Last Updated on 27/08/2023
When staying dry is a priority, you need one of these top 10 best women’s waterproof jackets. When you’re out and about in the mountains, you need to be ready to handle any eventually. Self-sufficiency is the name of the game in the backcountry, even when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate. Whether you’re caught out in a late-afternoon thunderstorm during your peak ascent, or you’re out on a week-long camping trip, a quality rain jacket is an essential part of your packing list.
- Check out our even bigger list of waterproof hiking jackets
But with so many different women’s rain jackets out there to choose from, it’s understandable if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by your options. Thankfully, we’re here to help.
Coming up, we’ll walk you through some of the basics of women’s rain jackets and give you some top tips for choosing the one that’s right for you. Plus, we’ll review 10 of the best women’s waterproof jackets on the market today, so you can spend less time researching your gear and more time enjoying the great outdoors. Let’s get to it!
10 Best Women’s Waterproof Jackets
Okay, now let’s get down to business. Here are our reviews of the best women’s waterproof jackets on the market today:
Arc’teryx Beta SL Hybrid
- MATERIAL: GORE-TEX
Made for light and fast missions in the mountains, the Arc’teryx Beta SL Hybrid is a versatile, packable rain jacket for all-around use in the outdoors. Made using two different Gore-tex fabrics, the Beta SL Hybrid maximized performance and breathability while simultaneously minimizing weight. Plus, it has reinforced high-wear areas for added durability, pit zips for extra ventilation, and a helmet-compatible storm hood for use in any environment and condition.
The Arc’teryx Beta SL Hybrid is a lightweight option for outdoor enthusiasts that like to move quickly in steep terrain. If we had to pick out one thing we don’t like about the Beta SL Hybrid, it’s the price, but if you compromise on quality, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal than this jacket.
We reviewed another top waterproof jacket for women made by Arc’teryx here!
Salomon QST Guard
- MATERIAL: AdvancedSkin Dry fabric
Designed to keep you warm and dry when the temperatures drop, the Salomon QST Guard is a stylish women’s rain jacket that looks just as good in the city as it does in the mountains. This rain jacket offers solid weather protection as well as 40g PrimaLoft synthetic insulation to help you stay cozy and warm in harsh conditions. It’s designed with MotionFit tailoring, so you don’t feel constrained while moving, even if you’re wearing the hood.
The Salomon QST Guard is loaded with plenty of other ski-specific features, like a mesh goggles pocket. It’s the perfect buddy for a day on the slopes. However, the insulation and extra features of the QST Guard do make this jacket a bit heavier and bulkier than most summer backpackers would prefer. Our advice? Use the QST Guard for winter sports, and you’ll find it difficult to be disappointed.
Arc’teryx Zeta SL
- MATERIAL: GORE-TEX
Light, packable, and waterproof, the Arc’teryx Zeta SL is your go-to rain jacket for varied conditions. Made specifically for summer hiking in unpredictable weather, the Zeta SL is the perfect jacket for when packability maters. Best used as an emergency shell jacket on the trail, the Zeta SL is made with Gore-tex Paclite Plus technology with a minimalist design and a small, helmet-compatible hood – excellent for anyone that values light weight and packability above all else.
Like most Arc’teryx jackets, though, the Zeta SL is a bit expensive, but we think it’s worth it for the quality you can expect from the company’s products. Plus, the Zeta SL doesn’t have a helmet-compatible hood, but if you’re looking for an emergency layer that you can stuff easily into your pack until you need it most, the Zeta SL just might be for you.
- MATERIAL: H2No Performance Standard shell
Simple yet effective, the Patagonia Torrentshell is an all-around rain jacket with a performance-driven design. Eco-friendly, the Patagonia Torrentshell is made with a 100% recycled 3-layer waterproof/breathable H2No fabric that boasts a Fair Trade Certification. As far as performance goes, the Torrentshell has a two-way adjustable hood, ventilating pit zips, and a DWR water-repellent finish. Oh, and it stuffs into its own pocket for easy packing on the go.
