Beat the downpours this rainy season with our pick of the best thicker coats and waterproof jackets for women, tried and tested by acting Editor Katy Sunnassee.
The start of the year can be a wet and windy time – and has been to date as I write this in the second week of January! So, getting a decent waterproof coat is a good idea, especially now as sales will be on. But as we know, the British weather can be extremely unpredictable (remember the heatwave in October?) so I’ve done a round up of not only thick padded coats but also thinner, lightweight ones.
Best waterproof jackets for women
- Craghoppers Women’s Sariah Waterproof Jacket (craghoppers.com)
- The Waterproof Multiway Jacket (acaioutdoorwear.com)
- Berghaus Women’s Truda Flex Waterproof Jacket (berghaus.com)
- Gill Marine Voyager Jacket (gb.gillmarine.com)
- Gill Marine Pilot Jacket (gb.gillmarine.com)
- Regatta Birchdale Waterproof Jacket (regatta.com)
- Columbia Women’s Explorer’s Edge™ Waterproof Insulated Jacket (columbiasportswear.co.uk)
- Kathmandu Creede Women’s Thermore Parka (kathmandu.co.uk)
- Rab Women’s Valiance Waterproof Down Jacket (rab.equipment)
- M&S Good Move Collection Stormwear™ Ultra 3-in-1 Hooded Longline Coat (marksandspencer.com)
- Regatta Voltera Waterproof Heated Jacket (regatta.com)
- Regatta Samaria Waterproof Jacket (regatta.com)
Keep reading for our full reviews.
These thinner, lightweight waterproofs are great for warmer days and packing down into bags…
Craghoppers Women’s Sariah Waterproof Jacket
What the brand says: Designed for the everyday trail, this versatile jacket provides effective waterproof protection in an agile design that incorporates half-a-dozen pockets for trail essentials, including maps and mobile. I has an AquaDry Membrane stretch construction with grown-on hood and EcoShield PFC-free DWR for all-weather performance, all year round. Available in a range of colours including Sedona (shown here).
What Katy says: ‘This is lightweight and thin. I like that the hood offers two sets of adjustment: one around the neckline and the other at chin height so you can pull the sides in nice and tight in wet, windy weather. The peak is also good for keeping off the rain. All adjustments are at the front too so you can see what you’re doing.
I could only find three pockets though, not the half dozen mentioned in the official blurb (so half a half a dozen!) with two on the outside and one large, zipped mesh pocket inside, which you’d not be able to access in super-wet weather as the coat would need undoing.
Size-wise the 10 fitted well with a thick woolly jumper underneath. Would have preferred it longer in the body (same with most). Love the orange colourway, and all in all a durable, lightweight coat for short walks.
2. The Waterproof Multiway Jacket
What the brand says: This stylish, versatile coat is fully waterproof, featuring taped seams, waterproof fabric, covered hems, a storm flap and a chin guard, to ensure not a single drop will get through. There’s also a removable hood, double pockets on both sides and draw cords for a snug fit, while the tailoring gives freedom of movement to arms and shoulders, making it ideal for active rainy days. The lightweight coat can also be neatly packed away inside its own hood.
What Katy says: ‘Fit wise, this comes up large over the hips. The 10 is fine across my chest (although does pull in that area when I put my hands in the pockets) but the hips are more a 14-16 I’d say.
The cuffs can be pulled in with poppers, which look nicer than Velcro although are trickier to do one-handed when out and it starts to rain. The shirt-style collar looks smart when worn with the hood down. Hood up, the collar stands up to protect your neck but there’s no way to fasten it at the front to stop rain getting in. While you can pull the drawstrings tight to close the gap, doing so also pulls the hood far down over your eyes and the lack of peek makes it difficult to see out. I like the double pockets with a zip on one layer, poppers on the other, and the fishtail hem that’s slightly longer in the back. This coat is more a fashion piece than for sports, and if you’re much wider on the hips than chest, it could be your perfect jacket.’
