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Beat back the drops. Discern which jacket is rain-worthy by comparing the waterproof rating. Ranging from 5k to 20k, these numbers indicate how much water the fabric can handle before you get soaked. Although more costly, waterproof, breathable fabric offers the broadest range of performance. Look for Gore-Tex, Marmot’s PreCipr and MemBrain, Columbia's Omni-Tech and Patagonia’s H2No. A less expensive jacket will have a nonbreathable fabric. It will keep you dry and your wallet satisfied, but you’ll feel flush in warm conditions.
Don’t compromise on comfort. Zip that baby up. Now, raise your arms. Make sure the jacket does not creep up. Trust. It’s a total nuisance to get your backside wet. Try on the Adidas ClimaProof Storm jacket. This lightweight soft-shell presents a four-way stretch. Freedom of movement, hello! Found a contender? Pull the jacket hood over your head. Does it hinder your peripheral vision? You'll need a face-framing hood to look out for badly behaved umbrellas during a deluge. For biking, a jacket like the Altura Waterproof Cycling jacket is the ticket. With highly reflective trim, it’s made for performance -- waterproof, durable, comfortable and breathable.
Is it a trendy purchase, or a long-term investment? Compare the jacket’s construction. Seams must be sealed, taped or welded to be considered waterproof. For long-lasting durability, view the Marmot Oracle. Though not catwalk-chic, this jacket suits most occasions and is entirely waterproof. If you're in search of a fad, look no further than the Montecore waterproof blazer in garnet.
Find a mirror. Stat! You don’t want to end up with the waterproof yellow slicker from your childhood. A waterproof jacket may not be runway-worthy, but how you look in it makes the difference between staying dry and leaving it in the closet with mothballs. For spring showers, the Kensie Harmony jacket delivers with a high-buttoned collar and backed zipper closure. Prefer sporty? Look at the Sugoi Firewall 220 Zip.
Want all the bells and whistles? Unless you’re climbing Mount Everest in a downpour, you can survive without some features. Weigh the pros and cons of detachable and secure-hooded jackets. Want more features? Look for waterproof zips, storm flaps and zip-hand pockets to shield you from a squall and keep your hands warm. A chin guard and underarm zips are a plus for athletes.
Search for the best waterproof jacket in your price range. Not in your budget but ultra-glamorous? Find another rack, pronto! High-end waterproof jackets can claim to do everything but wring themselves out. From the Loro Piana collection, you could catwalk in a fashionable trench coat made from waterproof tech fabric. It’ll set you back a cool $3,675 as of time of publication, while the Columbia Drynamo rain jacket with hood will cost around $30.