The perfect rain jacket has three responsibilities: to keep you dry, to breathe while doing so, and to be able to pack away nicely when you’re not using it. The following jackets all do just that, making them our top choices to keep out the rain, wind, and sleet this fall when you’re out on the trail, chasing your kids around, or just commuting to work. Take a look.
Outdoor Research Interstellar
Many technical rain jackets fell constricting: You know you are wearing a shell when you have it on and it even restricts mobility for everything from hiking to scrambling up rocky slopes. Not so with the 11.6-ounce Interstellar. Built with fully waterproof/breathable fabric that incorporates lots of stretch throughout and even more so in strategic spots like under the arms this shell feels like a second skin. Bonus: an easy-to-adjust hood that will fit over a bike or climbing helmet.
Helly Hansen Reykjavik 3 in 1
Here’s a rain jacket for daily commuting and urban bustling that gives you all the technical attributes of a technical shell without making you look like an outdoor geek in the city. While it may look like merely style-forward wool on the outside, this out fabric of the Reykjavik is full waterproof and can ward off vicious rain and sleet Plus, a warm, detachable Primaloft liner and the “3-in1” concept (shell alone, shell plus liner, liner alone) give you both the ability to shed layers to adapt to changing weather and use the jacket throughout the year.
Light and simple, this multi-purpose zip up has the protective fabric to ward of a a sudden squall but it truly xls as that jacket you toss in your day pack or travel bag just in case the wheather gets blustery or temperature drops in a hurry.. While it may not have the hermetic-seal protection of some of the more technical shells in this roundup it rings in at a smart price and can handle a wide range of conditions on the trail and sidewalk.
Montbell Torrent Flier
At just 6.5 ounces, this fully waterproof/breathable shell offers up full protection from hammering storms but packs down to the size of an empenada in the bottom of a pack (or a roomy pocket). Credit that technical aplomb to Gore-Tex Paclite fabric (which lets in air as much as it keeps precipitation out) and a meticulous attention to small things that make a big difference—think designing the pattern so that it requires less swing, which creates weak point where water can get in—when it comes to cutting weight while keeping the shell watertight.
Columbia Outdry EX Eco Jacket
Columbia made a concerted effort to build the most environmentally friendly rain shell possible here: The company used no harmful PFCs in the recycled waterproof/breathable fabric and refrained from using dyes, which saves 13 gallons of water per jacket (the shell comes in white or black, which is created via a process that incorporates charcoal into the fabric for color). All those thoughtful intentions also add up to technical prowess: a burly, but family light (13 ounces) jacket that can handle big trips and have use on rainy commutes.
adidas Outdoor Fastpack 2.5L
This athletic-fit rain shell checks off all the right boxes. The 2.5-layer (the half layer is on the inside of the jacket and adds a bit of protection while cutting down on weight) shucks off storms but lets out heat—and it all packs down into an internal pocket. Side zip pockets let in even more ventilation if you are in a hurry. It weighs just 12 ounces. An adjustable hood seals the deaL. And it all comes with a reasonable price tag.