3. Berghaus Women’s Truda Flex Waterproof Jacket
What the brand says: Whatever it is that gets you outdoors and your blood pumping, do it in comfort and style whilst staying dry with this stretchy, waterproof jacket that really steps up in all weather. Whether you’re running through showers or have hit the peaks, its practical year-round coverage will keep you ventilated when moving. The cuffs, hood and hem are all fully adjustable for great fit and range of movement. Plus, added pockets are great for storing essentials and keeping your hands warm.
What Katy says: ‘While the hood is adjustable, it’s one of those back-of-the-head toggles, which I find easy to pull in, but not easy to adjust out again while still wearing the coat. Also, if you do need to pull it in around your face to keep out the rain, you can’t easily look down without the whole hood pulling back onto your forehead – there needs to be a bit more hood material or stretch. The peak is decent and helps keep off rain, and top marks for the zip coming up above the chin. The side pockets for me could have been placed slightly lower. While they are large, a lot of the space is above hand height, which is wasted as things sinks down. They gape open a bit too as the fabric is stiff, although the insides are waterproof. I zipped them up and wore gloves. The chest pocket directly over the left breast means that unless you are extremely flat chested, you won’t get much in there other than a key or two (I think men design these pockets!). The 10 fits true to size and I can wear it over a thick woolly jumper. Sizing up would make the chest pocket more usable. The tapered-in waist is flattering (although see intro for my thoughts on length). Love the red colourway.’
4. Gill Marine Voyager Jacket
What the brand says: Offering dependable wet weather protection in changeable conditions, this lightweight waterproof jacket features Gill’s exclusive XPLORE® 2.5 layer waterproof and breathable fabric, alongside fully taped seams for a waterproof seal. The minimalist design makes it suitable for everyday use, while the adjustable hood, hem and cuffs provide additional wet weather protection. Available in a range of colours, there’s also a reverse-coil front zip with an internal storm guard plus zippered pockets for secure storage.
What Katy say: ‘Let’s start with fit: of all the lightweight jackets, this comes down lowest on me, to below my bum (woo hoo!) although I’d probably still not want to sit on a wet surface (if you have super-short legs, you might be OK). The sleeves are super-long too, going past my fingers. But the Velcro means you can pull them in to keep them above your hands.
The hem has a drawstring, unlike the others, meaning you can gather it in there as well as at the hood, which has two sets of adjustments: one at the side of the head and one to pull it in at the neck. Both are easy to use and pull in the hood nice and snuggly without it being uncomfortable or blocking vision. The peek sticks out far to keep rain from your face (and the hood is roomy enough to look down without the hood moving back). The zip comes up nice and high over my chin yet doesn’t dig in as it does with some jackets. And the material is so light and flexible it would pack down easily into any bag.
The jacket only has two outside pockets, both zipped (with two large mesh inner ones) but I’ll take this lack of pockets any day as the fit and flexibility of the fabric are incredible – this is by far my favourite lightweight jacket on test and will become a permanent fixture in my wet-weather wardrobe. Love the burnt orange colourway too (also comes in olive, navy, light grey and black).’
5. Gill Marine Pilot Jacket
What the brand says: Made using Gill’s XPLORE® 2-layer soft handle fabric and featuring breathable, waterproof and fully taped seams, the adjustable cuffs, rollaway hood and double storm guard have been built in for protection against the elements, allowing you the freedom to perform. Incredibly versatile and benefitting from high-vis elements to allow you to be safely seen, this jacket is ideal for activities on the water or in the rain.
What Katy says: This is made from a thicker, more durable fabric than the Voyager (above) making it better for tougher conditions, but on the down side, for me anyway, it’s a good few inches shorter in length. The zipped pockets are roomy, comfy to use and waterproof inside, plus there’s a zipped inside pocket halfway up at mid-height to keep items safe. It also has Velcro-adjustable cuffs for when it’s raining hard and is windy too. ‘I really like the outside hook for hanging it up, and the hood fully folds away into the neck, so in dry weather you needn’t have it flapping around. Plus, as the collar stands up both with the hood inside and out, this helps keep your neck warm. I tried the size S in this one, which didn’t feel that much smaller than the M in the style above, which I’d say fits like a 10.’
