Rain gear isn’t always the most stylish of clothing, but the latest launches prove fashion can be married to functionality. We give five of the best waterproof jackets for women a whirl so you can stay active this winter – whatever the weather…

Rain, rain, go away, come again another day’ – or so goes the nursery rhyme. But why worry about a little – or a lot – of rain when there are so many functional and often beautiful waterproof jackets available? If you always wait for a sunny, cloudless day to get out into the great outdoors, you could be waiting a long time, especially if you live in the UK during winter.

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We all know being outdoors is great for our health, both physically and mentally, so never let a spot of rain, or even a downpour, put you off. It’s all about getting properly kitted out. Fabrics have come on a long way since the days of wearing a crunchy cagoule that’s not fit for purpose. Now, we have a plethora of ways to stay dry and look stylish to boot.

Top waterproof jacket brands for women

At Keela Outdoors, its award-winning System Dual Protection (SDP) technology is so advanced it’s used by Tactical Forces, Mountain Rescue teams and the Emergency Services, whose personnel need hard-working performance wear. Its latest Prosport Jacket (see below) combines this tough material with a gorgeous purple colour way and a sleek silhouette.

Meanwhile, Columbia Sportwear’s latest women’s waterproof, Splash Side, takes inspiration from a classic silhouette but is made with premium fabric, Omni-Tech, which offers waterproofing while being breathable. ‘The multi-layered construction, with sealed seams, sheds water and repels wind while keeping you dry,’ says Eoin Treacy, the brand’s marketing manager. ‘The technology delivers versatile protection in a variety of conditions, making it the perfect defence against the unpredictable British weather!’

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Over at BAM, there’s an almost 100 per cent recycled waterproof that’s buttery soft, while at fitness brand Dare2B, recycled bottles go into making each of their new pink jackets.

5 things to consider when looking for the best waterproof jackets

A good waterproof can be a considerable investment – you want it to last and do the job. These questions will help you choose the best one for you and your body.

1. How tall are you?

Consider how much of your body you want to cover, and then look for the neck-to-bottom seam measurement before purchasing (assuming you’re buying online; if you’re in-store, simply try it on). Many jackets are made for average-height women, so if you’re above 5ft 7in, a lot of the coats on offer may not cover your bottom.

2. Do you have long hair?

If you have long hair, you’ll probably want to tie it up. This means you’ll want a hood that fits over not only your head but also your ponytail. You also need to make sure it tightens around your face, so it doesn’t blow back.

3. Will this be your main coat?

If you’re looking for a waterproof that’s going to double up as your main winter coat, you’ll want a heftier, durable jacket that will fit over warm woollens, sweatshirts and possibly a scarf, too. Also, look for one with roomy outer pockets for easy storage of gloves, keys or your purse.

4. Does it need to be portable?

If this is going to be an ‘emergency coat’ you carry with you in case of showers, as opposed to your main coat, go for one that’s super lightweight and packs down, preferably into its own pocket.

5. Are eco credentials important?

Some older-style waterproof coatings are made with perfluorocarbons (PFCs), manmade chemical compounds containing carbon and fluorine, which some researchers say may damage the environment.

Best waterproof jackets for active women in 2023

best waterproof jackets from keela

Best waterproof jacket for downpours: Keela Outdoors Prosport Jacket


£159.95 / keelaoutdoors.com

  • Style: 5/5
  • Comfort: 5/5
  • Function: 4/5

This versatile jacket is waterproof, windproof and highly breathable, thanks to its two-layer hard shell. The outer fabric has a four-way stretch for ease of movement, and the hood is amazing – it’s generous, and has a protective peak with volume adjusters at each cheek, plus an inner material that sits over your forehead to keep the wind out.

With the main zip done up, even our nose was covered, giving the most face protection of all jackets on test. It’s also the most comfortable – turning to the side doesn’t cause the hood to move off your head. The hood can be rolled up and fastened in place, but there is a flap of material hanging off the back when this function isn’t in use.

Waterproofing is exceptional, with the main zip having a double storm flap and snap fasteners. Underarm ventilation flaps also have storm flaps and zips at either end, and storm flaps also sit over two large, bust-level pockets. However, the diagonal placement of these pockets makes them tricky to use.

