No matter what season it is, you can be sure that there is always going to be a chance of rain if you’re out hiking in the UK, so you need reliable rain gear to keep you protected. But, with so many brands, features and styles to choose from, it’s difficult to know what to choose or in fact, where to even begin. So, below, we have pulled together 10 of the best waterproof jackets under £250 to show that good quality kit is out there for affordable prices.
Being the second lightest in the test, weighing in at 201g (size 8), this waterproof jacket from Montane won’t give you any problems in the packing department. It performed well in the rain
test, with all water droplets falling off of the fabric and no water penetration to the skin, while still being very breathable.
The jacket’s storm-proof zips also helped keep the water away. There are two good sized hip pockets which aren’t accessible when wearing a rucksack with a hip belt or a harness, however, the chest pocket is. The two hand-warmer pockets are meshed lined, so you can leave them open for extra ventilation. When things got windy, the hood kept my face warm with three drawstrings and a wire-peaked hood to keep it snug.
There are also two drawstrings on each side of the bottom of the jacket and Velcro adjustment tabs on the wrists. The jacket features a nice cut to the feminine shape, without being constricting, and there is also a good amount of stretch for easy movement. The Minimus stretch jacket comes in three beautiful colours, ‘French Berry’ pink, ‘Stratus Grey’ and ‘Zanskar Blue’. Each colour is set with bright and funky contrasting zips, making it very easy on the eye.
In a line: Stylish and lightweight. One of the best waterproof jackets on test. Highly recommended.
When I put this jacket on, it just had that feeling of being a really hardy waterproof and it didn’t let itself down during testing. It batted off the water droplets with ease during heavy rain, with no water penetration or wetting out and it took no time at all to dry off. I was also impressed by the breathability and ventilation as the jacket kept me cool and wicked the moisture away efficiently.
There’s plenty of room for a helmet under the hood, and a quick adjustment to the two drawstrings and the Velcro tab is all that’s needed when the wind is blowing for most of your face to be protected and warm. For extra protection, you also have two drawstrings at the bottom of the jacket and Velcro adjustable wrists. The jacket features storm flaps on all of the zips which give good waterproof coverage.
There are two hip pockets which are lined with breathable mesh fabric and they offer great ventilation when the zips are left open. However, they’re not accessible when wearing a harness or a rucksack with a hip belt. I did feel a bit like a dentist in this all-white jacket when I first put it on, but I was really pleased to find out that fabric is 100% recycled and dye-free – another tick from me.
In a line: A great waterproof that’s also environmentally friendly.
I wasn’t entirely sure on the overall style of this jacket in comparison to the others, but y’know what, after testing it out and discovering some of its handy features, I’ve started to warm to it. Constructed with Nikwax technology, the outer layer is super waterproof, and the inner layer works to direct sweat away from your skin and push it out through both layers of genuinely breathable fabric. In testing, the water droplets just bounced off the fabric, leaving me warm and dry.
The jacket has one generously sized chest pocket, which is easily accessible while wearing a rucksack or harness (ideally sized for an OS map) while it also has an inner pocket which you can access via the two ventilation zips on each side of the jacket.
When it comes to tackling the wind, this jacket’s got your back with a roll-away, wire-peaked hood (which just about fits over a helmet) set with two drawstrings. There are also another two drawstrings on each side of the bottom of the jacket which enables you to cinch it in and eliminate drafts. Weighing in at 630g (size 8), the Velez Adventure Smock is the heaviest in the test, but you won’t need to wear a mid-layer with it, so that’ll give you the extra packing space needed to take it away with you.
In a line: This jacket tackles the wet weather with ease and offers great breathability.
As soon as you put this jacket on, you can just tell it’s going to do the job well – it’s hardy and makes you feel protected from the elements. Due to the Gore-Tex membrane and DWR coating, it performed very well in the rain test with droplets simply running off of the fabric in heavy
downpours. I got a bit too hot in this jacket while testing in summer, so personally, I’d stick to wearing it in colder conditions than late July.
The hood is a decent size, it easily fits a helmet underneath and is also adjustable via three volume adjuster drawstrings, giving a nice snug fit around the face and keeping most of the wind away. There are two generously sized hip pockets, which aren’t accessible when using a hip belt, and there is a very large inner pocket – so large, that it perfectly fits an OS map inside (which many of the other women’s jackets are unable to do). All of the zips on the jacket – including pockets – are storm proof, which is what we like to see.
Weighing in at 453g (size 8), this jacket is the third heaviest in this test, but it’s a very decent jacket so I would be more than happy to take it on any trip with cold and wet conditions. With a fashionable two tone design, we’d also be more than happy to be seen wearing it around town.
In a line: A hardy waterproof jacket that lives up to its billing.
This jacket is a great lightweight waterproof option and is pretty easy on the eye. It packs down very small into my bag, and weighing in at 244g (size 8), it’s the fourth lightest in this test. During heavy rain, the water bounced off with no problems. When it comes to ventilation, this jacket’s got your back. It has two generously sized pit-zips which you can zip open from either end, and the fabric itself is highly breathable.
To protect yourself from the wind and rain you can tighten a drawstring on the back of the hood, which pulls it in enough to protect most of your face. You can also adjust the two drawstrings at the bottom of the jacket by pulling the cords situated inside each hip pocket – I thought this was a nifty little feature as your hands will stay nice warm! There is also a nice sized pocket on the inside of the jacket.
