You don’t need to break the bank to get good wet weather protection. Here’s a round up of the best budget waterproof jackets, as chosen by outdoor gear experts, Chris Townsend and Will Renwick

Staying dry in unpredictable conditions is critical for comfort and safety, and a decent waterproof jacket is your best bet. However, with so many rain coats on the market, picking the correct one for you might be challenging. Some of the costs are really shocking. To assist you, outdoor gear experts Chris Townsend and Will Renwick have compiled a list of the top budget waterproofs to consider before buying your next hardshell.

They’ve curated a list of ten of the best budget waterproof jackets from reputable companies that cost under $250 / £200. They are all waterproof and breathable, well-designed, and made from good quality materials. Make sure you look after your waterproof jacket in the best way by following Chris’ guide on how to look after your waterproof jacket. There’s also our look at how to repair your waterproof jacket.

What makes a good value rain shell?

The lowest budget hardshell jackets will tend to be two-layer ones. These will have an outer fabric, a waterproof membrane and then an internal mesh to protect the membrane. These might be waterproof but they’ll often be quite heavy and and also not very breathable.

Next you have 2.5-layer jackets. These have a shell fabric, a membrane and then an inner layer, usually made from a printed or sprayed on PU. These will often be lightweight and breathable and tend to make good jackets for fast tempo activity. A lot of the jackets in this round-up are 2.5 layer designs that are suitable for three-season use.

Then there are 3-layer jackets. These have an outer fabric and an inner backer fabric with a membrane sandwiched between them. Gore-Tex Pro and many standard Gore-Tex jackets will be 3-layer designs. These types of jackets will tend to cost more but they’ll offer higher levels of waterproofing, breathability, durability and longevity.

Other signs of a good jacket include the extent of adjustment at the hood and at the hem and cuffs, the amount of pockets, whether the zips are waterproof and things like pit zips, RECCO reflectors and two-way zip pulls.

Our budget waterproof jacket picks for 2024

In this article you’ll find a range of rain shells that are all good quality at good prices. Chris and Will have focussed on products that are waterproof, breathable and well-designed, with all the right features and details you’d want when venturing out in inclement conditions. These are split into categories too, so first of all we’ve got lightweight three-season jackets, then there are the jackets designed for winter use.

  • RAB Downpour Eco – $140 | £115
  • Patagonia Torrentshell 3L – $179 | £170
  • Montane Spirit – $259 | £190
  • Berghaus Hillwalker Interactive – £180
  • Keela Pinnacle – £185
  • Alpkit Fortitude – £190
  • Haglöfs Sparv – £120
  • Mountain Equipment Zeno – £160
  • Columbia Ampli-Dry – $135 | £145
  • Revolution Race Cyclone Rescue 2.0 – £162

Three-season jackets, under 400 grams in weight

For most of the year there’s no need for a waterproof jacket designed to cope with winter storms. A lightweight jacket is fine as long as it has all the necessary features.

Rab Downpour Eco

best budget waterproof jackets Rab Downpour Eco

Price: $140 | £115
Weight: 320g

The Downpour Eco weighs just 320 grams. It’s made from recycled 2.5-layer Pertex Shield Revolve polyester fabric which has good waterproof and breathability ratings.

The hood is adjustable and has a flexible peak. The cuffs and hem are also adjustable. There are underarm zips for ventilation and two zipped pockets, situated to be usable when wearing a pack hipbelt.

All the zips are YKK ones, including the front opening, and have protective storm guard flaps. The Downpour Eco jacket can be packed into one of the hand pockets.

Selected by Chris Townsend

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L

best budget waterproof jackets patagonia torrentshell 3L

Price: $179 | £170
Weight: 394g

The Torrentshell 3L is made from Patagonia’s own 3-layer waterproof/breathable H2NO Performance Standard, a well-proven fabric with a recycled nylon face and a PU membrane.

The jacket has an adjustable hood with laminated visor that can be rolled down and stowed with a cord-and-hook. The collar is line with microfleece for comfort. The front zip has external and internal storm flaps.

There are also storm flaps over the two handwarmer pockets and the venting underarm zips.

The cuffs and hem are adjustable. The jacket weighs 394 grams and can be stuffed into one of the pockets.

Selected by Chris Townsend.

Available at:

Montane Spirit

best budget waterproof jackets montane spirit

Price: $259 | £190
Weight: 365g

Gore-Tex is the big name in waterproof/breathable fabrics and prices for jackets can be high. However, the Montane Spirit shows you don’t have to spend a great deal for a Gore-Tex jacket.

It’s made from Paclite, a lightweight 2.5-layer version of Gore-Tex, with a polyester face fabric. The jacket has a YKK AquaGuard water-resistant front zip with an internal storm flap to repel any rain that does sneak through.

The hand pockets, which are set high enough to be usable when wearing a pack hipbelt, also have AquaGuard zips. The adjustable hood has a stiffened peak. The hem and cuffs are also adjustable. The Spirit weighs 365 grams.

Selected by Chris Townsend.

Available at:

Haglöfs Sparv Proof Anorak

best budget waterproof jackets haglofs Sparv Anorak

Price: £120
Weight: 300g

The Sparv Anorak uses Haglöfs’ Proof fabric which is made from partially recycled materials. This is 2.5-layer which means that it has an outer fabric, a waterproof membrane and then an inner PU layer that’s sprayed on. 

