5 Of The Best... Waterproof Jackets Under £300 Reviewed (2019)

Whatever your budget there is a waterproof jacket that is right for you, so here’s our guide at the best jackets for hillwalkers with price tags up to £300.


Hoods

The hood should fit your head snugly so it does not blow off, but also it must move with your head so you can see where you are going. The hood peak may become bent when the jacket is stashed in a rucksack, so look for a wired peak that can be easily reshaped to allow good vision even in the wind. Lower priced jackets generally have hoods that don’t fit or move so well with the head and often lack wired or stiffened peaks.

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Fabrics

On the high priced jackets you can expect to find that the fabrics used are the most waterproof and breathable available. In contrast lower priced jackets generally have fabrics that are less breathable and may be less durably waterproof in the long term too. Materials described as 2 layer will more clammy than those described as 2.5 layer and these will in turn be more clammy than a 3 layer fabric or any jacket with a loose lining.

Zips

Normal zips used on jackets are not waterproof so they are normally covered by an external single or double storm flap. Water resistant zips are commonly used on high priced jackets but these are not waterproof either. As these zips may leak, they are often fitted with an internal flap that is designed to channel away any water than enters this area. 

Pockets

Big pockets are great for storing maps, guide books and gloves, but they can also be used to protect your hands from wind and rain. Rucksack belts obscure access to some pockets so make sure they are well positioned to avoid this problem. Lower priced jackets often have pockets that are not easily accessed while wearing rucksacks.

Ventilation

Even the best waterproof and breathable fabrics allow condensation to form, so it is important that you can increase ventilation of the jacket. A front zip can be used for venting, as can under arm zips, also called pit zips, while mesh linings in pockets can also increase airflow through the jacket. However, mesh pockets may also allow water to pass through the jacket. 


Salewa Puez 2 Powertex 3L £225

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  • Materials 3 layer Powertex Performance Ripstop Eco DWR

  • Sizes S-XXXL (men’s); n/a (women’s)

  • Weight 411g (size L)

It’s good

What sets this jacket apart from many others is the lower weight while still providing the core features a hillwalker needs. So you get a jacket made from a 3 layer laminate like others here but it has a thinner construction so it is more supple and lighter. You get two good chest pockets like other jackets too and these are easily accessed above a rucksack belt and they easily take an OS map. The hood has a wired peak and it fits nice and close and moves with the head better than most. The body is not the shortest either so you get a little more protection around the bottom and groin than some.

However

This jacket does lose some nice to have details. Firstly the sleeve movement is not quite the best, so you get so the cuffs tend to ride up a little more than the higher priced jackets here. Also there is no third external chest pocket. Then it is worth noting that this thinner material does feel a little colder as it tends to compress a little more than stiffer fabrics, so this is not the best for winter walks. The fabric is probably going to be slightly less durable than a heavier jacket but that should only concern the hardest of users, as for most walkers this is easily durable enough. Also there is no womens version.

Verdict

A superb hillwalking jacket if you want something slightly lighter and don’t need the best sleeve movement or a third external chest pocket.

  • Features 3/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation control 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 84%


Alpkit Definition £229

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  • Material 3 layer laminate with nylon face and PU/PTFE membrane 

  • Sizes S-XXL (men’s); 8-14 (women’s)

  • Weight 562g (size L)

It’s good

Like all Alpkit gear the Definition is extremely well priced for its features. It’s made from a layer laminate like other jackets here and the material is also nice and stiff to resist battering winds. The fit is quite close particularly on the sleeves, but you can still easily raise your arms without the cuff or hem riding up during scrambles. The hood fit and movement is also exceptionally good and it has a wired peak too making it ideal for hillwalking. There are two main pockets plus a third Napoleon chest pocket and all these are easy to access while wearing a pack. You even get pit zips for extra ventilation.

However

The third chest pocket is smaller than others and while its useful for a GPS receiver or phone it is not ideal for a map or even many guidebooks and this really lets this jacket down. The body is not the shortest but its not the longest either, so if you want a longer design others are better. Mountaineers may want an even more durable jacket with extra reinforcement but walkers will be fine with this as it is. If you did pay a lot more you can get jackets that have even better breathability and they may also be lighter but again only those in need of the absolute pinnacle jackets need bother.

Verdict

The Ladakh GV offers a solid reliable performance that for many hillwalkers will mean they need look no further but some others have small worthwhile benefits. 

  • Features 4/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation control 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 88%

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Rab Ladakh DV £275

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  • Material 3 layer Event

  • Sizes S-XXL (men’s); 8-16 (women’s)

  • Weight 561g (size L)

It’s good

 It is built with 3 layer Event so you get top quality condensation control and durable waterproofness. But importantly this is quite a robust fabric, so it blocks the wind without buckling an important benefit for colder and winder mountain days, and also it’s more durable than lighter jackets. The fit is slightly shorter than some options but fairly typical of modern jackets and the sleeves and hood fit particularly well. Waist and hem drawcords lock out draughts and you get good cuff and hood adjustment. The hood has a wired peak and turns effortlessly with the head. There are also pit zips for venting and a pair of huge chest pockets.

However

You do only get two external chest pockets as there is no third Napoleon style pocket for a guidebook, map or GPS receiver, although there is an internal Napoleon chest pocket inside the main front zip. It’s also quite a heavy jacket compared to what is available so if weight is your priority there are others to consider. It does have pit zips which you may not want and finding a jacket without them would lower weight and price, the two main factors that are drawbacks with this jacket. Some jackets are slightly longer and if you don’t need a helmet compatible hood then others would suffice. So for some users it may be worth looking elsewhere for design details that better suit your personal preferences.

Verdict

The Ladakh GV offers a solid reliable performance that for many hillwalkers will mean they need look no further but some others have small worthwhile benefits. 

