Reviews You Can Rely On

The 4 Best Rain Jackets for Men of 2024

We tested men's rain jackets from Arc'teryx, REI, Outdoor Research, Patagonia, The North Face, and more to find the very best
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Best Rain Jacket Men Review
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

The Best Men's Rain Jacket for 2024


Over the last 10 years, we've tested over close to 60 of the best rain jackets designed for men. This review features 17 of the market's top contenders. Pitted against each other in rigorous side-by-side and real-world tests, we've identified the pros and cons of each model, what applications they are best suited for, and the best overall. In addition to wearing them under heavy downpours, snow, and sleet, we've soaked these jackets in controlled shower tests to assess their performance. We've taken them skiing, backpacking, and even mountaineering. After almost a decade of hands-on testing, we offer unbiased and honest recommendations to help you get the best possible option for your needs.

Though most of these models are available in men's and women's versions, we've found that they don't always perform the same. With this in mind, we also publish a detailed review of women's specific rain jackets. If you need a full rain suit, we've tested the best rain pants and top-ranked umbrellas, as well as the best hardshell jackets if you'll be running into burlier weather. From hiking gear to everything on your backpacking checklist or even the best travel bag for your next mini-excursion, we're here to help.

Editor's Note: On April 11, 2024, we added a new award winner for comfort and mobility, the Outdoor Research Foray Super Stretch.

Related: Best Rain Jackets for Women

Top 17 Rain Jackets - Test Results

Displaying 1 - 5 of 17
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Awards Editors' Choice Award     
Price $450.00 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI$179.00 at REI$153.42 at Backcountry$400.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score
80
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78
Star Rating
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Pros Excellent waterproofing, pit zips, durableStorm-worthy, durable, versatile, good breathability and ventilation, waterproof pocketsDurable, long-lasting DWR, good storm-worthiness, minimal clammy feelGreat storm protection, above average breathability, no clammy feeling, packs tightly into reversible stuff pocket, helmet-compatible hood, less crinklyTop-tier storm worthiness, great hood design, long-lasting DWR, excellent breathability, hip-belt-friendly pockets
Cons Less breathable, stiffer fabric, expensiveHeavy for a "minimalist" designHeavier, stiff fabric, average packed sizeAverage freedom of movement, less stretchy than most other air-permeable models, fit, low handwarmer pockets could be more functionalNo ventilation options, expensive, doesn't stuff into its pocket
Bottom Line A top-tier rain jacket with excellent water protection, adjustability, and durability from hood to waistThis is one of our favorite do-anything jackets, offering excellent weather resistance, functionality, and durabilityA durable jacket with a function-focused design that will keep most wearers satisfied without putting too big a hole in their walletsThis jack-of-all-trades jacket offers some of the best weather protection and durability for an air-permeable modelThis function-focused jacket is exceptionally versatile and offers some of the best performance in our review
Rating Categories Arc'teryx Beta LT Marmot Minimalist Patagonia Torrentsh... Outdoor Research Mi... Arc'teryx Beta Jacket
Water Resistance (30%) Sort Icon
9.5
8.5
8.5
8.0
8.0
Breathability (25%)
7.5
7.5
6.5
8.0
8.0
Comfort and Mobility (20%)
7.5
6.5
5.0
7.5
8.0
Weight (15%)
5.8
4.1
5.7
5.0
7.3
Durability (10%)
9.0
8.5
8.5
7.5
7.0
Specs Arc'teryx Beta LT Marmot Minimalist Patagonia Torrentsh... Outdoor Research Mi... Arc'teryx Beta Jacket
Measured Weight 13.3 oz 16.0 oz 13.4 oz 14.5 oz 10.75 oz
Waterproof Fabric Material 3-layer N40p GORE-TEX with tricot GORE-TEX Paclite 3-layer H2No Performance Standard shell 3-layer AscentShell 3-layer Gore-Tex with Gore C-Knit backer
Pockets 2 hand 2 hand, 1 chest 2 hand 2 hand, 1 chest 2 zippered hand
Pit Zips Yes Yes Yes No No
Stows Into Pocket No No Yes No No
Helmet Compatible Hood Yes Yes No Yes No
Hipbelt Friendly Hand Pockets No No No No Yes


