There is no doubt that owning a waterproof jacket is a characteristic of every person who loves the great outdoors. We explained in a previous article what makes a good rain jacket and how you can tell the difference between several such items. Today, we are going to focus on finding the best rain jacket for men, while reviewing 4 of the most best-selling items of 2017 so far. The models we’ve chosen for the review have stood out from dozens other brands and items and, who knows, your next rain jacket may just be in this article.
Arc’teryx Beta SL
With a price tag of $224, this is the most expensive jacket we’ll be reviewing in this article. While it may seem a bit expensive, the Arc’teryx Beta SL delivers a combination of comfort, protection and high-quality fabrics that are suitable for some very pretentious weather.
If you’re the least bit familiar with the fabrics and technologies used in waterproof clothing, then you already know what Gore-Tex Paclite is. It’s one of the lightest and breathable fabrics ever created in the Gore-Tex line and it’s also present in the Arc’teryx Beta SL jacket. Aside from the fact that it doesn’t let water reach your skin, the hood can be cinched around the head with great precision and the low profile Velcro wrist closures are secured tightly around your hands, thus minimizing the amount of water your skin comes in contact with via these gaps. The waterproofness of the Arc’teryx Beta SL is also strengthened by the watertight zipper and the minimal internal storm flap. Even if the latter seems a bit small at a first glance, it manages to keep water out even if you face harsh storms. The DWR coating on the fabric works so well, making the Arc’teryx Beta SL one of the best rain jackets for men choices on the market.
The hood design on the Arc’teryx Beta SL is one of the best you’ll ever find, simply because it’s a great fit, no matter if it covers your bare head or if you’re wearing a cap, bike or climbing helmet. What’s really amazing is the fact that you have a hood which is cinched so precisely and yet it doesn’t affect your peripheral vision.
Curiously enough, even with the Gore-Tex Paclite, the Arc’teryx Beta SL could have done better in terms of breathability. There is no additional ventilation and while this won’t really affect you in every possible scenario, there are cases where your body could use the extra heat-dumping.
You can’t really complain about the level of mobility provided by the Arc’teryx Beta SL. The arm length of the jacket is extremely satisfying. The articulated sleeves are also a plus, even for men with shorter arms who will be happy that the ends of the sleeves are not pulled back from their wrists. The level of comfort is enhanced by the jacket’s lightweight. With a jacket that’s good for hiking, pockets are an important thing to consider. The pockets on the Arc’teryx Beta SL are placed juuuuust right for you to rest and warm up your hands without feeling any arm strain.
With only 11 ounces in weight, this is the lightest Gore-Tex jacket in this article. The fact that the Arc’teryx Beta SL has no additional ventilation has contributed to its lightweight, in combination with the 13 mm seam tape plus the watertight zippers with minimalist storm flaps. That’s tremendously good news, especially for hikers which are always looking to travel as light as possible. The Arc’teryx Beta SL is made of 40 denier external nylon fabric, which ensures a high level of durability, even when used in demanding activities, just as skiing or climbing. The intelligent thing that Arc’teryx did was to avoid placing seams in areas where there are high chances of them pulling back, just as the shoulders. You’d think that thin seam tape means less durability, but the thin seam is actually less likely to peel after long periods of use.
The Arc’teryx Beta SL is an amazing outdoor activity jacket. Whether you are on an extended climbing trip, a ski trip or plan on climbing a mountain, it will keep your prepared and protected against precipitation.
Outdoor Research Men’s Helium II Jacket
There are so many great things to love about the Helium II waterproof jacket. First, there is the protection it offers against the elements. It has an exceptional hood design, with elastic cinches that extend all the way up to the temple, but not across the brow. The truly unique feature is the 3rd elastic cord, which tightens on the back and can also cinch the 2 on the side of the face. The DWR coating is combined with the Pertex Shield+ fabric in order to create a solid barrier between water drops and your skin. The only downside in terms of water protection is the fact the wrist is equipped with a simple elastic and there is no way to secure the jacket tight.
We’re saddened by the fact that this jacket has no ventilation features. However, the breathability rating of this jacket is boosted by the 2.5 layer fabrics used in the production. The Pertex Shield+ fabric is breathable enough to ensure your comfort even if you’re sweating, but it won’t perform well in high temperatures. Even if it fits best in scenarios where the air is a bit cooler, the other features of this jacket may tempt you to buy it for hiking in several scenarios. I repeat, this is not a jacket for persons prone to sweating a lot.
The Helium II is a highly mobile jacket. You can use it during the most demanding activities, just as rock climbing or mountain biking. The hood design is something we really appreciated about the Helium II. You can easily wear it over your biking helmet and it comes with a unique cinching system that ensures comfort and a great fit.
We were tempted to say that the Helium II runs true to its size, but it is a rather slim fitting jacket. Unless you are between sizes, in which case we recommend ordering sizing up, you can order the size you usually wear and it will fit perfectly. It is pretty clear that the Helium II wanted to focus on a minimalist design all the way to the end. That’s why the pockets are built in a similar way. You only have 1 Napoleon style chest pocket. Even on its own, this pocket can hold some bigger items, such as your smartphone or your wallet. However, we found it rather weird to walk around with our arms just hanging loose and no pockets to rest them in.
