Women’s Waterproof Jackets: The Complete Buying Guide

Heading outdoors in Britain's unpredictable climate makes having a trusty waterproof jacket essential. When showers strike suddenly, you’ll be thankful for having reliable wet weather protection to hand. For women pursuing outdoor adventures, selecting a properly waterproof and breathable jacket can make all the difference to comfort and enjoyment.  


In this detailed guide, we explore everything you need to consider when buying your next women's waterproof jacket. We provide insider knowledge to help identify the perfect model for your needs from leading brands including Patagonia, Mountain Equipment, Montane and The North Face. Let's get started finding your ideal women's waterproof jacket.


Considering Your Planned Use

With vast choice on the market, having a clear idea of your planned usage helps narrow your search. You'll want to think about the specific activities you'll use the jacket for, whether it's hiking, trail running, winter sports or cycling. Performance can be optimised for certain pursuits. Also consider the typical length of use — is it for short 30-minute dog walks or multi-day backpacking trips? Lightweight packable designs suit shorter uses while more durable options handle greater wear and tear.  


The expected weather conditions will also influence your choice. Will the jacket be worn year-round or specifically for winter warmth and protection? Construction and features vary considerably between seasons. Finally, examine the environments you'll wear it in. Does it need to be versatile across towns, trails and mountains? Or focus solely on peak performance in extreme mountain conditions?


Having a firm concept of your needs and where the jacket will be worn makes selecting the right design straightforward. Let's see how popular models from leading brands align with common women's pursuits.


Hiking Jackets

Combining versatility, weather protection and practicality, hiking represents one of the most popular uses for a waterproof jacket. Key qualities to look for include durable face fabrics that resist abrasions from backpack straps over years of use. Look for robust polyester or thicker nylon. Fully taped seams and waterproof zippers prevent moisture ingress during downpours. Adjustable hoods and cuffs seal out the elements when the weather turns stormy. Secure zipped pockets provide easy access to essentials like maps, snacks and compasses. And a longer cut gives coverage around the hips and thighs.


Leading hiking jacket picks like The North Face Dryzzle Jacket and Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket combine these priorities into all-weather protection ready for the trail.


Running Jackets

For runners and fast-packers, ultralight build and breathability are vital. Look for lightweight fabrics that allow easy stuffing into running vests with no weight burden over miles — under 200g is ideal. Air permeable membranes prevent sweat build-up that causes clamminess during high exertion. Look for breathability of 20,000g/m2 or more. Stretchy and elasticated fits minimise flapping fabric that can restrict movement. External pockets are minimised to reduce weight and bounce, with internal stash pockets providing capacity. Reflective accents improve visibility along roads in low light conditions, which is essential for early morning and late evening runs.  


The Montane Featherlite waterproof jacket exemplifies these qualities at just 160g, while the Mountain Equipment Ibex provides greater waterproofing for challenging trails.  


Winter Jackets

Braving freezing temperatures and snowfall demands a jacket with ample insulation and protection. Key features include down or thick synthetic insulation to retain precious warmth in chilling conditions. Seek fill powers over 600 for true winter performance. Shielded chin guards, cuffs and zippers prevent cold air leaking in that saps body heat. Fleece lined hoods seal in warmth around the head when temperatures plummet. Durable water repellency (DWR) causes moisture to bead off the face rather than soak in and compromise insulation. A longer cut and stretch cuffs retain warmth around the hips and wrists, preventing cold air uptakes.


Robust designs like the Mountain Equipment Rupal down jacket and Patagonia Prairie Dawn Parka insulate through the most demanding conditions winter can bring.


Cycling Jackets

Cycling places its own demands like preventing road spray soaking through. Look for windproof shoulder and chest panels that block penetrative breezes which zap energy on bike rides. Sheltered Pertex Shield fabric panels work well. Elongated rear hems and adjustable cuffs seal out road spray kicking up from the rear wheel, keeping your back dry. Articulated sleeve construction ensures freedom of movement when riding and prevents restrictive fits. Reflective accents like logos and strips boost visibility on early morning and evening rides. And packable, lightweight materials make it easy to store the jacket when not needed.   


Choices like The North Face Oso Hoodie cycling jacket blend protection from wheel spray with breathable performance for high energy output.


Waterproof and Breathable Fabrics

Once you've chosen a jacket design aligned with your planned usage, next assess the performance qualities that enable reliable protection across activities and conditions.


Waterproof Ratings

Measured in millimetres, the hydrostatic head ratings indicate how waterproof the fabric is. 1,500mm - 5,000mm offers water resistance suitable for light showers; 5,000mm – 10,000mm gives high waterproofing for heavy rain and is the recommended minimum for hiking; and 10,000mm – 20,000mm provides storm proof protection even in torrential downpours, giving elite all-weather performance.