6. Regatta Birchdale Waterproof Jacket
What the brand says: Waterproof and breathable with added stretch, the Birchdale women’s waterproof jacket is perfect for your outdoor adventures. Featuring Regatta’s Isotex 10000 fabric to protect against rain and the colder elements, it’s ideal for morning commutes, hiking and exploring the outdoors. The bulk-free design and articulated sleeves on this women’s walking jacket also boost agility.
What Katy says: ‘What I like about this jacket is the fit of the hood; when pulled in tight it keeps out all wind and rain and the peek comes forward quite far so you don’t get rain in your face. The lining around the face is also fleecy so it feels soft like a balaclava. I’m not so keen on how the draw cord look though, as when pulled in tight they stick out sideways like rabbit ears, made more prominent for being white against the grey of the hood. Visually this doesn’t look good but the functionality and fit of the hood makes up for it (also make sure not to walk close to low-hanging branches as you might hook onto one!).
The cuffs can be tightened with Velcro. Lengthwise for me it’s a little short (see intro) but the tapered waist fit is flattering and the contrasting colourway gives it a sporty look.
I find the pockets slightly too shallow although the chest pocket goes down and round quite far, more so than on other styles.
If you need a little more warmth but don’t want a huge coat taking up space in the cupboard or hallway, give these a go…
1. Columbia Women’s Explorer’s Edge™ Waterproof Insulated Jacket
What the brand says: Designed for adventure and the great outdoors, this jacket is waterproof and fully seam-sealed whilst still breathable with vented underarms, so you stay dry all day. Combining maximum warmth with minimum weight, the 80g insulation combines with advanced thermal reflective lining to keep you warm on the move without heavy layers. Available in three colours, it also has adjustable cuffs, a comfortable chin guard, a drop tail and zippered hand and chest pockets.
What Katy says: ‘This could easily have sat in the thick jackets category as the innovative technology inside gives it a warmth much like a padded down jacket. The shiny gold lining covered with a tiny black circle pattern looks super cool and space-age and reminds me of the emergency silver ponchos they put on people after an accident to keep them insulated. And it’s this black and gold fabric that’s responsible for the insulation level, despite the jacket’s lightweight feel – it feels a similar weight, if not lighter, than the Regatta Birchdale (shown previously), when holding them one in each hand. The sleeves are a winner for multiple reasons: zipped underarm vents mean you can quickly cool off if needed without removing the jacket; the gold lining goes all the way down to the cuffs and joins onto stretch-fabric thumb loops, thereby keeping wrists completely warm and dry; Velcro straps also mean you can gather in the cuffs when it’s pouring down.
The hood offers good protection although I’m personally not a fan of back-adjustment loops; if you need to adjust mid-walk, it’s hard to see/feel what you’re doing – I have to take off the coat to do so. The two side pockets are comfy and there’s a handy chest pocket. I just would have loved for this coat to have been longer (see intro) as then it would be near perfect for me.’
2. Kathmandu Creede Women’s Thermore Parka
What the brand says: This super warm, urban piece is insulated with comfy Sherpa fleece and Thermore Ecodown – a quality down alternative. Plus, there’s an adjustable waist to shape it how you want and four pockets for carrying essentials. Designed in an A-line style and a relaxed fit, this parka offers insulated warmth with a fishtail hem to help protect against the cold. Wear it hood on or off, waist tight or loose. Made with 37 recycled plastic bottles and available in a selection of colours.
What we say: ‘What can I say but that I L.O.V.E this coat! It’s the Goldilocks of waterproofs for a number of reasons. Firstly, the stylish design and fit make it ideal as an everyday jacket, and it just so happens to be waterproof, meaning you could have it as your only coat. The hood adjustment mechanism is completely hidden – the elastic is black to match the detailing and sits within the hood anyway, so can’t be seen, meaning no unsightly loops on the outside, plus the toggles are within the hood so you simply squeeze the edge of it around chin level and pull on the cord. There’s not much of a peak on the hood, but it comes forward enough to offer protection, albeit not quite as much as some other hoods. The hood zips off too if you know you won’t be wearing it in the rain.
