Mountain Hardwear Quasar Lite.
All of these attributes made it one of the more versatile models in our review where the outdoor activities that these models don't excel at are few and far between. Mountain Hardwear Quasar Lite. The Rab Kinetic Plus is a frontrunner among the new wave of stretchy, air permeable waterproof breathable fabrics. The double-layered hood and impressively stretchy material set the Kinetic Plus apart from others in our fleet, as the material is one of the stretchiest we have ever seen in a waterproof rain jacket.
In fact, the material looks and feels more like a softshell than a hardshell; rest assured, it is not a softshell and is plenty stormworthy and entirely waterproof. This model is an excellent option for anyone that needs a waterproof jacket where mobility is key. This advantage is amplified by its athletic fit, which was the slimmest fitting model we tested.
These qualities make it perfect for everyone from Nordic skiers to ice climbers; it's worth noting that folks planning to layer a fair amount underneath will want to consider sizing up. The Patagonia Storm Racer is notable for weight-conscience hikers, backpackers, and climbers and is an excellent just in case style layer.
Weighing in at a scant six ounces, this is the lightest and most compact shell we tested and is roughly half the weight of the majority of jackets we tested. It isn't feature-rich, lacking the several common designs such as lower hand pockets and Velcro closure wrist cuffs; however, despite this minimal design, our review team discovered solid performance in keeping the wearer dry, which is the primary purpose.
Carrying around a few extra ounces might not seem significant, and feature-rich jackets might seem more appealing in the store, but it is important to remember that all those additional features increase weight. While extra features might seem sweet, they won't do much living at the bottom of your pack.
Each year, more and more super light rain shells come out on the market, and this model is currently our favorite for the weight weanies out there. The Gore-Tex Paclite Outdoor Research Foray is a bomber rain jacket that seals out rain, snow, wind and proved to be one of the most durable products we tested. It provides excellent ventilation and excels at dumping heat during highly aerobic activities or for folks who simply run on the warm side. It goes far beyond pit zips and venting pockets and includes "torso flow pit-zips" that fully separate the sides of the jacket more attuned to a poncho, unzipping from the hem to your triceps down the sides of the jacket.
Not only that but the Foray was one of the most durable and stormworthy models we have seen. If you are going to be subjected to the elements for lengthy periods of time, you'd be much happier in this model than several of the lighter ones in our review. If you seek a product that could cross over into the durable hardshell category and highly value ventilation features, the Foray might be for you. The Black Diamond Fineline offers better overall functionality than a majority of superlight rain shells and sports outstanding freedom of movement; in this regard, it's an excellent rain jacket for climbers.
It is one of the lightest and most compressible models in our fleet and has been constructed with a stretchy fabric, which is cut to be climbing focuses in that it is harness friendly.
It's a favorite for our testers that are climbers, trail runners, or those that participate in other outdoor activities where solid mobility and a small, packed volume are appreciated. The Fineline offers more weather resistance and breathability than most super light or similarly priced models, though we found the Patagonia Storm Racer offered better breathability and similar mobility at a marginally lighter weight.
We researched over 70 potential models before narrowing it down to the 17 finalists that you see in our review. We purchased each model and put each of them through an intensive testing process, which you can learn more about below and in our How We Test article. Our review team took each model into the field for real-world performance testing, as well as specific side-by-side comparisons in a more controlled environment AKA a shower, a stationary bike, and pulling hoods over lots of different types of headwear.
Our ratings are based on the most critical factors you should you consider when trying to decide which model is best for your needs.
Below you'll find descriptions of each of our evaluation metrics, as well as information about the top performers and how they compare to one another. For more specific comparisons, such as each model's hood cinch performance or exact hem adjustments, see each product's review. One of the most common concerns we hear from our friends and readers is: There's no denying that it's easy to drop of a lot of money on outdoor apparel and few product categories offer as wide of a price range as waterproof jackets.