  • Features 4/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation control 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 88%


Berghaus Extrem 500 Vented £280

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  • Material 3 layer Gore-Tex

  • Sizes XS-XXL (mens); 8-18 (womens)

  • Weight 584g (size L)

It’s good

This was new for 2018 and is an updated version of the Extrem 5000 that sees the addition of pit zips for improved ventilation when working hard and not wanting to remove the jacket due to wind or rain. It is made from 3 layer Gore-Tex so it is top of the breathability and waterproofness rating. Importantly it is also a little longer than some other jackets around the price point and that meant for me it protected my groin and bottom far better than some other jackets. Also you get a huge third external Napoleon chest pocket in addition to the two main chest pockets. The hood is stunning with a wired peak and excellent fit and movement while also being helmet compatible. 

However

Adding the extra length and chest pocket has added a few grams so this is a little heavy compared to some. Also there are of course lower priced jackets if you don’t need all those features and the more heavy and robust 3 layer Gore-tex that is used here. If you were to spend more money then you would get even better condensation control and perhaps a lighter fabric but apart from that it is really hard to see why you would pay more to be honest. For me this is pretty much an ideal jacket for harsh mountain walking trips if you can accept the weight and price tag.

Verdict

For this price band it is hard to find a fault with this jacket making it ideal for those who don’t want to break the £300 price barrier for even better performance. 

  • Features 5/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation control 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%

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Paramo Alta III £295

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  • Material Nikwax Analogy

  • Sizes S-XXL (mens); XS-XL (womens)

  • Weight 832g (size M)

It’s good

A well proven fabric that provides superb levels of breathability and weather protection and in winter its extra warmth is a real bonus when heading into colder mountain weather as there is less need to carry additional insulating layers. The design is longer than most too so you get far far better bottom and groin protection than other jackets. The sleeves are well designed and so is the hood so both move really well with the body when scrambling. The hood also gets a wired peak for clearer vision and you get four external pockets, which are all easily accessed while wearing a rucksack. 

However

This jacket is warm which is a benefit on cold days but even on a warm winter day it can become quite hot to wear without venting extensively. Also it is quite heavy compared to others so if you stow it in your rucksack it is more of a load. The price is higher than others too, although for long term use it does work out at a good value as this jackets weather resistance is far easier to maintain than others due to its unique properties and construction. So overall there nothing wrong with the design but you do need to decide if the slight drawbacks mean other jackets are better options for your own walking needs. 

Verdict

Excellent design in many ways, with the fabric offering valuable benefits in cold weather in particular, but drawbacks are weight and warmth when the temperature rises but rain and wind persist.

  • Features 5/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation control 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%


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Berghaus Extrem 5000 Vented waterproof jacket review

It’s good

This was new for 2018 and is an updated version of the Extrem 5000 that sees the addition of pit zips for improved ventilation when working hard and not wanting to remove the jacket due to wind or rain. It is made from 3 layer Gore-Tex so it is top of the breathability and waterproofness rating. Importantly it is also a little longer than some other jackets around the price point and that meant for me it protected my groin and bottom far better than some other jackets. Also you get a huge third external Napoleon chest pocket in addition to the two main chest pockets. The hood is stunning with a wired peak and excellent fit and movement while also being helmet compatible. 

However

Adding the extra length and chest pocket has added a few grams so this is a little heavy compared to some. Also there are of course lower priced jackets if you don’t need all those features and the more heavy and robust 3 layer Gore-tex that is used here. If you were to spend more money then you would get even better condensation control and perhaps a lighter fabric but apart from that it is really hard to see why you would pay more to be honest. For me this is pretty much an ideal jacket for harsh mountain walking trips if you can accept the weight and price tag.

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  • Material 3 layer Gore-Tex

  • Sizes XS-XXL (mens); 8-18 (womens)

  • Weight 584g (size L)

Verdict

For this price band it is hard to find a fault with this jacket making it ideal for those who don’t want to break the £300 price barrier for even better performance. 

  • Features 5/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation control 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%



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The Big Test: Waterproof Jackets reviewed (2018)

Staying dry during a hillwalk can be a challenge, but pack the right waterproof jacket and you’ll be warm, dry and comfortable no matter what the mountain throws at you. We put six jackets to the test on the Lakeland fells.

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The Runners Up


Sprayway Santiago / Atlanta £90

Tester: Jon Bennett

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  • Materials 2-layer hydrodry with loose mesh lining

  • Men’s XS-XXXL (Santiago)

  • Women’s 8-20 (Atlanta)

  • Weight 606g (M) 

This jacket is made with 2-layer Hydrodry fabric. Although on paper this is not the most breathable fabric, the mesh lining on the inside very effectively managed condensation and kept me drier from condensation than the other lower-priced jackets. There are two handwarmer pockets and a map-sized chest pocket. The foldaway hood has face drawcords and rear volume adjustment. Compared with the other lower-priced options there’s a good length to the jacket and it felt warmer owing to the air gap provided by the mesh lining. However, although the hood protected my face it did not turn well with my head. The handwarmer pockets were also not easy to access when wearing a rucksack and the chest pocket was closed by Velcro, rather than a more secure zip.

Pros

Price, condensation management, lots of features and good protection in general.

Cons

Heavy compared to others and hood does not move with the head.

Buy it if...

You want a good all-rounder at a superb price and don’t need either the lightest or absolute best performance on the hill.


Berghaus Stormcloud £100

Tester: Graham Thompson

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  • Material 2-layer Hydroshell

  • Men’s XS-XXL  

  • Women’s 8-18 

  • Weight 324g (L)

The big advantages here are the price and weight, as both are very appealing. The fabric is a 2-layer Hydroshell, which kept the water at bay while scrambling up the gill but soon became very sweaty inside as there is no inner layer to hide or soak up the condensation. But importantly the pockets are not mesh lined, unlike some higher-priced lightweight jackets, so even if water entered the pockets I didn’t get wet inside. The hood fits quite close and did move a little with my head, but higher-priced designs offer better adjustment. When scrambling the cuffs and hem tended to ride up far too easily, which left my body more exposed to the elements than all the other jackets here. The two main pockets are both annoyingly small and too low to allow the optimum access while wearing a rucksack hipbelt. 