The main pockets are great: not too deep, not too shallow, just right (for anyway) and they have zipps. The chest pockets are quite handy too – I used them for Tube and credit cards – although they have popper closures, which are a bit time-consuming and awkward to close – zips would be better, also to keep out rain when it’s wet and windy.
The material is super-soft and flexible, so it doesn’t feel like you’re in a crinkly plastic bag (even though, ironically, it’s made from recycled plastic bottles), and the inner lining is stylish: half jacquard-pattern, Barbour-style polyester on the bottom half and in the sleeves, with soft black fleece-style material on the upper body.
The size 10 fits me well – again, not too tight, not too loose, just right even with a thick jumper underneath – and the length is great: coming to mid-thigh at the front and almost to my knee creases at the back. And I love the burnt yellow colourway – all in all a fantastic jacket that’s a keeper for years to come.’
Wrap up against snow and rain with these padded, long-line jackets, one of which even features a heated panel!
Rab Women’s Valiance Waterproof Down Jacket
What the brand says: Designed for everyday use and wild winter walking days, this warm and waterproof coat features a durable and waterproof Pertex® Shield outer alongside taped seams for reliable protection. The narrow bonded boxwall construction stabilises the down and allows it to fully loft, trapping the maximum amount of air for warmth. For added durability, lower bulk, and better moisture management, the cuffs and hood are also insulated with fast drying, synthetic Stratus™ insulation. Plus, it’s available in a range of colours.
What Katy says: ‘If you like padded puffa-style jackets then you’ll love this. Not one bit of my upper body felt cold while wearing this, however, as I was wearing it in the most torrential of downpours, my legs got drenched and so again, referring back to my introduction, I only wish this was a longer coat; it if were, I would most probably replace my regular long padded jacket for this as that one’s not waterproof, whereas this is – rain is literally repelled!
The hood is fantastic as, like with the Kathmandu one, it has discreet, hidden toggles inside the hood lining with colour-matching drawstrings that fall within the coat. And you can pull it in so tight that, coupled with the high zip almost to my nose, it creates the smallest eye hole of all, like a balaclava. The peak can also be worn two ways: one tucked under for greater vision, but also folded out for the wettest weather.
The cuffs can be adjusted with Velcro, and although the pockets have zips, I wanted to use them to protect my hands as I walked in the downpour but found that rain got into them so I got soggy gloves. However, this is an issue with most coats unless there are huge storm flaps on the pockets. The fit of the 10 is snug although I can get a thick roll-neck jumper underneath.
2. M&S Good Move Collection Stormwear™ Ultra 3-in-1 Hooded Longline Coat
What the brand says: This longline coat has fully taped seams and waterproof Stormwear™ Ultra technology to ensure you stay dry in a downpour, it’s designed in a regular fit, with two layers that can be worn together or separately to suit the elements. The warm parka has fleece-lined pockets for keeping hands cosy, and an adjustable hood, waistband and cuffs to help you find the perfect fit. The puffer brings an extra layer of insulation and more coverage thanks to the funnel neckline.
What Katy say: ‘This coat works on paper and should work in principle what with all the versatility, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark and here’s why: with the zip done up all the way, the part that protects your face is too chunky and solid, with no give. It’s OK if you plan to stand still and face forward, but I find it uncomfortable if I move my head to the side as the hood doesn’t move with you, it rubs against you. That said, the sides can be adjusted with two contrasting orange toggles so it does a good job of keeping out the rain.
The front flap popper-close pockets are fleece-lined and quite comfy although you need to have your hands at a slightly funny angle in them as they are straight. The side pockets, which lie directly underneath, would be better as main pockets if only the zips only opened more fully – I catch my little fingers on them, and you can forget using them if wearing gloves. They’re best for storing anything you know you won’t need to access that frequently.
