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Best Overall: The North Face Thermoball Jacket at Amazon
"Perfect for when you’re traveling between hot and cold climates."
Best for Extreme Cold: Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hooded Jacket at Amazon
"This packable, lightweight down jacket also functions as a mid-layer."
Best for Running: Patagonia Houdini Jacket at Backcountry
"The hood is smartly designed to keep the rain out of your eyes."
Best for Backpacking: Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket at Amazon
"Considered one of the best jackets for hiking and backpacking."
Best for Women: Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket at Patagonia
"Its streamlined looks in a soft coral are flattering."
Best for Men: Columbia Watertight II Jacket at Amazon
"Great for men who need a casual, yet durable rain jacket."
Best Budget: Helly Hansen Women’s Voss Jacket at Amazon
"Delivers both style and substance at a budget-friendly price."
Best Waterproof: Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket at Amazon
"Not the lightest of the bunch, but it’ll keep you protected against the elements."
Best Style: Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Jacket at Uniqlo
"The jacket is paneled and designed for a fitted, slim look."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: The North Face Thermoball Jacket
Perfect for when you’re traveling between hot and cold climates, packable, lightweight jackets are convenient and warm when you need them — and super-easy to stow and pack away when you don’t. Plus, the quilting makes sure there’s enough heat where you need it. The North Face’s Thermoball jacket won’t set you over your baggage allowance either, at just under 13 ounces. And, with 13 grams of Thermoball insulation, the jacket offers warmth even in wet weather. It’s available for men here, too.
Best for Extreme Cold: Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hooded Jacket
Cozy on its own, this packable, lightweight down jacket from Arc’teryx also functions as a mid-layer, making it a great pick in super-cold weather underneath a waterproof, windproof shell. Its 9.8-ounce body is comprised partly of premium 850-fill-power down, with synthetic insulation where you sweat. The jacket's nylon shell is made from DWR fabric to keep moisture out, while the insulated StormHood on top keeps you dry while ensuring your peripheral vision remains clear. A men’s version is also available here.
Best for Running: Patagonia Houdini Jacket
This waterproof, lightweight running jacket from Patagonia is great for when a shower interrupts you mid-run (or catches up with you). The hood is smartly designed to keep the rain out of your eyes without limiting your field of vision, and there are elastic cords and drawstrings to seal off gaps at the cuffs and hem, preventing rain from getting in. Make use of the zippered chest pocket, which doubles as a stuff sack with a carabiner loop. Be aware that it fits tightly since it’s a performance jacket — if you want room for layers, go one size up. Also available for men here.
Best for Backpacking: Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket
Although it's on the pricer end, Arc’teryx’s Zeta SL Rain Jacket has long been considered one of the best jackets for hiking and backpacking. At just 9.5 ounces, it’s perfect for light packers, and the jacket is windproof, waterproof, and breathable in even the worst spots of weather, thanks to the two-layer, Gore-Tex Paclite Plus breathable laminate. Cuffs and hem adjust to keep heat from escaping, while a waterproof zipper keeps rain from sneaking in. Meanwhile, gusseted underarms for full articulation and a smartly designed hip-length cut give you freedom of movement when you need it. It's also available for men here.
Best for Women: Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket
At just 5.5 ounces, Patagonia’s Storm Racer Jacket isn’t going to slow you down when you’re running in inclement weather — and its streamlined looks in a soft coral are flattering, too. It’s made from a 100 percent nylon ripstop H2No shell that’s completely waterproof and windproof, but you can layer it over baselayers and light mid-layers if you need a bit more warmth. If you’re heading outdoors, you can stow the jacket away in its own pocket, making it easy to store when the sun’s out. It does lack hand pockets, though there’s a zippered one on the chest.
Best for Men: Columbia Watertight II Jacket
Columbia has a well-deserved reputation for combining quality construction with an approachable price tag, and its Watertight II Jacket is great for men who need a casual, yet durable rain jacket for running errands or walking the dog with during a light shower. It combines Columbia’s Omni-Tech waterproof and breathable construction with fully sealed seams, plus an adjustable storm hood and hem to keep moisture and cold breezes from slipping past. Pack the jacket in its own hand pocket for breezy storage. It comes in a wide variety of colors from coral to chocolate, and also comes in big and tall sizes.
Best Budget: Helly Hansen Women’s Voss Jacket
One of the more budget-friendly picks out there, Helly Hansen’s Voss Jacket is great for both running errands and walks in the woods, delivering both style and substance with a cool matte shell and a curved hem. Inspired by fishermen’s jackets, Voss’ PU material is fully wind- and water-proof, with welded seams and an internal storm flap. Adjustable snap cuffs ensure a comfortable fit. There’s also cinch cords at the hood and hip to create a barrier against any intruding rainfall.
Best Waterproof: Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket
Made from waterproof and breathable PFC-free recycled nylon, Marmot’s PreCip Eco Jacket isn’t the lightest of the bunch, but it’ll keep you protected against the elements. It’s the sustainable version of the PreCip, the brand's best-selling jacket for two decades. Despite its streamlined style, the jacket offers great features: underarm zips give you extra ventilation when you’re breaking a sweat, and you can both adjust and stow the hood. It’s also designed to give you free rein of arm motion, without it riding up if you raise your arms. Plus, the jacket packs down into its own pocket, making it a great choice for an extra layer of protection when you’re heading out on the trail. It comes in a men's version here, too.
Best Style: Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Jacket
One of Uniqlo’s most well-loved jackets, its ultra-light down jacket is affordable and comes in serene gradients of gray. Despite the warmth from its down material, the jacket is paneled and designed for a fitted, slim look. When you're on the go, pack it easily in the included carrying pouch. The jacket is coated with durable, water-repellent protection to keep out light rain and snow, too, though you might need something a bit more rugged in extremely inclement weather. It’s also available for men here.