How to Choose the Right Rain Jacket

Rain jackets are a must, even if you’re simply driving to Starbucks. So, how do you choose the right one?

Even if you’d rather drive around the block for coffee rather than walk when it rains, a good rain jacket is a crucial piece of gear for your daily life. That said, “keeping the dry parts dry” shouldn’t be the only criteria you use for your jackets. Here’s what to consider when looking for some cover.

Find your comfort zone

Glennaker Lake Front-Zip Rain Jacket
Columbia Men's Glennaker Lake Front-Zip Rain Jacket with Hideaway Hood.Amazon

Most important? Fit. Too tight and it'll feel like you're in a wetsuit. Too loose, and you'll feel like you're carrying around your own personal cloud of humidity. A good rule of thumb is a coat you can zip over a sweatshirt or other fall apparel, and it'll be just loose enough for freedom of movement.

Staying dry is the point

Arcadia II Jacket
Columbia Women's Arcadia II Jacket.Amazon

Don't forget to look at how the jacket wears at your neck, hands, and waist as well. Cuffs should be adjustable so rain doesn't run down your sleeves. It should be tight, but comfortable at the neck so you don't get water down your back. And it should be reasonably tight at the waist without restricting your hips.

The essentials: Design, durability and dryness

Venture 2 Jacket
The North Face Men's Venture 2 Jacket.Amazon

Look closely at construction. A good rain jacket is light and breathable, the better to let out your body heat when it's a bit warm for a jacket, but also designed to be, well, watertight. There shouldn't be any loose threads, the zippers and other features should be tightly stitched, and the vents should be placed to let air out while keeping water away.