The Best Men's Rain Jackets

The Black Diamond Highline Stretch Shell is our top pick.

In This Article

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Best Men's Rain Jackets

Courtesy of Amazon

As any traveler will tell you, no matter where you go, rain is always a possibility. And finding the right rain jacket can make all the difference between staying dry and comfortable versus enduring a cold, miserable, and very wet few hours. Some jackets – like our top pick, the Black Diamond Highline Stretch Shell – come with a host of features designed to keep the elements out and work with you, whether you’re climbing, biking, hiking, or just darting through the rain between work and home. Some lightweight models pack into their own pocket to make storage easy and convenient, while others offer truly bomber protection ready to fend off the most drenching of monsoons.

In exploring the best men’s rain jackets, the focus fell on hard shell jackets, which provide reliable waterproof/breathable protection to lessen the chances that the products would wet out and fail to keep you dry. Breathability and durability were also key factors, as were smart, travel-friendly features like adjustable hoods, stretchy fabrics, inner layers that wick sweat, and features like pit zips that help you regulate the internal temps. 

Here are the best men’s rain jackets of 2022.

Best Overall: Black Diamond Men's Highline Stretch Shell

Black Diamond Highline Stretch Shell

Black Diamond

Why We Love It: Svelte and stretchy, the Highline Stretch Shell provides some of the most breathable waterproof protection available and comes with the perfect mix of form and function.

What to Consider: It’s not designed to pack into itself for easy storage, unlike some jackets that use the hand pocket as a stuff sack for the shell.

The alpine gear experts at Black Diamond take time and consideration when producing outdoor and travel apparel, and if the Highline Stretch Shell is any indication, that patience has paid off. The three-layer jacket uses a combination of the brand’s proprietary waterproof/breathable technology, paired with Breathable Water Protection tech that makes it one of the most breathable shells available. An eco-friendly PFC-free water-repellent finish amps the waterproofness even more. The waterproof/breathable laminate is hyper-fused to the individual fabric fibers for long-lasting protection, and the athletic fit is complemented with full stretch so the jacket moves with you during any activity.Durable Water Repellent (DWR) pit zips (armpit zippers) help dump heat when things get warm inside the jacket — without compromising the waterproof protection — and it comes with a chest pocket as well as two generous zippered hand pockets. The adjustable hood is helmet-compatible, and, just as importantly, the colors don’t scream, “I just climbed a mountain,” and would work well in any variety of travel settings or as your go-to daily rain jacket.

Sizes: XS - XL | Material: BD.dry Stretch Nylon 3L with GTT DWR finish, nylon | Weight: 12.7 ounces

Best Budget: REI Co-op Men's Groundbreaker Rain Jacket

REI Co-op Men's Groundbreaker Rain Jacket

REI Co-op

Why We Love It: The Groundbreak Rain Jacket 2.0, an upgrade from the brand’s best-selling original — provides ample protection against the elements and breathes well thanks to a poly mesh liner.

What to Consider: It only comes with two zippered hand pockets, and a lack of pit zips make it hard to cool off when you start moving.

Dropping at the hip, REI Co-op’s Groundbreaker Rain Jacket 2.0 supplies reliable waterproof/breathable protection for well under $100. The poly outer layer is critically seam-sealed to keep you dry and comfortable, with shoulder seams that have been placed forward to avoid abrasion with backpack straps. The jacket has been treated with DWR to fend off moisture; inside, a poly mesh lining allows the jacket to breathe. Fit is assured thanks to a drawcord hem, partially elastic cuffs, and a drawcord hood, and the shell has bluesign-certified materials, a nice eco-friendly design feature. 

Sizes: S-XL | Material: Polyester | Weight: 14.5 ounces

Best for Warm Weather: Patagonia Men's Calcite Jacket

Patagonia Men's Calcite Jacket

REI Co-op

Why We Love It: The Calcite Jacket employs several well-placed zippers and the highly breathable Gore-Tex Paclite Plus fabric to help regulate body temperature.

What to Consider: Color options are fairly limited with only black, blue, and green.

The Calcite Jacket from Patagonia is perfect for when a day’s heat and humidity is complemented by rain. Those under-the-arm zippers make it easy to dump internal heat without risking getting wet, and the recycled poly Gore-Tex Paclite Plus fabric is one of the most breathable options available, with a textured backer that provides next-to-skin comfort. A dual-adjust drawcord at the hem can seal out the weather if the mercury dips, and hook-and-loop closures at the cuff make it easy to adjust on the fly. All the pockets — including two hand warmer pockets as well as an outside chest pocket on the left — have coated, waterproof zippers to keep your essentials dry.