Best Overall Rain Jacket


Arc'teryx Beta LT


80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Water Resistance 9.5
  • Breathability 7.5
  • Comfort and Mobility 7.5
  • Weight 5.8
  • Durability 9.0
Weight: 13.3 ounces | Pockets: Two zippered hand
REASONS TO BUY
Top-notch storm protection
Helmet-friendly hood
Tenacious coating
Unrestrictive cut
REASONS TO AVOID
Thicker material than most
Lacks breathability
No stuff pocket

The Arc'teryx Beta LT scores at or near the top in almost all of our scoring metrics and is our favorite overall. It has exceptional waterproofness for soggy week-long backpacking trips and also excels as a shell in colder weather. This jacket offers equal or better storm protection than some hard shells in a lighter, more mobile package. The helmet-compatible hood is also highly adjustable, and watertight pockets bring peace of mind in a downpour. The features are intuitive and user-friendly, and the waterproof coating stands up to heavy use.

On the downside, the Beta LT is a burlier rain jacket, so folks who run warmer won't be able to “dump” heat as quickly, even with the pit zips. The fabric is also somewhat stiff and crinkly. This doesn't inhibit motion too much, but it is noticeable over other jackets. This superbly designed and feature-rich jacket does come at a premium price. However, for those who need a waterproof shell worthy of meeting demanding conditions, this one is surely worth the upgrade for its top-notch performance. If you're in the market for an ultra-lightweight model to stuff in your backpack for the occasional light rain, Outdoor Research Helium weighs substantially less than the Beta LT.

Read more: Arc'teryx Beta LT Jacket review

The Beta LT had the strongest waterproof performance in our shower test.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Best Bang Bang for the Buck


Helly Hansen Loke


68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Water Resistance 6.0
  • Breathability 7.5
  • Comfort and Mobility 7.0
  • Weight 8.1
  • Durability 5.0
Weight: 9.5 ounces | Pockets: Two hand
REASONS TO BUY
Incredible price
Armpit vents
Small packed size
REASONS TO AVOID
Zipper isn't waterproof
Wets out quicker than pricier jackets
Hood doesn't fit over a helmet

The Helly Hansen Loke is a bargain raincoat with above-average performance. It offers decent storm protection, and the pit zips and loose mesh pockets make for a breathable jacket. It is super lightweight and packs down small into its own pocket for easy and convenient carrying when the sun is shining. Though its hood and waist toggles are basic, they get the job done, providing enough adjustability to get a solid seal; a combination of elastic and velcro offers the same protection around the wrists.

Don't get us wrong, there is a noticeable difference in quality between this jacket and other top contenders. The zipper is not waterproof — instead, the jacket relies on a velcro flap over the top of it to keep moisture out, which it does if it's not raining too hard for too long. Though the mesh pockets are breathable, they also strike us as more easily rippable. That said, if you need a rain layer for less intense climates and want to save some bucks for other goodies, this is a great contender to have in your closet. If price is no object, it's hard to top the overall performance of the Arc'teryx Beta LT.

Read more: Helly Hansen Loke review

The Helly Hansen Loke is one of our favorite low-cost jackets.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Best Mobility and Freedom of Movement


Outdoor Research Foray Super Stretch


77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Water Resistance 7.5
  • Breathability 9.0
  • Comfort and Mobility 9.0
  • Weight 4.7
  • Durability 7.0
Weight: 15.0 ounces | Pockets: 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest
REASONS TO BUY
Great mobility
Amazing breathability
Waterproof chest pocket
Helmet-compatible hood
REASONS TO AVOID
Doesn't pack into pocket
Less waterproof than top models
Above average weight

Comfort is not typically a draw in a rain jacket, but the Outdoor Research Foray Super Stretch makes a case that it should be. The Recycled Gore-Tex Paclite fabric is very breathable but still holds up well in wet conditions. Both sides of the jacket have full-length, double-zippered vents; in conjunction with the rear Elastane panel, the Foray Super Stretch maintains temperature very well. If you're planning on bringing your jacket along for climbing, biking, or spring skiing, this jacket not only provides great mobility, the hood easily fits over most helmets. The Super Stretch also features a YKK Aquaguard zipper on the chest pocket, so in the event that you get absolutely drenched or submerged, your phone or other valuables will remain drier than the rest of you.

While it is incredibly comfortable and mobile, other jackets in the lineup boast better waterproofing. The OR Foray Super Stretch would probably not be the first jacket we'd reach for in a torrential downpour, but anything shy of that performs excellently. Outside of less-than-extreme rain, it also can serve well as a windbreaker, light jacket, or even a warmer-weather ski shell. This jacket isn't very packable and a bit hefty – not ideal for backpacking. If you're counting ounces and the Super Stretch's total weight has you worried, the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic provides great mobility and weighs a few ounces less.

