The Best Rain Jackets for Men

OL staff and contributors share their top picks for staying dry while hunting, fishing, and more
Testing the Kuiu Kutana

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Rain jackets are the first line of defense against the elements. Rain, snow, sleet, hail, wind: it all needs to be repelled. But which rain jackets are actually up to the job of withstanding the elements for hours — if not days — on end? To find out, we surveyed OL editors, staff writers, and contributors to see which of the best rain jackets for men they layer on when the forecast takes a turn for the worst. 

How OL Staff Tested the Best Rain Jackets for Men

Testing the best rain jackets
Gear editor, Scott Einsmann, fishing for false albacore and testing Grundens rain gear. Brandon Martinez

In addition to the more rigorous testing done for our reviews of the best hunting rain gear, and the best rain gear for fishing, OL staff writers and editors shared what rain jackets for men are their go-tos when inclement weather strikes, from river rafting in Idaho to mountain hunting in southeast Alaska. Given that the fit and cut of men’s rain jackets vary substantially from women’s, we only considered reviews where men had tested the gear. This helped provide further insight into issues that more commonly affect men with rain jackets, such as overheating and sweat accumulation. 

The Best Rain Jackets for Men: Reviews & Recommendations

Best for Mountain Hunts: Kuiu Kutana Stormshell 

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Key Features

  • Sizes: M to 3XL
  • Waterproofing Material: Torain 
  • Colorways: Three camo patterns and two solid colors
  • Pockets: Two zippered hand pockets, two zippered chest pockets
  • Pit zips
  • Price: $359

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Comfortable
  • Durable

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide as much protection as a heavy-duty jacket

Kuiu makes clothing for big game hunting in the mountains, where all gear must be robust enough to stand up to the elements but light enough to be carried comfortably. The Kutana Stormshell jacket strikes this balance perfectly. It’s not an ultralight jacket, but it’s not a heavy duty rubber suit either. It will keep you warm and dry in the worst weather of all, which I consider to be steady rain driven by a stiff wind and a 35-degree temperature. And it will do this without weighing you down on the hill. I know this because I wore my Kutana jacket on blacktail deer and mountain goat hunt a few years ago in Southeast Alaska and got to experience plenty of cold, wet weather — the area averages more than 60 inches of rain per year. For about five days I lived in the jacket, only taking it off when I got in my sleeping bag. I think what’s most impressive about the jacket is that it survived that rugged hunt without leaking and I’m still able to wear it to this day. A lot of “breathable” rain gear from other manufacturers would not have survived. 

But still, this is not the ideal jacket for a torrential downpour. For that, Kuiu makes a heavier jacket (the Yukon) or you’d want to go with a rubber rain jacket.—Alex Robinson

Best for Extreme Conditions: Grundens Neptune

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Key Features

  • Sizes: XS to 5XL 
  • Waterproofing Material: PU-coated polyester
  • Colorways: One camo pattern only
  • Pockets: Two hand pockets and two interior mesh pockets
  • No pit zips
  • Price: $125

Pros

  • Actually 100% waterproof
  • Affordable
  • Durable construction
  • Weight comparable to heavy breathable rain gear

Cons

  • Not breathable
  • Loose, non-athletic fit

I’ve used the same Grundens Neptune jacket for five years, through many hunting, fishing, and boating seasons in Alaska. It offers one of the best compromises between durability, price, and packability. This isn’t a breathable coat, so hiking or excess movement while wearing it requires more diligent temperature management, but unlike breathable rain gear, it’s actually 100 percent waterproof, and moisture won’t soak through.

The coat is a PVC-based fabric that is stretchy but tough. It’s one of the most durable jackets I’ve used for the weight. If you don’t expect much rain, a lighter breathable option might be better, but for perpetually wet areas or extended trips in the mountains or on the boat, this jacket is tough to beat.—Tyler Freel

Best Lightweight: Sitka Dew Point 

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Key Features

  • Sizes: M to 3XL
  • Waterproofing Material: 3-Layer GORE-TEX
  • Colorways: Two camo patterns and three solid colors
  • Pockets: Zippered hip pockets
  • Pit zips
  • Price: $349

Pros

  • Packable and lightweight 
  • Breathable enough to wear for extended periods of time 
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • GORE-TEX material comes with a price
  • Lacks zippered inside chest pocket 

A lot of rain jackets will keep you dry enough, but they can also feel clammy and/or restrictive, which isn’t ideal when you’re on the move. The Sitka Dew Point Jacket, on the other hand, is made for movement.

