Are you looking for a waterproof jacket for running and trail running? You are in the right place! Whether you’re running on a track or along a technical mountain trail, you’ll need to use the right running gear to achieve the best sports performance. For a start, you will need lightweight garments that guarantee great water resistance and breathability.
When you start looking at models, you’ll see that a lot of options are out there, with different characteristics and designs. Don’t worry! In this article, I am going to explain the most important things to consider when choosing a good running jacket. In addition, I will review the best models of the year so that you can find the one that best suits your needs.
THE BEST WATERPROOF RUNNING JACKETS FOR TRAIL RUNNING
MATERIAL: Skin Dry 10/10 technology
WEIGHT: 7 oz – 198 g
PROS: Best value for the money
WOMEN’S MODEL: Salomon Lightning
FEATURES: The Salomon Bonatti uses Skin Dry 10/10 technology to provide the best characteristics:
It’s a waterproof windbreaker that is breathable and ultralight. It has a comfortable and tight design, with enough space in the back to wear a small hydration vest underneath. The MotionFit technology allows you great freedom of movement. It includes reflective elements so that you can safely run at night. It’s not the cheapest or lightest model on the list, but it’s probably the best value for the money.
ARC’TERYX NORVAN SL HOODY
MATERIAL: Gore-Tex Shakedry
WEIGHT: 4.6 oz – 130 g
PROS: High-quality minimalist design
WOMEN’S MODEL: N/A
FEATURES: The Arc’teryx Norvan SL has been specially designed for serious runners looking for the best performance.
It provides great water resistance while being incredibly lightweight and small when packed. The high neck design and the hood offer greater protection when the weather gets ugly. It performs extremely well, making it difficult to beat. One little thing: It has no pockets. The main drawback is that it’s really expensive.
GORE WEAR R7
MATERIAL: Gore-Tex Shakedry
WEIGHT: 4.5 oz – 120 g
PROS: The lightest
WOMEN’S MODEL: Gore Wear R7
FEATURES: The Gore Wear R7 is probably the best jacket of the year.
Like the previous model, it uses Gore-Tex Active Shakedry technology to offer the best features: It’s waterproof, windproof, and super breathable. In addition, this model includes a chest pocket, which you can use to store the jacket once it’s compressed, as well as reflective elements so that you can run safely at night. If you are looking for the best features at the lightest weight, this may be your best option.
INOV8 STORMSHELL NO-AMAZON
Here at: Inov8
MATERIAL: 2.5-layer Pertex Shield
WEIGHT: 6.2 oz – 175 g
USE: For experienced runners
WOMEN’S MODEL: N/A
FEATURES: The Inov8 Stormshell stands out for its great protection-weight ratio.
This brand specializes in running and trail running gear, and they know their stuff. The neck is higher than in other models for greater protection, while the hood is super-comfy and adjustable. It performs very well in unexpected blizzards and adverse weather. It also features 360-degree reflectivity. The sleeves include thumb holes to help you keep your hands warm. It’s slightly heavier than previous models, but overall, it’s a pro jacket at a more attractive price.
OUTDOOR RESEARCH HELIUM II
MATERIAL: 2.5-layer Pertex Shield
WEIGHT: 6.4 oz – 181 g
WOMEN’S MODEL: OR Helium II
FEATURES: The Outdoor Research Helium II is a good budget option for moderate weather conditions.
When compressed, it packs into its chest pocket down to the size of a sandwich. It’s not as waterproof as other models, and it doesn’t include hand pockets. However, it performs pretty well for its light weight and the little space it takes up in your backpack. It’s quite popular among runners, hikers, and backpackers. You’ll find it available in many colors.
CRAFT WOMEN’S REPEL
MATERIAL: 3-layer technical membrane
USE: Running and hiking
MEN’S MODEL: N / A
FEATURES: The Craft Repel is a four-seasons model that can be worn in different weather conditions.
Thanks to its three-layer construction, it provides great water resistance and a more pleasant touch on the inner side. It includes chest and back vents to improve ventilation. It allows for a wide range of movement and includes reflective elements for night runs.
