How We Tested Rain Jacket for Women

By:
Lyra Pierotti
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Sunday

Testing rain shells requires rain, and there is plenty of that in the Pacific Northwest where we conducted most of our tests. We spent several months toting around these jackets — not without some strange looks. We wore these shells in every kind of soggy, damp, and wet condition the Pacific "Northwet" could throw at us to find out what each jacket was made of. We took them high into the temperamental North Cascades and to the foggy beaches of Puget Sound. We vetted them with the hipsters in Seattle and on an organic farm where new is not "chic" if it doesn't work hard. Then we took them to Antarctica to test their weather resistance in the harsh cold of the southernmost continent.

For our field tests, we wore these jackets everywhere from the crag to the mountains; while hiking and biking; walking around town; and we even worked on a farm through some pretty serious all-day downpours.

Little House on the Prairie? No  here we are spraying water from a hose into the sky to simulate moderate rainfall when the weather wouldn't cooperate.
Little House on the Prairie? No, here we are spraying water from a hose into the sky to simulate moderate rainfall when the weather wouldn't cooperate.

After getting a feel for the jackets and their field performance, we researched each manufacturer's technology thoroughly to see how well the product matched its marketed claims. Our field tests mostly supported the manufacturers' claims, but by taking these items outside in the elements we were able to look beyond the optimistic online portrayal of each jacket and figure out the best use for each shell.

Follow-up tests then refined our opinions, and typically involved taking another brisk hike or spraying the hose in various directions to mimic rainfall from every direction the wind can blow.

None of the jackets were freely supplied by the manufacturer, nor was any part of the testing process funded by any of the manufacturers. All jackets were independently purchased by OutdoorGearLab for the purpose of creating a detailed, unbiased review of each product.
 

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    Unbiased.