The Dew Point Jacket is a sturdy, waterproof shell that’s designed for the active hunter or angler. It’s a basic, no frills piece with a streamlined fit that allows for a layer or two underneath. It’s packable enough to stash away without taking up much space, and it has a few features designed to keep an active wearer comfortable and dry: an integrated adjustable hood, pit zips, and velcro cuffs. Key details like the raised zippered hip pockets — which are designed to stay out of the way of your pack’s waist belt — make this jacket ideal for the backcountry.

This uninsulated shell lives in my kit year-round, moving between my hunting pack and fishing bag. I used it recently on a multi-day river trip in Idaho, where it came in handy when sitting in the boat through the occasional downpour. It held up just as well while hiking the hills and chukar hunting, where the pit zips came in handy to dump excess heat.

The material is sturdy enough to stave off water and wind, but thin enough that it wouldn’t be my first choice for all-day bushwhacks. Like other GORE-TEX shells, it will also wet through after days and days of torrential rain, and in these scenarios, I would reach for a thicker wading jacket, or even one made of PVC, instead.—Dac Collins

Best for Fly Fishing: Simms Challenger

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Key Features

  • Sizes: S to 4XL
  • Waterproofing Material: 2L Toray
  • Colorways: Two camo patterns and two solid colors
  • Pockets: Zippered chest pocket
  • No pit zips
  • Price: $230

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Ample pockets
  • Comfortable, breathable 
  • Fit nicely over waders
  • Jacket shell fully recycled material

Cons

  • Not fully sealed
  • Not heavy duty

It can be a challenge to find rain gear that fits properly over waders, provides day long insulation, and is also comfortable. The Challenger rain gear from Simms checks all those boxes, at a relatively reasonable price point. The Challenger jacket is also surprisingly warm for being so light, and it kept me warm throughout long days on the water. The fleece-lined pockets are one of my favorite features and gave my numb digits relief while fishing in sub-freezing temperatures. Unfortunately, the pocket interiors are not fully waterproof, so be careful not to have them zipped down during heavy rainfall. 

testing the simms challenger rain gear
The author fishing in the Simms Challenger rain gear.

The Challenger jacket shines when wading or fly fishing off a raft or drift boat. Its extra length and numerous adjustment points provide for a solid upper shell over waders while being lightweight and agile enough to cast and move about comfortably. 

The Challenger Rain Suit is an excellent option for anglers looking for comfort and warmth without extra bulk. While I wouldn’t recommend it for bushwhacking into a remote creek, it’s the perfect rain gear for an everyday angler who wants to stay dry and comfortable without being weighed down or dropping a fortune. If you need a durable and extremely waterproof rain suit, check out the Simms CX.—Kevin Hughes

Read Next: Best Rain Gear for Fishing

Best Lightweight Jacket for Fishing: Grundens Tourney

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Key Features

  • Sizes: S to 3XL
  • Waterproofing Material: PU-Coated polyester
  • Colorways: Four solid colors
  • Pockets: Two zippered hand pockets, one zip chest pocket 
  • No pit zips
  • Price: $140

Pros

  • Athletic fit
  • Light

Cons

  • Not as durable as rain gear made for commercial fishing

Unlike a lot of light rain jackets, the Tourney is 100 percent waterproof and it’s proven itself through countless summer downpours. It’s the ideal jacket to have on hand for pop-up thunderstorms or if you’re expecting a choppy, wet ride to your honey hole. One of the times my tourney jacket saved me was while fishing the Kissimmee chain this summer. It was classic central-Florida weather with a midday thunderstorm that we couldn’t outrun. Out came the Tourney to keep me dry and fishing after the storm passed.—Scott Einsmann

Best Budget: Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite Rain Suit

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Key Features

  • Sizes: S to 3XL
  • Waterproofing Material: DriPore Gen 2
  • Colorways: One camo patterns and four solid colors
  • Pockets: None
  • No pit zips
  • Price: $30 to $40

Pros

  • Very, very lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Comes with rain pants

Cons

  • Not waterproof in stormy conditions
  • Less durable than other rain jackets 
  • Not particularly quiet

The Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite comes up again and again as an excellent value pick for backpackers and fishermen, and was recommended in both OL’s roundup of the best backpacking rain jackets and the best rain gear for fishing