MATERIAL: DriLayer Seal
WEIGHT: 6.6 oz – 187 g
USE: Running windbreaker
WOMEN’S MODEL: Brooks Canopy
FEATURES: The Brooks Canopy is the perfect choice for running in cool weather.
With a minimalist design and a sturdy construction, it offers good breathability and decent water protection in light-to-moderate rain. It’s a great windbreaker that includes several front and rear reflective elements, two comfortable pockets, a waterproof zipper, and thumbholes. In addition, it packs quite small and has one of the best prices on the list.
MATERIAL: Drilayer Seal
USE: Running in the city at night
WOMEN’S MODEL: Brooks Nightlife
FEATURES: The Brooks Nightlife is very similar to the previous model, but with a special design for running at night.
This windbreaker includes super-reflective prints on the sleeves, as well as in the front and back. This feature makes it visible in low- and no-light conditions. The Drilayer Seal construction provides good water resistance in light and moderate rain, and it wicks away sweat efficiently.
ICEBREAKER INCLINE WINDBREAKER
MATERIAL: Cool-Lite™ eyelet lining
WEIGHT: 10.5 oz – 300 g
USE: Great windbreaker
WOMEN’S MODEL: N/A
FEATURES: The Icebreaker Incline Windbreaker is probably the best budget windbreaker for running and trail running.
It features a Cool-lite Merino mesh lining to wick away moisture and speed up drying, ventilation holes in the armpit area, and a reflective zipper for night running. It provides good water protection in moderate rain.
SALOMON RS SOFTSHELL
MATERIAL: 3-layer softshell
WEIGHT: 11.6 oz – 328 g
USE: Trail running in dry, cold weather
WOMEN’S MODEL: N/A
FEATURES: The Salomon RS is a softshell jacket specially designed to protect you from the cold.
It’s one of the most comfortable and breathable models on the list. It allows you great freedom of movement and retains quite a lot of body heat inside. Keep in mind that it’s not as waterproof as other models on the list, but it’s great for outdoor sports in cool-to-cold weather, without heavy rain.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
Garments designed for running should have the following characteristics:
Ultralight weight: This is probably the most important feature. Your clothing should be ultralight to help you run faster. Heavy models increase fatigue and reduce sports performance.
Water resistance: Unless you are going to be running on indoor tracks, you’ll need a waterproof model. The waterproofing level you need will be determined by the weather conditions of the area in which you plan to run.
Good breathability: When you’re running or practicing extreme sports, your body tends to sweat much more than it does when you’re walking or hiking. Therefore, your clothes must be able to wick away sweat effectively.
Windbreak: This is a very important feature for running in medium- and high-altitude mountains, or for running at any altitude in windy areas. Generally, windbreakers are built with special materials that, in addition to protecting you from the wind, provide some thermal insulation.
Tight fit: Make sure your model fits perfectly to your body. This way, you will run more efficiently through the wind and, overall, will feel more comfortable.
Although all jackets on the list are water-resistant, not all of them can guarantee the same levels of water resistance. You must look at the product description to see exactly what it offers.
Commonly used terms to indicate the water protection of a garment:
Water-resistant garments protect you from water for a certain time, but they are not completely waterproof. This is the case with most softshells and some windbreakers. This type of garment is perfect for running in light to moderate rain.
This means that the outer layer of the material had a water repellent treatment. Generally, this is abbreviated as DRW (durable water repellent).
When a model is waterproof, water won’t pass through the material so easily, even in extreme conditions. To get an idea of the waterproof level of your clothes, check out the manufacturer’s description. Some models indicate their resistance like this: 15K / 15K, 20K / 20K, etc.
For instance, a 20K / 20K garment can withstand 20,000 mm of water column per square inch, and can evaporate 20,000 grams of sweat vapor per square meter. The higher the value, the more waterproof the material is.
To achieve high water resistance, manufacturers use layer systems to build fabrics and place a waterproof membrane between the layers.
The most famous waterproof layer, which you have probably heard of, is the Gore-Tex membrane. This membrane has become essential to the construction of winter-sport gear because it provides great water resistance while guaranteeing breathability.
