No matter where you go, there’s almost always a chance of rain. But pack a good, lightweight waterproof jacket in your bag and you can enjoy your travels, whatever the weather…
This remarkable three-layer jacket weighs only 146g. It still packs in the features: stormflap zip, chinguard, structured and adjustable hood, even a chest pocket (but no hand pockets). Super light, super waterproof, super breathable.
If you’re taking a jacket just in case, you don’t want it to be heavy. Look for one under 400g. Note: lightweight may mean fewer features and a higher price. (Weights given here are for a women’s UK 12.)
Pockets tend to be the first feature to go on lighter weight jackets. Decide how important they are to you. Remember: no pocket is ever fully waterproof, so be careful where you put your phone and passport!
Look for men’s and women’s specific fits – try on both to see which is best for you. All jackets in this test are available in both men’s and women’s fits.
Look for a hood that fits close to your head so it doesn’t blow off in the wind or allow water to seep in. A hood with an adjustable drawcord is best, but lighter jackets tend to use stretch elastic instead. A wired or structured peak is handy for reshaping the hood, but this does add weight.
Zips can never be 100% waterproof. External and internal stormflaps (strips of fabric on either side of the zip) help, as does waterproof coating. Some models will have two stormflaps, but this adds weight and may be unnecessary if you only want the jacket on the off-chance of rain.
Well-fitting hems and cuffs will help stop rain getting in. Lighter weight jackets tend to dispense with these and use elastic rather than cord or Velcro, which are better at keeping water out. A scooped hemline helps keep your back warmer and drier but will add weight.
Waterproof fabrics vary. Two-layer fabrics comprise a waterproof outer with a hanging inner mesh liner for ventilation; these are often the cheapest but heaviest. Alternatively, 2.5-layer fabrics have a waterproof/breathable outer and an inner that’s effectively painted on; they’re often lightest but less breathable. Three-layer fabrics offer the optimum protection and are the most waterproof/ breathable, but are usually heavier than the 2.5-layer and more expensive.