It has one large kangaroo pocket on the front that’s handy for storing a map to keep it quick and easy to access and the whole jacket can be packed up inside this pocket too.

Overall, it’s quite a simple design. The hem, cuffs and hood are only elasticated – there’s no adjustment – so it’s not a jacket to venture out in for a whole day of torrential wind and rain but instead something to keep in your pack as a just-in-case option on any fair weather hikes. 

Selected by Will Renwick.

Available at:

Mountain Equipment Zeno

best budget waterproof jackets

Price: £160
Weight: 338g

While this might be a lot cheaper than some of the other jackets Mountain Equipment offer, it still comes with many of the same useful details. You’ve got the alpine cut with articulated sleeves for instance, and then full adjustment at the hood, hem and cuffs. It also has underarm zips, deep, venting hand pockets and an internal and external flap to keep moisture from seeping in through the main zip

The fabric is Mountain Equipment’s 2.5 layer DRILITE which has a 50D outer material that’s PFC-free and it can all be stowed away into its hand pocket which has twin carabiner loops for attaching the jacket to a harness or side of a backpack.

Selected by Will Renwick.

Available at:

Columbia Ampli-Dry 

best budget waterproof jackets columbia amplidry

Price: $135 | £145
Weight: 437g

While this is by no means a heavy jacket, it does weigh a little more than some of the other 2.5 layer jackets in this round up. That’s mainly due to its relatively thick, durable and stretchy shell fabric. 

It has some useful details including a PU-coated water-resistant main zip, Velcro cuffs, a toggled hood and hem and underarm zips for ventilation. The large zipped hand pockets also double as vents and they can be partially accessed while wearing a climbing harness or a backpack with a hipbelt.

Selected by Will Renwick.

Available at:

Year-round jackets

Lightweight rain jackets are fine for occasional winter use but they’re not ideal as the wind can flatten them against you, squashing insulating garments. As well as protecting your warm layers better heavier jackets also feel more substantial and protective in a blizzard. And they work just as well in a summer rainstorm. Here are some of the best budget waterproof for year-round use.

Berghaus Hillwalker Interactive

best budget waterproof jackets berghaus hillwalker interactive

Price: £180
Weight: 597g

The Hillwalker is another jacket that shows that Gore-Tex garments don’t have to be expensive. It’s made from two-layer Gore-Tex Performance Shell with a separate lining that’s a mix of mesh and solid fabric.

The outer is made from tough non-tear ripstop polyamide. The adjustable hood has a stiffened peak and can be rolled away if not needed. There are two zipped lower handwarmer pockets and an inner zipped pocket.

The cuffs and hem are adjustable. The Interactive feature is a second front zip for zipping in a compatible midlayer. The Hillwalker weighs 644 grams.

Selected by Chris Townsend.

Available at:

Keela Pinnacle

best budget waterproof jackets keela
Chris Townsend putting the Keela Pinnacle to the test.

Price: £185
Weight: 680g

The Pinnacle jacket is made from Keela’s own tough 3 layer Aquaflex Extreme fabric. Keela says it offers “uncompromising severe weather protection”.

It’s very well-featured for a jacket in this price range with a helmet compatible adjustable hood with a wire stiffened peak to protect against the worst weather, four zipped pockets -two lower handwarmer and two mapsize chest -, and underarm zips.

All the zips are water-resistant There’s an inner flap inside the front zip just in case any rain gets through. The pockets are all double-layer so if any rain enters via the zip it can’t reach the inside of the jacket. The hem and cuffs are adjustable. The Pinnacle weighs 680 grams.

Selected by Chris Townsend.

Available at:

Alpkit Fortitude

best budget waterproof jackets alpkit fortitude

Price: $250 | £200
Weight: 515g

The Fortitude is a longer than average jacket to give greater protection. Unusually it has an adjustable waist as well as an adjustable hem. It’s made from a hardwearing waterproof/breathable 3 layer fabric with a recycled polyester outer, a polyester membrane, and bi-component polyester/nylon wicking inner.

The adjustable hood has a wired peak for bad weather protection. There are three pockets, two side ones that sit above a pack hipbelt and one mapsize chest. The pocket zips, along with the front zip, have protective flaps over them. The Fortitude weighs 515 grams.

Selected by Chris Townsend.

Available at:

Revolution Race Cyclone Rescue 2.0

best budget waterproof jackets revolution race cyclone rescue 2.0
Will Renwick testing out the Cyclone Rescue 2.0 in Wales

Price: £162
Weight: 680g

Revolution Race operate on a direct-to-consumer business model, which eliminates the need for intermediaries and reduces overhead costs, so a lot of their products come at remarkably good prices – the Cyclone Rescue 2.0 being a good example.

While this waterproof jacket might be heavy, it’s very robust and offers a bit of stretch, making it well-suited to things like scrambling and mountaineering. It has a helmet-compatible, adjustable hood, adjustment at the cuffs and hem, underarm vents with two-way zips, a ski pass pocket and a built-in RECCO reflector. The handwarmer pockets are large and can be accessed when you’re wearing a climbing harness or backpack with a hipbelt.

Selected by Will Renwick.

Available at:

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