best in class

The 14 Best Women’s Raincoats

For drizzle or downpours.

Photo: Marcus McDonald
Photo: Marcus McDonald

In this article

Alongside a windproof umbrella and your favorite pair of rain boots, a great raincoat will help you brave the elements and look good doing it. It’s an essential item to own, whether you’re encountering the occasional drizzly day or jumping over puddles for half of the year. To find the best raincoats for women, I spoke with outerwear experts and stylish folks about their favorite women’s raincoats, then tried out their recommendations myself. Below, find nostalgic vintage-inspired anoraks, hardshell hiking jackets, and everything in between. While you’re here, I’ve also written guides to the best women’s parkas and rain boots.

What we’re looking for

Water resistance

In order to be 100 percent waterproof, a raincoat must be constructed from an impenetrable material like vinyl, plastic, or rubber. This style of raincoat is perfectly appropriate for city commutes, but not so much hiking or other athletic activities. For those, I looked for lightweight and packable jackets treated with a durable water-resistant (DWR) coating as well as a few more environmentally sustainable alternatives that don’t make use of DWR “forever” chemicals. A water-resistant jacket should keep you dry in all but the most extreme cases, and it will pack down and breathe much better than a traditional rubber coat. For extra protection against the elements, I favored raincoats featuring reinforced seams, elasticized or velcro wrist cuffs, and covered zippers.

Comfort

Because your raincoat should keep you comfortable as well as dry, I looked for options with lots of (preferably zippered) pockets, underarm ventilation, and adjustable hoods. Eric Goodwin, outerwear designer and founder of Lathley, advised us to avoid insulated rain jackets for more versatility. “You can always add warm layers underneath your rain jacket,” he points out, “but if it’s a warm rainy day, you can’t take away the insulation built into the jacket.”

Weight and length

I sought out a range of coats, jackets, anoraks and ponchos in varying lengths and weights, from classy trench coats to hard shells with stormproof hoods. The raincoat you choose will depend on its intended use: A mid-length, mid-weight jacket is ideal for dashing between subway stations, but when hiking, you probably just want something lightweight and breathable.

Best women’s raincoat overall

Water resistance: Waterproof shell, welded seams | Comfort: Two pockets, underarm ventilation, drawstring hood | Weight and length: Mid-length, heavy-weight

The Stutterheim Stockholm is a worthy investment piece for anyone regularly commuting in a rainy climate. It’s constructed from cotton that has been coated in a thick layer of synthetic rubber; when buttoned up, it’ll keep your clothes completely dry. When I first tried mine on, I was surprised by how substantial the Stockholm felt — quite the opposite of a packable shell jacket and considerably thicker than the popular Rains dupe recommended below. The rubberiness recalls a vintage fisherman’s slicker, and there’s also an undeniable Paddington Bear comparison to be made. Incredibly waterproof, a Stutterheim coat becomes part of your outfit without distracting from it. “The Scandinavian design will make you feel stylish, even in an unglamorous downpour,” confirms travel blogger and photographer Renee Hahnel. The rubber coating means that the jacket never clings or feels staticky, and it is easy to wipe down. Writer and performer Jess Latowicki says that even the dangerously bone-white colorway will retain its sheen after multiple seasons. Go a couple sizes down for a closer fit — the relative stiffness of this jacket doesn’t make for a flattering baggy look.

Best A-line women’s raincoat

Water resistance: Waterproof shell, welded seams | Comfort: Two pockets, underarm ventilation, drawstring hood | Weight and length: Mid-length, heavy-weight

The Strategist team loves Stutterheim’s Mosebacke raincoat, which is similarly waterproof and durable to our best overall pick, but with a less streamlined silhouette. Fittingly, Strategist writer Dominique Pariso purchased hers on a trip to Sweden, where the brand is based. A store attendant charmingly described it as flattering for “women of shape.” Pariso would tend to agree: “The slight A-line flare leaves some much-appreciated wiggle room around my hips and lets me comfortably button the coat all the way down.” I think the long version of this jacket looks particularly swish on the streets; sometimes I actually wish it would rain so as to have an excuse to wear it.

