The best rainwear for your activity

With the right rainwear, a bit of rain can add to your outdoor experience. But choosing the best rainwear is a competitive sport all on its own.

What material is the best? What other factors do I need to look out for? How do I ensure I don’t create my own personal sauna inside my jacket? We break it down here.

Rainwear for running

A quick run in warm summer rain is one of life’s little pleasures. But when you’re about to pound the pavement on a grim winter’s morning — or take on a marathon in stormy conditions — it’s time to consider proper protection.

Rain will make you cold, add extra weight to your clothing on race day, and up the ante on the chafe factor: all of which can slow you down. The best jacket for runners is one that manages the sweat on the inside while protecting you from the rain on the outside.

Key features to look out for in your jacket: waterproof, windproof, breathability, lightweight

Materials to look for: GORE-TEX, NGX, Pertex

Other features to consider:

  • A hood with good vision. Many running jackets feature a roll-away feature to keep it out the way when you don’t need it.
  • Pocket with a zip (to keep your key handy).
  • Reflective detailing to help keep you safe on the road.
The Volans Active Jacket
The Volans Active Jacket

Our picks:

The Volans Jacket is top of the line stuff. It’s the lightest, most breathable GORE-TEX ever made. The exposed membrane means extremely breathable, with no wetting out. It also means it’s delicate, and needs to be worn on its own with nothing on top. That’s because the Volans is made specifically for runners and is the perfect training garment.

For something a little tougher, the Zeolite Jacket ticks all the boxes. A super light jacket for travelling and adventure, it is a waterproof jacket, windproof and very breathable (not as breathable as the Volans but still excellent). The durability comes from the Pertex shell so you can still wear a pack on the outside, and underneath. Part of our pack&GO range, the Zeolite folds up into its own pocket which makes it the perfect lightweight waterproof jacket for travelling or running. 

The best rainwear for hiking

A good downpour can be a beautiful thing but can also present a couple of challenges depending on the weather conditions.

In cold conditions, you need to stay as dry as possible to avoid hypothermia. Similarly, if you’re multiday hiking in unpredictable weather, it’s important to have a reliable rain jacket at the ready.

Even in clear conditions, it's good practice to bring a good quality, waterproof shell in case of emergencies. For instance, weather in New Zealand can change in a blink of the eye — you should always carry a rain jacket when you go out into the backcountry.

Like a running jacket, you want your hiking jacket to offer breathability. You’re likely to build up a sweat when scrambling up a rocky incline. But unlike a running jacket, you want something hard-wearing and durable. Something you can really flog on the trail.

Key features to look out for in your jacket: waterproof, windproof, breathability, lightweight, durability

Materials to look for: GORE-TEX, NGX, Pertex

Other features to consider:

  • An adjustable hood and a stiff rain-shedding brim.
  • Note: a lightweight jacket may not be as durable as a heavier jacket, so you will need to decide if durability is more important than lightweight for your needs.
Man wearing Trailhead jacket in yellow
The Trailhead jacket in action

Our picks:

The Trailhead jacket is the perfect jacket for hiking. A lightweight jacket and easily packable with a fit designed for movement, the Trailhead is a waterproof jacket with seam-sealed technology and an ngx2.5™ Pertex™ Shield fabric. Go hard with a complete waterproof outfit and slap on the Trailhead Rain Pants. They’ll slip right over your boots when it starts to pour.

For challenging hikes

Aysen Jacket: features GORE-TEX fabric that’s tough, waterproof and windproof. This is a streamlined jacket that is ideal for hiking due to its fit, which provides a full range of movement with its adjustable hem, waist and cuffs as well as a seam-sealed waterproof shell and zips under the arms to help keep you ventilated.

For lighter hikes

Flinders Jacket: this is a lightweight jacket but it offers superb protection. This is an ideal lightweight waterproof jacket for travelling and light multi and single-day hikes. Packing into its own pocket, it is another jacket within our pack&GO range. 

Check out the full pack&GO range

Rainwear for mountain sports

Let’s face it, when you’re up close and personal with snow, you’re probably already wearing a waterproof shell. Like hiking, it’s essential to stay as warm and dry as possible, while still being breathable. 

But if you’ve ever sat in a chairlift with a windchill factor of -15 without proper protection ... you’ll know just how miserable the cold can make you feel.

So if you’re planning on some backcountry skiing in the near future (or other alpine adventures) you’ll need a jacket that moves with you and offers superior waterproof and windproof protection.

Key factors to look out for in a jacket for the mountains: waterproof, tech, windproof, breathability, durability, free movement

Materials to look for: GORE-TEX

Other features to consider:

  • Visibility. Grab something in a bright colour so you stand out in the snow.
  • Underarm ventilation to help keep cool during strenuous activity
Image of Adventurer Tim Jarvis climbing a snowy peak in the XT Series Alopex jacket.
Kathmandu Global Ambassador Tim Jarvis wearing the XT Alopex Jacket.

Our picks for alpine jackets

For alpine sports, check out the XT Alopex Jacket – AKA The full Bells and Whistles. The three-layer GORE-TEX PRO shell ensures the jacket is waterproof, windproof and very breathable. Part of the XT Series, it’s been tested by gear experts and will stand up in tough conditions including snow, rain, sleet, and wind. In terms of the best rainwear around, this has it all. 

Best lightweight waterproof jackets for travelling

A high-quality, everyday rain jacket is an excellent investment. It can offer you years of protection on your commute, on your travels, or just when you’re taking the pooch for a stroll.

Besides keeping you dry, it keeps your hands free: ideal for when you’re quickly jumping on and off public transport or navigating a crowded street. On your travels, a lightweight rain jacket can make a welcome addition to your backpack — especially if you’re travelling in wet/monsoon season.

These days rain jackets have as much form as they do function, so you can wear these to the office or with your normal clothes without standing out. Travellers and commuters want something on the lighter side so it doesn’t weigh them down.

Key factors to look out for in a jacket for travel: waterproof, breathability, lightweight, packability, style, free movement

Materials to look for: GORE-TEX, NGX, Pertex

Other features to consider:

  • Internal pockets to easily reach passports, transport cards or cash.
  • Cord port. Handy for keeping your headphones dry and out of the way.
  • Adjustable hood.
Image of a woman standing in the rain zipping up the Stockton rain jacket
The Stockton Rain Jacket comes with equal amounts style and substance.

Our picks:

  • If you think GORE-TEX is only for alpine, think again, the Bealey GORE-TEX Jacket is a crowd favourite thanks to top-of-the-line performance and great value. A smart everyday jacket you’ll feel good in.

  • The Lawrence NGX Rain Jacket kicks a lot of goals. It’s built with lightweight, waterproof fabric and packs down right into its own pocket. With thoughtful styling and loads of functional extras, this one is built for travel.

  • The Stockton Rain jacket is made from three layers of recycled materials and is our most earth-friendly rain jacket to date. Sleek, sustainable and high on performance, the Stockton is perfect for everyday urban wear.

Browse our rainwear range here