Pros

Price and weight are the main benefits here for hillwalkers.

Cons

Lots of condensation build-up, and not the best pockets nor the best hood design.

Buy it if...

You want a lightweight low-priced jacket for stowing in your rucksack and just wearing during short showers when any condensation will be tolerable.


Rab Ladakh DV £275

Tester: Tim Butcher

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  • Material 3-layer Event

  • Men’s S-XXL 

  • Women’s 8-16

  • Weight 604g (XL)

The Ladakh DV is made using the durable 3-layer Event fabric, which is superb at controlling condensation and keeping the rain out. The size XL is roomy and nicely long, with adjustment in all the right places, including waist and hem drawcords, plus longer sleeves, all of which kept out draughts and stopped the jacket riding up. The large hood is helmet compatible and has sufficient volume adjustment to keep it in place in wind and rain, and it moves nicely as your head turns to look for holds or take in the view from under the stiffened peak. With pit zips open and just a long sleeve base layer beneath I was never damp from condensation on scrambles or walks. The only design drawback is the lack of a decent third chest pocket, whilst some may consider it heavy in terms of weight and price for hillwalking.

Pros

Durable waterproof and breathable fabric, great pockets, great hood, great sleeves.

Cons

No third chest pocket, and others are lighter and lower in price.

Buy it if…

You want a durable waterproof jacket with generally great features and don’t require a third chest pocket.



The Top three


Montane Atomic £125

Tester: Graham Thompson

The low price and light weight make the Atomic instantly appealing, but how does it compare to higher-priced and heavier alternatives?

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  • Material 2.5-layer Pertex Shield

  • Men’s S-XL 

  • Women’s 8-16

  • Weight 331g (L)

It’s good

This light jacket packs down small, so you’ll hardly notice it in your rucksack. The weight saving comes from the use of 2.5-layer Pertex Shield fabric, and there’s no inner layer, just a printed surface to manage condensation. The fabric is quite thin and supple too. This all adds up to this being very comfortable. 

The sleeves don’t ride up badly when scrambling and the hood has good face drawcords and rear volume drawcord adjustment, so it was easy to see even as I moved my head around to look for good holds during scrambles. 

The two main pockets are well placed to allow access while wearing a rucksack, and both are large enough for a map too. These pockets are lined with mesh, which improves condensation control by allowing a means of adding airflow, while a pair of pit zips add further venting. So in many ways there is lots to like here and for general walking in warmer wet weather this is a superb choice.

However

Problems start to show themselves when you really challenge the material. Firstly this jacket is not as stiff as others and the fit is slightly closer than some, so in the wind it feels a bit chilly. Also as it is only a 2.5-layer fabric condensation develops easier than the 3-layer fabrics, so did get pretty clammy once I overheated. 

Those mesh pockets also allow water to pass right through the jacket, meaning I had to keep them closed properly during the gill scramble – not a problem you’d get with sealed pockets. 

Other jackets also have a useful third pocket for a guidebook or phone, but here you have just two. Of course all these small drawbacks could be reduced by adding features that would increase both the weight and the cost, so you need to decide if weight or comfort is your priority before parting with your money.

Verdict

The weight and price are great, and the design is ideal for milder conditions, but in really wet and windy mountain conditions you may prefer different features.

  • Features 4/5

  • Weatherproofness 3/5

  • Condensation 3/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 5/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

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Paramo Alta III £295

Tester: Jon Bennett

Does Paramo’s unique fabric combination improve comfort to a level that overcomes any drawbacks of the design?

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  • Material Nikwax Analogy

  • Men’s S-XXL

  • Women’s XS-XL

  • Weight 832g (M)

It’s good

The unique Paramo fabric delivers far greater breathability and better condensation management than the other fabrics on test, and this is why I love wearing the Alta in cold, wet conditions.  

The incredible six pockets – two inside, two chest (one map-sized), and two handwarmer – are all useable when wearing a rucksack. The jacket is a good length and zipped upper-arm vents offer top ventilation. The wired hood also moved really well with my head, with excellent hood adjustment. The Alta is the warmest jacket on test, so when the others were reaching for extra layers at the summit I just zipped up. 

And good to know is that Paramo has strong ethical manufacturing standards, and doesn’t use environmentally hazardous polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).

However

While I love wearing the Alta in cold conditions, it can be overly warm in summer (although Paramo does now make a lighter version of its fabric for summer use). Consequently, the Alta is the warmest and heaviest jacket here, and would bulk up a ’sack if solely being carried waiting for a shower. 

Some care is also needed when leaning on wet rock during a gill scramble, as water can pass through the jacket under high pressure. The fabric dries exceptionally fast though, so I was totally dry during our waterfall adventures. 

There are cheaper jackets than the Alta, but if you sweat a lot then it will at least quickly pass through this jacket to the air so you’ll be dryer than in a cheaper one!

Verdict

Unique fabric ensures that condensation is managed far better than other jackets but the extra warmth, extra weight and extra cash are the main drawbacks to consider.

  • Features 5/5

  • Weatherproofness 3/5

  • Condensation 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 84%


Mountain Equipment Lhotse / Manaslu £350 

Tester: Tim Butcher

This is a well established 3-layer Gore-Tex jacket but is it really worth paying all that extra cash? And could this classic be even better?

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  • Material 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro

  • Men’s S-XXL (Lhotse)

  • Women’s 8-16 (Manaslu)

  • Weight 531g (XL)

It’s good

The Lhotse continues to be the benchmark against which other jackets are measured. Built of tough 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro it’s incredibly durable, giving armour-like protection in storms and high levels of waterproofness and breathability, so I was never damp on our final test day in Langdale, even with changing conditions. 