Read more: Outdoor Research Foray Super Stretch Jacket review

The stretchy rear panel gives you unrestricted movement for your upper body.
Credit: Craig D'Innocente

An Excellent Air-Permeable Option


Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0


72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Water Resistance 5.5
  • Breathability 9.5
  • Comfort and Mobility 8.5
  • Weight 5.1
  • Durability 7.5
Weight: 14.4 ounces | Pockets: 2 hand, 1 interior zippered chest
REASONS TO BUY
Very breathable
Stretchy fabric
Versatile
Well thought-out hood
REASONS TO AVOID
Soaks faster than non-stretch competitors
Average weight and packed volume

The Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 is the most breathable model that we've ever tested. No model matches its blend of durability, comfort, and freedom of movement while maintaining top-tier airflow. The primary advantage of this jacket is the high level of breathability, regardless of user temperature or external environmental factors. This jacket is also notably stretchy and offers excellent articulation and an athletic cut, making it an ideal jacket for a wide range of activities.

A downside to the Kinetic Alpine is that it just can't match the weather protection of top performers on extended rainy days. It is definitely acceptable for a few hours of wet hiking, ice climbing, snowshoeing, or ski touring, but if you'll be hanging out in a chronically wet camp, we'd steer you toward a Gore-Tex jacket. The excellent breathability also means that you'll cool down much faster than with a more traditional model. It isn't that the Kinetic doesn't offer solid weather resistance; there are just a handful of burlier models that perform better for hanging out in constant rain. This coat is well-suited for aerobic activities (including hiking, backpacking, and ski touring), where some added wet protection is needed. If stretch factor is going to play an important role in your purchasing decision, the Outdoor Research Foray Super Stretch has a stretchy, waterproof back panel that allows lots of mobility for activities.

Read more: Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 review

The Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 is one if the most breathable jackets in the category.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
80
Arc'teryx Beta LT
Best Overall Rain Jacket
$450
Editors' Choice Award
78
Arc'teryx Beta Jacket
$400
77
Outdoor Research Foray Super Stretch
Best Mobility and Freedom of Movement
$300
Top Pick Award
75
Outdoor Research Foray II
$225
75
Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic Jacket
$230
74
Outdoor Research Microgravity
$279
73
Black Diamond Stormline Stretch
$180
72
Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0
An Excellent Air-Permeable Option
$310
Top Pick Award
72
Marmot Minimalist
$220
69
Patagonia Torrentshell 3L
$179
68
Helly Hansen Loke
Best Bang Bang for the Buck
$110
Best Buy Award
67
Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket
$170
65
The North Face Dryzzle Futurelight
$230
64
The North Face Alta Vista
$140
63
Marmot PreCip Eco
$120
54
REI Co-Op Rainier
$100
49
Columbia Watertight II
$100

rain jacket men - a good rain jacket can also do wonders as a cold-weather shell.
A good rain jacket can also do wonders as a cold-weather shell.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Why Trust GearLab


This review is the result of over 400 field hours of hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, and camping in wet weather. We tested these jackets in the Cascade Mountains, Rocky Mountains of Colorado, temperate rainforests of Western Washington, and the damp and humid Midwest and East Coast. When the precipitation wasn't pouring from the sky, it was pouring from our showers, where we had timed spray tests with each product to figure out their limits in controlled side-by-side tests.

We rate rain jackets on five performance metrics:
  • Water Resistance (30% of overall score weighting)
  • Breathability (25% weighting)
  • Comfort and Mobility (20% weighting)
  • Weight (15% weighting)
  • Durability (10% weighting)

This review is headed by Ian Nicholson and Ben Applebaum-Bauch, with an update by Craig D'Innocente. Ian is a professional internationally licensed IFMGA/UIAGM mountain guide who has spent over 2,000 days guiding in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, the Andes, the European Alps, and beyond. Ian estimates he has worn a rain jacket over 800 days over the last two decades because he guides and lives in the rainy and wet Pacific Northwest.

rain jacket men - heavy rain soaks the rab kinetic alpine 2.0 jacket. it is not the...
Heavy rain soaks the Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 jacket. It is not the most water repellent.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Ben spent over a decade in blustery northern New England. He has guided backpacking, cycling, and canoeing trips all over the region, as well as maritime Canada. He is also an avid thru-hiker, completing treks of some of America's most iconic long trails, including the Continental Divide Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Long Tail, Colorado Trail, and several others. Having spent more than 500 nights in the backcountry, he knows the value of a reliable waterproof rain jacket. Craig is a seasonal worker in natural resource management, working in the summer with the US Forest Service and in the winter as a ski repair technician. Spending most of his time outdoors, he understands the value of a solid piece of gear; especially one which lasts multiple seasons and serves in a variety of conditions.