The length is good on this coat, which makes it a shame not to mark it more highly as it will come down nice and long on most women, but the main problem for me is the fit. I have it in a 10, which fits well and to size but only when wearing the outer waterproof element. The removable inner padded jacket, which can be worn on its own, makes it too thick when all worn together and it’s tight on the hips. I would definitely recommend going up a size.
It’s good value for three jackets in one: the waterproof, the padded parker, and both together for warmth (hance four for functionality), but I think there are better, more functional and stylish options bought separately. Plus, the sleeves are too short for me. It could be improved with some modifications.’
3. Regatta Voltera Waterproof Heated Jacket
What the brand says: This insulated high-tech jacket comes with a water-repellent finish, taped seams and insulation, all while achieving an excellent breathability rating to keep you feeling fresh. When the temperature drops, simply activate the battery powered heating system and pull up the hood – complete with warming faux fur trim – to stay extra cosy.
What Katy says: ‘The hood on this has a detachable faux fur trim so you can wear it two ways. There are silver poppers galore: the cuffs adjust with poppers, the main pockets have poppers and the storm flap over the zip has poppers, which give a stylish look and contrasts nicely with the fabric – even the toggle mechanisms either side of the hood are round and silver to match. The chest pockets are nice and roomy – probably the best of all the chest pockets here (I wish the Kathmandu coat has zips like these do), however, the main pockets have a weird semi-flap on the outer edge that looks and feels like the opening but isn’t – the zippered opening is further in (but you’d no doubt get used to this). The poppered pockets over the top are comfy and also a bit roomier so are good for gloves, or your phone to prevent it falling out.
The size 10 fits well although on the snug side, and the length is quite good – it comes to mid-thigh on me when standing. But the standout function is the heated inner back panel. You connect a power pack to a USB lead inside an inner pocket (it has a silicone cover for when being washed) which connects to the panel. You can either leave the pack in the pocket on your walk or heat up the coat before you go out. And while this is very innovative and none of the other jackets have this function, I’m going to be picky and make a suggestion to Regatta for the next iteration: this jacket will keep people warm thanks to the material, with or without the heat panel, however, most people, including myself, suffer from cold extremities and so what would be nicer than to have heated panels around the pockets? That way you’d possibly be able to do away with gloves. And, you’d sell a ton of coats to all the people with Reynauds. Just saying. But over all a fab winter waterproof coat!’
4. Regatta Samaria Waterproof Jacket
What the brand says: Super stylish and cosy, this waterproof jacket from Regatta’s Giovanna Fletcher collection is the perfect addition to your rainy-season wardrobe. Isotex 5000 will keep you protected from rainfall, while Thermoguard insulation and the luxury faux fur trim on the detachable hood will keep you feeling cosy while looking bang on trend.
What Katy says: ‘This is one super-stylish coat and I can see why celebrity Giovanna Fletcher has it as part of her collection. It could also become your everyday winter coat as it’s both warm and waterproof. It’s a plainer design than the Voltera as it’s not covered in shiney poppers – it has them on the adjustable cuffs and two for decoration on the faux pocket flaps. Over all though I prefer these pockets, which are zipped, as they are easy to access and placed at a really comfortable angle.
The fit of the 10 also feels slightly roomier than the Voltera, and it’s just a tad longer.
I love the soft faux fur on the hood – and the whole hood is detachable on this one – although a little safety warning: the ties with which you tighten the hood are thick ribbon, which style-wise looks nicer than thin elastic, however, they have hard metal edges at the end. It didn’t’ happen in this coat, but I had a very similar coat in the past which had ribbon toggles with metal ends, and in very windy weather they could be whipped up into your face, potentially hitting you in the eye as they are long enough to do so (this once happened to me with said previous coat). So if you do have this coat, remember to tuck the ribbons inside on super-windy days. And another note to the designers: perhaps try to avoid these metals endings.
But other than that minor point, I love this coat as it’s soft, flexible, stylish and I’ll definitely be wearing it over and over (just maybe not on super-windy days!)