The design also delivers when it comes to practical features, providing both good body coverage and unrestricted movement, with sleeves and hems staying put when reaching for holds on the steep rock. The three external pockets are in just the right places, clear of rucksack straps, allowing ‘hands in pockets’ walking and a chest pocket large enough for a map or guidebook. 

Pit zips, which aren’t stiff under the arm, open easily to improve ventilation, and the hood with a well-stiffened peak and rear volume adjuster kept the wind and rain out without restricting vision whilst walking and scrambling.

However

With top-spec gear, the cons are often weight and price, and it’s not the lightest jacket available. It could be argued that it’s over-specced for most Lakeland days out, and a lighter jacket would suffice, but if you walk year-round in the UK as we do, and you’re looking for one jacket that’ll tackle everything, then the extra weight is worth it. 

Moisture management relies on having the right combination of base layers underneath, so in changing conditions it was fleece on/off a number of times to maintain ideal temperature and prevent overheating. 

However, I can’t fault the fabric or the design, and coming onto the summit of Harrison Stickle into a cold, rain-laden wind, with both test jackets in my pack, it was the Lhotse I instinctively reached for.

Verdict

A seasoned performer, with high-end fabric and brilliant design, I’d wear it with confidence in any conditions in the British mountains.

  • Features 5/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%

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Five of the best lightweight waterproof jackets reviewed (2018)

There’s no need to be weighed down by a heavy waterproof jacket in summer, so here’s the best waterproof jackets that weigh less than 350g.

Weights

Manufacturers often give average weights or the weight of the medium jacket. All the jackets here were weighed when tested, so our stated weights may vary from manufacturers’.

Ventilation

Even the best waterproof and breathable fabrics allow condensation to form, so it’s important that you can increase ventilation. A front zip can be used for venting, as can pit zips, while mesh linings in pockets also increase airflow. Lightweight jackets are often fitted with mesh pockets but this may not be ideal for really wet weather as they may also allow water to pass through.

Hoods

The hood should fit snugly so it doesn’t blow off, but it must also move so you can see where you are going. The peak may become bent, so look for a wired peak that can be reshaped.

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Zips

Normal jacket zips aren’t waterproof, so are usually covered by a single or double stormflap, but these are often removed on lightweight jackets. Water-resistant zips are commonly used on high-priced jackets, and some of these are fitted with an internal flap to channel away any water that gets thorough.

Pockets

Big pockets are great for storing maps, guidebooks and GPS receivers, but they can also be used to protect your hands from wind and rain. Rucksack belts may obscure access to some pockets, so make sure they are well positioned to avoid this problem.

Fabrics

Higher-priced jackets will generally use the most waterproof and breathable materials available, so while there may be small differences between them this will be difficult to notice on the hill. Your comfort levels therefore will often be dictated by features such as hood, pocket and sleeve design. In contrast, lower-priced jackets generally have fabrics that are less breathable and may be less waterproof. Fabrics described as 2-layer or 2.5-layer tend to gather more condensation than fabrics described as 3-layer. Thin fabrics also tend to buckle in the wind, so they feel colder than stiffer fabrics that can trap warm air inside.


Rab Downpour Plus £130

  • Men’s S-XXL
  • Women’s 8-16
  • Weight 329g (size L)
  • Material 2.5-layer Pertex Shield Plus

It's good

This offers exceptional lightweight performance for the price. So you get excellent chest pockets that easily take an OS map while wearing a rucksack. They are also sealed rather than mesh-lined, so they won’t allow water to easily pass through the jacket. The 2.5-layer fabric has a Dry Touch treatment on the inside to help manage condensation, but you also get pit zips to allow extra ventilation. The hood is great too, thanks to a wired peak and great drawcords at the face and rear, all of which combine to allow great vision as you move your head.

However

This is not the lightest jacket you can get, and it also feels slightly cold and clammy compared to a 3-layer fabric that controls condensation even better. A third chest pocket would be useful, like many lightweight jackets, but at least the two main pockets you get are great. There is very little wrong here if you want a practical lightweight jacket for hillwalking, but some details are better on higher-priced jackets.

Verdict

 For £130 this is a superb lightweight jacket, but a bit more budget may bring a few benefits.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 5/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 92%

Montane Minimus Stretch Ultra £165

  • Men’s XS-XL
  • Women’s 8-16
  • Weight 202g (size L)
  • Material 2.5-layer 20-denier Pertex Shield with stretch

It's good

The 2.5-layer fabric is stretchy and very thin, which shaves off some weight. I found this jacket fitted closely while still providing very good freedom of movement without the hem or cuffs riding up. There are two main pockets with mesh linings, which are easily accessed while wearing a rucksack belt and just about take an OS map. The hood is elasticated at the back and has face drawcords as well as a wired peak. A nice touch is a section of soft brushed fabric at the chin behind the zip. The weight is very impressive for what you get too.

However

Those two pockets are mesh-lined, so water can potentially creep through this jacket, but also it is a tight squeeze to get an OS map into them. Also the cuffs are elasticated rather than having Velcro adjustment, so you cannot control their fit as well as others. The hood fit and movement is acceptable, but it does not move as well with the head as others. Finally, the fabric feels more cold and clammy than stiffer 3-layer fabrics.

Verdict

A lighter jacket with stretchy material – but the cuffs, pockets and hood are not perfect.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 3/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

Alpkit Balance £175

  • Men’s S-XXL
  • Women’s 8-16
  • Weight 338g (size L)
  • Material 3-layer laminate with nylon face and PU/PTFE membrane

It's good

The 3-layer fabric feels a little tougher than lighter jackets, and also it benefits from a thin bi-component knit backer to manage condensation better than some lighter jackets. You get two good-sized pockets that take an OS map easily while wearing a rucksack. The pockets are mesh lined which reduces cost, weight and increases airflow for condensation control. The hood is very good thanks to a wired peak and excellent fit and movement. There is reasonable movement in the sleeves too. All that for this price and weight is hard to beat for hillwalking and backpacking.