The material has some stretch to it which gives you a good range of movement, so you won’t be restricted when scrambling or reaching upward. The wrists are also elasticated and are adjustable via Velcro tabs. You can’t fit a helmet under the hood or access the pockets while wearing a hip belt or harness which is a shame.
In a line: A lightweight jacket with a couple of nifty tricks up its sleeve.
Designed to brave the elements, this waterproof jacket from Oldo is both good looking and practical. The jacket is constructed using breathable layers – the waterproof outer layer and taped seams stand up well against the rain, while the inner layer is soft against the skin, both
work together to keep your body dry and comfortable in wet conditions without making you too hot.
Overall, the material has a good amount of stretch and allows for free range of movement.
There are two hip pockets both protected by storm-proof flaps, but these are not accessible while wearing a rucksack with a hip belt, or a harness. The hood just about fits over a helmet,
and when it came to battling with the winds, it kept most of my face protected when tightened with the drawstring at the back.
The jacket also benefits from a drawstring below the waist and Velcro adjustable wrists, which are both great little features to help keep the wind and wet out. Weighing in at a humble 223g (size 8) and being the third lightest in the test, this is a fantastic lightweight and waterproof jacket which folds down to a very small size in my bag. I would happily take it on any trip.
In a line: An impressive performer that is one of the best waterproof jackets for anyone on a budget. Best budget buy.
This waterproof jacket from Mountain Warehouse is stylish and comfortable to wear, with a subtle feminine shape. A few minutes into the rain test, the jacket was holding out well, with most water droplets rolling off of the fabric. By the end of the test, the water was starting to absorb into the top layer of the fabric which resulted in the jacket feeling colder and taking
longer to dry than most of the others.
Taking the jacket off, I could see that no water had penetrated the inner membrane or the storm proof zips. If it’s a cold and windy day, you’ll probably want to layer up underneath this jacket, as it gets a bit chilly with the wind breaking through the material, but it is cool enough to wear in warmer conditions.
There are plenty of generously sized pockets: two at the hip, one on the chest and a large one inside. There’s also another inner pocket with a Velcro fastening that I managed to stash an OS map in, but I wasn’t able to fasten the top. However, being situated on the inside of the jacket, this wouldn’t worry me too much. The hood is helmet compatible and is secured via three drawstrings. There are also two drawstrings situated at the bottom of the jacket so you can pull it in to get a better fit and keep the elements out.
In a line: Stylish and comfortable with average weather protection.
As you’d expect from Rab, this jacket is excellent (especially at this price). When it poured, the water droplets rolled off the fabric effortlessly, and once the rain had cleared, a simple shake of the jacket was all that was required for the water to disappear, leaving it pretty much bone dry. Weighing just under 150g (size 8), this jacket is the lightest in the test by a considerable amount and also comes with a tiny stuff sack which it fits into with ease – the jacket folds down like a piece of paper!
The only downside for me here is there is only one pocket. I know the idea behind the jacket is to be as lightweight as possible, but personally, I could benefit from at least one more. The pocket is situated on the chest, making it easily accessible when wearing a rucksack. Both the pocket and the main jacket zip feature AquaGuard storm protected zips, to help keep you and your stuff protected from the elements.
When the gales are blowing, you can tighten the wire-peaked hood (which is helmet compatible) by using one of the three draw strings while there is also a drawstring at the bottom of the jacket – perfect for keeping the wind at bay. At £200 it is at the more expensive end of the scale in this test, but you certainly get what you pay for.
In a line: An exceptional waterproof that folds down almost effortlessly. Best in test.
This jacket is both a waterproof and a softshell in one, and soft it is! The fabric is super smooth against the skin and is also very breathable, which meant the jacket kept me protected, but I didn’t overheat when moving about. It’s also got two very handy pit-zips which open either way, giving you an extra waft of fresh air if needed.
The jacket performed well in the rain, deflecting all the water with ease, and there were no issues with penetration or wetting out. It also dried off pretty quickly too. The hood fits over a helmet, and is tightened via three drawstrings for extra snugness when battling with the elements – this, along with the high collar, kept my face feeling toasty. For extra wind protection, there are two drawstrings to the bottom of the jacket, and the wrists are adjustable via poppers.
There are two hip pockets, a good sized chest pocket and also a little inner pocket which is the perfect size to stash a standard smartphone. This jacket has a good amount of stretch which gives a great range of movement and there are three colours to choose from including ‘Midnight Blue’ and ‘Hot Coral’ (orangey pink). All in all, a very nice jacket.
Being one of the cheapest waterproof jackets in the test with a lot to live up to against the others, I don’t think this humble little waterproof from Royal Robbins did a bad job. During a heavy downpour the water
droplets were tumbling off, and I felt dry. It was only when I took the jacket off, I could see that the water had absorbed a little bit into the back of the jacket making it feel cold and damp. While no water actually broke through, this did affect breathability.
It has a decent-sized hood which fits over a helmet with ease and there are also two drawstring cords which help the hood offer extra protection against the wind and rain. The jacket features Velcro adjustments on the wrists, two drawstrings below the waist and stormproof flaps over all of the zips to help protect you from the elements. There are two inner pockets and two hip pockets on the outside. These are lined with mesh so you can open them for extra ventilation if you need to.
This jacket is very stretchy and gives you a great range of movement, even when reaching up. While on the move, I also found that the jacket was very breathable, I didn’t feel too hot and sweaty, which is always a bonus.