Part of this is that the Frogg Toggs Ultralite Suit is extremely cheap, but it’s also partly because it’s a pretty good shell layer. Out of the box, the material is extremely water resistant, able to hold off standing water for over 24 hours. But it has a few fail points to keep in mind. The first is the front zipper, which has no waterproofing, just a little flap to protect it. In a typical rain shower, that’s good enough. In a true downpour, expect water to soak in through this opening. It’s also less durable than other options, easily picking up tears and snags from brushing against snags or rocks. That’s enough on its own to make it a no-go for hunters; if it wasn’t, the noise generated by this rain jacket would do the trick. 

But if you don’t mind a little noise, or replacing your rain jacket every season, the low weight and low price point of the Frogg Toggs Ultralite Suit is tough to beat. 

What to Consider Before Buying One of the Best Rain Jackets for Men

DWR Finish vs. Waterproof Membrane

The best rain jackets for men have both a waterproof membrane and a DWR finish. Waterproof membranes, from the likes of Gore-tex, Pertex, or Toray, are typically sandwiched in between the outer shell material of a rain jacket and the inner lining. Some are fully waterproof, preventing all moisture transfer between the outer shell material and the inner lining, while others are breathable, allowing only a one-way transfer of air and moisture. DWR (durable water repellent) finishes are applied directly to the outer shell of a rain jacket, preventing water from penetrating the outer shell fabric. Because they are on the outermost layer, DWR finishes typically degrade over time, and must be reapplied to ensure efficacy. 

Pit Vents and Breathability

As it turns out, rain isn’t the only thing that can soak your layers. There’s also sweat. Many men who enjoy outdoor recreation sweat so much that they can completely soak through their base layers. That’s a major problem if the weather turns and the temperature drops. To avoid this problem, some waterproof materials attempt to balance “breathability” with waterproofness, allowing some of the excess heat and moisture that your body is generating to escape to the outside again. Another way that rain jackets help to expel heat and moisture is through strategically placed pit vents. However, both of these options can allow rain to eventually creep back inside your rain jacket. Consider your own needs before making a final decision. 

Price

The best waterproof membranes from the likes of Gore-tex can run up the price of rain jackets into the hundreds of dollars. Consider what level of waterproofness you actually need before committing to a price point. 

Weight

Ideally, your rain jacket will spend most of its time in your pack. An unnecessarily heavy rain jacket can weigh down your pack, which will adversely affect backpackers and backpack hunters.  

Durability

The lightest weight rain jackets are frequently less durable than heavier weight rain jackets. If you plan to spend a lot of time going through the brush and muck then it’s worth spending a bit more in terms of cash and weight to get a more durable option. 

FAQs

Q: Are any rain jackets actually waterproof?

Rain jackets are often balancing weight, range of motion, and price with actual waterproofness. The reality is that most people, most of the time, do not need a completely waterproof jacket. In fact, if you are prone to sweating excessively, a fully waterproof jacket may trap too much heat and cause your base layers to soak through with sweat regardless. However, if you need a truly waterproof jacket and these other factors are not true considerations, we would encourage you to check out our pick for extreme conditions. 

Q: What is a good rain jacket made of?

A good rain jacket has a high-quality waterproof membrane. The most well-known of these is Gore-Tex, but there are other brands as well, including Toray, Pertex, and eVent. 

Q: Should a rain jacket be tight or loose?

Rain jackets, also known as shell layers, should be loose when worn with nothing more than a T-shirt. This allows you to layer up underneath, with either the best thermal underwear for men or the best packable down jackets, or both. 

Q: Is 10,000mm waterproof good?

A rain jacket rated to 10,000mm should be able to repel light rain and moderate snow. If you are looking for a rain jacket for more serious conditions, consider looking for something rated to 16,000 or higher. 

Final Thoughts on the Best Rain Jackets for Men

The best rain jackets for men should keep you from getting soaked, both by the rainstorm going on, and by the sweat you’re working up. The rain jackets profiled here have proven themselves in the field for OL editors, staff writers, and contributors. 

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Laura Lancaster Avatar

Laura Lancaster

Staff Writer

Lancaster is Outdoor Life’s gear staff writer where she focuses on in-depth testing of backpacking and camping gear, with a particular interest in lightweight and ultralight gear. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and daughter.

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