April Showers Be Damned: The Best Rain Jackets for 2022
Stay dry through every sun shower and torrential downpour
Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, InsideHook may earn a small share of the profits.
It was a rare occasion when I left my apartment in the Pacific Northwest without a rain jacket. Every cloud, no matter the type, could suddenly and unexpectedly give way to rain in the form of a light sprinkle or torrential downpour. But depending on the climate and your preferred outdoor activities, sorting through the many styles, features and technologies of today’s best rain jackets can be confusing.
Over the past year, we’ve taken the liberty of testing rain jackets from brands both established and new. We’ve hiked in the rain, biked to work in downpours, walked the dog in drizzle and occasionally stood in the shower to determine just how waterproof a jacket could be. The result of such efforts culminates with this guide featuring the best rain jackets in 2022. Find the one that meets your needs and stay dry no matter how hard it comes down out there.
Best Overall Rain Jacket: Patagonia Torrentshell 3L
Patagonia’s Torrentshell 3L adds half a layer of fabric that its predecessor didn’t have, making it a more durable and waterproof raincoat for inclement weather. Its construction features a DWR (durable water-repellent) finish to boost protection, and the microfleece-lined neck enhances comfort. The latest version is also a little thicker inside, making it less prone to feeling clammy. A wide variety of colorways deliver style points and the jacket self-stuffs into the hand pocket for convenient storage. Patagonia assembles the Torrentshell with a combination of recycled materials, so you can wear it without contributing to the planet’s demise.
Best Performance Rain Jacket: Arc’teryx Zeta SL
Arc’teryx has established itself as a premium outerwear brand over the years which makes it easy to recommend the new Zeta SL jacket. An improvement over the expensive and overdone Zeta LT, the Zeta SL is lightweight, comfortable against the skin and incredibly tough thanks to a 40-denier shell. Like other Arc’teryx goods, it’s also a little slimmer and better-looking than traditional oversized raincoats, making it a suitable choice from the peaks to the pavement. While the two-layer design sacrifices a little durability and the lack of zippered vents makes activities a little warmer, these drawbacks aren’t enough to dissuade us from wearing the Zeta SL time and time again.
Best Budget Rain Jacket: REI Co-op Rainier
If you don’t live in one of the country’s rainy regions, chances are you don’t need the Cadillac of coats to get you through the occasional shower. That’s where the Co-op’s Rainier jacket is happy to keep you dry without burning a hole in your pocket. It features an in-house Peak 2.5-layer recycled ripstop nylon shell that defends against rain and gusts up to 60mph as well as pit zips that dump body heat during the occasional muggy storm. While the budget rain jacket title was once held by Marmot’s PreCip Eco, we found the Rainier to be both thicker and more comfortable. Sizing leans on the larger side, so consider testing it in-person or prepare to wear layers underneath.
Best Commuter Rain Jacket: Pendleton Seal Rock
Daily commuters require a jacket that seamlessly blends style and tech; it should look professional and serve a purpose. To meet these demands, Pendleton designed the Seal Rock rain jacket with welded seams, waterproof fabric and a stylized interior. The polyurethane fabric delivers reliable protection from the elements when walking or biking to work, and large pockets offer plenty of room to haul essentials. Keeping in line with Pendleton patterns, the soft interior lining adds a touch of color to this polished jacket. And it only looks better as the years go by.
Best Lightweight Rain Jacket: Outdoor Research Helium
As the name implies, the Outdoor Research Helium rain jacket is light. We’re talking fits-in-the-palm-of-your-hand, light-as-a-feather kind of light (it weighs only six ounces). Perfect for those looking to save weight or reduce volume, the Helium packs into its own chest pocket and stores easily in a bag or commuter pack. The tradeoff in weight does come at the expense of hand pockets and zippered vents, but these weren’t dealbreakers for us. For those that run in-between sizes, we recommend sizing up to accommodate the Helium’s slimmer fit.
Best Quiet Rain Jacket: Merrell Whisper
The only gripe we have with every single modern rain jacket is the endless noise. It’s the crinkly, crackly sound of synthetic material as it folds, creases and crunches that drives us mad, but that’s where the Whisper rain jacket comes to the rescue. The waterproof, four-way stretch fabric is softened via a revolutionary knitting technique that reduces noise and improves comfort while remaining just as capable in the midst of rain. Merrell completes the Whisper with an adjustable hood, hand pockets and a lightweight design that stuffs into its own pocket for easy transport.
Best Tactical Rain Jacket: Beyond L6
Truthfully, we were skeptical of a brand that doesn’t appear in annual rain jacket roundups, but Beyond is better known in the tactical world where it got its start outfitting the military’s special forces in 1996. The Seattle-based label built the L6 with a proprietary three-layer nylon shell that’s both waterproof and durable before adding waterproof zippers and a helmet-compatible hood to boost its capabilities outdoors. Though it weighs a little more than other rain jackets on this list at 20 ounces, the strong combination of durability, breathability, comfort and pedigree is hard to beat.
Best Rain Jacket for Running: On Weather Jacket
For those of us who run no matter how hard it pours, the On Weather jacket offers impressive defense against the elements. Its blend of Japanese fabrics delivers 360° of ventilation in an ultralight package that’s also tear-proof and fast drying. Featuring water-resistant pockets to protect valuables and a cap-like hood that stays in place when wet, On gives us more reasons than ever to pick this jacket over the other athletic options in our quiver. And when the sun comes out to play, the jacket can be packed quickly into its own pocket for on-the-go storage.
Another Budget Rain Jacket: The North Face Venture 2
The North Face Venture 2’s 2.5-layer DryVent shell sheds water with ease but it’s also windproof to defend against sudden gusts. Pit zippers allow you to control ventilation much like the aforementioned REI Co-op Rainier, and the attached hood is fully adjustable to deliver the perfect fit. Simple features of the Venture 2 make it a suitable entry-level option for mixed daily wear.
Sign up for more daily deals and recommendations from InsideHook's, The Goods, delivered straight to your inbox.
Suggested for you