A man walking in the rain wearing a red patagonia jacket

Men's Waterproof Jackets

What Makes a Jacket Waterproof?

For a jacket to truly protect against precipitation and moisture, it requires a combination of specialised fabrics, finishes, and construction techniques. At the core of any waterproof jacket is a waterproof, breathable membrane bonded to the interior lining. This membrane acts as a barrier that prevents rain, snow, and moisture from penetrating through to the inside while also allowing hot, humid air from the body to escape outward. This helps maintain comfort and prevents an internal buildup of sweat. The most well-known waterproof membrane technology is Gore-Tex, developed by W.L. Gore & Associates. However, many outdoor brands have created their proprietary waterproof membranes with names like HyVent (The North Face) and H2No (Patagonia). The membrane itself contains microscopic pores that are smaller than water droplets but larger than water vapour molecules. In addition to the internal membrane, the external fabric of a jacket needs a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish that causes moisture to bead up and roll off the surface without soaking in. This finish is what gives waterproof fabrics the ability to repel liquid water even though they allow internal water vapour to pass through the membrane. However, DWR finishes eventually wear off through abrasion and washing. When this happens, the outer fabric becomes saturated with moisture rather than beading up. So men's waterproof jackets need to be regularly re-treated with DWR sprays to maintain their water repellency and function. Finally, a waterproof jacket requires all seams and stitching to be sealed with interior taping that covers any tiny holes made by sewing together separate pieces of fabric. If left un-taped, moisture would leak through these needle holes and compromise the waterproofness. So fully sealed seams are vital. Water-resistant zippers rather than standard zippers also prevent leaks along the front openings. Taken together, the combination of a breathable membrane, DWR finish, sealed seams and special zippers produce a fully waterproof jacket.


Types of Men's Waterproof Jackets

There are several main styles and types of men's waterproof jackets:


Rain Jackets

Men’s rain jackets are a lightweight and versatile subtype of waterproof jackets designed for protecting against moderate precipitation and wet conditions. Rather than heavy insulating linings, rain jackets use simple waterproof-breathable shells that come in athletic trim fit perfect for dynamic activities like hiking, running, and cycling as well as casual everyday wear. The minimalist construction means they easily pack down into bags or pockets. While rain jackets lack insulation that would add weight and bulk, they provide ample wet weather protection for short periods in the elements. Their streamlined silhouettes layer smoothly under-insulated mid-layers to adapt to more severe conditions. Look for rain jackets with zippered underarm vents that help regulate interior condensation and airflow on high-energy output activities. Storm flaps and fully sealed seams ensure water resistance in heavy downpours. Reflective piping aids visibility for early-morning runs or late-night hikes. Choose a rain jacket made with a durable waterproof membrane like Gore-Tex Paclite for lightweight weather protection across a variety of aerobic activities and urban adventures.


Waterproof Parkas

When facing frigid temperatures and frozen conditions, men’s waterproof parkas are the ultimate line of defence to maintain both warmth and dryness. Parkas achieve their insulating abilities and weather resistance through long cuts that cover the upper thighs, removable faux fur trimmed hoods to seal out wind, and heavyweight lining materials like thick pile fleece. These jackets are cut roomy enough to layer comfortably over sweaters and mid-layers without constricting movement. But features like interior elasticised wrist cuffs and snap/velcro storm flaps prevent heat loss while sealing out moisture. Look for parka coats with two-way front zippers that allow venting from the bottom and inner media pockets to protect devices. The most protective parkas have ankle-length hems, especially useful for activities spent sitting like skiing, snowboarding, and hunting where keeping snow out is essential. Made from advanced cold weather fabrics like Gore-Tex Pro Most Rugged, men’s waterproof insulated parkas can brave the harshest alpine conditions and coldest big city winters while keeping you toasty.


Waterproof Shells

Men’s waterproof shells provide lightweight, packable, and breathable protection from wet weather without the bulk and warmth of insulated jackets. Made using minimalist layered fabrics like proprietary waterproof-breathable membranes plus durable face textiles, they are designed as streamlined outer layers that block wind and rain. But their lack of insulation means waterproof shells work best layered over fleece, down, or synthetic mid-layers that can provide warmth when needed. Aerobic pursuits like climbing, hiking, and mountaineering, allow maximum freedom of movement while keeping the core dry. Waterproof shells favour articulated patterning and harness-compatible hoods. Features like pit zips allow venting excess heat and shoulder yoke panels prevent restrictive pulling. Backpack-friendly details include compressible construction and chimney pocket access. Waterproof shell jackets provide versatile weather protection across changing mountain conditions and seasons.