There is also a vertical-zipped pocket on the inside, plus a zipped pocket running parallel to the jacket’s main zip. Keela has miraculously managed to create a jacket with roomy sleeves and armpits, that nips in at the waist and doesn’t billow at the back.

best waterproof jackets from columbia sportswear

Best waterproof jacket for portability: Columbia Women’s Splash Side Waterproof Jacket


£110 / columbiasportswear.co.uk

  • Style: 3/5
  • Comfort: 5/5
  • Function: 5/5

This is the most generously sized jacket of all on test – sling this over any outfit, no matter how bulky. It has a very billowy feel, but what it lacks in style it more than makes up for in practicality. This was one of the longest jackets, at 35in, and covered our 5ft 8in tall tester’s bottom, down to mid-thighs, providing great coverage. Plus, the Omni-Tech nylon fabric is lightweight and flexible, so it’s easy to pack down.

Its seams are sealed to make them waterproof, and the zip has a storm flap with poppers, for extra waterproofing. There are roomy, easy-to-use front hip pockets, placed at an angle so wrists don’t rub against pockets, but it’s a shame there are no hidden pockets inside.

The sleeves don’t cover hands, but only ride up a tiny bit when raising your arms. The cuffs are also elasticated, so you don’t have to worry about rain entering in. The hood is pretty good, with a firm peak around the front that stays in place. It’s a fantastic lightweight waterproof for when out in wet weather for a long time.

BAM yellow longaford waterproof jacket for women

Most eco-friendly waterproof jacket: BAM Longaford Waterproof Recycled Jacket


£129 / bambooclothing.co.uk

  • Style: 5/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • Function: 3/5

This jacket is made from 98 per cent recycled materials and designed to be fully recyclable once you’re done with it. Waterproof coatings are often made with PFCs, which damage marine life, but this jacket uses Teflon EcoElite. The buttery soft fabric is the smoothest on test and feels lovely, and the canary yellow colour is very uplifting!

Instead of having a lining layer, the jacket has a breathable membrane in strategic areas, including back and chest, making it the lightest of them all. Yet it can still withstand 10,000mm of rain per square inch. The sleeves are long – they cover thumbs when standing – and the cuffs have adjustable Velcro tabs. It only has two pockets, at the waist, but these are zipped and comfortable to use, plus seams are fully taped.

It comes up small and short in length, so you may want to go up a size. The ventilation flaps are at the chest and shoulder blades, rather than under the arms, and there’s no peak on the hood to keep rain off your face. But overall, it’s an attractive, lightweight option for slinging on over a T-shirt or thin baselayer.

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dare2b waterproof jackets

Most fashionable waterproof jacket: Dare2B Women’s Checkpoint III Recycled Waterproof Jacket


£165 / dare2b.com

  • Style: 5/5
  • Comfort: 3.5/5
  • Function: 4/5

We adore the dusky pink and teal colour of this jacket, which is made from the equivalent of 16 recycled bottles. It has a lightweight, water- and wind-proof fabric shell that stretches in all directions, plus fewer (taped) seams for more unrestricted movement. It has a small inner mesh pocket with a headphone hole, and is true to size.

The sleeves are long – they cover down to mid-thumb – and have Velcro cuffs for tightening in a downpour. The underarm ventilation holes are sizeable, so you can quickly let in air if you’re overheating, but don’t have any mesh fabric. The hem has a drawstring, but the loops are on the inside, making it tricky to tighten up on-the-go.

The hood is roomy, even over a high ponytail, and has a small peak to keep rain off. When fully zipped up, the jacket creates a good shield against rain. The zip and neck area are quite stiff though – other models felt roomier.

regatta brently 3 in 1 waterproof jacket giovanna fletcher collection

Best waterproof jacket for long bodies: Regatta Brentley 3-in-1 Jacket | Moccasin


£200 / regatta.com

  • Style: 4/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • Function: 4/5

From the Giovanni Fletcher Collection, this versatile jacket is two coats in one – a waterproof and flattering mac-style outer layer that clips onto the rather chic, copper-coloured quilt jacket with sherpa lining. It is cosy with a capital C, and that’s something we don’t often associate with waterproof jackets.

Having worn it on dog walks and family strolls, we can verify that the quick-dry outer layer – made from recycled plastic bottles – is super-waterproof, plus the inner layer has a water-repellent finish. The hood has easy-to-use drawstrings that keep the face (and fluffy hood) covered, plus there are poppers around the cuffs to keep rain out.

The longer length means thighs and bottoms stay dry, so this would be a good option for long bodies. It’s so easy to put together and separate, and will guard against a British downpour. Guaranteed, it will fast become your go-to coat for autumn, winter and spring.

Words: Katy Sunnassee | Lead image: Shutterstock

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