Checking out and making notes on every feature, inside and out.
Checking out and making notes on every feature, inside and out.
Even when it&#039;s not raining, having a good insulating layer in camp...
Even when it's not raining, having a good insulating layer in camp is important.
This jacket is great for a wide variety of circumstances.
This jacket is great for a wide variety of circumstances.

Analysis and Test Results


Our selection involves a wide range of products, from budget-friendly to the most stormworthy. We also select models that excel at specific applications or have particular attributes — for example, the lightest and most packable or the stretchiest, most mobile jackets. Each is evaluated across several important metrics to determine which are the best overall and which are best for specific applications or types of users.


Value


The answer to “ is this piece of gear worth the money?” is rarely crystal clear, as so much depends on the user. However, to quantify value, we compare a jacket's overall score to its retail price. Items with high price tags also ideally perform exceptionally, and of course, we are always on the lookout for products with disproportionately high scores relative to their price.

The Arc'teryx Beta LT is both one of the most expensive jackets in the category and also the highest scorer, making it a good value. The Patagonia Torrentshell 3L and Helly Hansen Loke are two more high-value options on the market today. Both offer great functionality and will keep you dry in most rainy conditions. Neither are as high quality as our top-scoring models, but they are roughly half the price of higher-end products without a massive drop in performance.

rain jacket men - having a reliable waterproof outer layer in wet weather can be a...
Having a reliable waterproof outer layer in wet weather can be a critical safety issue.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Water Resistance


A rain jacket's primary job is to keep you dry in wet weather. With that in mind, We extensively tested each contender in the rain, wind, sleet, and snow, as well as in controlled environments to assess zippers and other openings (e.g., cuffs) to see how long they take to wet out.


All of the products that we tested meet the technical requirements for waterproofing. However, this doesn't mean they all perform at the same level. These jackets feature a waterproof fabric that is seam-taped to create a complete seal. What differentiates the performance of each is how well and how long they keep out water. This is the result of several factors but generally refers to specifics of design aspects such as the number of layers of fabric, type of membrane, hood style, cuffs, pockets, front/primary zipper, pit zips, and other vents.

In addition to putting these jackets through the rigors of testing in actual rain, we also subject them to the simulated high-stress environment of a shower to evaluate how they perform.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

As mentioned above, a jacket's ability to keep its wearer dry has a lot to do with the make-up and construction of its waterproof insert (more frequently called a membrane) and its Durable Water Repellent or DWR treatment. This treatment is factory-applied to the fabric's exterior and makes the water bead when it lands on the surface of the jacket, allowing it to roll off. Even though both nylon and polyester are hydrophobic, if they aren't treated with a DWR, they will become covered with a thin but continuous film of water and will frequently appear wet — this is referred to as “wetting out.” Therefore, we consider the longevity of the DWR coating and its ability to resist wetting out after extended periods.

rain jacket men - waterproof zippers, like the ones on the arc&#039;teryx beta lt, really...
Waterproof zippers, like the ones on the Arc'teryx Beta LT, really make a difference in terms of keeping rain from dripping through.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

The Arc'teryx Beta LT, Marmot Minimalist, and Patagonia Torrentshell 3L offer the group's most robust weather resistance. These models all do an excellent job of sealing out precipitation in all forms and have well-designed wrist cuffs and hoods that cinch down to keep the elements out. In addition, the original Arc'teryx Beta and Outdoor Research Microgravity offer good DWR and resist wetting out — both over time and during a single day out in heavy weather.