Below we clarify what the discrepancies between some of the budget picks and the higher-end options actually are and how they may, or may not, be a factor for you.
We also do our best to specifically answer the question in our individual reviews on want you are specifically getting by spending more money on a higher-end option versus a lower end model, and what we found to be marketing and hype. That's a pretty significant jump. A large part of that has to do with the materials that some of the higher end models use. There is loads of engineering going into Gore-Tex, eVent, and even some proprietary fabrics, and those drive up the overall cost.
As you can see from the graph below, there is almost a direct correlation between price and performance for these items. This is not always the case by the way! If you are specifically looking for a budget pick that also performs well, look for items that run on the bottom of the Y-axis price but are still far along the X-axis score.
While not as high-performing as a number of the more expensive models, they performed pretty darn well overall and are no doubt incredibly functional while costing a fraction of the price.
A rain jacket's most important job is to keep its wearer dry; whether hiking, backpacking, ski-touring, alpine climbing, or just plain out walking the dog, this is obviously this piece of equipment's primary job. As a result in our scoring metrics, this was the most heavily weighted category, at 30 percent. There are many types of waterproof fabrics and treatments that manufacturers use in the jackets we tested, and heaps of laboratory testing has been done to quantify precisely how waterproof each of these specific coated or laminated materials are.
However, the critical bit to understand is that all of the products tested are water-resistant enough to use as a rain shell.
All of the models tested feature a waterproof fabric more on what makes a material impervious in our buying advice , that is a shell fabric that is seam-taped after sewing, creating a completely sealed envelope. What differentiates each model's performance is the design of the hood, cuffs, pocket and front-zip closures, and pit zips, or other vents, as well as the longevity of DWR and subsequent ability to resist wetting out after extended periods of hours or weeks of use.
Rain is not going to penetrate any of these fabrics directly; however, in a downpour, running water can seek its way in through a pocket, down your wrist if you happen to reach overhead, or where the hood meets your neck. Besides the real-world use of all of these models, we also stood in a shower for four minutes in each jacket and got a spray down with the garden hose to help find potentially problematic spots.
All contenders have wrist cuffs that can be cinched down on the wrist with Velcro closures, and all hoods sealed well around the face and chin. Another important component of a jacket's water resistance is its durable water repellent DWR treatment. This treatment is factory applied to the fabric's exterior and allows it to bead and shed water. Even though nylon and polyester are hydrophobic, if they aren't treated with a DWR or after the treatment wears off , they "wet out" , or become covered with a continuous film of water.
This result is greatly reduced breathability, a feeling of damp or clamminess, and a slight increase in weighing. Our water resistance metric measured how well each contender keeps its wearer dry from the outside, while our breathability and ventilation metric quantifies how well each one keeps you dry from the inside by allowing sweat to escape.
First and foremost we researched and tested each fabric's breathability to the best of our ability, and this is undoubtedly where waterproof technologies distinguish themselves from each other. All of these multi-layered fabrics are breathable, meaning they allow water vapor to be wicked through the material to the outside, where it can evaporate.
Secondly, we also tested and studied how well the ventilation features performed in general, and more importantly, how open we could have the vents while hiking, trail running, and backpacking in the rain. Anyone can drench themselves in sweat while wearing too many layers underneath a shell and while working hard or charging uphill.
We've overheard too many people saying that their jacket doesn't breathe enough for their needs, but in many of these cases, these folks are simply wearing too many layers. As a result, they are sweating more than necessary and might be needlessly sweating more than the given jacket can handle.
All of the contenders reviewed here allow moisture to pass through them; however, none of them allow an infinite amount of moisture to pass through them, and all have a limit. Remember that you can even drench a lightweight t-shirt if you're working hard enough. Set yourself up for success and wear the minimum layers you can get away with while using the vents to maximize the air exchange, dump heat, and allow moisture to escape.