Modern waterproof fabrics and membranes from leading brands deliver 10,000mm+ as standard, providing ample wet weather protection for most needs.


Breathability Ratings

Moisture vapour transmission rates measure how effectively sweat can pass through the fabric. Up to 5,000g/m2 indicates low breathability, which can be suitable for occasional light use; 5,000 – 15,000 g/m2 provides moderate breathability for general hiking and biking; 15,000 – 25,000 g/m2 delivers high breathability for highly aerobic pursuits like running and winter sports; over 25,000 g/m2 offers optimal breathability for sustained strenuous activity in varied conditions.  


Premium membranes like Gore-Tex and proprietary fabrics from Montane and Patagonia provide around 25,000 g/m2 breathability and higher, which is ample for demanding outdoor pursuits.


Weight and Packability

Lighter jackets are less burdensome on long hikes while more packable ones can be readily stowed when the weather improves. Ultralight designs weigh under 200g and are highly packable into pockets or running vests. Lightweight jackets of 200-300g provide versatile year-round performance. Midweight options of 300-500g offer greater durability and weather protection when needed. Heavy duty jackets over 500g give expedition-ready performance but are less packable. The published weight indicates intended versatility and wearability, making it easy to select the right option.


Fit and Features

Dialled features and adjustable fits enhance comfort, versatility and protection against the elements. Consider athletic vs regular fit. An athletic tapered cut provides greater freedom of movement while a regular fit allows more room for layering. Look for an adjustable hood to tune volume and sealing to suit your head size and activity, retaining peripheral vision.  


Hem cinch cords adjust fit around the hips and thighs to retain warmth and optimise coverage. Velcro cuffs enable you to tailor tightness around the wrists for warmth or cooling airflow. Laminated baffles prevent cold spots and down shift for reliable warmth retention. Zip pockets seal out moisture while providing secure storage and quick access on the go. By trying on jackets, you can identify the optimum combination of features for your needs.


Leading Women's Waterproof Jacket Brands



The California-based company has forged a reputation for sustainable and innovative performance apparel. Their H2No membrane provides impressive 10,000mm waterproof / 15,000g/m2 breathable performance. Clean athletic fits backed by handy features like helmet-compatible hoods make their multipurpose jackets like the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L widely revered.


Mountain Equipment

This British brand thrives in designing gear for demanding mountain environments. Their in-house Exodus waterproof membranes pair with rugged face fabrics to deliver 25,000mm protection. Winter insulated jackets like the Rupal down parka provide toasty warmth to -20°C. Uncompromising performance and thoughtful designs make Mountain Equipment a favourite with mountaineers and adventurers.



Pioneers in featherweight waterproofs, this UK company honed early Gore-Tex designs into minimalist running jackets. Today, their impressive 30,000mm waterproof and 30,000g/m2 breathable Pertex Shield jackets like the Montane Pac Plus combine packable performance with trail-ready protection. Perfect for fast-paced hikes and mountain marathons.


The North Face

As a leading force in technical outdoor gear, The North Face has been innovating weatherproof clothing since the 1960s. Proprietary DryVent technology enhances breathability across designs from versatile everyday jackets like the Dryzzle to insulated winter staples like the Arctic Parka. Athletic cuts and usability make their jackets prime choices for everyday adventures.  


By selecting a jacket from one of these industry leading brands, you can be assured of exemplary weather protection and practicality for your pursuits in the great British outdoors.


Caring for your Waterproof Jacket

To prolong high performance and lifespan, follow these simple care principles. 


Wash periodically using technical washes to revive DWR and breathability. Close all zips and velcro first. Proof regularly with DWR sprays like Nikwax TX-Direct to maintain water beading and wicking. Dry thoroughly after use.  


For membrane jackets, use a low heat tumble dry to reactivate water-resistance. Avoid harsh detergents, fabric softeners and drying over direct heat which can degrade membranes. Inspect for leaks, tears or bubbling fabric and repair any damage promptly. Store jackets hanging up or loosely folded to prevent creasing and compression of insulation.


With some care and maintenance, a good women's waterproof jacket from a reputable brand will provide many seasons of wet weather protection to keep you comfortable across outdoor pursuits.


We hope this detailed guide gives you all the key considerations for selecting the perfect waterproof jacket for your needs. By assessing your planned use, desired features, performance qualities and leading brands, you are sure to identify an ideal jacket to keep you dry this season. Happy trails!

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