Best women’s waterproof jackets 2022: All-weather coats, jackets and shells, from £60

Sian Lewis
11 Mar 2022

Want a reliable women’s waterproof jacket? Discover our pick of the best jackets to keep you safe, dry and stylish in the worst conditions

In the words of Alfred Wainwright, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, simply bad clothing”. And when it comes to dressing ready for adventures in the mercurial British weather, one of the most important bits of outdoor kit anyone can own is a great waterproof jacket.

There’s no shortage of women’s-specific options on the market today, but it still pays to pick carefully. The best women’s waterproof jackets use fabrics and materials that can shrug off the heaviest downpours, yet remain breathable enough to prevent you from overheating and are cut specifically to fit the female form comfortably, even when carrying a rucksack, riding a bike or climbing a mountain peak.

Our top picks of the best women’s-specific jackets include designs to suit different budgets, seasons, styles and types of adventure. You’ll also find our handy buyer’s guide below to help you work out exactly what features and fit you should be looking for.

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Best waterproof jacket for women: At a glance

How to choose the best women’s waterproof jacket for you

How do I know a jacket is really waterproof?

First, check that it isn’t marketed as being water repellent or water resistant, as this tends to indicate clothing that isn’t fully waterproof. A good waterproof jacket should be ready to withstand rain for hours at a time.
Look for a waterproof jacket that either uses branded technology, such as Gore-Tex, Event or Sympatex, or own-brand technology to render its outer membrane waterproof.

You’ll often see jackets with waterproof ratings measured in millimetres – as a guide, up to 1,500mm is merely water-resistant (so not useful in anything more than drizzle), 1,500mm-5,000mm is waterproof and good for most wet conditions, and 10,000mm and above is highly waterproof and great for mountain conditions and snow.

What if my jacket starts to let in water?

With regular wear, most jackets can begin to let in rain or wet out (where water soaks into the fabric rather than beading up). In either case, it’s not necessarily ready for the bin.

Cleaning a waterproof jacket with a specialist wash such as Nikwax Tech Wash can remove dirt and grime that might prevent waterproof fabrics and membranes from working properly, and you can reproof jackets by subsequently washing them with a treatment such as Nikwax TX.Direct Wash-In or similar. You can hand-wash or throw the jacket in a washing machine, so it’s not hard to do.

Some fabrics, such as some of Gore-Tex’s traditional line-up, just need a wash and a quick spin in the tumble dryer to reactivate their waterproof properties, so check with your jacket’s manufacturer before splashing out on a new one. It might just need a bit of TLC.

Does my jacket need to be breathable?

Even cheap and cheerful jackets such as pac-a-macs can be waterproof, but they’re unlikely to also be breathable, which is the second key factor of a great waterproof jacket if you want to wear it for more active pursuits, sports or in the summer months.
Good-quality waterproof jackets keep rain out but still wick away sweat to keep you cool. Look for a jacket that’s labelled as being breathable, and ideally that has good-sized zipped vents to further cool you down when you’re on the go. When you’re working hard in wet conditions, even the very best technical fabrics will struggle to breathe – a simple vent is all that’s required.

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What about fit and style?

Where are you planning to wear your new jacket? If you’re off on big hikes or fast-paced cycles where you’ll be working up a sweat, pick a light, breathable “shell” jacket without added insulation. For colder weather or gentler walks, consider a longer-length, coat-style jacket with some extra insulation.

Whatever style you pick, make sure your new jacket fits perfectly – it should feel snug but without any tightness, fit under your rucksack without any chafing and ideally be adjustable at the waist and cuffs, and with an adjustable hood. Look for a helmet-compatible hood if you want to wear your jacket for climbing or cycling. If you’re heading out in extreme conditions, pick a brightly coloured jacket so you’re easy to spot in bad weather.

How much should I spend?

There are rain-ready jackets at price points to suit pretty much every budget on the market. Aim to spend around £100 on a good versatile waterproof, although there are some good, budget-friendly designs available for around £50. High-end, £200+ jackets are only worth the splurge if you’re heading out in serious conditions on proper hiking trips, but if you are, they’ll be breathable, comfortable and completely waterproof.

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The best women’s waterproof jackets in 2022

1. Haglofs L.I.M: The best waterproof jacket for women

Price: £220 | Buy now from Cotswold Outdoor

Waterproof jackets don’t get much lighter or more packable than this. Haglof’s L.I.M – the name, fittingly, stands for Less Is More – weighs only 200g and will stuff into the smallest backpack or even into your pocket.

However, if a storm threatens, the L.I.M. is reliably waterproof and sports a well-fitting hood, a water-resistant zip and a handy chest pocket. This jacket fits brilliantly under rucksacks – a fantastic choice for fast-paced adventures where you need protection without any extra weight.

If you like the idea of staying dry but don’t want to suffer the bulk of a more heavyweight jacket, this brilliant Haglofs example is well worth the outlay.

Key specs – Weight: 200g; Waterproofing: Gore-Tex Paclite Plus; Colours available: 2; Sizes available: XS-XL

Buy now from Cotswold Outdoor

2. Patagonia Torrentshell: The best recycled waterproof jacket

Price: £160 | Buy now from Cotswold Outdoors

We have yet to review a Patagonia jacket that didn’t perform well in inclement weather, and the lightweight Torrentshell is yet another great waterproof from the eco-friendly brand.

We like the boxy fit, which makes it easy to squeeze layers underneath the Torrentshell – it even accommodates down jackets nicely – and the adjustable and stowable hood, wide pockets and comfy, fleece-lined neck all hit the mark, too.