The upside to not having many pockets (aside from the fact that there is nothing tempting you to stuff them with useless weight) is that you have one of the most lightweight waterproof jackets that money can buy. With a total weight of 6.5 ounces, this is clearly a jacket for the fast traveler. We found it ideal for running on cold mornings since you have a pocket where you can hold your mp3 player and there is absolutely nothing else dragging you down. That, however, compromises the versatility of the jacket, so if you’re ever out hiking and you need to carry a flashlight or some medicine, you’ll either need a backpack or another type of rain jacket.
The lightweight 30D ripstop nylon face fabric is quite resistant to abrasion, which came as a very pleasant surprise since we wouldn’t normally consider a 6.5-ounce jacket as being so durable. It will take months of climbing to notice any wear. However, the Helium II still remains one of the least durable jackets in this article, but the difference is not really a major disadvantage. If you want to travel as light as possible, it is still the option we recommend.
The interior of the jacket is host to a Velcro-closure stuff pocket, so you can pack the jacket into a very small item which can be transported with ease. There is a huge benefit to this feature because you can even attach it to your backpack or belt, so you’ll always have a waterproof jacket with you in case rain happens to catch you off guard.
The hood on this rain jacket has a stiffened brim and a unique front to back elastic cinch cord with an external lock. While the Helium II doesn’t have pit zips (a feature which would have really contributed to the breathability factor), it does come with a waterproof chest pocket. It seems that the jacket was designed to keep water out… but also to keep moisture in. The interior pocket, which is used to pack up the jacket, can also be used to store some items.
As we mentioned earlier, the Helium II is designed for people who want to travel light, but still, be prepared for an outburst of rain. The fact that it is so light and compact, makes it easy to store it anywhere, even in the glove compartment of your car. It’s best used for biking and day hiking, especially thanks to its reflective patches that will make you noticeable in several low visibility conditions.
Marmot Men’s Minimalist Jacket
I found the Marmot Minimalist to be one of the sexiest waterproof jackets for men I ever saw. It is no doubt a jacket for the athletic man and you can tell from the first moments you lay your eyes on it, everything about it is of superior quality.
This is one of the best wain jackets for men that money can buy. It features Gore-Tex Paclite fabric and combines a hood and collar that will provide protections against elements with great effectiveness. There are storm flaps inside and outside the main zipper, just to make sure no water infiltrates and reaches your clothes. The wrist cuffs can be secured with Velcro, so there is no chance of leakage alongside your wrists.
The best rain jacket for men should have proper ventilation. If the Helium II wasn’t really generous with breathability, the Marmot Minimalist is a whole different story. There is a 2.5 layer of the Paclite laminate which was embedded in the jacket in order to make sure the breathability rating is boosted for your own comfort. There’s a good reason why Gore-Tex is the most expensive breathable technology used by outdoor clothing manufacturers. The Marmot Minimalist features pit zips to provide extra ventilation. They can be zipped all the way down to the main body of the jacket, which is more than we can say for similarly equipped rain jackets. There are some manufacturers that prefer to add mesh lining to the pocket, to ensure more breathability. However, the pockets on the Marmot Minimalist are fully seam taped because they are meant to be 100% waterproof.
Just as the Helium II, this is one very minimalist jacket. Comfort is not exactly its focus-chapter. The collar lacks a micro-fleece lining and the hood cannot be rolled away when it’s not needed. But even without all the features, you’d normally find on a similarly priced rain jacket, the Marmot Minimalist has an athletic cut that can really compliment your body type. The range of motion it provides will make you forget about the lack of a micro-fleece lining. You will feel highly mobile and free to stretch your arms as you please, with no restrictions. The hood and collar provide a snuggle fit so that no water can infiltrate through the gap. However, compared to the previously tested models, the Marmot Minimalist’s hood is not that great in a situation where you have to pull it over your climbing helmet.
With a total weight of 15 ounces, this is one of the heaviest rain jackets you can buy at the moment. The fabric used in the manufacturing process is heavy and it is pretty clear that Marmot was not preoccupied with creating a lightweight jacket. However, what the Marmot Minimalist lacks in lightweight, it compensates with durability. The polyester face fabric gives a sense of flexibility and beefiness while managing to offer UV protection.
One thing you may not like about the Marmot Minimalist is the fact that it lacks a stuff pocket. Your best chances of turning this rain jacket into something small and compact is by rolling it and stuffing it into its hood.
Even with its minimalist design, this hood offers quite a variety of features that we were pretty excited to discover. First of all, the hood is quite impressive. Its brim is stiffened with a thin plastic insert and there are 2 elastic cinch cords that allow you to adjust it as you please. The first cord is responsible with tightening the hood around the face and it passes through a soft neoprene sleeve that is super comfy on the brow and temples. The second cord comes with a toggle on the back of the head that adjusts the brow. All three cord locks are exterior and can be adjusted when the collar is fully zipped.