To the highest degree, a garment's breathability is a direct result of the waterproof fabric itself, as well as the material it has been constructed with or bonded to all of the jackets in this review are constructed with multiple layers. In our review, the difference in face fabrics the outer fabric that you can actually see, and no, that isn't the waterproof part or the interior-most layer of material didn't vary significantly in thickness and thus, didn't affect breathability as much as construction style and the waterproof membrane itself.
Air permeable is a new buzzword and a technical term that is a feature of many of the new wave of stretchy proprietary waterproof jackets that have recently surged onto the market.
Air permeable is exactly that; air can pass through the fabric itself. This means that on a micro-level, these models aren't technically windproof. Some people are concerned about this, but for the most part, they feel windproof, and it takes a pretty darn strong breeze to become chilled.
However, the common misconception is that because a given model might be air permeable, people assume it must be more breathable than a non-air permeable jakcet such as Gore-Tex or eVent , but the truth is that this isn't always the case. In fact, several air permeable models aren't able to pass as moisture as high-end non-air permeable fabrics like Gore-Tex or eVent.
The notable advantages of air permeable fabrics are they do tend to be cooler feeling because there is some air always creeping its way in and out.
The other, and we feel the most significant difference, between air permeable and more traditional materials, are they don't require a big difference in temperature to breathe well. Most waterproof breathable fabrics require a large temperature difference to work; they need to be warmer on the inside and cooler on the outside, which creates the pressure differential that drives the moisture to move.
This isn't a problem most of the time, unless you are sweating and you stop moving for a chunk of time and cool off, or are in a hot, humid climate where there is no temperature differential at all. Q Elite being extremely close feeling. We didn't find those top tier of fabrics far more breathable, but after side-by-side testing and real-world use, there was enough of a difference that our review team could feel easily recognize the distinction.
While those previously listed fabrics weren't radically different from each other, we found a more noticeable difference in breathability than all of the coated membranes featured on the more price-pointed models.
When considering and comparing different ventilation options, as well as a model's overall breathability, it is important to remember that these two design aspects, while related, are not equal. Between the two, a fabric's breathability is more important than ventilation. The reason is that when it's pissing rain or even post rain on brushy trails, you'll want to batten down the hatches by closing pit-zips and cinching up the hood to keep the water out, even if it means trapping some of your body-made-moisture in.
The bottom line is when working or recreating in stormier weather, the more active your endeavors, the more significant the importance of breathability becomes.
In lighter drizzle or in the time between cloudbursts when you want to continue wearing your jacket for wind protection or as part of your layering system, ventilation can be a valuable way to move moisture and dump heat. Pit zips, various other zippered ventilation designs and mesh-lined pockets all have their place.
The bottom line remains that ventilation, while undoubtedly important, takes a backseat to breathability for practical, real-world use because it is rare that you can open vents all-the-way-up when it's raining hard enough to need to put your rain jacket on. We tested the breathability of these jackets in real-world use while hiking, backpacking, climbing, and ski touring. We researched the actual volume of water each fabric can pass and performed a series of side-by-side stationary bike and minute stair master test thanks, Vertical World Seattle to better compare and analyze breathability.
We conducted the tests several times, comparing models with lots of ventilation options, keeping vents completely closed, partially open, and completely open. The Drypoint is slightly less steamy inside than other high-end performers during high-energy activities and is way more breathable than basic models, as to be expected.
With that said, it's worth noting that the Outdoor Research Interstellar , Mountain Hardwear Quasar Lite , and Rab Kinetic Plus were all close during testing of our all-zipped-up breathability comparison. The Outdoor Research Foray earned an extremely good score in this metric; it has above average breathability but also possesses what is likely the best ventilation options of any model we tested.
TorsoFlo is basically two long zippers one on each side that extend from the hem of the jacket to the wearer's triceps mid-upper arm ; this allows the jacket to be opened to a variety of degrees and to share a similar feeling to that of a poncho. Among coated jackets, the Marmot PreCip and The North Face Venture 2 received respectable scores for breathability and offered decent venting options. While their fabrics weren't as breathable as the previously mentioned models, they feature larger than average pit zips and lower hand pockets, which when left over, dumped more heat than you'd think.