The Torrentshell is made with 100% recycled fabric, making it a planet-conscious choice, and it stuffs down into its own pocket. And if you’re into matching all your gear to a colour scheme, the 10 different shades available will be right up your street.

Key specs – Weight: 301g; Waterproofing: H2No™; Colours available: 10; Sizes available: XS-XL

Buy now from Cotswold Outdoors

3. Seasalt Plant Hunter: The best women’s waterproof coat for stay-dry style

Price: From £100 | Buy now from Seasalt

In a world of functional waterproofs in acid-bright colours, Seasalt’s beautifully designed coats in delicate, muted shades are a breath of fresh (sea) air.

The lovely, longer-length Plant Hunter performed brilliantly when we tested it in the sternest storms thanks to its fully waterproofed design, yet somehow it still manages to look smart and stylish. It’s also warm, and the cosy cotton lining and fleece-lined hood feel far nicer worn next to skin than other more technical, specialist jackets.

The downside to all that warm lining is that the Plant Hunter is less breathable than shell jackets and less versatile for more energetic outdoors pursuits, but for winter walks and daily use in the cooler months, it’s a great addition to the wardrobe. This coat also goes up to a size 28.

Key specs – Weight: N/A; Waterproofing: Waterproof; Colours available: 8; Sizes available: 6-28

Buy now from Seasalt

4. Columbia OutDry Titanium Ex Reign: The best affordable women’s jacket for heavy weather

Price: £112 | Buy now from Columbia

There’s no mistaking the OutDry Titanium Ex Reign for a technical outdoors jacket. You’ll either love or hate the slick, shiny looks of Columbia’s fabrics but if you like them, this is a great-quality waterproof for sensible money.

It’s fully waterproofed with Columbia’s own OutDry technology and sports a good adjustable hood, plus sealed seams and underarm vents for warmer weather. When testing this jacket we found it kept us dry even in prolonged heavy rain, making it ideal for big days out in the wild.

The fit is on the short and snug side, so you may want a size up if you want to wear warm mid layers beneath the Ex Reign.

Key specs – Weight: N/A; Waterproofing: OutDry Extreme; Colours available: 1; Sizes available: XS-XL

Buy now from Columbia

5. Regatta Carletta VI 3-in-1 jacket: The best affordable women’s waterproof jacket

Price: £60 | Buy now from Regatta

Our favourite waterproof jacket on a budget, the versatile Regatta Carletta VI 3-in-1 packs in an impressive amount of features considering its budget-friendly price.

The external jacket is waterproofed with Isotex and repels rain efficiently, while inside there’s a separate, lightweight inner jacket that adds welcome warmth. You can wear either jacket separately, too, so the Carletta functions as a waterproof shell, a lightweight mid layer and a warmer insulated jacket all rolled into one. We also like the built-in headtorch in the jacket’s hood, which is ideal if you’re out walking in low light.

If you want a versatile jacket that provides superb value for money, this is a great choice.

Key specs – Weight: 487g; Waterproofing: Isotex; Colours available: 1; Sizes available: 10-18

Buy now from Regatta

6. Chrome Storm Salute Commute: The best waterproof jacket for commuting and cycling

Price: £189 | Buy now from Chrome

Wet weather on the horizon? Whip out the Chrome Storm Salute Commute. As the name suggests, this is a commuting and cycling-friendly jacket designed for getting active, with taped seams, great ventilation and waterproof fabrics that can shrug off sudden downpours.

The Storm Salute’s black and khaki colourways make this a versatile choice for city wear, and a zippered interior phone pocket and back cargo pocket keep your belongings safe and dry. Reflective detailing makes you more visible if you’re out and about at night, too.

Key specs – Weight: N/A; Waterproofing: 2.5 layer waterproof; Colours available: 2; Sizes available: XS-XL

Buy now from Chrome

7. Fohn Supercell 3L: The best waterproof jacket for hiking

Price: £180 | Buy now from Wiggle

If you love hiking in rugged, mountainous landscapes, you’re going to need a waterproof that can keep pace with your adventures, and Fohn’s Supercell jacket is just the ticket.

The jacket is fully waterproofed thanks to a 3-layer construction and a 20,000mm hydrostatic head, so it’ll see off even heavy downpours, and taped seams and a well-constructed hood further help to keep rain and wind at bay.

The fit is great – roomy enough to wear a down jacket underneath and fitting nicely under a backpack. The bright orange colourway isn’t just smart, either, as it also makes you more visible in poor conditions.

Key specs – Weight: 400g; Waterproofing: 20,000mm 3-layer waterproof fabric; Colours available: 1; Sizes available: 8-16

Buy now from Wiggle

8. Red Original Active Jacket: The best waterproof jacket for water sports

Price: £130 | Buy now from Red Original

Red Original are best known for their popular paddle boards and changing robes, but their new Active Jacket shows they know how to make clothing designed for the elements too.

This sleek jacket is lightweight and packable, so it’s easy to chuck in a dry bag or your backpack when you’re paddleboarding, sailing or coastal walking.

The fabric is reasonably breathable, so you won’t overheat if you start to sweat, and is water-resistant enough to be splashproof or to repel light rain. The hood is great too, with a built-in visor for keeping sun or water out of your face.

In short, this is a superbly versatile outer layer for water sports and beyond.

Key specs – Weight: 360g; Waterproofing: 5,000mm waterproofing; Colours available: 1; Sizes available: XS-XL

Buy now from Red Original

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