Ultimately, the Patagonia Torrentshell is a great option for hikers that need a simple, affordable rain jacket. Although we have some durability concerns about the Torrentshell in very harsh conditions, it’s a solid rain jacket for everyday use. Plus, it’s eco-friendly, so who can complain?
Outdoor Research Aspire
- MATERIAL: GORE-TEX
The Outdoor Research Aspire is a women-specific rain jacket known for its long history of dependability. Built to last, the Aspire is packed with features and boasts dependable rain protection for those summer storms. Best of all, Outdoor Research has even switched to a new Gore-tex fabric that eliminates all PFCs from its production, so you can get a jacket that’s good for you and the environment.
A solid all-around rain jacket, the Aspire is a great go-to for frequent hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. With some great features, like the ability to stuff into its own pocket, the Aspire is easy to take with you on general adventures. While we wouldn’t necessarily use it in the winter, it’s a great companion for summer, fall, and spring hikes.
- MATERIAL: Eco G1000
Designed for maximum comfort and range of motion during challenging conditions in the mountains, the Fjallraven Keb is a unique rain jacket for the outdoor adventurer. Made with Fjallraven’s proprietary G-1000 Eco fabric, the Keb provides plenty of movement thanks to the fabric’s stretch capabilities. Plus, the Keb has an adjustable storm hood and features pit vents to help keep you cool as you charge uphill.
Fjallraven is known for making gear that doesn’t fit the traditional mold of outdoor technical wear, and the Keb is no exception. Although the Keb doesn’t use a waterproof breathable membrane in its construction, the G-1000 Eco fabric can keep you warm and dry in a rainstorm. However, this material takes a lot of maintenance and upkeep to function properly, so keep this in mind before you buy it.
Under Armour UA Roam
- MATERIAL: GORE TEX Paclite
Sporty yet functional, the Under Armour UA Roam is a waterproof jacket for everyday use. The UA Roam features Gore-tex Paclite fabric, which means it’s incredibly lightweight but is sturdy enough to handle those infrequent rainstorms. The best part? The UA Roam packs away into its own pocket, so you never have to go out and adventure without it.
As with any lightweight fabric, though, we are a bit concerned about how the UA Roam can hold up on longer bushwacking conditions or in rugged terrain, so we wouldn’t necessarily take it with us for a month-long backpacking trip. However, if you want a jacket that can accompany you on those short day trips into the mountains, the UA Roam is there for you.
- MATERIAL: GORE TEX Paclite
If lightweight backpacking is your thing, then look no further than the Marmot Minimalist. This ultralight jacket is made using 100% recycled, PFC-free Gore-tex’s Paclite technology, which provides a waterproof layer with maximum breathability. Fully seam-taped with pit zips for ventilation, the Marmot Minimalist even features an adjustable hood and a full range of motion, so you never feel constricted on your adventures.
Minimalist in design, through and through, this jacket doesn’t have a lot of added features, but it is made to keep you dry. However, like any lightweight piece of gear, we do have some durability concerns with the Marmot Minimalist over the long term, so careful use is advised. Everything you need, nothing you don’t, the Marmot Minimalist is a great addition to any packing list.
- MATERIAL: Pertex Shield+ 2.5 layer
The Rab Downpour is a three-season rain jacket designed for maximum comfort in a diversity of situations. The Downpour features a helmet-compatible hood, as well as adjustable cuffs and a hem drawcord so you can get the perfect fit out of your jacket while on the move. It also has a left pocket that converts into an integrated stuff sack and water-resistant zippers so you can beat the rain on all of your adventures.
The three-season Rab Downpour is made with a 2.5-layer Pertex Shield waterproof breathable membrane, which is some of the best fabric in the business when it comes to keeping you dry. However, we do have some concerns about the Downpour’s breathability due to its lack of pit zips and relatively thick fabric. Rab has a good guide to waterproof jackets on their website here.