However

It would be great if the pockets were sealed rather than mesh to help keep water out. Also a third pocket on the chest would be really useful. While the fabric is thicker than other lightweights, it still buckles easily in the wind more than heavier jackets. A slight niggle is that you do get a little movement in the cuffs when raising your arms such as during a scramble. There are lighter and lower priced jackets.

Verdict

The hood and 3-layer fabric set this jacket apart from others, but the mesh-lined pockets may let water in.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow £190

  • Men’s XS-XL
  • Women’s XS-XL
  • Weight 309g (size L)
  • Material 2.5-layer H2No 30d stretch nylon

It's good

Having a third chest pocket sets this jacket apart, and can be used for a GPS receiver while the two, larger main pockets can store OS maps or used as handwarmers. All these pockets are sealed rather than mesh, so water can’t creep through them easily. There are also pit zips for added ventilation. The main fabric has stretch, the body is slightly longer than others and there is good freedom of movement. The hood gets rear volume adjustment, fits very closely and moves well with the head.

However

That third pocket is a little small, so won’t take chunky guidebooks or maps, and access to the lower pockets is easily obscured by rucksack belts. While the hood does fit and move with the head well, it leaves the head more exposed than others as the peak is very small, and the sides of the hood don’t come very far forward. Finally, the material is a little colder and more clammy than stiffer 3-layer fabrics.

Verdict

Well-featured jacket with Patagonia’s eco-credentials, but some minor details could be better.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 3/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 80%

Rohan Elite £249

  • Men’s S-XXL
  • Women’s XS-L
  • Weight 303g (size L)
  • Material 3-layer Barricade

It's good

This is a 3-layer nylon fabric with high levels of waterproofness and breathability, but equally important is that this jacket has sealed rather than mesh pockets as well as a stormflap behind the front zip, which all adds up to more water resistance than many other lightweight jackets. Importantly it still has a good weight and the two pockets easily take an OS map, and you can access those pockets reasonably well while wearing a rucksack. The hood has a wired peak and also a great fit and movement with the head. So for general walking this is pretty good.

However

The fit is quite baggy compared to others, and also we noticed the hem and cuffs tended to ride up more easily than others. So this is fine for walking but less ideal for scrambling. The main two pockets are nice and large, but items tend to sink to their bottom, which places them below a rucksack hipbelt, so retrieval is not ideal. There are lighter and lower priced options.

Verdict

Good 3-layer fabric with sealed rather than mesh pockets but the fit is not ideal.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

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Arcteryx Beta AR womens Jacket Review 2016

Features

The Gore-Tex Pro used is one of the most rugged materials on the market: it’s stormproof, abrasion-resistant and intensely breathable. The material here is reinforced at the shoulders and forearms to make it even more durable. As well as a helmet-compatible, stiffened hood, the Arc’teryx Beta AR also has a separate collar with a micro-suede chinguard. Two outer pockets take an OS map (just) and the interior one swallows a smartphone. 5/5

Fit

The Arc’teryx Beta AR is available in XS-XL for women and XS-XXL for men. The cut is very good, with articulated elbows and gusseted underarms for a full range of movement, without the cuffs or hem riding up. It’s roomy enough to house warm layers but still neatly fitted, with enough length for a little bum protection too. The hood fits very snugly and moves almost perfectly with the head. 5/5

Comfort

There are softer materials available, but not many more durable, so this is a choice – it’s slightly stiff but tough, breathable and unbelievably light. When you’re being blasted by wind and ice, though, you want to feel snugly protected and you do in this, the very good cut elevating comfort levels. And if you get too hot, you can always undo the pit zips. 5/5 

In use

The Arc’teryx Beta AR offers high levels of protection, yet it’s still light and very comfy – which is impressive. The pockets zip close downwards, which is unusual but helps prevent water ingress; and getting an OS map in the smaller opening is a little awkward. There are only minor issues here, which may not be problematic for you: the hood peak is unwired and the drawcord at the back can whip around. But that’s really it. 5/5

Value

You’re paying for premium fabric and design and wow, are you paying for it! Comfort yourself with the fact that it should really last. RRP £430. 3/5

Verdict

The Arc’teryx Beta AR is a top-end winter jacket, which is also light enough for year-round use – but at a very high price. 4.6/5

Haglofs Roc Spirit womens Jacket Review 2016

Features

This jacket features Gore C-Knit backer, which makes it lighter, more breathable and softer than standard Gore-Tex, though not as robust as Gore-Tex Pro. Pit zips add ventilation, and articulated sleeves improve the comfort. There are two OS map-sized pockets and one inner, which takes a smartphone. The hood has a wired peak and a soft, elasticated strip of fabric that helps stop water getting in and heat getting out.    5/5

Fit

Women’s comes in sizes XS-XL, men’s in XS-XXL. The neat cut allows for a warm layer underneath and is nicely fitted at the arms. The back gives good bum protection too, though it rides up a bit at the front when reaching. The helmet-compatible hood moves well, though not perfectly, with the head; and the elasticated ribbon of fabric beneath the peak is snug too. 4/5

Comfort

Thanks to the soft C-Knit backing (the inner layer of Gore’s 3-layer laminate system), the Haglöfs Roc Spirit feels very comfortable on, easy to move in and less plasticky next to the skin. Though breathability levels are technically the same as Gore-Tex Pro, because of the way the membranes work it feels a bit warmer – but the pit zips provide good ventilation. 5/5 

In use

Some jackets are designed for tough, higher-level mountaineering, while others focus on lighter-weight comfort, while locking out the elements. The Haglöfs Roc Spirit falls into the latter category. The material is soft, quiet, light and moves flexibly while still providing durable waterproof protection, which will be comfier in warmer conditions than others. All important features are present too, making this a good choice for year-round hillwalking. 5/5

