Hikers love the great outdoors not just for its beauty and vastness, but also for its surprises. Part of the charm of the outdoors is that anything could happen.
However, unsavory weather can be a hamper no matter where you are. Ultimately, hiking without the right gear and apparel can be a huge inconvenience.
The right waterproof jacket can keep you dry, warm, and comfortable in rough weather conditions. And because we always want you to be comfortable, we’ve rounded up the best hiking waterproof jackets on the market right now for your consideration.
We’ve prioritized breathability, weather protection, and waterproofing capability in our research. Besides our selections, we have also drawn up an extensive buying guide.
Let’s get started!
5 Best Hiking Waterproof Jackets
After hours of research, we present to you our picks of the 5 best hiking waterproof jackets currently on the market. If you want to get an idea of our selection criteria, you can also scroll down to our buying guide.
We’re starting off our reviews with one of our top finds—while Gemyse might not be a brand you’ve heard of before, it’ll certainly live up to your expectations; here’s why.
This thing comes with a completely windproof shell made from a high-density material made from a polymer blend. The high-quality waterproof coating promises to keep you dry in any amount of rain, mist, or chill. So not only is it perfect for outdoor activities, it’s also very well suited to daily use.
Don’t worry; it’ll keep you warm, as well. The jacket’s fleece lining is particularly fuzzy and warm, which not only feels amazing on the skin but provides reliable insulation. And when you need to tone it down, that’s doable, as well, thanks to the fully adjustable Velcro cuffs and detachable storm hood, for when the rain stops.
We also love the extra features on this thing. It has pockets galore—2 large zippered hand warming pockets, 1 zippered chest pocket, and two interior pockets, with the left one being Velcro-secured and the right one zippered. Being able to carry your essentials around on your person will make your hiking experience that much more comfortable.
Plus, the front of the jacket is adorned with 3 silver reflective stripes, which can be a huge help in low-visibility settings. So even when it starts getting dark, this jacket’s got your back, and not just by keeping you warm and comfortable.
Boys shouldn’t get to have all the fun! We’ve also made it a point to find the best hiking jacket for women, and this is one of the best ones we’ve found. Allow us to share why we love this thing.
First of all, it’s one of the most affordable jackets we’ve found for women. Despite that, however, it still delivers on the most important characteristics that we use to decide whether a jacket really deserves to be called waterproof. Not only does the jacket have a durable waterproof coating, but it also comes with taped seams, which fully keeps out unwanted water intrusions.
Plus, the fabric is super breathable, so if you’re someone who is prone to heavy perspiration while on the move, worry no more! The fabric is designed to help regulate your natural body temperature so as not to wear you down while you’re on your hiking excursion.
Despite the fact that this is a relatively heavy-duty jacket, the fabric itself is very lightweight, which we really appreciate. That means you won’t be encumbered by your jacket on the move and will be able to retain your energy for longer. The lightweight design is also particularly suited to female body types.
The high collar, insulated soft-shell hood, and adjustable cuffs promise to keep you warm no matter where you are. However, remember that you get what you pay for; this jacket might lose its waterproof abilities sooner rather than later.
We found this first jacket during our search for the best waterproof hiking jacket for men, and it certainly matches the most important criteria. Here’s why we think so.
First of all, let’s discuss this thing’s water resistance capabilities. Constructed from durable 210T nylon fabric and integrated with the manufacturer’s unique Camel-Tex technology, this jacket will do a bang-up job of not only keeping you safe from rainwater but ensuring your warmth and comfort in lower temperatures.
It’s also 100% windproof, thanks to numerous features that combine to give you ultimate protection from the elements. The compact and high-density composition of the fabric makes it particularly resistant to the chilly wind.
Convenience and accessibility are also prioritized. The hood is fully adjustable to allow you to conform it to your face, and when you don’t need it, you can easily detach it and stow it away. Furthermore, the multitude of pockets allows you to easily carry your essentials while out on the trail.
Your warmth is further ensured thanks to the high collar and adjustable draw-cord hem that come with Velcro cuffs. The jacket’s breathability enhances your comfort by allowing you to dry off quickly during high-intensity physical exertions. So you’ll be warm, but never stuffy or claustrophobic.
Overall, this is a great jacket that will provide you with all the necessary features required when facing cold and wet locales. There are some concerns about its durability, but with such a great price point, we definitely think it’s a steal. You’ll be fully secured against the unforgiving outdoors with this thing.
The next jacket we’ve selected for you is from Diamond Candy, which is a brand that offers jackets of quite decent quality while also providing affordable prices. So if you’re on a budget, then keep reading, because you’ll definitely like this.
So let’s look at some of the features which landed this jacket on our list. First off, let’s discuss its effectiveness against the elements. The out shell fabric has a 3000mm waterproofing function, which promises to let rain roll right off of you without getting anywhere you don’t want it.
The jacket is windproof as well, thanks to the double Velcro hood, which can be inserted into slots located towards the top of the jacket’s collar, where you will find hook fasteners. While this may seem like a bit of a complicated process, it’s also the mechanism that allows you to detach the hood.
Your comfort is also ensured with this jacket thanks to the super-lining, which is made from soft tricot, which is a lightweight and incredibly durable variation of fleece that will keep you warm. We also love the mesh back panel, which promises to provide great ventilation when you’re on the move.
This lightweight jacket is particularly suited to low and mid-level activity as it focuses on allowing mobility, while also ensuring breathability. You may not be able to use the jacket for years and years, but considering the price point, we think there’s much to love about it!
We’re finishing off our list of reviews with a women’s waterproof jacket that we’re quite proud of ourselves for discovering. Not only does it check all the boxes for a great waterproof jacket, but it’s also available at a completely unbelievable price.
