Review of the best waterproofs (Shutterstock)
Review Words : Phoebe Smith | 30 January 2019

Light work: The best 8 lightweight waterproof jackets

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…

Columbia

Pouring Adventure II, £75

A well-made, well-priced two-layer jacket, with double stormflaps, adjustable hem and hood, a small chest pocket and two hand pockets. All those features make it a bit heavy, though (377g). 

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Berghaus

Deluge Light, £90

This 2.5-layer jacket is light (251g) and pared down (cuffs are elastic), but still has some handy features: a structured, adjustable hood and hem, stormflap zips, hand pockets. It’s a reasonable price, too.

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Craghoppers

Summerfield, £90

This two-layer jacket has some nice extra touches: the drawcords for the hem and hood are hidden to stop chafing; there’s also a chinguard, Velcro cuffs and an internal zipped pocket. But these all make it heaviest on test (435g).

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Patagonia

Torrentshell, £120

Made from 100% recycled nylon, this 2.5-layer eco-model has stormflaps on the main zip and pockets, a structured, adjustable hood, Velcro cuffs, and pit zips for ventilation. And even with all these, it’s a good weight (292g).

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Salewa

Puez Aqua 3 Powertex, £90

Beautifully soft (so it won’t rustle) and very light (276g), this 2.5-layer jacket has a stormflap main zip, chinguard, Velcro cuffs, two outer zip pockets and a hem that’s adjustable – the hood, however, is not.

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CMP

Fix Hood, £133

Well designed and soft to touch, this 2.5-layer jacket weighs 333g. The main zip has a stormflap, the cuffs are Velcro and the huge hand pockets are zipped. The hood adjusts in two places, for a great fit (helmet compatible too).

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Haglöfs

LIM PROOF Multi, £160

This soft, 2.5-layer, eco- aware jacket (with a fluorocarbon-free coating) weighs just 221g. The zip has a stormflap and chinguard, and there are two ventilated hand pockets. The hood, hem and cuffs are only elasticated, though.

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Alpkit

Gravitas, £149

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.

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Things to consider...

Weight 

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 

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!

Fit

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.

Hood

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

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.

Adjustable hem and cuffs 

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? 

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.

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