No matter what activities you have planned, you want a jacket that moves comfortably with you and doesn't get in the way of whatever you may be trying to accomplish. In the mobility portion of this metric, our review team compares how well each model moved with its user and how restrictive it may have been both in general and for specific applications. We explicitly compared things such as how well a model's hood maintained peripheral vision and how well it moved with our heads.
We also compared each model with our arms facing straight forward, straight up, and straight out to the sides. We also measured how much each jacket pulled back from our wrists and if the hem of the jacket pulled up. In the comfort portion of this metric, we took into account the small features that made the jacket more comfortable to wear and how easy they were to use , as well as a given model's entire feeling. We noted small features, like a microfleece patch at the chin or soft fabric where the hood rests on your brow - both nice touches.
We also considered the ease of use of each feature, comparing cinch cords for the hood and how easy to access and adjust they were. Some jackets add larger fabric pull tabs to the zipper rather than small pieces of cord to ease operating with cold fingers or gloves. While there are lots of rain jackets that are part of the new wave of stretchier and stretchier waterproof shells, these two were the stretchiest we have seen. Both offered the best mobility in our review by far, though it is worth mentioning here, they're geared a little differently.
The Kinetic has an ultra slim fit aimed towards more technical persists, and the Quasar has room to layer and is a little more of an all-arounder. All of these models featured mobility-oriented-designs and offered good range-of-motion that was just a small cut below the two models mentioned in the previous paragraph. The Marmot Phoenix sported above average movement and The North Face Venture 2 , while baggy, didn't limit our mobility much at all.
The effectiveness of each model's hood at keeping our heads dry while not chaffing our chins or cutting off our peripheral vision varied wildly among models. Also in this group and of note was the Rab Kinetic Plus which featured an internal elastic band that is designed to ride over the wearer's forehead, acting as an internal gasket to the main hood. As crazy as this sounds, and trust us, most of our review team was quite skeptical, it turned out to be super comfortable and effective, doing a top-notch job of maintaining peripheral vision.
From beanies to baseball caps, each one of these jackets featured hoods that cinched down over a range of headwear, maximizing the hood's ability to turn with its users head instead of turning into it. For some users, light is right, and weight is everything. We value lightweight clothing and gear, but not at the expense of the functionality of a given piece of equipment for its required tasks.
If you're thru-hiking 2, miles, climbing technical terrain, or riding your bicycle from coast to coast, weight may be your primary concern. Around town, weight is less significant and keeping your hands cozy may take priority. For backpacking and mountaineering, weight is important but so is staying comfortable for a week with rain forecasted every day.
The Patagonia Storm Racer is the lightest model tested, weighing in at an impressive six ounces. That's half the weight or even less of most of the jackets reviewed. If weight is your primary concern, this contender is pretty hard to beat and is one of the lightest waterproof breathable models currently available.
While the Storm Racer isn't feature-rich, it has many of the features that the majority of people find valuable, such as above-average mobility, a well-designed hood, and a tiny stuff pocket with a clip-in loop. A very close contender for this title of the lightest model tested was the Outdoor Research Helium II. Its only real drawback is that the Storm Racer offers more breathability, mostly due to its stretchy fabric and marginally better overall mobility.
The next lightest contenders tested were the Black Diamond Fineline eight ounces , which for being only 1. At some point, we've all been caught in a storm, getting soaked when we left our jacket at the then-sunny trailhead. These just-in-case packing scenarios are when having a super light, and compact rain shell is useful. Grab it from the car, throw it in your pack, and forget it until you need it. Seven of these jackets stuff into one of their own pockets and others can be rolled and stuffed into their hoods.