Waterproof Hiking Jackets

For hikers facing unpredictable weather on the trail, a waterproof hiking jacket provides reliable wet weather protection without compromising the range of motion. Men's waterproof hiking jackets use abrasion-resistant face fabrics that maintain water-beading durability when subjected to thorny brush and rocky scrambles. Underarm zip vents allow cooling airflow when the exertion level rises on rugged inclines. For storing trail maps, snacks, and other essentials, hiking-specific pockets feature protective zip closures and positioning that don't interfere with backpack straps and hip belts. Since hiking requires dynamic movement, an articulated pattern with pre-shaped elbows prevents riding up or restrictive pulling when reaching for handholds. Adjustable features like hoods and Velcro wrist cuffs seal out moisture while accommodating gear changes. Made with reinforced seam taping and waterproof front zippers, hiking shells keep out downpours on the trail. Look for versions made with breathable waterproof membranes like Gore-Tex Active that maximise air permeability for strenuous trekking.


Waterproof Running Jackets

Lightweight construction and streamlined tailored fits define the specialised category of men’s waterproof running jackets. Designed for high-energy cardio activities, they use minimalist layered waterproof fabrics like Gore-Tex Paclite to provide wind and water resistance with maximum breathability, allowing vapour moisture to escape. To prevent ride-up and restriction of stride length, key areas feature elasticised cuffs and hems that maintain secure coverage even at faster paces and wider gaits. Reflective print logos and piping details boost visibility for early morning or evening runs. Since sleeve length affects range of motion, look for fitted long sleeves without going past the wrist bones. Weather protection features like stowable hoods and elasticised thumbholes seal out the elements when needed but pack them away into collar pockets when not. Choosing a slim-fitting waterproof running jacket made with advanced humidity-controlling fabrics allows freedom of movement across long distances in challenging conditions.


Waterproof Cycling Jackets

Men’s waterproof cycling jackets are specially designed to meet the needs of road cyclists and mountain bikers. The extended tail in the rear provides extra coverage from road spray in bent-forward riding positions. Athletic raglan sleeves allow a greater range of positions while clearing the shoulder rotation. Storage pockets strategically placed below the waistband minimise interference with hydration packs. Handy features tailored towards cyclists include pump sleeves to keep hands warmer, reflective details for visibility when riding in low light, and strategically placed vents along the side panels, sleeves, and underarms to prevent overheating. Made from lightweight fully seam-sealed fabrics with a durable water-repellent finish, they keep out chilling winds and precipitation that can quickly drench riders at higher speeds. Some cycling jackets feature removable sleeves that convert them into gilets to adapt to changing temps and conditions during rides. When choosing a waterproof cycling jacket, look for one with stretch woven face fabric that accommodates different riding positions.


Waterproof Fishing Jackets

Men’s waterproof fishing jackets are designed to meet the demands of anglers spending long days on boats, shores, and rivers. Superior water repellency starts with fully seam-sealed membranes like Gore-Tex Pro most rugged that are highly breathable to prevent overheating during active fishing. Reinforced fabric treatments and hydrophobic coatings cause water to bead up and roll off the surface. Roomy dual-entry hand warmer pockets provide quick access to gear as well as hand protection. Interior tackle pockets and sleeves streamline lure and tool organisation. For safety, some floatable fishing jackets use closed-cell foam in strategic panels that allow them to double as personal flotation devices when inflated. Large adjustable hoods seal out sea spray and chilling winds when needed but can be rolled and stowed in collar pockets. Look for fishing jackets with vent zips to release built-up heat and adjustable cuffs with velcro closures to seal out moisture while bringing in the catch.