The Outdoor Research Foray II has an elastic cord that makes it easy to secure the hood with a snug fit around the head.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

The Black Diamond Stormline Stretch and Outdoor Research Foray II are a duo of contenders that offer reliable protection, but we did notice some wetting out under extraordinary conditions. Similarly, the Outdoor Research Foray Super Stretch offers a comparable statline to the Foray II with increased comfort.

rain jacket men - a rear two-paned elastane panel on the or foray super stretch helps...
A rear two-paned Elastane panel on the OR Foray Super Stretch helps to keep air flowing through the jacket while still keeping water out.
Credit: Craig D'Innocente

Breathability


Our water resistance metric compares how well each jacket keeps its wearer dry from the outside. In contrast, our breathability and ventilation metric quantifies how well each model keeps its wearer dry from the inside by allowing sweat, moisture, and heat to escape. Though some models may not always feel like it, all of these multi-layered fabrics are breathable, allowing water vapor to wick through the material from the inside to the outside, where it can evaporate.


We also look at how effectively each model dumps heat and moisture and how effectively vents like pit zips or meshed pockets work, even if you're in a downpour. By prioritizing real-world venting functionality, our review team noticed some of the more significant differences between models and ventilation designs.

Pit zips keep the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L (and many others in the category) a little more breathable.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

What's the deal with DWR?
DWR (durable water repellant) is a coating applied to the outside of many rain jackets. Despite what its name implies, DWR is not meant to keep you dry (that's the job of the main waterproof membrane (usually Gore-Tex or some other proprietary fabric). Though DWR is responsible for the really satisfying beading that you see on the outside of a jacket, its primary role is to keep water off of the fabric surface so that it can remain breathable from the inside and effectively release sweat while keeping out precipitation.

Another feature to consider is a jacket with air-permeable fabric. Air-permeable is a new buzzword (and a technical term) in the outdoor industry, and it refers to a material that allows air to pass through at all times. This is in contrast to most waterproof-breathable garments, which rely on a heat and/or pressure differential to force moisture through the material. Air-permeable jackets are not necessarily more breathable than Gore-Tex — they just have a static level of breathability, whereas Gore-Tex and eVent both have fluctuating levels of breathability, depending on the aforementioned pressure differential between the inside and outside of the jacket. Air-permeable jackets, on a micro-level, aren't technically windproof. With that said, they feel windproof, though they are cooler than most folks are used to when you stop moving. We feature a couple of air-permeable models in our review, namely the Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 and Outdoor Research Microgravity.

Thanks to its highly elastic, breathable construction, the Kinetic Alpine 2.0 fabric excels in breathability and freedom of movement.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Effective venting options like pit zips, side zips, core vents, or other zippered ventilation designs can prove incredibly useful for users who run warmer or for variable weather. Besides a jacket's front primary zipper, pit zips are the next most effective ventilation tool for dumping heat and moving moisture, with the advantage of not letting much moisture back in. Pit zips generally allow more moisture to escape than “core vents,” a fairly generic term for mesh-lined pockets that you can leave open to let a little moisture out.

rain jacket men - the minimalist features gore-tex paclite, which is among the most...
The Minimalist features Gore-Tex Paclite, which is among the most breathable fabrics we tested. It also has pit zips to help dump extra heat and assist in moving moisture.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

The top performer for venting is the Outdoor Research Foray Super Stretch. This jacket utilizes an updated Gore-Tex called “Paclite 2.0”, which, in conjunction with a rear mesh panel, offers great ventilation. When needed, the side vents can open to the entire length of the torso, far outclassing most other vents in the lineup.

rain jacket men - showing both vents fully open from bottom zipper; venting from top...
Showing both vents fully open from bottom zipper; venting from top zipper keeps jacket together with less breathability
Credit: Craig D'Innocente


The most breathable air-permeable model is the Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0, which uses Proflex. Though it can wet out under high pressure (as it did in our shower test), it also kept us cooler longer than other traditional membrane models. The Outdoor Research MicroGravity is an air-permeable model that uses AscentShell technology to achieve a similar effect. Other breathable options are the Marmot Minimalist, Arc'teryx Beta LT (with traditional pit zips), and Helly Hansen Loke.

The Outdoor Research Foray II has huge pit zips that run the entire length of the torso to dump heat super fast.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Comfort and Mobility


If a jacket isn't comfortable, you probably won't wear it, no matter what other features it has. In the comfort portion of this metric, we consider the small features that make a given product more enjoyable to wear and the feel of the interior material. We note small features like a microsuede patch at the chin or soft fabric where the hood rests on the brow, which are design inclusions that create a nicer wearing experience. We also consider the ease of use of each feature, comparing cinch cords for the hood and how easy to access and adjust they are. Some jackets add larger fabric pull tabs to the zipper — rather than small pieces of cord — to make them easier to adjust with cold fingers or gloves.