Best packable women’s raincoat

Water resistance: Waterproof shell, welded seams | Comfort: Two pockets, underarm ventilation, drawstring hood | Weight and length: Mid-length, mid-weight

I also tested out Stutterheim’s more packable Stockholm jacket, which is coated in a much thinner layer of rubber than the original. This makes it more scrunchable for storage and swishier in fit, draping against the body rather than hanging stiffly against it. It doesn’t feel nearly as substantial and protective, but the materials are definitely highly waterproof, and that classic Paddington Bear aesthetic is the same. Though I still prefer the rubberiness of Stutterheim’s original Stockholm, this lightweight version would be an ideal alternative for those who travel frequently or dislike wearing a stiff jacket.

Best less-expensive women’s raincoat

$110

Water resistance: Waterproof shell, welded seams | Comfort: Two pockets, underarm ventilation, drawstring hood | Weight and length: Short length, light-weight 

Danish brand Rains has become ubiquitous on water-slicked city streets in recent years, and for good reason. It makes some of the most aesthetically pleasing raincoats around, and they’re much more affordable than the Stutterheims above, despite being similarly waterproof. Having worn both, I’ve found that Rains jackets are far thinner and swishier in fit — even more so than the lightweight version of Stutterheim’s Stockholm. Some more subtle design differences include a shorter length, hidden snap buttons, and colored drawstrings. China-manufactured Rains jackets are completely synthetic, whereas European-manufactured Stutterheims are constructed from waterproof cotton.

Best less-expensive A-line women’s raincoat

Water resistance: Waterproof shell, welded seams | Comfort: Two pockets, underarm ventilation, drawstring hood | Weight and length: Short length, light-weight 

Pleating on the back adds slight flare to Rains’ take on an A-line raincoat, which otherwise repeats the same waterproofing features as its original jacket above. I find the straw-yellow colorway particularly appealing — it stands out on a gray day without being too garish.

Best women’s soft-shell jacket

Water resistance: DWR shell, zippers, and seams; elastic cuffs | Comfort: One pocket, adjustable hood | Weight and length: Short length, lightweight, packable

A soft-shell jacket offers rain protection while remaining fairly lightweight, making it ideal for hiking and other athletic outdoor activities. This very stashable one from Outdoor Research has elastic cuffs, water-resistant zippers, and an adjustable hood. Hahnel always travels with hers, saying that it “packs down to the size of a tennis ball, and keeps you dry for hours.”

Best less-expensive women’s soft-shell jacket

From $35

Water resistance: DWR shell, taped seams, velcro cuffs | Comfort: Two pockets, underarm ventilation, adjustable hood | Weight and length: Short length, lightweight, packable

At a lower price point is the Marmot PreCip, a classic of the raincoat genre for more than 20 years and a favorite amongst Strategist staffers. Pacific Northwest–based outdoor expert Holly Johnson, no stranger to rainy climes, says this “lightweight, packable, and affordable rain jacket” is perfect for “hiking, backpacking, travel, and everyday use.” She notes that it runs a little small and recommends sizing up.

Best sustainable women’s raincoat

Water resistance: Nontoxic water-resistant shell, taped seams | Comfort: Zipper pockets, adjustable hood, adjustable waist | Weight and length: Body length, mid-weight

All of the DWR-treated coats on this list use toxic perfluorochemicals, which can adversely affect human and environmental health. PFCs are commonly used in the outerwear industry, but California’s recent move to ban PFC-treated products by 2025 has forced many brands to reconsider their designs. The first generation of PFC-free jackets is hitting the market this season, with more undoubtedly on the way, and I’m keeping an eye on what’s next. For now, Goodwin particularly likes this relatively affordable option from Tentree, which is made from recycled polyester with a nontoxic water-resistant coating that comes close to rivaling traditional DWR. It’s an optimal length for keeping both your core and legs dry and includes thoughtful features like a cell-phone pocket and flattering drawcord waist.

Best (vintage-style) sustainable women’s raincoat

Water resistance: Waterproof recycled plastic shell | Comfort: Drawstring, two side pockets | Weight and length: Mid-length, mid-weight

Based out of Nova Scotia, Fairechild designs matching raincoats and rain pants for both kids and adults, utilizing a unique waterproof fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. Yet the style of these raincoats is so nostalgic that you’d never expect their very modern environmental credentials. I heard about the brand’s boxy chore-style raincoat from Midcoast Maine-based photographer Bea Helman, who says its recycled fabric is “incredibly lightweight while being so waterproof — and it looks very classic.” She notes that it’s rare to find a vintage-style raincoat “that’s also outdoorsy,” but that this one looks cute and holds its own against the coastal elements. “My husband is an oyster farmer and everything gets covered in mud and salt. So for him, if he can’t have it last for years and years, there’s just no point. It’s useless to us.”