The North Face Women’s Dryzzle
- MATERIAL: Gore-tex Paclite
The North Face’s Dryzzle is an updated take on a classic rain jacket design. With a standard fit, the Dryzzle is made to keep you comfortable and dry in a springtime storm, thanks to the jacket’s Gore-tex Paclite technology. Fully windproof, the Dryzzle has an adjustable hood and zippered pockets to keep you protected from the rain, while pit zips help maintain adequate airflow as you move up the trail.
That being said, the Dryzzle is quite a thin jacket, and, as such, we wouldn’t necessarily use it during the wintertime. But, when it comes to three-season use, you’d be hard-pressed to find a jacket that can do the job better than the Dryzzle. Oh, and the stylish Dryzzle t looks as good in town as it does in the great outdoors. What more could you ask for?
Rain Jacket Buyer’s Guide
Before you spend your hard-earned money on a piece of gear, it’s important to know what to look for, especially when it is responsible for keeping you dry. Short of using an umbrella for hiking, your best bet to getting a jacket that protects you from rain is to do your research before you buy and always read customer reviews where possible. Here’s what you should keep an eye on when you’re shopping for that next women’s rain jacket:
Waterproof Breathable Membrane
Any rain jacket worth the money will be made with a waterproof breathable membrane, which is basically the high-tech fabric that helps keep you dry in the rain while also allowing your sweat to evaporate as you hike. Not all waterproof breathable membranes are created equal, however, and some are certainly better than others. Some of the most popular brand names are Gore-tex and eVent, though you can find cheaper generic models out there.
Durable Water Repellent (DWR)
A DWR is effectively a chemical coating that’s applied to the outside of a rain jacket to help water bead off the surface in the rain. This might not sound very important, but without a good DWR coating, water droplets will clog up the pores of your waterproof breathable membrane, trapping in sweat and making your hike very uncomfortable. The best women’s waterproof jackets will come with a DWR coating, but you may have to reapply it every few trips for maximum performance.
No one likes to hike in a sweaty rain jacket, so breathability is of the utmost importance. However, breathability isn’t a “feature” that you can search for in a jacket. Rather, it’s a result of smart design. The most breathable rain jackets will be relatively lightweight and made with a quality waterproof breathable membrane, like Gore-tex, eVent, and BDry. Plus, they’ll generally also have pit zips for added ventilation on the go.
If you’re going to spend money on a rain jacket for backcountry use, it better has a hood. However, some hoods are better than others, and this can make a huge difference on your trip. When buying a rain jacket, you should determine if you plan to wear it with a climbing helmet, as some hoods are helmet-compatible while others aren’t.
No one wants to carry around a massive rain jacket on their backpacking trip, so it’s important to make sure your next jacket is highly packable. Some rain jackets are designed to stuff into their own pockets, while others come with stuff sacks for easy packing. However, the most lightweight jacket can easily get stuffed into the top of your pack, making it easy to deploy your jacket at the slightest hint of rain.
So if you want to stay dry, pick a jacket made from quality material that has all the features to function as well as look good. Sealed seams are a must, and GORE-TEX is considered one of the best waterproof materials for outerwear, although most other fabrics are very similar. Be prepared to pay more for a good Gore-Tex raincoat, but you can expect it to last many years if looked after. You won’t regret getting the best women’s waterproof jackets out there when you stay dry, no matter the weather.
Can Women Wear Men’s Waterproof Jackets?
If you prefer the way a man’s raincoat fits, then by all means, go for it. They often have better color choices anyway. The only thing to be wary of is the chest size and length of the arms and torso. If you have a bigger bust, then men’s jackets are often too tight at the top, which isn’t the best. Women’s jackets are typically a little shorter on the sleeves and torso, which offers the best fit for most women, but if you are fairly tall, then a guy’s coat may work well.
What is the Most Waterproof Material for Women’s Rain Jackets?
The most waterproof material for rain jackets, in general, is Gore-Tex, followed by eVent and Pertex Sheild+. You will find that most premium brands will choose to use Gore-Tex and proudly display the label as a sign of quality. Goretex raincoats stay waterproof the longest and provide good breathability for hiking.
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