How We Tested Rain Jackets

By:
Ian Nicholson
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Thursday

The Best rain jacket review Ian Nicholson
The Best rain jacket review Ian Nicholson

Testing jackets requires a healthy dose of rain, snow, and drizzle, and the Pacific Northwest gave us plenty for the past three years. We took these models on quick trips to up glaciated peaks, on extended rain forest hikes, on ski tours and on (bordering on too many) fall hikes and backpacking trips in the sleet and rain. We also wore them around town, biking and just walking through November Farmers Markets. We also ran trails in each jacket, noting how well each breathes or vents for high-octane activity.

Tester Ian Nicholson out for a fall hiking in the Pacific Northwest
Tester Ian Nicholson out for a fall hiking in the Pacific Northwest

Nine of the top rain jackets  ready for our testing. There are three distinct types of jackets here  and one will meet your needs best.
Nine of the top rain jackets, ready for our testing. There are three distinct types of jackets here, and one will meet your needs best.

Towards the end of the review, we brought them all home and performed several side-by-side tests. We weighed them on our scale and stood in the shower in each one (for 4-minutes) to simulate a total downpour and uses a new cotton t-shirt to record wetness. During this test, we noted any weaknesses in the hoods, cuffs, and zippers. Finally, we thoroughly examined each of these jackets, taking note of the features from the hoods to the wrist cuffs that make them comfortable and seal out the elements.

Garden hose to the face and wrists? Check. The Foray can handle it. All of these jackets do a good job keeping you dry in your average rain storm. But models with adjustable cuffs and well-designed hood adjustments are superior in howling rain storms or when working with your hands overhead in the rain.
Garden hose to the face and wrists? Check. The Foray can handle it. All of these jackets do a good job keeping you dry in your average rain storm. But models with adjustable cuffs and well-designed hood adjustments are superior in howling rain storms or when working with your hands overhead in the rain.
 

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