best hardshell jackets made with triple-layer Gore-Tex. It’s not only waterproof but highly breathable. This jacket is made with micro-seams which means it is incredibly light, weighing in at a mere 490g. The mid-length cut works with a climbing harness as well as allowing enough room for layers underneath.
Berghaus Extrem Ramche 2.0 Down Jacket
It’s not often you’ll find a down jacket that can withstand torrential rain. Berghaus teamed up with waterproofing product company Nikwax to create one of the most water-resistant down jackets on the market. It is filled with Hydrodown instead of duck or goose feathers, which means it repels water for up to 16 hours.
Berghaus have also used body-mapping technology to make sure the down is keeping your body warm in the right places. While typically a mountaineering jacket, you could wear the Berghaus Extrem Ramche 2.0 on a wet winter’s hike in the Lake District or even just down to the shops.
Berghaus VapourLight Hyper Smock 2.0 Trail Running Jacket
Looking for a waterproof jacket that’s lighter than an iPhone? Introducing the Berghaus VapourLight Hyper Smock 2.0. Weighing just 86g, it is one of the lightest waterproof jackets in the world. When they says that it’s vapour light, they weren’t lying.
It is designed specifically for trail runners who want a waterproof yet highly breathable jacket while pacing up and down mountains in inclement weather. It’s not suited for all day wear, but great for those unexpected downpours.
Burton AK Cyclic 2L Jacket
Burton’s AK Cyclic jacket is ideal for snowboarders who want a top-of-the-range technical jacket with an element of steeze. Their AK range is made for the backcountry with two-layer Gore-Tex and a moisture wicking liner to draw sweat away from your body while skinning up. With fully taped seams and waterproof zippers, this jacket is made to withstand anything Mother Nature throws at it. There are also plenty of pockets to store all your gear/snacks plus headphone loops for when you need some tunes to get you stoked.
Columbia Women’s OutDry Extreme Gold Down Jacket
Traditional down jackets lose their insulating qualities when wet, but not the Columbia OutDry Extreme Gold. It’s a totally waterproof down jacket, covered with Columbia’s signature OutDry Extreme material which is both waterproof and breathable. So you can wear this down jacket hiking in the pouring rain or skiing in a storm without worrying about ruining it. With 700 fill power down, you are also guaranteed to stay toasty warm.
Eider Shaper Jacket
Eider are known for making functional outdoor gear with a hint of elegance. After all, the company was founded by a French tailor, so what would you expect? The Shaper jacket is a high-quality skiing jacket, designed to protect you from the harshest winter conditions.
One of our favourite features is the ‘Fix A Shape’ hood and collar which covers your lower face without restricting your movement. Ideal when you are wearing a helmet and also for men who don’t want icicles in their beard. It has a more fitted feel compared to a baggy snowboarding jacket which alpine skiers often prefer.
Finisterre Nimbus Jacket
Finisterre are best known for pioneering the coldwater surf movement, creating waterproof jackets and fleeces for surfers who ride waves in cold Northern Europe.
Their Nimbus jacket is one of their most popular jackets. It’s an insulated jacket filled with recycled Primaloft which stays warm even when wet. You can wear this jacket hiking in Wales, after surfing or even to a pub in the city and it wouldn’t look out of place.
Fjällräven Keb Eco-Shell Jacket
If you want a solid waterproof jacket that’s both functional and good-looking, check out Fjällräven’s Keb Eco-Shell. After extensive testing, Fjällräven came up with a material called Eco-Shell that is not only environmentally-friendly but highly waterproof. It is made from recycled polyester with a waterproof membrane. It’s simple in design but will see you through even the wettest of days in the British Isles.
Marmot Astrum Jacket
When the weather isn’t quite cold enough for a fully insulated jacket but you need some warmth and protection from the elements, it’s time to pull out a soft shell jacket, like the Marmot Astrum.
It’s made from a new stretchy material called Thermal R Active which is both highly breathable and lightweight. The arms have lots of extra room for movement, making it perfect for climbing and ski touring. It’s covered in a waterproof repellent so rain will bead off the surface nicely.
Montane Endurance Pro Jacket
British brand Montane are known for making some of the best kit for climbers and alpinists - they dress the British Antarctic Survey team and Mountain Rescue teams across the UK. Their Endurance Pro jacket is a great hardshell for all inclement mountain weather. It’s beefed up with two different deniers of Gore-Tex, plus a helmet compatible hood, waterproof electronics pocket and a ‘beard guard’ to protect that all-important facial fuzz from the wind, rain and snow.
Mountain Equipment Prophet Jacket
If you are looking for a belay jacket that’ll stay warm even when wet, take a look at the Mountain Equipment Prophet jacket. It’s a tough belay jacket that is made with a new material from Gore-Tex that is properly insulated called Gore Thermium.
While it’s not 100 per cent waterproof, it will hold up in wind, rain and even light snowfall. It is filled with lightweight PrimaLoft that will keep you warm when belaying your friend on a cold, craggy ledge.
Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded RS Jacket
Down jackets were traditionally designed to keep you warm in very cold yet dry conditions. Technology is now changing however, so down jackets not only keep you warm but are resistant to inclement weather as well.
Mountain Hardwear’s StretchDown jacket is a great example of this new technology put into practice. The down fill is treated with Q.Shield which makes it water resistant. It also binded with incredibly strong stitching, so you can reach for a high hold without worrying your jacket will tear. Perfect for winter climbers and mountaineers.
Páramo Ciclo Light Jacket
Páramo’s Ciclo Light is a waterproof road cycling specific jacket, designed for long days on the saddle. Unlike other companies, Páramo favour a waterproof material called Directional Fabric Technology made by Nikwax which moves water away from the surface as liquid rather than vapour. The jacket has a number of features that make it excellent for long-distance cycling including a dropped tail, extra long sleeves and a helmet compatible hood plus large underarm zipper vents.
Páramo Velez Jacket
Just like the Ciclo Light jacket, the Velez is made with Directional Fabric Technology from Nikwax. The idea is it keeps you warm and waterproof while even when you sweating. It moves sweat away from the body quickly while remaining insulated, which is great for winter activities such as ice climbing or mountaineering. Additionally, the Velez jacket has long arms, a wired hood and chest pockets which also work as vents.
Patagonia Untracked Jacket
Patagonia make some of the best hardshell waterproof jackets for backcountry skiers and snowboarders in the world. Their most recent jacket - the Untracked - is designed for those who seek powder fields instead of lapping the piste.
Made with triple layer Gore-Tex, it’s windproof and waterproof plus lined with a soft-brushed fabric for warmth. Attention to detail is clear in the Untracked jacket. The zips are waterproof, there are big underarm vents in place and the hood is helmet compatible.
The North Face Flight Series Fuse Trail Running Jacket
The North Face have made a truly remarkable material called FuseForm, one fabric where the thickness can change without using any seams. Less seams means the jacket is more durable and lighter than ever before. This women’s trail running jacket has been created using FuseForm material with added perforated membranes in zones where you are more likely to sweat, allowing extraordinary breathability. It is water-resistant and windproof.
The North Face FuseForm Brigandine 3L Jacket
The North Face are known for creating some of the best mountain gear on the planet. The FuseForm Brigandine is their flagship snowsports jacket for this winter. Made with three-layers of FuseForm, their revolutionary new seamless material, this jacket is tougher than ever before, particularly in high stress areas such as shoulders, arms and zip pockets. It is waterproof, breathable and weighs just under 700g, making it very light for a ski jacket.