But don’t let that fool you into thinking this jacket isn’t worth your time. You’ll easily forget what a low price you paid for this thing when you experience the high quality coated outer shell and breathable mesh lining.
Our favorite feature, though, is undoubtedly how lightweight this thing is. Not only will it rest easily and comfortably on your body, thereby allowing you to move easily, it’s also easily foldable. Storage and portability are such important concerns while on the move, and you can tell that the manufacturers have kept that in mind.
Continuing on the theme of comfort and accessibility, the windbreaker also comes with a fully detachable hood, which can be attached with a hook and loop closure. The elastic cuffs are bound to keep you feeling cozy and protected in any kind of cold weather.
Let’s not forget the storage capabilities—this jacket will easily let you carry around all your essential belongings in the 2 zippered hand warming pockets, 1 internal zippered compartment, and 1internal cross pocket. Whether you’re carrying your phone, Kindle, or a little snack, there’s space for it all.
However, do note that this jacket isn’t meant to last you for a very long time. Especially if you’re going to be engaging in high-intensity hiking, then you might want to consider investing in a more expensive jacket.
How to Choose the Best Waterproof Jacket Hiking
Whether you’re gonna use it for hiking long distances or intend it for daily use, a few factors have to be considered before choosing the best hiking rain jacket for you. To help you find the right fit, we've put together the following list.
A jacket that allows proper ventilation is just as important as waterproofing. Everyone perspires on the move, so if your jacket isn’t breathable, it’ll tamper with your body’s temperature regulation.
The breathability capability of the jacket is basically how well it can transfer the moisture vapor you create (yep, sweat!) from inside the jacket to outside it. Unless your jacket does this efficiently, you’ll be uncomfortable.
A jacket’s breathability is dependent on the construction material. If you’re concerned about breathability, choose a jacket with a membrane. This is a material with thousands of tiny holes on its surface which keep out water itself while still letting through vapor molecules.
The more affordable alternative is a coated jacket, where a rubber-like material is sprayed on the inside of the fabric instead of a membrane, creating a waterproof barrier. If you do not perspire very heavily or engage in low to mid-level activity, this is the better option.
Resistance to Water
The waterproof fabric ensures that you stay dry and warm, and can even offer protection against hypothermia when you’re in very cold weather. Waterproofing is achieved with a waterproof finish that is directly applied to the external fabric. This causes water droplets to run off of the jacket’s surface instead of being absorbed.
Many manufacturers will typically use renowned waterproof materials created by textile brands, such as Gore-Tex or eVent, while others might develop their own materials. The fabric used in most waterproof jackets will also be Durable Water Repellant (DWR), which prevents it from getting soaked.
A lightweight jacket will allow ease of movement and keep you feeling energized for longer. And since the jacket will be stored in your backpack when not in use, it should also pack small and not take up too much space.
Note that thicker rain jackets will provide more warmth and protection, as they are sturdier. However, if you’re not going to be doing a full outdoor excursion and simply need protection from light rain, you can opt for a more lightweight jacket.
Here are a few more things to keep in mind when picking out your waterproof jacket.
Taped seams are heat-sealed seams that are stitched such that they prevent water from leaking through. These are made to protect against the small needle holes, which may allow rain to seep through. Some jackets have all seams taped, while others only have them in crucial areas like the neck and shoulders. In any case, a jacket is not truly waterproof unless it also has taped seams.
Quite obviously, your jacket should come with pockets to accommodate all of your needful hiking things. The positioning and number of pockets are determined by the jacket’s intended use. Most jackets will come with hand-warming pockets; however, as you’re hiking, it would be more helpful to buy a jacket with large chest/inside pockets.
A jacket without a hood won’t be able to protect your head from the rain. To eliminate fitting concerns, consider a jacket with a fully adjustable hood. Furthermore, a peaked hood can be useful in shielding your face. Also, note that some hoods are helmet-compatible—ideal for those who will be climbing or mountaineering.
We’re talking about cuff closings, Velcro hood, and drawcord. These are essential in keeping you dry: if the jacket can’t be sealed properly around your head, waist, and hands, then you’re still at risk of a water breach.
Frequently Asked Question
Q: Can I use detergent to wash my waterproof jacket?
Ans: Never use detergent or fabric softener to wash your jacket, as this can damage the composition of the fibers. Always opt for products specifically intended for cleaning activewear.
Q: How should I wash my waterproof jacket?
Ans: The best way to wash your waterproof jacket is in a washing machine. Before you put it in, brush off any loose dirt or mud and close all the zips, pockets and flaps. Afterward, the jacket should be air-dried or tumble-dried.
Q: Are waterproof jackets windproof?
Ans: Yes—all waterproof jackets are also windproof and generally weather-proof. Jackets made from Gore-Tex are thought to be particularly weather-proof.
Q: Is there a difference between waterproof and water-resistant?
Ans: Yes. Waterproof jackets incorporate a membrane, which is a material with microscopic holes in it. On the other hand, water-resistant jackets have a treatment applied to the outside of the jacket, which makes it a Durable Water Repellant (DWR).
Q: Do I really need a breathable jacket?
Ans: If you sweat a lot, yes. You should buy a jacket with a membrane. However, if you are only engaging in low- or mid-level activity, you can opt for a coated jacket instead, which is also more affordable.
As we have seen, the best hiking waterproof jackets all must fulfill the criteria of wind proofing, breathability, lightweight design, and comfortable inner lining.
Accordingly, our top pick is undoubtedly the Camel Crown. However, if you are looking for a cheaper option, Diamond Candy is a great option.
Should none of our options interest you, you can always look to our buying guide for assistance. Good luck, and happy hiking!