The Best Rain Jackets for Every Activity

Your best defense against snow, sun, and everything in between

Here are our favorite spring jackets. (Inga Hendrickson)
jackets

Shoulder-season picks for women and men. 

Outdoor Research Optimizer ($399)

optimizer
(Courtesy Outdoor Research)

Best For: Redlining

Most winter hard shells are oppressive in balmy conditions—or when hiking uphill regardless of the weather. But the waterproof and feathery Optimizer proved to be tough enough for ski tours and airy enough for spring showers. Credit Gore’s new Active fabric, which is more durable and 20 percent lighter than older versions. 12.9 oz (men’s) / 11.6 oz (women’s)

Men's Women's


Mountain Hardwear Touren Hooded ($350)

jacket
(Courtesy Mountain Hardwear)

Best For: Summit bids

This soft shell is so accommodating, we forgot we had it on—even atop a blustery ridge near Colorado’s Continental Divide. The hood, front, and upper arms are made of Polartec Power Shield, which seals out gusts, while the back and underarms feature a thin stretch-woven material that dumps heat. 1.2 lbs (men’s) / 1.1 lb (women’s)

Men's  Women's


Black Diamond StormLine Stretch ($149)

black diamond
(Courtesy Black Diamond)

Best For: Dodging rain

Supple, stretchy seam-taped fabric kept us from feeling Saran Wrapped in the 2.5-layer StormLine. We found it comfortable, and the elasticity let us reach for handholds during scrambling ascents. Although the proprietary membrane isn’t as breathable as some shells, it vents well enough to keep sweat tolerable. 11.3 oz (men’s) / 7.9 oz (women’s)

Men's  Women's


Arc’teryx Sawyer ($425)

jacket
(Courtesy Arc'teryx)

Best For: Concrete canyons

Features of mountain jackets—waterproofing, comfort, an articulated cut—are just as appealing in the city. So Arc’teryx merged them with urban styling, lengthening the hem and swapping in somber sidewalk tones. The Sawyer is a men’s jacket, but women lauded the fit. 15 oz (men’s)

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Salewa Agner Engineered DST ($200)

Big Agnes
(Courtesy Big Agnes)

Best For: Rubbing elbows with rocks

We didn’t worry about babying this soft shell when scaling Joshua Tree’s coarse granite and Smith Rock’s welded tuff. It’s made from PFC-free DWR, with abrasion-resistant Cordura yarn seamlessly woven into the stretch fabric at the shoulders and elbows. 12.2 oz (men’s) / 10.2 oz (women’s)

Men's  Women's


Gore C5 Gore-Tex Shakedry 1985 ($300)

gore wear
(Courtesy Gore Wear)

Best For: Wet rides

This featherweight performance shell is the second generation to use Shakedry, a paper-thin, two-layer fabric that wears its waterproof membrane on its exterior, eliminating the need for stuffy outer fabric with wet-out potential. The upshot is that it’s incredibly light and super breathable. 4.9 oz (men’s and women’s)

Men's  Women's


Marmot Eclipse EvoDry ($250)

marmot
(Courtesy Marmot)

Best For: A greener spring

This all-purpose hiking jacket is the first to use EvoDry, an eco-friendly, PFC-free DWR treatment that’s molecularly bonded to the yarn, so it never washes off. It’s combined with a 2.5-layer shell made of recycled nylon. All that tech worked brilliantly, keeping us dry in a downpour. 13.4 oz (men’s) / 12.3 oz (women’s)

Men's  Women's


Icebreaker Coriolis ($220)

Icebreaker
(Courtesy Icebreaker)

Best For: Comfort on the run

Say goodbye to that crunchy, clammy sensation. This windbreaker had us feeling fine on long, chilly spring training runs, thanks to a soft, wicking, odor-resistant merino lining paired with a breathable, weather-resistant nylon face. 13.5 oz (men’s) /12.7 oz (women’s)

Men's  Women's

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From Outside Magazine, May 2018
Filed To: Soft Shell / Weather / Jackets / Biking / Hiking and Backpacking / Gear
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