Our rating for packed size considers not only the compressed size, but the ease of using the integrated stuff pocket. Some of these jackets compress quite small, but it requires wrestling to get them stowed; others fit comfortably into their stuff pocket. A clip-in loop for use after the jacket has been stuffed is a nice feature that many climbers or hikers will appreciate and use at some point; check the individual reviews for this detail, as well as a photo of each beside a 1-liter Nalgene bottle.
The Outdoor Research Interstellar was decent, but its stuff sack pocket did a poor job of minimizing its volume, though this doesn't matter much if you just squeeze it into your pack. Among the price-pointed models, the Marmot Precip offered the most compact size.
The products in our review range from bare-bones designs to fully featured models. For some adventures, super light is right, but more often, a few pockets and pit zips contribute enough utility for the extra ounces not to matter. If you are wearing your jacket around town, room in the pockets for a pair of gloves and a warm hat, plus phone and keys is always nice.
Some folks like to use a rain hat; a hood that rolls away and stows can be appreciated. Having a few pockets on your jacket is useful. Besides the use of storing small items and having a convenient place to keep your hands warm, their location can affect the comfort of the jacket.
Having low hand warmer pockets are great for around town but can be a nuisance while wearing a harness or heavy pack. When out on adventures that require wearing a pack, when a majority of the jacket's pocket is under a weighted hip-belt, whether out for the day or an extended trip, the pocket's zipper can dig into your hips, making your rainy-day outing even more miserable.
We love pockets that are higher and out of the way of a pack's hip-belt or a harness, so we can still access items and, more importantly, so the zipper doesn't cause us pain under heavy loads. For less technical applications, low pockets are slightly more helpful and more comfortable for keeping your hands warm. A rain jacket needs to stand up to the demands you place on it. We know everyone would like their rain jacket to last an eternity, but in reality, many users might be better off going with a lighter weight model that they will use infrequently and simply carry around a good chunk of the time.
The chart below shows each jacket's durability score in our review. Gloves in 1 and 3 pair packs. Rated 5 out of 5 by jillkm from Great prices and quality I have purchased these rain coats several times for the employees and they are pleased with the quality. It is hard to find anything but yellow and since we are a salvage yard and the employees working in the yard get pretty dirty and greasy the black color suits our needs much better.
Rated 5 out of 5 by Mike in Michigan from Great Value! Great to have in the trunk of a car or behind the seat of a truck. All people have been caught unexpectedly in a rainstorm. This is a great thing to have for that occasion.
I'm frugal and I thinks it's worth having. Rated 4 out of 5 by Tera from Great for the price! I bought this rain coat to fit over my winter coat. I fits over everything despite how many layers I have on. It is a simple raincoat - nothing fancy - but great for the price. Rated 5 out of 5 by Razor from Great Fit, Great price I have been looking for an inexpensive raincoat and rarely see one in this price range. The quality of the material is better than expected and the size was a true XL.
Rated 5 out of 5 by adtek from Very light and comfortable This is my second purchase. I ordered two the first time to see if they were any good. Inexpensive, makes cost effective. Rated 5 out of 5 by ADD1 from Perfect Fit I recently purchased this particular coat for my mom because she is taller than I am, and she loves it, great fit and color, shipping was fast Date published: Rated 4 out of 5 by Betty from definitely man's sizing I bought the 4XXXL raincoat to fit over my winter coat because I use a walker and cannot hold an umbrella.
Rain jackets designated as “water-resistant” do not prevent rain from penetrating fabric, but they delay seepage. These jackets are breathable and lightweight. For full protection, go for a waterproof jacket, which is treated with various laminates and coatings for full water repellency. Style: Waist-length, slim-cut rain jackets are perfect for dodging puddles on a morning run. Shop for Men's Rain Jackets at REI - FREE SHIPPING With $50 minimum purchase. Top quality, great selection and expert advice you can trust. % Satisfaction Guarantee. Stay dry with a men's trench coat, rain coat, or rain jacket. For men who want quality trench coats & rain coats, visit Men's Wearhouse today!