Value

The price is high but you benefit from an excellent fabric, good features and extended use through the year. RRP £330. 4/5

Verdict

The Haglöfs Roc Spirit  is well-featured and very comfy. Not as tough as some, but a good choice for year-round hillwalking. 4.6/5

Mountain Equipment Manaslu womens Jacket Review 2016

Features

The Manaslu is an Mountain Equipment classic, and for good reason. Gore-Tex Pro fabric offers durable waterproofing and high breathability, and is extremely rugged. The three large pockets all take an OS map – and the inner chest pocket is smartphone-sized. Sleeves are preshaped and articulated for comfort, and there are pit zips to aid venting. The helmet-compatible hood is well-fitting with a stiffened, wired peak. 5/5

Fit

The Manaslu is sized 8-16 (the men’s Lhotse is S-XXL). It’s neat around the hips and waist with room for a thick warm layer and some bum protection from the length. There’s a little cuff movement when reaching, but not much, and the preshaped sleeves increase comfort. The hood moves well with the head, but some pricier options offer a more precise fit. 4/5 

Comfort

The Gore-Tex Pro used is a robust and slightly stiff fabric, designed to keep terrible mountain weather out – and this is very reassuring in the depths of a Scottish winter. Though relatively heavy, it’s breathable, and you can use the pit zips to cool down. Not as soft as some, but that’s the trade-off for bombproof weather protection. 5/5

In use

If you’re mainly a low-level hillwalker, the Mountain Equipment Manaslu may be too much; but if your ventures include winter forays to Scottish summits, it will suit you well. The three main pockets will swallow maps, GPS devices, phones and anything else you want to keep close. The helmet-compatible hood fits well and everything’s designed for use with gloves. The material is extremely robust. Made for high mountains. 5/5

Value

Impressive fabric and excellent features – this is real mountain armour. The price is high but it’s competitive in its market. RRP £330. 4/5

Verdict

The Mountain Equipment Manaslu is a mountaineering jacket with the features and material to prove it. A safe choice for winter. It won Trail’s ‘Best in Test’ accolade. 4.6/5

Bergans Eidfjord womens Jacket Review 2016

Features

Bergans’ Dermizax/ecodear fabric is a 3-layer laminate, partially made from molasses, rather than crude oil, which is better for the planet. It’s extremely breathable, with added stretch; softer and comfier than most, with articulated elbows for greater freedom of movement. There are pit zips, three pockets (all a little smaller than OS map-sized) and a non-wired helmet-compatible hood with stiffened peak.    4/5

Fit

The women’s jacket comes in sizes XS-XL, the men’s in S-XXL. The fit is a little closer than some but will still comfortably cover a warm layer. Freedom of movement is very good, especially around the arms, thanks to the articulated elbows; and there’s no cuff movement when reaching. It’s cut longer at the back so you get some bum protection too.    4/5

Comfort

The Bergans Eidfjord is one of the more versatile jackets we looked at. Though not quite as bombproof as others it will be more comfortable in warmer conditions, thanks to its breathability and the lighter fabric. The pit zips are useful for cooling, making this well-suited to faster travel. The material is noticeably softer and easier to move in too, especially around the shoulders. 5/5 

In use

The Bergans Eidfjord offers durable waterproof protection while still remaining light, comfy and soft. You can’t fit a map into the pockets, but the chest pocket at least happily takes a large phone. The hood fits well and moves with the head, so there’s good visibility. All in all, this seems made for movement and it will have a greater reach into the summer months than some others. 4/5

Value

Here the focus is on comfort and durable waterproof protection, and the material is excellent so the price is competitive. RRP £280. 4/5

Verdict

The Bergans Eidfjord is light with good breathability, and durably waterproof. Not as bombproof as some, but comfier than most. 4.2/5

Berghaus Extrem Sumcham womens Jacket Review 2016

Features

The Berghaus Extrem Sumcham is made from Hydroshell Elite Pro, with a heavier variety of the same fabric over the hips and shoulders, to help resist backpack abrasion. There are two chest pockets, both of which take an OS map (the opening is slightly smaller than some but accessible with a rucksack hipbelt), and there’s a phone-sized inner Napoleon pocket. Ticks for cuff and hem adjustment and a wire-peaked, helmet-compatible hood, too. 5/5

Fit

The women’s Extrem Sumcham comes in sizes 8-16 (and the men’s Extrem Hagshu in XS-XL). The fit is loose enough for several warm layers, but still neat, with a bit more bagginess around the arms. There’s no cuff movement when reaching, and hem movement isn’t problematic either. It’s slightly longer at the back to give you some bum protection, but others offer more. 4/5 

Comfort

The Hydroshell Elite Pro used is a tough, stormproof fabric. There aren’t any pit zips but the chest pockets are mesh-lined so can be used for venting, though this does mean that water can pass through if they’re left open or if you stuff wet things in, and isn’t ideal if you’re carrying things in them. The jacket feels reassuringly protective in harsh weather but might be too warm in more forgiving conditions. 3/5

In use

The Berghaus Extrem Sumcham is a tough jacket, designed for British winters, but it’s less durably waterproof than those using laminate materials like Gore-Tex Pro. The material feels quite stiff and heavy – welcome when it’s howling a gale, especially with the excellent face protection you get when it’s fully zipped right up to the nose. The wired hood and moves well, though not perfectly, with the head. 4/5

Value

Map-sized pockets, tough fabric and a stiffened, wire-peaked hood: good features and weather protection here for a relatively low price. RRP £260. 4/5 

Verdict

The Berghaus Extrem Sumcham is on the heavy side, but this is an extremely durable jacket for the price, and well-featured. 4.0/5

