When it comes to hiking you always have to be prepared for the weather to change, and a big part of being prepared is having the gear necessary to deal with those changing conditions. A waterproof hiking jacket, for instance, is a great item to have because rain is definitely one weather condition that you always want to be prepared for. Of course not all waterproof hiking jackets are made equal, and there are plenty of things that you want to be looking for when you go shopping for a new waterproof hiking jacket.
Waterproof Hiking JacketA good waterproof hiking jacket should have a few different things going for it.
- Material – One of the most important features of a waterproof jacket that you want to look at is the material used to make the jacket. Some materials are claimed to be waterproof, for example, but after a few hours of steady rain will start to leak through. Know what you’re buying, and what its limitations are.
- Ventilation – Another important thing that you definitely want to see on a waterproof hiking jacket is ventilation of some kind. Waterproof jackets are often excellent at keeping water out, but are not so good at letting water, or sweat, out. A jacket that is breathable, and has ventilation, is a definite must to help avert this.
Best Waterproof Hiking JacketSome of the very best waterproof hiking jackets, for both men and women.
- Marmot Super Mica - If you spend a lot of time wearing a backpack then there are some excellent jackets, like the Super Mica, that are built with a backpack in mind. The shoulders and the waist of the Super Mica are both reinforced, so that your backpack straps wont rub your jacket raw. The hand pockets are also raised, to be accessible while your backpacks hip belt is done up. And it uses Marmots very lightweight and thin MemBrain fabric for waterproofing, so that you can stuff this waterproof hiking jacket in a backpack and forget about it when you don't need it.
- Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket (Women's Version) - The Torrentshell is a great cheap waterproof hiking jacket. It uses Patagonia's H2No fabric for waterproofing, and has standard features, like pit zips to keep you well ventilated. It uses just two basic zippered hand pockets, and a simple hood. So not terribly feature rich, but the price is definitely right for a waterproof hiking jacket.
- Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket (Women's Version) - At the other end of the price spectrum is the Alpha SV, from Arc'teryx. It uses the very good Gore Tex 3L Pro fabric, which will have no problems keeping you dry even in a downpour. With Arc'teryx you pay more, but you also get attention to detail. Features like a minimal amount of seams, a helmet compatible hood and a few extra inches of length to extend the jacket over the hips really show the drtail work that Arc'teryx puts in to their jackets. Not cheap, but definitely one of the best waterproof hiking jackets out there.