For mobility, we compare how each model moves in use and how restrictive it is, depending on the activity. We tested each model's overall freedom of movement. We also compare how well a model's hood maintains peripheral vision and how it moves with the head. We look at each jacket with our arms stretched out straight forward, up, and to the sides and measure how much each one pulls back from our wrists and if the hem of the jacket pulls up around our waists.

rain jacket men - the loke is much less expensive than other models but has thin...
The Loke is much less expensive than other models but has thin, flexible fabric that still gets the job done in wet weather.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

The models with the best range of motion are the ultra-stretchy Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 and the Outdoor Research Foray Super Stretch. Though the number of stretch models continues to grow, the Kinetic Alpine is the stretchiest we have ever seen and offers nearly restriction-free movement. The only thing worth noting is that it has a slimmer fit aimed at more technical pursuits. Those who want to add more than one thin layer underneath should consider sizing up. With a larger fit and huge vents, the Super Stretch is a great option for a wide variety of activities and layering configurations.

rain jacket men - the stretch panel on the foray super stretch also provides great...
The stretch panel on the Foray Super Stretch also provides great ventilation, and despite its appearance holds up well to water.
Credit: Craig D'Innocente

Next in line for the best freedom of movement and mobility are the Outdoor Research Foray II and Black Diamond Stormline Stretch. The former has a soft, thinner, more supple feel and moves well with the wearer, while the latter is made with high-stretch fabric that is super comfortable. The Outdoor Research Microgravity and Arc'teryx Beta LT are both a little stiff but make up for it with roomy but well-fitting fabric. The Outdoor Research Helium and Helly Hansen Loke are much thinner than the average jacket, offering a supple, lightweight shell that doesn't restrict movement.

The sleeves on the Beta are longer than average, making this jacket...
The sleeves on the Beta are longer than average, making this jacket a favorite for performing tasks with our hands above our heads. Despite the extra length, we didn't feel like there was any extra bagginess in the sleeves.
The Stormline is constructed with a stretchy material that...
The Stormline is constructed with a stretchy material that facilitates some of the better mobility and range of motion among any model in our review.
Good range of motion makes a huge difference in a rain jacket

Features


If you're wearing your jacket around town, having room in the pockets for gloves and a warm hat or a phone and keys can be nice. Interior pockets can offer additional peace of mind, and each jacket has a slightly different take on hoods, toggles, zippers, and cinch cords.

rain jacket men - consider whether you would like to use your rain jacket with a...
Consider whether you would like to use your rain jacket with a climbing or bike helmet. While any hood can be worn under a helmet, it can be more convenient (and comfortable) if it can be pulled on and off quickly by fitting over the top.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Hood Design

A good hood will keep your head dry without chafing the chin or limiting peripheral vision, and the effectiveness from jacket to jacket can vary wildly. Our favorite hoods are on the Arc'teryx Beta LT, Arc'teryx Beta, and Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0, with the OR Super Stretch, OR Foray II, and Patagonia Torrentshell 3L not too far behind.

We really value a well-executed hood like the one on the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L which has a toggle in the back that tightens a cord around the circumference of the head, holding it securely in place.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

The hood on the Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 is of special note because it features an internal elastic band designed to ride directly on the forehead and turned out to be comfortable and effective, maintaining top-notch 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 user's head — instead of turning into it — though our hands-down favorite hood is on the Arc'teryx Beta LT, which has a toggle at the back of the head that is easy to manipulate and great coverage without limiting visibility.

Pockets

It is tough to understate the utility of pockets, as everyone uses them at least sometimes. They are unquestionably helpful in keeping track of small items, keeping certain things close at hand, and are a convenient place to warm your hands. Not all pockets are created equal, though, and their size and location can greatly impact their overall usefulness. For example, lower handwarmer pockets are great for around town but can be a nuisance and rendered nearly or entirely unusable while wearing a harness or heavy pack.

rain jacket men - large, high pockets are ideal for retaining accessibility with a...
Large, high pockets are ideal for retaining accessibility with a backpack.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Weight


Light is right for many, and weight is a crucial consideration for almost any gear. All of our testers value lightweight clothing and equipment, but not at the expense of basic functionality. If you're thru-hiking, climbing technical terrain, or riding your bicycle from coast to coast, weight is likely one of your primary concerns. For burlier adventures, soggy backpacking trips, expedition-type mountaineering trips, or even daily use, you'll want to consider durability and stormworthiness just as much as weight.