Waterproof Sailing Jackets

Braving the wind, sea spray, and crashing waves of open water sailing demands heavy-duty waterproof protection. Sailing jackets use waterproof breathable fabrics that are also windproof, abrasion-resistant, and quick-drying. To deal with ocean swells, they employ longer tailored cut lengths offering maximum coverage against driving rain and waves. Fully welded and taped seams paired with waterproof front zippers keep out moisture without compromising ease of motion during manoeuvres. Handy features include interior chest pockets with watertight sealing for protecting phones and electronics. Adjustable neoprene wrist gaiters prevent water from running down sleeves. And high-cut collars lined with microfleece or neoprene repel chilly winds. Made with reinforced seat and elbow panels, they hold up to the demands of repeated wear in harsh marine environments. Whether cruising coastal waters or navigating rough open seas, a sailing-specific jacket delivers reliable wet weather protection.


Waterproof Ski/Snowboard Jackets

Skiing and snowboarding demand jackets that can withstand heavy snowfalls, icy winds, and freezing alpine conditions. Men's waterproof ski jackets use breathable fabrics like Gore-Tex Pro to handle driving snow without causing interior moisture buildup. Insulated layers made from PrimaLoft synthetic fill or down retain warmth even when wet. Adjustable powder skirts seal out snow from within and wrist gaiters with thumbholes integrate with gloves to close gaps. Tall stand-up collars lined with fleece or soft brushed fabric block wind from exposed faces. Helmet compatible hoods are shaped to allow full visibility and freedom of movement while fitting over headgear. Front zip garages and water-resistant coil zippers prevent freeze-up. And multiple pockets secure gear safely even during high-velocity powder runs. Tailored with articulated sleeves and underarm vents, nothing seals out winter weather on the slopes like a fully featured insulated ski or snowboard jacket.


3-in-1 Jackets

Men's 3-in-1 waterproof jackets offer versatile layering through their modular construction combining an outer waterproof shell with an inner insulated jacket that can be worn separately or zipped together. The outer shell provides wind and water protection using a waterproof, breathable membrane like Gore-Tex paired with a durable textile face fabric. It keeps the elements out while allowing the venting of heat and sweat. The inner insulated jacket uses thick synthetic fill like PrimaLoft or down to trap body heat. Together, the fully waterproof, insulated 3-in-1 can withstand the harshest winter storms while blocking wind and keeping the core warm. Worn separately, the lightweight shell provides rain protection in fall and spring, while just the insulation cocoons with warmth during dry cold snaps. For active pursuits like skiing, zip vents under the arms prevent overheating when working hard. Storm flaps, adjustable cuffs and hoods seal out snow and wet when worn together or as stand-alone pieces. With quick on-and-off layering flexibility, the 3-in-1 system adapts protection from wet weather, wind, and cold for changing conditions.


Softshell Jackets

Men’s softshell jackets offer lightweight, breathable weather protection perfect for aerobic cold weather activities. A softshell uses layered fabrics like an exterior woven nylon bonded to an interior microfleece backing. This creates external durability and stretch with inner warmth. Softshells resist light precipitation and wind while their breathable membranes allow water vapor to escape during strenuous use. They provide only moderate precipitation protection that would be overwhelmed in severe wet weather. Their lack of insulation means softshells work best layered over base layers that can add warmth. But their stretchy facings and underarm gussets allow unrestricted mobility during activities like hiking, climbing, and skiing. Cinchable hoods and hook/loop cuffs seal in warmth while pit zips allow for venting excess heat and moisture vapour. The air permeability and freedom of movement make softshell jackets an optimal outer layer for active pursuits in cold, dry conditions.


Winter/Insulated Jackets

Designed for retaining warmth in frigid conditions, men’s insulated jackets use thick synthetic or downfill that can range from 60-80 grams per square meter. This substantial insulating lining cocoons the body in warmth even against freezing winds and cold. Many winter jackets also incorporate inner wind-blocking membrane layers for additional protection. The outer shell needs to remain waterproof and breathable, often relying on two or three-layer Gore-Tex or similar technologies. Insulated winter jackets require extended coverage with features like adjustable winter hoods that protect heads and seal out exposure even in deep snow. Hand pockets must be well insulated and positioned for warmth. Inner elastic or velcro wrist gaiters integrate with gloves to close gaps. Chimney-routed underarm zips allow the venting of excess heat during aerobic activities like skiing. With heavy insulation that retains precious warmth paired with technical membranes to seal out the wet and wind, insulated winter jackets provide crucial protection for activities across frigid extremes.


Men’s Waterproof Jackets Key Features & Components

To find the right waterproof jacket, it's important to understand the various features and design components that affect fit, functionality and performance.