The Marmot Minimalist packs 2 zippered pockets which offer complete water protection, featuring 2.5 layer fabrics inside. There is also a storm flap which, in combination with the Velcro closure, won’t allow anything inside or outside of your pocket without your consent.
In other words, the Marmot Minimalist is awesome for backpacking, hiking and mountain climbing. Even if it can be secured around your head for full protection, it will allow you to benefit from full peripheral vision, helping you stay alert and above the situation at all times.
Outdoor Research Foray
With great ventilation features and great water-resistance, the Outdoor Research Foray jacket has every right to be nominated for the best rain jacket for men title. But before we just into any conclusion, let’s see how waterproof, resistant and versatile this jacket really is.
A good waterproof jacket is not only about good fabric that keeps water outside, it’s also about how it manages to provide little details that, without the proper care, would allow water to breach inside the jacket through gaps and seams. The Outdoor Research Foray features a stiffened front brim which is going to provide a great face-shield when the rain comes pouring down. The hood features a 3-way seal adjustment, to make sure your face is dry when drizzle is upon you. This jacket offers fewer seams in the shell along the shoulders, which means fewer chances of water breaching. That, combined with the waterproof hand pockets, is a sign that the Outdoor Research Foray is one of the most waterproof rain jackets out there. The cuffs are also well-built, with a Velcro cinch that can be secured around your wrist. The DWR coating beads up water on the surface, but it will eventually wear down after months of usage, but it is expected that a full wash and dry will restore the DWR.
The Outdoor Research Foray is, beyond a doubt, one of the most breathable jackets in this article. As with any other high-quality rain jacket, this one also features the Gore-Tex Paclite, one of the most breathable fabrics created to this day. If you wear the jacket it cool to cold temperatures, this fabric will move sweat from the inside to the outside of the jacket. That’s a tremendously useful feature because moisture is kept away from your body.
If you know a little bit about the Outdoor Research Foray jacket, then you’ve already heard about the “TorsoFlo”. That’s the name given to the full-length vents located under the arms and down the sides of the jacket. These alone are what make the Outdoor Research Foray the most breathable rain jacket out there. If you want to take ventilation to a whole new level, you can zipper the sides down and create a poncho-style jacket. It doesn’t even matter how often you’ll wear the jacket in poncho-style, the fact that you can actually do that with a rain jacket is pretty sweet. And if that wasn’t enough, know that the 3 pockets on the Outdoor Research Foray feature mesh lining, very well known for its durability properties.
As always, comfort is important with a rain jacket that you’re going to use while performing outdoor activities. Who in the world would want a waterproof jacket that makes it strenuous to lift your arms? Beyond a shred of a doubt, the Outdoor Research Foray is a very flexible and comfortable jacket. The devil is in the details and the Foray has really paid attention to the little things that make this jacket just a bit better than the others. For instance, it comes with a microfleece hood for the main zipper, located at the chin. This adds a bit of comfort to the overall experience. Aside from being comfortable, the Foray is also very mobile, so that your range of motion won’t be compromised in any way.
Sadly, the weight of this jacket was a bit off the charts, even 1 ounce heavier than the 15 ounces Marmot Minimalist. There is surely some weight coming from the core vents and the roll-away hood features. If you feel that weight is a bit of a drag down, maybe the fact that this is one of the most durable jackets in this review will prove that the Foray is totally worth the money. The jacket uses a burly polyester face fabric with the Gore-Tex Paclite laminate, but the big number of zippers can cause some trouble over time. What we really liked was the lifetime guarantee, making it the most durable jacket with the best ventilation features out of all the models we’ve looked into.
Even with its heavy weight, the Foray can be packet into its hand pocket, occupying very little space. The jacket also features a clip-in loop, which helps secure the rolled-up jacket to your backpack or harness.
Overall, we’re quite happy with the price/features balance of the Foray. The 2.5 layer jacket has a hood which can be adjusted in multiple ways. The stiffened brim is accompanied by a sleeve of soft fabric on the underside. There is also an elastic cord, conveniently sewn into the center of this sleeve. That translates into the possibility of adjustment for each side of your face individually. The micro-fleece patch conveniently placed on the chin combined with the fabric hood of the zipper provides extra-protection for your chin.
However, the best feature of the Foray is the pit zips. I know that chances are you’ll never want to wear this jacket poncho-style, but it’s great to know that you have so much breathability in a jacket with such a convenient price. The wrist cuffs are sealed thanks to a velcro tab, but they also feature an elastic located on the inside of the wrist. This elastic is covered by soft fabric, so it won’t rub directly against your skin.
The fact that the pit zips go all the way down to the bottom of the jacket is a clear indicator that the Foray performs well in warm temperatures. While it’s not the lightest model around, the high level of breathability makes the Foray very versatile.
While each of these 4 jackets scored high in specific categories, the best rain jacket for men is the Arc’teryx Beta SL. It performs well in almost every category of interest while providing a high level of versatility. The Beta SL is an extremely mobile jacket, with a great hood and great durability, which is what you want from a jacket you use for hiking, climbing or walking in the woods.