Best women’s waxed jacket

Water resistance: Water-resistant waxed-cotton shell | Comfort: Cotton lining, handwarmer pockets, optional hood | Weight and length: Short length, mid-weight

With heritage designs favored by Succession characters and British royals, Barbour’s waxed-cotton jackets happen to be forever-chemical free. While these classic olive-green coats aren’t completely waterproof, Goodwin notes, “They can definitely stand up to light rain,” and they’ll last forever, developing an attractive patina over time. Plus, “you can rewax them yourself if they start to lose their water resistance.” Unfortunately, you will have to separately purchase the brand’s hood for optimum rain protection — but former Strategist editor Anthony Rotunno attests that the extra $50 is well worth it.

Best women’s hard-shell jacket

Water resistance: DWR triple shell, reinforced zippers, velcro cuffs | Comfort: Two pockets, underarm ventilation, adjustable hood | Weight and length: Short length, mid-weight, packable

Hard-shell jackets are usually constructed from three layers of waterproofing fabric, where soft shells feature just one or two. They’re great if you know you’ll be out hiking in near-constant wind and rain. I’ve been wearing this Arc’teryx one for a couple of seasons and have found it to be exceptionally waterproof yet never stifling or sweaty; the fabric is crisp and light despite all that waterproofing tech. The fit is rather slim, so size up if you know you’ll be wearing several layers.

Best (less-expensive) women’s hard-shell jacket

Water resistance: DWR double shell, reinforced zippers, velcro cuffs | Comfort: Two pockets, hem ventilation, adjustable hood | Weight and length: Short length, midweight, packable

Here’s a considerably cheaper hard shell that’s highly packable. Outdoor Research’s Aspire raincoat, constructed from Gore-Tex, is ideal for those who “want to stay extra warm while they keep dry,” according to Jen Martin, who organizes adventure cruises to such far-flung locations as Antarctica and the Galápagos as the director of expedition development at Lindblad Expeditions. It features a two-layer construction as opposed to the Arc’teryx’s three, but still offers plenty of wind and rain protection.

Best poncho

$109

Water resistance: Waterproof shell, welded seams | Comfort: Drawstring hood, button collar | Weight and length: Body-length, light-weight

Being free of zippers or other points of entry where water might penetrate, ponchos are ideal for throwing over your outfit in the event of a torrential downpour. This Rains one, which is cut in an A-line shape to increase mobility, is a favorite of stylists Neelo Noory, Courtney Madison, Leah Adicoff, and style writer Jessica Schiffer. Sure, it’s a little fancier than your standard disposable poncho — but “not everyone wants to look like they just got off the Maid of the Mist,” Madison points out.

Best (less-expensive) poncho

Water resistance: Waterproof shell, reinforced seams | Comfort: Heat-reflecting | Weight and length: Mid-length, lightweight

If you’re happy to lean into the Maid of the Mist look, though, this affordable and reusable poncho is a “lifesaver” according to Matt Young, the head of marketing and e-commerce at Brooklyn-based outdoors store Hatchet Outdoor Supply Co. Weighing just 2.7 ounces, the waterproof, wind-resistant, and heat-reflective poncho can be packed up compactly enough to fit in your pocket, he says. “It’s ideal for unexpected downpours, rainy hikes, outdoor events — and serves as a warm and dry shelter in emergencies.” Plus, unlike plastic or polyester, the material is tear-resistant and quiet, so the poncho won’t rip or rustle while you walk.

Some more women’s rain gear we’ve written about

Our experts

• Leah Adicoff, stylist
• Eric Goodwin, outerwear designer and founder of Lathley
• Renee Hahnel, travel blogger and photographer
• Bea Helman, photographer
• Holly Johnson, Pacific Northwest–based outdoor expert
• Jess Latowicki, writer and performer
• Courtney Madison, stylist
• Caroline Maguire, fashion director, Shopbop
• Jen Martin, director of product development, expeditions at Seabourn Cruise Line
• Neelo Noory, stylist
Dominique Pariso, writer, the Strategist
• Leilani Pelayo, co-founder and chief strategy officer, natureofthings
• Jessica Schiffer, style writer
• Matt Young, head of marketing and e-commerce, Hatchet Outdoor Supply Co.

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The 14 Best Women’s Raincoats