Rain Jackets for women

Best breathable and durable rain jackets for women

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When the clouds roll in and the sky turns a dark shade of grey, you know that can only mean one thing – rain. Thankfully, you’ve remembered to pack a rain jacket. So while it seems like a big storm is heading your way, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll be protected against any wind and rain that Mother Nature decides to throw your way!

Whether you’re trekking up a mountain or trekking through a city, a rain jacket is an absolute must-have. Any adventurous traveler knows that staying dry and warm are two of the most important things when spending time outdoors, and a waterproof jacket can provide both.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you wanted to know about different types of rain jackets. We’ll explain why it’s important, what to look for, and even share a few of the best rain jackets for women we’ve discovered over the years.

Why Trust This Guide?

Since we started traveling full-time in 2017, we’ve experienced practically every type of climate you could imagine. From torrential downpours to below-freezing temperatures, we know firsthand that having the right clothing could make or break your trip.

For this reason, we never travel without a rain jacket. From hiking and cycling to sightseeing and city-hopping, a rain jacket is one of the most versatile and useful items you could take with you on a trip.

Over the past few years, we’ve bought, tried, and battletested different styles and brands, so we’re very familiar with what type of jackets work best for outdoor adventure. And we’re eager to share with you what we’ve discovered!

What is a Rain Jacket?

Simply put, a rain jacket is a waterproof or water-resistant jacket that keeps you dry. While it doesn’t provide thick insulation on its own, it is usually layered over a sweater or another jacket for extra warmth. Most rain jackets also protect against wind, so you don’t experience that chilly breeze that rolls through while you’re outside.

Why You Need a Rain Jacket

A durable rain jacket is one of the most useful items to take with you while traveling. It’s a versatile piece of clothing that can keep you dry, warm, and protected from numerous outdoor elements. And because it’s so lightweight, you should have no problem packing it in your suitcase or tossing it in your backpack.

Besides traveling, we always bring a rain jacket with us hiking, cycling, or camping. Weather can be very unpredictable, but at least we’ll be prepared if it suddenly starts to rain or storm during our trip.

Different Kinds of Rain Jackets

Rain jackets are not a one size fits all (literally and figuratively!). Depending on where you’re traveling to or what you’re doing, there are different types of rain jackets to fit your needs.

2-Layer Rain Jackets

A 2-layer rain jacket is made by applying a laminate or coating (which is one layer) to the main part of the fabric (the second layer). They are generally more flexible and quieter compared to 2.5 or 3-layer jackets. Goretex’s Durable Water Repellency (DWR) coating is an excellent example of a 2-layer rain jacket.

2.5-Layer Rain Jackets

A 2.5-layer jacket is similar to a 2-layer jacket, except for the extra coating that is applied to the second layer. As a result, the jacket is more protective against water. 2.5-layer jackets are also a little bit lighter in weight compared to 2-layer jackets.

3-Layer Rain Jacket

Unlike 2 and 2.5-layer jackets, a 3-layer jacket doesn’t have a coating that’s sprayed or painted on. Instead, it has a non-stick membrane that rests against the main fabric and base layer (like nylon or mesh). 3-layer jackets may be heavier and more expensive, but they are the best in terms of durability, breathability, and waterproof performance.

3-in-1 Rain Jacket

While most rain jackets are used as a top layer shell, some come with an insulated layer for extra warmth. The lining is generally made out of fleece and can be worn together, without, or on it’s own from the rain jacket shell.

What to Look for When You Buy a Rain Jacket

With hundreds of different rain jacket companies, brands, and styles out there, choosing the right one for your needs can be tricky. However, we believe there are certain features that all good rain jackets must have. 

Breathability 

Breathability is critical when looking for a good rain jacket. If your jacket isn’t breathable, then any sweat or vapor that you give off will be trapped inside the coat, which can make things very uncomfortable very quickly! 

A breathable rain jacket is constructed from materials that allow sweat and heat to escape while also preventing water molecules from entering. Some models might even have ventilation flaps or zippers to help make it even more breathable. It really is an important necessity that we feel all good rain jackets should have!

Waterproofness

Although you may think that waterproof and water-resistant jackets are the same, there is one big difference that you should keep in mind. 

Water-resistant jackets can only tolerate light rainfall. If you get stuck in a torrential downpour for hours on end, then a water-resistant jacket probably won’t keep you dry the entire time. On the other hand, waterproof jackets are more impervious to rain, which means water will have a much harder time soaking through to your skin.

When it comes to buying a good rain jacket, we recommend looking for something that is waterproof and not water-resistant.

Packability

Some rain jackets can be stiff and bulky, making them a nightmare to pack into a suitcase or backpack. We believe a good rain jacket should also be lightweight and packable, so it’s easy to carry around with you when you aren’t wearing it. 

Top Rain Jackets

If you’re looking to purchase a new waterproof jacket then you’ve come to the right place! Here’s a list of our top 5 favorite rain jackets.

Fjällräven Keb Eco Shell | Best All-Around Rain Jacket

Made from 3-layered recyclable polyester, the Fjällräven Keb Eco Shell is one of our favorite waterproof rain jackets. From cycling in Iceland to skiing in Norway, the Eco Shell has been with us through thick and thin, keeping us dry and warm throughout different types of climates.

