The typical British summer strikes again. What was meant to be an outdoor, sun-bleached, Pimms-fest has turned into another inconsistent soggy run of months with a few good days of sun sandwiched between torrential rain. Consistent middling temperatures keep the whole thing sweaty and thus dressing can become a bit of a challenge. Waterproofing is essential but the days also require something light, practical and stylish.
Step forward the rain jacket. Technical fabrics meet smart design and flashes of colour to create the ideal outer layer for unpredictable weather. Here’s our edit of the best lightweight rain coats for keeping you dry in the months ahead.
When it comes to technical fabric and outdoor-minded construction with a sustainability focus, Patagonia are difficult to beat. The brand is built around founder Yvon Chouinard’s outdoor sensibilities and thus every piece the company produces has performance at the forefront whilst still retaining satisfying aesthetics.
For a durable and extremely breathable raincoat, Patagonia’s Pack In Jacket is a lightweight option made from weather-resistant recycled polyester.
Tannoy, Selotape, Tipp-Ex, Coke… brands so synonymous with the product they produce that they’re often used as generic terms for the item themselves. With that in mind, no list of raincoats is complete without a nod to Mackintosh, the iconic rubber-sealed raincoat maker which still produces coats in its Scottish factory.
If you’re looking for something more formal to keep out the summer showers, Mackintosh should be your first port of call. Their cotton-bonded Dunoon short coat is a stylish lifetime piece.
Founded in 2012, this Scandinavian rainwear specialist has come quite a way from what used to be be a modest offering of lightweight rubber raincoats in a range of bold and classic colourways.
Rains now boasts cropped jackets, fishtail parkas, short hooded coats and a variety of new styles offering high-fashion silhouettes and material flourishes.
Style credentials aside, you can always count on the brand to produce a garment that keeps the rain out. Their original long jacket in a classic muted shade is a versatile piece that can effortlessly be dressed up or down.
The North Face
The North Face is one of the labels that has benefited the most from fashion’s current fascination with outdoors attire, becoming an unlikely streetwear stalwart in the process. But being a performance hiking brand at heart, this is a label that has real pedigree when it comes to producing weatherproof clothing.
Offering everything from traditional waterproof popover and shell jackets to lightweight overshirts and coach jackets in both neutral and bold block colours, there’s something for every wardrobe. Their Mountain Q jacket is a perennial favourite: featuring a water- and windproof shell with DryVent technology, it will keep you dry and warm without sacrificing breathability.
Another Scandi rainwear specialist, this time hailing from the island of Arholma in the Stockholm archipelago. Inspired by his father’s fisherman’s jacket, Alexander Stutterheim created the original Arholma raincoat, the brand’s flagship piece, in 2010 and since then Stutterheim’s stock has risen dramatically, collaborating with the likes of Marc Jacobs and Marni.
Classic silhouettes, ample ventilation and playful touches make the label’s coats high-end wardrobe essentials.
Renowned for their padded winter coats and exceptional skiwear, Moncler also produce extremely desirable luxury raincoats. With the same grail-level status as the likes of Stone Island and CP Company, the French fashion brand offer playful, fashion-forward pieces with no expense spared on technical quality.
Their latest collection saw two notable rainproof offerings in the form of the Dordogne lightweight hooded parka and the Rhin overcoat, which features a contrast back panel that’s sure to get you noticed.
Nothing in this world boggles our little minds like the marrying of high-fashion and football hooligan chic that is Stone Island. Surely those upstairs at the Italian behemoth must wonder about their extremely varied clientele, which ranges from fashionistas to trainer-clad pub scrappers.
That’s not to say the raincoats aren’t great, because they are. Nobody does garment dyeing like Stone Island and if you can cop one of their coveted vintage pieces, hold on to it. For something a little more muted, consider the Membrana jacket.
Another brand that has been welcomed by the outdoor clothing fashion crossover. Founded in North Vancouver in 1989, Arc’teryx are a great choice for high-end waterproof clothing that can easily spill out into casual settings.
Whilst their Keppel trench coat is an ideal GORE-TEX option for smarter outfits in less forgiving weather, their Incendo jacket is a great lightweight festival-style raincoat that will deal with unwanted summer downpours with ease.
Measured, high-quality, Scandinavian-cool casual pieces have always been Norse Projects’ forte, so it’s no wonder they’re a solid bet when it comes to pullovers and cagoules.
Their Fyn Shell is one of the best-looking front pocket jackets on the market, and comes with added GORE-TEX for full weather protection. For something a little more modest, you can’t beat their Hugo jacket. Available in various levels of padding, the lighter versions are ideal for transitional season and the warmer months.
Tokyo-based Nanamica have been using innovative fabrics since their foundation, producing a wide range of practical outerwear in classic silhouettes. However, the Japanese brand is best known for its casual rainproof jackets. Their Cruiser and Coach models are particular favourites here at Ape, with the former available in a variety of styles including a sturdy GORE-TEX rendition.