Waterproof jackets don’t need to break the bank. Gear editor Chris Townsend assess the best budget waterproofs. On test Columbia Sleeker waterproof jacket

This lightweight waterproof jacket from Columbia would be fine for summer hillwalking and backpacking. It’s made from a slick fabric with a mesh lining in the front. The hood gives good protection and moves with the head but the soft peak flattens against the forehead in strong winds. The pockets are very long so that the top halves can still be accessed when wearing a hipbelt though the bottom halves are cut off. The pocket zips incorporate what Columbia calls a Light Rail Zipper system, which means that fabric covers the zips, making them almost invisible and fairly watertight. The main zip has a Velcro-closed flap over it but no inner flap. As the Velcro is in patches and not continuous rain could enter through the gaps, though only in very strong winds. The Sleeker has wide cuffs for ventilation in the sleeves and the pockets could be used as vents too as they’re made of mesh.

Reviewed in May 2015 Issue