Additionally, the ability of a jacket to pack up compactly is beneficial when out and about. In reality, most folks carry rather than wear their rain shell nine times out of ten, so the smaller it packs, the more room you have for other items.


Every contender in our review weighs a pound or (much) less - the average weight in our review is closer to 12 ounces, with some models dipping down under 7 ounces.

rain jacket men - we weighed all the models in our review on a postal scale.
We weighed all the models in our review on a postal scale.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

The Outdoor Research Helium weighs in at a featherweight of 6.5 ounces. It can be stuffed into a built-in reversible chest pocket with a clip-in loop, a nice feature for climbers carrying it on their harness. It could also be useful for anyone wanting to clip their jacket to anything else, like the outside of a backpack.

rain jacket men - the helium rain is easily the most packable jacket in our review...
The Helium Rain is easily the most packable jacket in our review, compressing down to half the size (or smaller) than most other jackets we tested. Here it is zipped into its pocket with a one liter Nalgene for size reference.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

The final sub-10-ounce contender is the Helly Hansen Loke, one of the most affordable full-featured jackets in the category and weighs just 9.5 ounces.

The Loke is super easy to stuff into its own pocket if you don't actually need to wear it.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Approximately half of these models stuff into one of their own pockets, and others can be rolled and stuffed into their hoods. Our rating for packed size considers the compressed size and the ease of using the integrated stuff pocket. Some compress relatively small but require wrestling to get them stowed; others fit comfortably into their stuff pocket.

Durability


A rain jacket must stand up in the long run. Materials technology trends toward thinner, lighter fabrics. However, this sometimes requires a tradeoff between durability and resistance to abrasions, punctures, and overall longevity. This is particularly true among the lightest models, which are far less durable than products weighing three to five ounces more.


Nearly all rain jackets' exterior material (also known as the face fabric) is either nylon or polyester. Though we like to talk about other aspects of rainshell jacket construction, this external material plays a huge role in overall durability. For the most part, the lighter the face fabric is, the easier it tears or the faster it is to abrade. Most of the jackets we tested use 30-50 Denier face fabric, with the 50D shells being notably more robust than the 20-30D. All but the Columbia Watertight II feature ripstop material. A ripstop weave doubles up on the thread at intervals, providing a grid of strong fibers to stop tears from growing once a tear has occurred. This is a significant advantage and why many outdoor products utilize it.

rain jacket men - with a 50d face fabric and a long-lasting gore-tex paclite...
With a 50D face fabric and a long-lasting Gore-Tex Paclite waterproof membrane, the Minimalist is one of the tougher rain jackets currently available. With that said, its durability is what makes it heavy - though 16 ounces is still pretty darn light.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

The top performer in the metric is the Arx'teryx Beta LT. It has burly face fabric, and its triple-layer tech makes for a thick, slick shell that easily resists snags. It has metal zippers and even high-quality plastic toggles in the hood and waist. The Marmot Minimalist and Patagonia Torrentshell 3L have comparable performance. Both use 50D polyester ripstop face fabric, the former with a much longer-lasting Gore-Tex Paclite membrane and the latter with proprietary H2No Performance Standard fabric.

rain jacket men - while it&#039;s a bit more expensive than other proprietary air-permeable...
While it's a bit more expensive than other proprietary air-permeable models, the Microgravity is generally more storm-worthy and higher performing overall. It's on par (or slightly less) than many Gore-Tex models, but offers the performance, durability, and feature set to justify the price.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

We also like the triple-layer Outdoor Research Microgravity AscentShell, the stretchy Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0, and the The North Face Dryzzle Futurelight. For 2-layer technology, the Outdoor Research Foray II and Outdoor Research Foray Super Stretch are our top picks for their excellent face fabric. Notably, the Super Stretch does not compromise durability in order to offer great mobility.

Getting ready as the rain rolls in with the Loke.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Conclusion


Determining which rain jacket is right for you might seem complicated. Though staying dry is the goal, aspects like breathability, hood design, and level of mobility can make a big difference in daily use. Our metrics are meant to help you narrow down your options and decide based on the design characteristics that are important to you. Stay dry out there!

Ben Applebaum-Bauch, Ian Nicholson and Craig D'Innocente