An area of waterproof jackets that has grown in popularity over recent years. Lighter, more breathable waterproof materials are used to create a waterproof jacket that keeps you dry, but also prevents overheating.
However, with this comes at a cost of durability, and these jackets will not be as hardwearing as their more robust counterparts. They are made of materials such as Mountain Equipment’s DriLite waterproof fabric, as found in the Zeno.
These jackets are best suited to sports such as running and summer walking. Their small pack size is also handy for these activities. For example the Salomon La Cote 2.5L Stretch Jacket.
These general use waterproof jackets serve everything from dog walking, to hillwalking, watching football matches or going to the pub.
Whilst often seen as a ‘step down’ from a top end jacket, in truth the fabrics used by this range such as Gore-tex will often perform just as well, only without additional features found on mountaineering jackets. This also means they are cheaper.
Jacket length varies greatly, with more traditional varieties being quite long. The Berghaus Etive and Cornice are classic examples of this and remain incredibly popular.
More contemporary jackets have a shorter length, and would include the Fjallraven Skogso, which uses their robust G-1000 fabric.
These jackets are used to tackle some of the most inhospitable environments in the world. As such, they are understandably robust and hard wearing due to their incredible fabrics, mostly 3 layer Gore-tex Pro. They typically have a Hydrostatic Head (HH) of well over 10,000mm.
Due to the types of activity intended for these jackets, you will find extra features such as helmet compatible hoods, optional snow-skirts, and articulated arms to be prevalent in this range. Jackets such as the Arc’teryx Beta and Mountain Equipment Rupal are prime examples.
Here at LD, we have been exponents of the waterproof mountaineering jacket since 1966, and think these jackets are the pinnacle of versatility.
All the jackets mentioned in this guide are technically Shell jackets. This means they are designed to be the external layer as part of a versatile layering system including wickable base layers and thermal layers. So be sure to have enough layers to stay warm as well as dry.
For more information about Layering, Check out our Layering System Guide below: