Bad weather can strike without warning, any place, any time. Whether you’re looking to stay dry in the city or out in the wild, prepare yourself with one of these jackets.
Lululemon Outpour ($248)
Best For: Office outings.
Cut from a stretchy, waterproof-breathable fabric, this slim-fitting urban shell proved itself on both rainy Paris walks and long hikes around Mont Blanc. Reflective accents on the hem and nape boost safety in the streets, four pockets provide ample storage, and back and chest vents enable airflow without the bulk of pit zips. 15.7 oz (men’s)
Columbia Outdry EX Reign ($150)
Best For: Everlasting downpours.
Crafted by a team living under Oregon’s constant drizzle, the Outdry EX Reign stays drier longer than any other shell we’ve tested. Its durable waterproof-breathable membrane is placed on the outside rather than behind a face fabric, so the jacket never wets out. Plus, Columbia eschewed environmentally harmful fluorocarbon DWR coatings and added pit zips to prevent steaming up. 13.7 oz (men’s) / 11.8 oz (women’s)
Ornot Magic Shell ($210)
Best For: Spring training.
The most supple and stretchy incarnation of Polartec’s waterproof-breathable NeoShell to date, Ornot’s super-snug Magic Shell doesn’t crinkle or snap in the wind on bike rides. It forgoes seam tape for better breathability, and a two-way zipper helps dump heat without the jacket lofting like a sail. 7.7 oz (men’s)
Helly Hansen Odin Minimalist 2.0 ($220)
Best For: Surprise squalls.
True to its name, the Minimalist stays light with pared-down features: there’s only one pocket, and the cuffs are elastic instead of Velcro. The 2.5-layer waterproof-breathable body also has fewer seams and thus fewer places for potential leaks. The result is a jacket that disappears in your pack but keeps you perfectly dry when the sky opens up. 5.6 oz (men’s)
Mammut Masao Light HS ($299)
Best For: Climbing hard.
The Masao somehow manages to be both lightweight and packed with features. Though this Pertex Shield shell packs down to the size of a Nalgene, it has pit zips, generous harness-compatible hand pockets, and a helmet-compatible hood. Elastic cuffs and a touch of stretch prevent the Masao from binding up. 8.2 oz (men’s) / 7.2 oz (women’s)
Fjällräven Greenland Eco-Shell ($450)
Best For: Urban showers.
Made with three-layer waterproof polyester treated with PFC-free water repellent, the Greenland avoids wetting out on even the stormiest days. The front snap closures and clean cut look smart on city sidewalks, while two roomy hand pockets can hold everything from credit cards to beanies. 27 oz (men’s) / 25.4 oz (women’s)
Black Diamond StormLine Stretch ($149)
Best For: Everyday wear.
The four-way stretch on this roomy jacket made it feel less like a traditional slicker and more like our favorite soft shell. It wasn’t the most breathable of the test—we were much happier wearing it on our commute than a long hike. But it proved itself in the mightiest of storms, keeping us totally dry and, even after a few months of testing, showed no sign of wetting out. 9.9 oz (men’s) / 8.7 oz (women’s)
United by Blue Albright ($128)
Best For: Layering.
Made from 41 percent recycled polyester, the Albright expertly sheds water during deluges. It’s spacious enough for layering over insulation on chilly dawn-patrol missions, with Velcro cuff tabs and hem and hood cinches to snug up the fit. The headphone port in the chest pocket keeps your electronics out of danger. 12.3 oz (men’s) / 11.3 oz (women’s)