Sizes: XS - 3XL | Material: Recycled Gore-Tex Paclite Plus | Weight: 14.5 ounces

Related: The Best Winter Coats for Men

Best for Cold Weather: Helly Hansen Dubliner Insulated Long Jacket

Helly Hansen Dubliner Insulated Long Jacket

Helly Hansen

Why We Love It: Stylish and functional, the Dubliner includes 80 percent recycled PrimaLoft insulation to keep you warm and a proprietary waterproof/breathable outer layer to fend off rain and snow.

What to Consider: Unlike traditional shells, this one doesn’t pack down into a small package.

When the skies go gray and the temps drop, reach for the Helly Hansen Dubliner Insulated Long Jacket. The hem hits at the mid-thigh for added protection, and the waterproof/breathable outer layer pairs with lightweight PrimaLoft insulation to help keep you warm and seal out the elements. A stow-away hood folds into the jacket’s high collar and snaps securely for when the bad weather passes, and fold-back reflective strips on each sleeve give you the option to become highly visible to passing traffic. It also bleeds style, with a true-to-size fit and a classic Euro silhouette. 

Sizes: S - XL | Material: Polyester shell, and 80 percent recycled poly insulation | Weight: 1.7 pounds

Best for Running: Arc'teryx Men's Norvan LT Hoody

Arc'teryx Men's Norvan LT Hoody

Amazon

Why We Love It: Designed specifically for trail running, the Norvan LT Hoody keeps things simple, with an ultra-light design that focuses on the key features needed to keep you dry and comfortable while moving.

What to Consider: Some may yearn for hand pockets, and that streamlined performance comes at a price.

The bravest of runners don’t let the elements stop them, and the Norvan LT Hoody from Arc’Teryx is primed to handle the inevitable rain, sleet, and snow that can cloud an otherwise-perfect outing. Designed to work with a runner in motion, the trim fit minimizes bulk, with an articulated design to provide freedom of movement and a fitted hood for added protection. The lightweight jacket uses Gore-Tex for waterproof/breathable protection, with Gore C-Knit backer tech that’s smooth against the skin. The zipper reaches to the chin to block out moisture, and the hood can be adjusted to fit snugly, but otherwise the Norvan LT is a minimalist jacket – in all the right ways – with no pocket or excess adjustments at the sleeves.

Sizes: XS - 2XL | Material: Gore-Tex fabric with a Gore C-Knit backer Weight: 6.7 ounces

Best for Biking: Showers Pass Men's Elements Hardshell Jacket

Showers Pass Men's Elements Hardshell Jacket

Showers Pass

Why We Love It: The Elements provides truly bomber protection while cycling (or performing any other activity in the rain), with a dropped back hem for added coverage and a style-forward aesthetic.

What to Consider: A few cycling-specific features like longer sleeves, reflective materials, and a dropped back hem may feel unnecessary to the casual, fair-weather biker.

Portland, Oregon-based Showers Pass is focused on providing cyclists with apparel that will work reliably in any conditions, and the Elements Jacket has been constructed to combat the most unforgiving rain and snow. Designed for mountain biking but stylish enough to work in any wet-weather setting, the lightweight jacket uses a seam-taped 2.5-layer waterproof/breathable performance fabric to block out moisture, with a touch of stretch for unencumbered movement while you’re in the saddle. A carbon-print lining adds natural odor resistance, and a dry next-to-skin feel. Front pockets provide ample storage, core vents let you regulate the internal temp, and the removable hood lets you ditch the excess fabric when you're riding with a helmet. And the brand now uses clean color dyes, which uses non-toxic dyes and processes that benefit the environment.

Sizes: S - XXL Material: Artex Hardshell, 3M Scotchlite, carbon print lining Weight: 16.7 ounces

Related: The Best Ski Jackets for Men and Women

Best Ultralight: The North Face Men's Flight Lightriser Futurelight Jacket

The North Face Men's Flight Lightriser Futurelight Jacket

North Face

Why We Love It: Weighing in at a feathery 7.05 ounces, the Flight Futurelight Jacket drops into its own storage pocket, works to keep moisture out without sacrificing breathability, and doesn’t add any other unnecessary features to keep the weight down.

What to Consider: It’s a great emergency shell, but those who will be braving the elements a lot may wish for more features, like pit zips and better pocket configurations.

