April Showers Be Damned: The Best Rain Jackets for 2021
Stay dry through every sun shower and torrential downpour
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Think of the Pacific Northwest as a proving ground for rain jackets. In cities like Portland and Seattle that receive rain nearly half the year, locals rely on waterproof shells to seize any outdoor opportunity, from daily commutes to brewpub tours. Some jackets are stylish while others are technical; the best ones are both.
As the wet season approaches, now’s the time to invest in some proper gear. Below we break down the best rain jackets for men in 2021 so you can find the one that’s right for you.
Editor’s Choice: REI Co-op Drypoint GTX
The Drypoint GTX is styled with hikers and backpackers in mind, but its simple design looks good beyond the trail. 3-layer Gore-Tex Active fabric sheds water on the outside and minimizes moisture inside thanks to core vents in the hand pockets. Weighing a mere 10 ounces, the jacket’s tapered cut doesn’t look as bulky as some of its competitors, and the adjustable cuffs seal out wind and rain. The Drypoint offers versatility for those seeking a single raincoat that’s capable of managing everyday adventures.
Best Performance Rain Jacket: Patagonia Torrentshell 3L
Patagonia’s Torrentshell 3L adds half a layer of fabric that its predecessor didn’t have, making it a truly durable and long-lasting raincoat. The waterproof construction features a DWR (durable water-repellent) finish to boost protection, and the microfleece-lined neck enhances comfort. A wide variety of colorways promote style 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 Budget Rain Jacket: Marmot Precip Eco
If you don’t live in one of the country’s rainy locales, chances are you don’t need the Cadillac of coats to get you through the occasional shower. That’s where the Marmot Precip Eco is happy to keep you dry without burning a hole in your pocket. It features Marmot’s NanoPro Eco waterproof fabric alongside taped seams, but it remains budget-friendly at just $100. Pit zips dump body heat during the occasional muggy storm, and the jacket packs into its own pocket. We wish the Precip Eco had a chest pocket, but hands pockets and a hood that rolls into the collar are welcome additions nevertheless.
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 Tucson-inspired interior. The polyester and cotton blend delivers breathability if you’re walking or biking to work, and large pockets offer plenty of room to haul valuables. Keeping in line with Pendleton patterns, the Tucson mosaic 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 High-End Rain Jacket: Arc’teryx Beta AR
If money were no issue, we would happily reach for the Arc’teryx Beta AR. Its AR moniker stands for “all round,” signifying the coat’s ability to handle versatile conditions and activities. The Gore-Tex PRO fabric was developed in tandem with Gore to deliver maximum durability. Zippered pockets are waterproof to protect our essentials from the rain, and a tall neck collar further reduces exposure to the elements. To maximize safety on the streets or the trail, Arc’teryx outfitted the jacket with features such as a helmet-compatible hood and RECCO reflector.
Just because a rain jacket didn’t fit into the starting lineup, doesn’t mean it can’t protect you from the rain and look good doing it. For that reason, here are a few honorable mentions that caught our eye.
Best Fleece-Lined Rain Jacket: L.L. Bean Trail Model
Time and again we find ourselves throwing on a fuzzy midlayer beneath our jacket to stay warm, but L.L. Bean’s Trail Model is lined with fleece to eliminate excess layers. TEK waterproof technology prevents moisture from collecting in the fleece, while the soft lining traps body heat through chilly showers. The sleeves are also slightly insulated to boost warmth along our extremities, and the three-way adjustable hood reduces exposure to the wind. Pack the jacket into its own hand pocket when the rain subsides.
Another Budget Rain Jacket: The North Face Venture 2
Most outdoor brands position rain jackets on a spectrum, and The North Face Venture 2 sits at the brand’s budget-friendly end of that scale. Its 2.5-layer DryVent shell sheds water with ease, and the fabric is windproof for good measure. Pit zippers allow you to control ventilation much like the Marmot Precip Eco. 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.
Best Runner’s Rain Jacket: Columbia OutDry EX Lightweight Shell Jacket
For those of us who run no matter the weather, the Columbia OutDry EX jacket offers impressive shelter. The raincoat’s OutDry fabric is engineered to be completely waterproof yet breathable, unlike some of its hard-shell competitors. Stow the hood away when not in use, and let strategic vents dump excess body heat on brutal hills. Reflective details promote visibility in low-light conditions, and the jacket packs into its pocket so you can keep moving when the sun comes out to play. We’re not sure the white fabric is a great choice for trail runs, but it certainly looks good.
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