As you know, rainwater tries to penetrate your clothes in a liquid state, while sweat vapor evaporates in a gaseous state. Gore-Tex membranes feature tiny pores that are 20,000 times smaller than a drop of rain. This makes it impossible for water to pass through. At the same time, these pores are 700 times larger than sweat gas molecules, which lets these molecules escape smoothly.
HARDSHELL vs SOFTSHELL
Most outdoor jackets are classified into two types: hardshell and softshell.
Hardshell models are designed to provide maximum protection against rain. They are not as comfortable, nor do they offer great thermal protection. However, they are lightweight and can pack very small. Most of the time, they are built with waterproof membranes, which make them more water-resistant.
Softshell models retain more heat, are more comfortable, allow more movement, and offer greater breathability. Unfortunately, they are not as waterproof as hardshells. They are a good option for outdoor activities in moderate weather, but not in adverse weather.
WEATHER AND USE
Fully waterproof models are designed mainly for outdoor activities in very rainy regions.
Models that can be packed very small are perfect as emergency jackets. They are helpful in the event of unexpected storms. Many backpackers and hikers like to carry such jackets in their backpacks in case the weather changes.
Models featuring inner linings are suitable for running in cold weather with little rain.
Many jackets have casual designs that make them perfect for outdoor sports and daily use alike.
Keep in mind that some models on this list, such as the Gore Wear R7, are not suitable for backpacks. These garments are made with the most advanced materials to achieve the highest performance.
Unfortunately, sometimes these materials are not very abrasion-resistant. If you are going to carry a backpack, make sure it’s lightweight.
Most of the models on the list don’t offer great thermal protection, as their main function is to protect you from the rain. If you are planning to run in very cold weather, consider using a midlayer underneath. If you do this, you may need a larger size of jacket.
Trail running involves great physical and mental effort, which is why these athletes must wear ultralight garments that allow them to run at full speed. Some models weigh only 120 grams.
STRETCH AND MOVEMENT
Some models are designed for use on rough terrain and in harsh weather conditions. Therefore, they must provide great freedom of movement and comfort. Your clothes should never hinder your movements. Uncomfortable clothing may affect your mental state, as you begin to focus more on the discomfort than on the race itself.
Most models are highly compressible, which makes them perfect for easy storage in your trail vest or belt. Generally, they can be packed into one of the pockets.
Some designs include reflective elements that make you visible at night. These reflective prints can be placed on the sleeves, on the rear, or on the chest, depending on the pattern. Many are 360-degrees reflective, which means they are visible from any angle.
This feature is not always essential for trail running, as you won’t find cars on most mountain paths. Also, those who run through the night usually carry a headlamp that makes them visible. In any case, it never hurts to get a model with reflective elements for greater safety.
For running in the city at night, you should look for a reflective design.
If you are going to buy online, you may have some doubts about the size. I recommend that you measure your shoulders, chest, and waist, and compare those measurements with the manufacturer’s size chart. If you need to wear a midlayer underneath, choose a slightly looser size.
In addition to looking for fully waterproof materials, you will want to make sure that your jacket features thermo-sealed seams. This ensures that water will not leak between the stitches.
Most ultralight jackets are not very abrasion-resistant, especially compared to hiking models. Fortunately, manufacturers are working very hard to improve durability, and some models can last a long time when properly cared for.
DESIGNS FOR MEN AND WOMEN
Most models are available in men’s and women’s versions. Look closely at the description because the designs will vary, as they are adapted to the different body shapes.
Most jackets include extra elements to improve ventilation and body heat regulation. Usually, they contain ventilation zippers in the pockets and under the arms. Some models feature laser-cut holes instead of zippers to allow for a lighter, more minimalist design.
Hoods provide greater protection in rainy and windy weather. Some hoods include a bill, so that rainwater doesn’t fall on your face. Most of them are easily adjustable, and sometimes they are suitable for use with a climbing helmet.
Some trail running models have such a minimalist design that they don’t even feature pockets at all. Less minimalist designs can include two side hand pockets or one chest pocket.
Hi, I’m Miguel; Adventure traveler, scuba diver and hiking lover. I have been traveling the world for the last 10 years and I hope my experiences, photos and hiking routes inspire you to travel the world too.