Built with The North Face’s soft, quiet, breathable waterproof technology, the seam-sealed three-layer Flight Futurelight Jacket provides ample protection against rain and sleet, with a DWR finish for added protection and an overall minimalist design that shaves off the ounces (without sacrificing performance). A full-length front zip goes to just below the chin, the hood adjusts via a rear toggle, and reflective elements have been integrated into the logo on the left chest, back-right shoulder, and the left hem to amp the visibility. Better still, an internal mesh back pocket doubles as a storage solution for when the skies clear.

Sizes: XS - XL Material: Recycled polyester Weight: 7.05 ounces

Best Eco-friendly: Marmot Men's PreCip Eco Jacket

Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket

Amazon

Why We Love It: The PreCip Jacket has won accolades for decades – both for its many weather-ready features as well as for its price – and the Eco upgrade adds a refreshing layer of environmental friendliness to a jacket that’s ready for any situation.

What to Consider: Older models lined the pit zips with mesh to help block out snow, while this model removes that feature, which could be a deal-breaker if you plan to use this as an outer layer in the winter.

Even without the eco-friendly narrative, the PreCip Eco Jacket from Marmot would demand recognition thanks to a host of smart, travel-ready features that come at a cost that won’t break the bank. The PFC-free NanoPro nylon face fabric is crafted from 100 percent recycled materials, with a microporous coating that makes it more durable than previous models (which date back more than 20 years). It stuffs into its own pocket, the hood can be stowed in the collar, pit zips help release internal heat, and a DriClime-lined chin guard wicks away moisture to avoid chafing. An elastic drawcord at the hem and adjustable Velcro cuffs help dial the optimal fit, and the taped seams add another layer of weather protection.

Sizes: S - XXL | Material: 100 percent recycled nylon | Weight: 10 ounces

Best for Breathability: Columbia OutDry Extreme Mesh Hooded Shell Jacket

4.7
Columbia OutDry Extreme Mesh Hooded Shell Jacket

Columbia

Why We Love It: By positioning the durable waterproof/breathable membrane on the outside, the jacket breathes better than any three-layer option, and the ample adjustments make it easy to get the perfect fit.

What to Consider: The shiny appearance of the outer membrane fabric may not be for everyone.

Three-layer hardshell jackets sandwich the fragile waterproof/breathable membrane between a more durable outer and a sweat-wicking inner layer, which adds weight and impacts breathability. But with their OutDry tech, Columbia figured out a way to make that essential membrane more durable, which allows them to put it directly on the outside of the jacket. This cuts down on the jacket’s weight, removes the need for pit zips, and — perhaps more importantly — provides serious breathability. The OutDry Extreme Mesh Hooded Shell Jacket benefits from that innovation and also includes a wicking inner layer and externally taped seams for 100 percent waterproof protection. Zippered hand pockets provide ample storage, a drop tail adds a bit of extra protection, and the adjustable hood comes with a bonded brim, so your vision is never impaired no matter how hard the rain might be falling. The jacket packs into a hand pocket, the “active” fit is complimented with a bit of stretch, and adjustments at the hem and sleeves provide an optimal fit.

Sizes: S - XXL Material: Nylon stretch mesh Weight: 11.6 ounces

Related: The Best Packable Jackets

Best for Stretch: Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic Jacket

Mountain Hardwear

Why We Love It: The ample stretch affords a more svelte overall fit, which cuts down on weight and provides unencumbered movement without sacrificing any waterproof/breathable protection.

What to Consider: The sleeve lengths are a bit long, which provides coverage while hiking, biking, or skiing, but may be too bulky for those looking for a more casual, travel-friendly jacket.

Rain jackets that stretch provide the freedom of movement that athletes need as well as a touch of sartorial class that some travelers also crave. Mountain Hardwear’s lightweight Stretch Ozonic Jacket is designed to move with you, regardless of the weather. The 2.5-layer jacket breathes well, under-arm zips help dump internal heat, and two zippered hand pockets join a large zippered chest pocket for plenty of storage. The hood adjusts easily, dual drawcords line the hem, and the cuffs come with hook-and-loop straps. The jacket collapses into its own stuff sack, and the use of 100 percent recycled fabrics adds a nice sustainability narrative.