Rab Latok Alpine Womens Jacket Review 2016

Features

The Rab Latok Alpine uses 3-layer eVent fabric for durable, breathable protection. There is drawcord adjustment at the hem and neck, and Velcro on the cuffs so you can effectively trap heat. The wire-peaked, helmet-compatible hood is good too, adjustable and moves well with the head. Two large chest pockets both swallow an OS map and are accessible with a rucksack hipbelt, plus there’s a smartphone-sized inner Napoleon pocket. 5/5

Fit

Available in sizes 8-16 for women, and men’s S-XXL. It’s cut to Rab’s Regular fit, which allows plenty of room underneath for layering while being contoured at the waist and neatly fitting. It offers a full, unrestricted range of movement, with negligible movement at the cuffs when you reach, and is long enough to cover the bum. The hood fits almost perfectly too. 4/5

Comfort

The Rab Latok Alpine belongs to the heavier and stiffer family of jackets. The material feels like armour when it’s on, which in terrible weather is reassuring but in milder conditions might prove a little too much – though you can always open the pit zips. The roomy interior allows for plenty of layering without compromising comfort, and the length gives you additional protection around the bum.  4/5 

In use

Fully zipped, your face is protected up to the nose, and it’s possible to cinch it even tighter. This, the tough fabric and other adjustments, mean body heat is really locked in. The pockets get a big tick for size and accessibility while wearing a pack with a hipbelt. All in all, the features list is impressive at this price; some may want an extra pocket, but if not – great. 4/5

Value

This is a robust jacket, with all the essential features ticked and good design around the hood, making it very good value. RRP £260. 4/5

Verdict

The Rab Latok Alpine is a robust, well-featured jacket at a very good price, though you can get more if you spend more. It won Trail’s ‘Best Value’ award. 4.2/5

Mountain Equipment Rupal Jacket Review 2016

Features

The Mountain Equipment Rupal is built with Gore-Tex, but not the higher-spec Pro version – although it does have the benefit of feeling very robust to fend off bad winter weather. You get two huge chest pockets that are easily accessed and a hood with a very well-stiffened wired peak. Pit zips are provided for more ventilation control. There are only two chest pockets though and some others are slightly lighter. 4/5

Fit

Available is sizes S-XXL for men and 8-16 for women. The fit is about 4cm longer than the short jackets we looked at, so it does give the bum some protection. The hood fits closely and moves easily with the head, and sleeve movement is very good with barely any movement in them or the cuffs when raising arms. The overall cut is less close than some. 5/5

Comfort

This does feel stiff, which you may not like in milder weather; but for me I prefer this when battling across the winter mountains as it buckles less in the wind and feels warmer as more air remains trapped inside. There is a massive patch of soft fabric at the top of the zip to protect the chin from being scratched, which I really like. 4/5

In use

On a tough day’s scrambling the Mountain Equipment Rupal really proves itself. It uses 75 denier fabric so it has more abrasion resistance than some others. It feels nice and protective, and those two massive pockets are ideal for maps, gloves or guidebooks. The hood really makes foul weather enjoyable as it offers so much protection. I’d like a third pocket ideally, but that is the only niggle. 5/5

Value

There are lots of lower-priced jackets but this has benefits that others cannot offer and you have to spend more to better it in my view. RRP £250. 4/5

Verdict

A really solid performance on the hill that is ideal for those heading into more challenging conditions. The Mountain Equipment Rupal wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.4/5

Rab Firewall Jacket Review 2016

Features


Pertex Shield Plus with a 3-layer construction is the main fabric in the Rab Firewall. It offers excellent waterproofness and breathability, and feels soft and comfortable and relatively lightweight. You get three chest-mounted pockets, which are all OS map-sized. The hood has a wired peak and there are pit zips too. The niggle is that the fabric is less durable, thinner and softer than others for wild weather. 4/5

Fit

The men’s sizes are S-XL and the women’s 8-16. The body is about 5cm longer than the shorter jackets we looked at so it covered my rear better than others. The cut is slightly closer than some on the sleeves, which is good; and better still if you raise your arms the sleeves and hem of the jacket don’t ride up. The hood fits exceptionally well and moves effortlessly with the head. 5/5

Comfort

The use of 3-layer Pertex Shield Plus makes this very comfortable as the material is soft, flexible and lightweight. It does buckle more easily than heavier fabrics though so in strong winter winds it will feel a bit chilly. Also it is less durable than higher-priced Rab jackets so it needs to be respected. But overall a very comfortable option for lighter conditions.     4/5

In use

For mild weather the Rab Firewall is an exceptional jacket and at 503g it is light enough to stash in a rucksack. The three main pockets are all OS map-sized and easily accessed while wearing a rucksack. The hood allows very clear vision as it moves so well and has a great wired peak. If needed you can vent the sleeves with long zips. Others feel more durable and protective in wild weather, though – and that is my main concern. 4/5

Value

Good value for what you get, but higher-priced jackets have benefits around that extra durability to withstand tough conditions. RRP £200. 4/5

Verdict

The Rab Firewall is an excellent jacket for milder hill and mountain days but others are more robust for tougher conditions. 4/5

Keela Cairn Jacket Review 2016

Features

The Cairn is a new jacket from Keela, using Aquaflex 3-layer fabric, which is thin, flexible and slightly rustly, but it does help to keep the weight down to a competitive 337g (size M). There are two main pockets that extend to close to the hem. The third chest pocket is quite small and potentially too high on the chest. You do get a wired peak on the hood, though, which is good. 4/5

Fit

This is only available for men but there is a wide size range, from XS-XXXL. The fit is shorter than other jackets by quite a margin, but it does have a good fit with excellent freedom of movement in the sleeves without the cuffs or hem riding up. The hood also fits and moves with the head exceptionally well. Pity there’s no version for women, though. 4/5