It comes with multiple pockets (on the chest, arms, and on the inside), which is perfect for keeping valuable close by at all times. And the two-way waterproof zippers and velcro cuffs prevent any wind or water from getting through. 

However, the Eco Shell isn’t just made for wind and rain. It’s also extremely lightweight, which means it won’t be too heavy if you’re traveling somewhere warm. It even comes with ventilation zippers for extra breathability. Want to know more about the Fjällräven Keb Eco Shell? Check out our full review.

Pros

  • Water column: 30.000 mm
  • Weight: 470 grams
  • 3 Layers
  • Very breathable and op top of that it also has ventilation zippers
  • Hood easily fits over a helmet
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Stylish

Cons

  • High price point

Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket | Best Lightweight Jacket

Clock in at just 5.5 ounces, the ultra-lightweight Helium II Jacket will feel like you’re barely wearing anything at all. But although it’s one of the lightest jackets we’ve seen, it’s still perfect for outdoor adventure thanks to its waterproof and windproof nylon materials. This jacket also has taped seams and YKK aquaguard zippers, so water drops have no chance of leaking through!

When you’re not wearing it, you can stuff it down to the size of a granola bar. With something this lightweight and packable, there’s no excuse not to take a rain jacket with you when you go out.

However, it’s important to note that it doesn’t come with pockets. This shouldn’t be the biggest deal breaker (especially if you’re used to storing your phone, wallet, and other valuables in a backpack), but it can take a while to get used to if you like to put your hands in pockets.

Pros

  • Water column: 30.000 mm
  • Weight: 175 gram
  • Ultra-lightweight and very packable
  • Available in many colors

Cons

  • Doesn’t have pockets
  • No ventilation zippers

Columbia Women’s Arcadia II Jacket | Best Budget Rain Jacket

You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to keep dry on your travels. The Columbia Arcadia II Jacket is lightweight and waterproof, making it a great alternative to many of the expensive models on the market. 

This 2-layer jacket is made from nylon and polyester. It also uses Colombia’s signature air-permeable technology that makes it ultra-breathable. So even if you work up a sweat during your hike, you can still count on the Arcadia to keep you dry and cool.

And just because it’s affordable doesn’t mean it skimps on features. This jacket also has an adjustable hood, zippered pockets, and velcro cuffed sleeves. And when you take it off, you can roll it up and squeeze it inside his built-in hand pocket for easy packing.

Pros

  • Water column: 20.000 mm
  • Weight: 310 gram
  • Affordable price point
  • Available in many colors

Cons

  • Small hood
  • Not the most durable jacket

Arc’teryx Beta SL Hybrid | Best GORE-TEX Jacket

When it comes to waterproof fabrics, it doesn’t get much better than GORE-TEX. Some of the best waterproof jackets are made with high performance, long-lasting GORE-TEX materials, and the Arc’teryx Beta SL Hybrid is no exception.

But this jacket is a little different than others on this list because it’s made with hybrid 2 and 3-layered materials. The sleeves, hood, and arms are constructed with 2-layer GORE-TEX Paclite Plus technology, while the main body of the jacket (where you need the most protection) is reinforced with 3-layer panels. 

In addition to it’s water and wind repelling capabilities, the Arc-teryx Beta SL Hybrid is sleek and slim fitting. Unlike other rain jackets that can be loose and bulky, this one is shaped to keep you looking stylish even if you’ve been camping or hiking for days on end.

Throw in other nifty features like pit zips and chin guards, this jacket is almost as practical as it is stylish.

Pros

  • Water column: 2L Gore-Tex
  • Weight: 330 grams
  • Stylish
  • Breathable and also has armpit zippers
  • Available in multiple colors

Cons

  • High price point

Columbia Womens Whirlibird IV Interchange Jacket | Best Warm Rain Jacket

If the idea of packing different outfits and hauling around multiple layers is too overwhelming, then we suggest the 3-in-1 Columbia Whilibird IV. This interchangeable jacket has a breathable, waterproof shell as well as a thick insulated layer, either which can be worn separately or together. 

This is a great jacket if you’re trekking through colder climates and need extra warmth. The insulated layer is zipped right into the jacket, so you won’t have to worry about packing extra sweaters or layers. And if things start warming up, then you can always take out the layer and still be protected by the outer shell.

Like all good waterproof rain jackets, the Whirlibird IV is also very breathable, and even comes with underarm venting for releasing heat. 

Besides being one of the best rain jackets for warmth, the Whirlibird IV is also good for skiers and snowboarders. It comes with a built-in ski pass holder, goggle pocket, and interior zippered pocket for storing your phone or wallet.

Pros

  • Water column: Omni Tech
  • Weight: 1100 grams
  • Armpit zippers
  • 3-in-1 jacket
  • Cheaper pricepoint
  • Available in multiple colors

Cons

  • Not the most durable jacket
  • Hood is not helmet compatible

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We love to hear from you

As you now know, a waterproof jacket is a closet staple for any traveler. What are some features you look for when choosing a durable rain jacket? Do you have another suggestion for a great breathable and durable rain jacket? Or do you simply have a question? Let us know in the comments below! 

For more handy essentials to bring on your next trip, check out more of our travel gear!

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