There’s nothing better than spending time outdoors, but depending on where you live the weather doesn’t always cooperate with your desire for fun out in the sun. When rain clouds come out, you might have to adjust or cancel your plans altogether just to keep yourself dry.
That’s why it’s important to make sure your closet contains at least one great rain jacket that you can wear for outdoor adventures. Having a good jacket is much better than an umbrella in lots of situations where you might want to keep your hands free while you stay dry, such as hiking, camping, or other outdoor activities.
Picking out a good jacket can mean the difference between a fun time outdoors and a time spent worrying about what clouds might be peaking out over the horizon. But with so many options on the market, it’s not always easy to know which jacket is going to be best for your needs. This guide is meant to help you zero in on the exact jacket that will best suit your needs.
We’ve assembled some of the best rain jackets online and here we’ll break down all their good and bad qualities so you can make an informed decision. These are the 8 best rain jackets for 2019.
When reading this list, bare in mind that we’re focusing on jackets that are suited for outdoor activities. So long cotton or wool coats, while they do a great job of keeping you dry, have not made it to this list. We’re looking specifically at jackets that were designed to be worn during outdoor activities.
You should also know that this list will contain a mix of jackets designed for men, jackets designed for women, and unisex jackets. We’ll try to keep a roughly even balance so anyone looking for a jacket can find something here.
With that being said, let’s take a look at the best rain jackets of 2019!
This simple jacket from North Face is one of the best you can find on the market. Its synthetic material shell works great to keep you dry, and the jacket itself is stylish enough that you’ll be happy to wear it in any situation. This jacket comes in a variety of colors and represents a great budget-friendly option from a legendary producer of outdoor gear.
Like a lot of the jackets, we’ll look at here, this is just a waterproof shell with a couple of pockets. It does not have any sort of lining which means it won’t keep you warm in cold weather all on its own.
- Lightweight and very stylish
- Great material
- Good waterproofing process
- Warranty only available if purchased through a licensed reseller
Why it’s on this list: The North Face makes excellent gear and you can trust this jacket to keep you dry.
This jacket from Viking is very basic, but that’s not always a bad thing. This product is made from polyester which makes it totally waterproof and windproof. It has two big side pockets and one phone pocket that sits up towards the shoulder and is very convenient to use.
The Torrent even has some reflective material piped around the outside of it, which is something I love to see. It’s not much material, but it could help keep you safe in low lighting.
- Simple waterproof shell
- Phone pocket
- Nice good
- Not very breathable
Why it’s on this list: Viking has made an excellent no-frills jacket.
Columbia’s Switchback line has been solid in each of its iterations and the III is no different. This simple shell comes with the standard zippered side pockets and sleeves that can be cinched up with Velcro. This jacket also has a stowaway hood that can be folded into the jacket itself when not in use. That makes for a versatile item that can be used for long periods of time even when it isn’t currently raining.
One thing to know about this jacket is that some users have reported issues with the seams holding up poorly over time. These do not appear to be common issues, but you should check out your jacket before using it.
- Lots of fun colors
- Comfortable to wear for long periods of time
- Stowaway hood
- Wear and tear issues
Why it’s on this list: It’s great to have a rain jacket that you’ll be happy to wear on sunny days as well, and that’s exactly what you get here.
Rain jackets do their best when the manufacturer thinks of ways to seal the user off from any water that could potentially leak inside. The North Face has done a great job at that here, providing a great hood and a front zipper with a doubled up piece of material to keep everything sealed away. This is the jacket for you if you want to have long sessions outdoors without having to worry about getting wet.
- Excellent waterproofing system
- Very well thought out design
- Available in lots of fun colors
- Pretty plain design
- Not very breathable
Why it’s on this list: The North Face makes fantastic products and this jacket is no different.
The Roam from Marmot is a jacket meant for more serious outdoor enthusiasts. A lot of technology has gone into this fabric and has really paid off. The roam is completely waterproof but still breathable, meaning it is ideal for your next hike or climb.
One thing to like here is the way the front zipper is doubled up with a Velcro closing to make sure it’s also protected by the waterproofing. You’ll have no risk of getting wet with this in your pack. Plus with such strong material, you can have confidence that this jacket will last for a long time.