Comfort

The material is light and soft, so this moves with the body and feels very comfortable. 
The hood fits closely and is very comfy too. But as it is shorter than others my bum is less well-protected, so the Keela Cairn is not a jacket for the wettest and coldest of conditions. The thin material also buckles in the wind more easily than that used in heavier jackets. 3/5

In use

The weight is a real bonus but this is less suitable for wild conditions as it does not trap warm air inside so well due to that short length and flexible fabric. The hood is great though. The pockets are annoying as the main ones extend to the hem so they can be difficult to fully access while wearing a rucksack hipbelt. The high chest pocket is very small and a rucksack shoulder strap can partially cover it. 3/5

Value

The price is very good but with some slight changes in design this would offer far better performance for the money. RRP £176. 4/5

Verdict

The Keela Cairn is a light, well-priced jacket; but the details let it down, which makes it frustrating to use in challenging weather. 3.6/5

Berghaus Thunder Jacket Review 2016

Features

The Berghaus Thunder is made of Gore-Tex, but at this price it’s not the high-spec Pro version. However it has a nice robust feel and there is a mesh lining inside for more comfort. There are two main pockets, and a hood with volume adjustment and face drawcord. The hood peak does not get a wired or stiffened peak though. It does lack some extra features like a long body and a third pocket, but it has the basics. 3/5

Fit

The men’s sizes are S-XXL and women’s 8-18. It has quite a loose, baggy fit but is relatively short so it did not cover my bum as effectively as some higher-priced jackets. The hood fit is good, but I found the rear volume adjustment stiff to adjust and the hood did not move very well with my head. There was some movement in the cuffs and hem when moving my arms too. 4/5

Comfort

The Berghaus Thunder does feel generally comfortable as you get a mesh lining inside the Gore-Tex outer and the baggy fit does trap plenty of air. The material also does not buckle too much in the wind. You don’t get such good protection of the bum, though, and no soft brushed panel to protect the chin from the zip. Others are certainly less comfortable, but this could still be better. 3/5

In use

On the hill this provides the basics of protection you need. But the shorter length is a drawback and the style is overly baggy, I felt, and sort of gets in the way. The two main pockets are very large but access to them is easily impeded by rucksack hipbelts as they are quite low on the body. The hood does not turn as well as others either. But I do like that it provides more robust protection than lighter jackets. 3/5

Value

You are getting Gore-Tex here and it has plenty of features; if slightly better designed its value for its performance would be higher. RRP £170. 4/5

Verdict

The Berghaus Thunder is a good basic jacket if you’re heading to the hills, but little details are much better on other jackets. 3.4/5

Rab Charge Jacket Review 2016

Features

Rab Charge.jpg

The Rab Charge’s weight of 314g is really impressive yet you do get two large chest pockets. These pockets are mesh-lined to ventilate the jacket, but that also means they won’t keep water out as effectively. The main fabric is a 2.5-layer version of Pertex Shield Plus with stretch, so it doesn’t control condensation as well as 3-layer fabrics and it is also less durable. A great lightweight option though. 3/5

Fit

The men’s sizes are S-XXL and the women’s sizes are 8-16. The Rab Charge is about 4cm longer than the shortest jacket we looked at so it provides a little more protection to the bum. The sleeves are particularly well-shaped to fit closely, but importantly the hem and cuffs don’t move when you raise your arms. The hood adjusts and fits exceptionally well. Brilliant. 5/5

Comfort

This is very light, and the 2.5-layer stretch Pertex Shield Plus fabric offers little if any restriction to movement so it feels exceptionally comfortable in good weather. However it does not control condensation as well as higher-priced 3-layer fabrics and it buckles in the wind, making it feel quite cold in foul weather. So, good up to a point
– but others are better in poor conditions. 4/5

In use

The two huge chest pockets are great for handwarming or maps, but there is no third pocket. The pockets are mesh-lined too, so they can allow water to pass into the jacket if it enters the pocket, and it also means this area is less wind-resistant. But the hood is ideal for the hill, the sleeves are great and if used for milder conditions the Rab Charge is excellent. It is just less appealing in a blizzard. 3/5

Value

The price is very good compared to what others at this price can offer, but a higher price brings better mountain performance. RRP £150. 4/5

Verdict

The Rab Charge is a superb choice for milder weather, but in tougher conditions I’d prefer to use other jackets. 3.8/5

Montane Atomic Jacket Review 2016

Features

The Montane Atomic is made with Pertex Shield, which has a waterproof, breathable coating applied to the material rather than using the more durable laminated construction of Pertex Shield Plus. The material is 2.5-layer rather than 3-layer so condensation control is not ideal. The jacket has two large mesh-lined pockets and a hood with a wired peak. It weighs in at a very good 319g (size L), which is appealing. 3/5

Fit

Men’s sizes are S-XXL and women’s 8-16. The body is a little shorter than others so your bum is less protected. The fit is quite close, though, and there isn’t any movement in the cuffs or hem when raising the arms. The hood fit is very good and easily adjusted. This is virtually perfect, but others are slightly longer and offer very slightly better movement. 5/5

Comfort

This 2.5-layer garment does feel a little clammy compared to 3-layer jackets; also jackets using Pertex Shield Plus feel more comfortable against the skin. But this is stiffer than others, meaning it does not feel as cold in the wind, so in winter the Montane Atomic is a better option for hill-goers. The fabric does not stretch, but it does not restrict movement either. 4/5 

In use

You can warm your hands in the two chest pockets or stash a map for access on the go. The pockets are mesh-lined, though, so they can allow water to pass through into the jacket if you are not careful in a downpour. The hood is great, as is the sleeve movement, and I like the fact that this is a little stiffer for windier conditions. But I’d ideally like some more length and a third pocket. 3/5

Value

For just £120 you get a very lightweight jacket that competes well with higher-priced options so this is great value for money. RRP £120. 5/5

Verdict

The Montane Atomic is a very good jacket for its price if walking in milder conditions, but it’s worth paying more for better protection. It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.0/5