The length of a men's waterproof jacket affects both protection from the elements and mobility. Hip-length jackets that end around the waist offer great freedom of movement in the arms and torso by minimising material. They work well for active pursuits like hiking and climbing. Three-quarter-length men's waterproof jackets that cover most of the upper body provide a good balance between weather protection and articulation. They allow good arm mobility while still protecting the core. For maximum coverage against wet weather, cold, and wind, full-length and extended jackets that cover the hips and tailbone are best. Some even extend below the waistline for supreme weather protection. The trade-off is slightly more material to potentially impede motion. But full-length cuts are crucial for winter activities or especially wet climates. Consider the intended use and necessary coverage to choose the ideal jacket length.


Insulation and Linings

Insulation and inner lining layers help men's waterproof jackets retain warmth while adding comfort. Down insulation offers an extremely warm, lightweight, and compressible fill that traps heat efficiently. However, down loses insulating value when wet. Synthetic insulation like PrimaLoft is a more affordable alternative to down that continues providing warmth even when damp. Fleece linings made from polyester provide a highly breathable warmth by wicking away moisture while retaining heat. Some jackets feature mesh lining that improves airflow and ventilation. But mesh does not provide much insulation itself, so works best when layered under another warmth-adding material. Determine the intended climate and conditions when selecting insulation. Maximum warmth requires heavy insulation like down or thick synthetics. But highly aerobic activities fare better with fleece or mesh that reduces sweat buildup.


Hood Design

An adjustable hood that seals out the weather is an essential component of a waterproof jacket. A fixed hood without cinch options provides basic coverage but can limit visibility and airflow. Adjustable hoods allow tightening of the fit around the face to block wind, rain, and snow. This customisable coverage moves with the head naturally. Some jackets feature removable hoods that can zip off when not needed for warmer dry conditions. The hood brim shape also affects weather protection and visibility. Close-fitting visors allow unobstructed peripheral and upward sightlines. But drop-down style hood brims provide more coverage from driving rain. Consider the intended climate and sport when choosing adjustable versus fixed and visor versus drop-down hood designs. The right hood seals out the weather while maintaining visibility.


Closure and Fastenings

Zippers, storm flaps, velcro, and snaps help jackets seal out wind and moisture while allowing versatile venting. Waterproof front zippers made with proprietary seals prevent leaks along the jacket front. Storm flaps behind the front zipper provide an additional protective barrier. Hook and loop closures like Velcro allow cinches and seals at hoods, cuffs, and hems for adjustable coverage. Elasticised waistbands rely on the toggle and snap systems to customise the fit. Zippered underarm vents require water-resistant teeth and slides. Zipper garages act as upper flaps protecting the teeth from direct rainfall. The most protective jackets use fully waterproof closures throughout that interlock and overlap to seal out the elements. However precise adjustable fastenings in key zones balance weather resistance with targeted venting flexibility.



Cuffs play an important role in a waterproof jacket by sealing out moisture and preventing heat loss through the sleeves. Elasticised cuffs conform snugly to the wrist which blocks rain running down the arms as well as warm air escaping. Adjustable cuffs closed with velcro, snap, or hook systems allow customising the tightness for improved fit and coverage. Inner neoprene gaskets act as an additional barrier to water ingress at the wrist while remaining comfortable against the skin. For extreme wet weather protection, extended inner sleeve cuffs fit under gloves to fully integrate the layers while eliminating gaps that compromise waterproofing. But articulated, pre-curved sleeve patterning maintains mobility. Cuff styles that provide a tight seal without restricting movement help men's waterproof jackets maintain weather resistance and warmth.



Strategically designed pockets tailored to the intended activity improve the functionality of a waterproof jacket. Hand warmer pockets located near the natural waistline provide heat to the core body when sealed. Interior stash pockets lined with moisture-blocking fabrics keep phones and valuables dry. Zippered pockets with storm flaps allow secure storage while preventing moisture ingress. Oversized chest pockets create easy access to snacks, maps, and small necessities. Extended cargo pockets at the biceps hold gear without restricting arm mobility. Look for pocket placement and waterproofing that matches the intended use. For example, an angler needs tackle storage and knife sleeves while a skier requires lift pass pockets and goggle wipe microfiber inserts. Versatile pocketing allows organised, protected, and accessible gear storage for each activity's unique demands.

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