- Waterproof yet breathable material
- Adjustable hood with good face coverage
- Can be machine washed
- Only available in a few different colors
- A bit warmer than most shell jackets
Why it’s on this list: Marmot makes gear for serious outdoor enthusiasts. This jacket does a great job keeping the water away all day long
This jacket is a bit different than the other, more simple design that we’ve seen come into fashion in the men’s jacket world. Most jackets today focus on doing just one layer of fabric to keep everything light. Swisswell has gone the opposite by adding a layer of mesh, once a very common feature to these jackets.
The addition of the mesh is nice, it helps keep things a bit cooler and stops the jacket from sticking to your skin in the rain. This is a comfortable jacket made out of good material.
- Innovative design
- Additional mesh layer
- Easily packs up small
- Waterproofing is not the best
Why it’s on this list: This bag is very waterproof while still being lightweight and packable.
The Lainey jacket from Lole has some great features for anyone who needs to keep their jacket at the ready as they travel. This rain jacket comes with its own carrying case and has been specially designed to hold up well even after being smooshed up into this tiny little space over and over.
The system works great – this jacket does a good job of keeping the wearer dry and it manages to have all the features you’d expect even while being packable.
One major thing to keep in mind, though, is that this jacket is not meant to be repacked while still wet. That should be obvious, but it is easy to absent-mindedly try to pack it away while still wet and that can lead to a mildew-covered jacket.
- Packs away incredibly small
- Great waterproofing
- Low-profile front zipper
- Must remember not to pack when wet
Why it’s on this list: If you’re a frequent traveler, it’s great to be able to keep a tiny little jacket like this in your bag for use when unexpected storms come up.
The Sonar from Under Armour is one of the top rain jackets you might want to try. It does an excellent job of keeping you dry without sacrificing any breathability, which means this is great for using in warm, rainy weather.
There is something a bit strange here, which is that the jacket is designed to radiate some of the wearer’s heat and keep them warm. That might make you think it’s good to use in the cold but that is not the case. The warming is just not very robust and this is more of a shell than anything else.
- Great polyester material that keeps all water out
- Very stylish
- Does not keep the wearer warm, as the manufacturer claims
Why it’s on this list: The Sonar is an excellent jacket for someone who wants to be very active as they travel outdoors.
When looking at rain jackets you might want to purchase, it’s important to consider a few key factors that can help you determine which one is best for you. Typically the jackets you’ll find are what we call ‘shells,’ meaning that you’re just getting a thin outer layer that keeps water out. If you’re looking for a jacket with some sort of lining that will also keep you warm, you’ll really want to just find a winter jacket that is waterproof, not necessarily a rain jacket.
This does bring up another important point when buying a shell. You should consider whether you’ll be wearing this shell on its own in warm weather, or as part of a layer system in cold weather. If you’ll be doing the latter, make sure that you get a size big enough to accommodate any other layers you’ll be wearing with it.
You’ll also want to consider the balance between waterproofing and breathability. While some manufacturers claim otherwise, the truth is that waterproof systems do a bad job of circulating air and that can make your jacket swampy on the inside after hours of use. Pay attention to features that seek to mitigate this problem.
In terms of materials, you actually won’t see too wide a variety in the rain jacket world. Most products are made from polyester or some other synthetic material. You sometimes find companies with proprietary blends that only they use.
Personally, I always want to have a hood option with my rain jacket, but some people do prefer to have just the bottom part of the jacket without the hood. For that reason, both options are available. Make sure you note whether or not your jacket has an attached hood before buying.
Pockets are interesting when it comes to rain jackets. Even in a very well waterproofed jacket, the items you place in the pocket will tend to get damp in heavy rain. Some jackets come with specially lined pockets that are meant to be better about keeping contents dry, but that is not very common among jackets today.
Note the way the front zipper is shielded on each jacket. Some jackets have an additional flap of material that’s meant to sit over the zipper and keep the seam from being a place where water can seep in. This is only really needed in very heavy rain situations, but it can really mean the difference when it comes up.
Buying a rain jacket is very important because the right one can last for years and years of outdoor fun. Whatever jacket you choose, make sure you take care of it by allowing it to completely dry out before storing it away. Doing this and keeping track of all the seams and zippers can help keep your investment safe.
With all the excellent options available on the market, you’ll definitely be able to find a jacket you can love. Pick one out and you’ll be all set to stay dry.