Sizes: S - XXL |  Material: Recycled 50D Stretch Ripstop|  Weight: 10.9 ounces

Tips for Buying a Rain Jacket


Remember temperature control

If you’ve ever worn a lower-quality rain jacket in a humid downpour, you’ve experienced the central drawback of those products: they might keep you dry, but they do not breathe well at all, making for a sweaty, steamy experience. Modern rain jackets employ loads of features to prevent this, including using waterproof/breathable membranes (like Gore Tex or a host of proprietary tech) that block out the rain and wind but still help you shed warmth if things heat up. Some jackets line the hand pockets with mesh, so you can unzip them to let some air in, while others also integrate pit zips that run under the arms of the jacket, which let you open up a lot of extra air access without exposing you to moisture. The center zip can also help you regulate things, either to quickly cool off, or to seal in the heat; if you anticipate colder climates, be sure the collar zips up high and tight. And the hood, naturally, will help regulate your temperature; those models with zip-off hoods offer the option to ditch it if you don’t care about getting your head wet.


Choose your preferred fit

Hard-shell rain jackets used to always run a bit boxy, which was great if you planned on layering, but a bit bulky if you were using them while wearing a thin base layer. But newer materials have added a great degree of stretchiness without sacrificing the weatherproof protection, which can afford a more streamlined, athletic fit — a welcome feature if you want to reduce bulk (weight) and assure that your jacket won’t interfere with activities like hiking, climbing, or cycling. That said, a bit of extra space for two layers can be welcome; think about the average (or, perhaps the lowest-temp average) you’ll likely encounter and go with a jacket that will accommodate the layers you need to stay warm. Also note that hard-shell jackets do a great job of sealing in heat, when needed. Otherwise, be sure the jacket sleeves are long enough to drop to the bottom of your hands (and are secured in place via straps or elastic), and that the lower hem at least hits at your waist; jackets that go lower, or that curve to provide extra protection at the rear are nice-to-have features, especially when cycling, hiking, or running. And be sure that the hood is adjustable and, when applicable, helmet-compatible.


For complete waterproof protection, go with a hard shell

All the jackets in this round-up were selected to help you survive unscathed in the middle of an urban monsoon or a mid-hike deluge. That’s why they’re all hard-shell jackets, which employ two or more layers of fabric to block out the rain and wind, with some outdoor-focused tech that lets the jackets breathe. But if you don’t anticipate lots of rain, consider soft shell jackets. These typically have a DWR water-repellent coating on the outside that’ll shed moisture and fabrics that will shrug off periodic exposure to rain before soaking out. These jackets are sometimes less expensive and often have a nicer against-skin feel than hard shells.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do I wash a rain jacket?

    Always check the care instructions of your garment before washing the rain jacket in a washing machine as some detergents can damage the waterproof/water-resistant protection. For minor dirt and grime, you can typically wash it off using water, a touch of soap, and a washcloth (just air dry afterwards). For more thorough cleaning, provided the manufacturer says it’s okay to use a washing machine, wash the jacket on the gentle cycle and use lower-than-average amount of sensitive detergent, and (as always) air dry afterwards.

  • What’s the best way to pack a rain jacket?

    First, it’s important where you pack your rain jacket. Preferences may vary, but just be sure you can get to the jacket quickly in case you’re caught in a downpour. In terms of how to pack the jacket itself, some are designed to be folded into one of the front pockets, which helps keep things neat and tidy in your pack or suitcase, and some even have a carabiner loop so you can clip the packed jacket to the outside of your backpack. If not, just fold the hood down onto the unzipped front of the jacket, fold over the arms, and then roll your jacket (bottom to top), which will compress the jacket size considerably.

  • What is the difference between waterproof and water resistant?

    Waterproof jackets offer 100 percent protection from the rain and employ a variety of proprietary outer fabrics, high-tech laminates, and other coatings to let the jacket shed water without fail. Water-resistant jackets, meanwhile, offer less protection, typically by using a more breathable outer fabric that’s been treated with a DWR coating, which causes the water to bead on the coat to help block out moisture. DWR treatments can wear out but can be reapplied as needed. In some cases where periodic rain is more of a reality than a steady downpour, a water-resistant jacket can make for a less expensive, lighter solution than full-on waterproof/breathable jackets.

Why Trust Travel and Leisure

Nathan Borchelt has been testing, rating, and reviewing outdoor and travel products for decades, and has an arguably unhealthy obsession with all sorts of jackets. He’s tested products in all sorts of weather, from humid hikes during an impending hurricane in West Virginia to the chilly environs of the Pacific Northwest, and with all sorts of activities, including backpacking, hiking, trail running, cycling, skiing, and traveling.


Up Next: The Most Comfortable Men's Sandals

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