by Jacob Gordon
Last week, we covered women’s waterproof jackets, and this time it’s the guys’ turn.
We’ve already had a taste of the rain in State College, and it looks like more is on its way. (It is fall after all) Clearly, there’s no better time to talk waterproof jackets. You want to make sure you have the right one before the heavy stuff lands.
Much like our discussion of women’s jackets, picking the right one for you depends on what you’ll be doing, what you need the jacket to do, and how much you’d like to spend. If you’re going to the next Penn State game or heading to class, you probably don’t need a jacket that has 4-way stretch, a laminated hood, and excellent wicking capabilities; however, if you’re planning on something a little more active, you’ll want something that sheds the rain, while breathing well and allowing you to maneuver easily.
So with this Five on Friday, we’ll focus on different price points of men’s waterproof jackets rather than try to hit on all types of users. After all, some of us may want the high-end features even for a jaunt across campus; it might be tough to put a price on comfort. As you might expect, the higher the price the more the jacket can do.
0. Liberty Mountain Vinyl Poncho
We mentioned this with the women’s jackets, but it’s probably a good idea to include it here for you, guys. If you’re looking for super cheap waterproof protection with no added frills, you can’t go wrong with the Vinyl Poncho from Liberty Mountain. At under $5, you get complete waterproof protection, but it comes at a cost of zero breathability. Its uses also are limited to when you’re either standing around or doing little active work. Without any breathability, you can expect to get a bit muggy inside, but if you’re pinching pennies, this might be your best bet.
1. Columbia Sportswear Watertight II Jacket
The Watertight II Jacket from Columbia Sportswear is a great entry into waterproof jackets. At almost half the price as most brands’ entry level jackets, the Watertight II waterproof protection thanks to its Omni-Tech and fully seam sealed construction. The attached hood provides coverage for your noggin, and the abrasion resistant chin guard prevents any chaffing form occurring. If you’re just looking for protection from light rain and you’re not spending a ton of time outside, this is a nice option for you.
If you’re looking to spend a little more on a waterproof jacket, you can’t go wrong with the Precip from Marmot. The Precip is made from 100% NanoPro nylon ripstop, providing excellent waterproof protection while being super durable. The durability allows you to stuff the Precip in its sleeve, making it super easy to take wherever you go and giving you excellent on-trail versatility. For the extra cash, the Precip offers a bit more breathability and comfort than the Watertight, and it comes in a wider array of colors.
3. Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket
As we move along the price point train, we get to the Torrentshell from Patagonia. The appropriately named H2No performance shell uses a 2.5 layer construction that offers excellent lightweight, waterproof protection. Compared to standard 2 layer waterproof jackets, the 2.5 layer construction is a bit lighter and offers better breathability. The Torrentshell’s hood features a laminated visor which stands up even to the most torrential downpours, perfect for maintaining your vision in the backcountry. The hood also features a nice pull cord at the back for easy one-hand adjustments. For added comfort, you’ll enjoy the microfleece-lined neck which is soft to the touch and eliminates the plastic feeling of other rain jackets. If you like your waterproofing in the form of a pullover, Patagonia offers the Torrentshell Pullover just for you!
4. Mountain Hardwear Plasmic Jacket
The Plasmic Jacket from Mountain Hardwear is a great piece if you plan on being active while it’s raining thanks to its 2.5 layer construction. The DryQ EVAP fabric not only keeps the rain at bay, but it also works to wick moisture and keep you dryer from the inside. The water-resistant front zipper helps keep rain from seeping in, and the hood is fully adjustable to help keep your head nice and dry. Unlike other waterproof jackets, Mountain Hardwear has equipped the Plasmic with superior breathability, eliminating the need for pit zips.
5. The North Face Varius Guide Jacket
Our final price point for waterproof jackets is the Varius Guide Jacket from The North Face. The Varius Guide utilizes TNF’s HyVent technology to offer excellent waterproofing, and the seam sealed construction ensures water stays on the outside. While the brushed lining on the collar offers a touch of comfort, the storm hood is completely removable, so if you’re bumming around town and rain isn’t in the forecast, you can leave the hood at home. What makes the Varius Guide really stand out is its Zip-In compatibility. You can pair the Varius Guide with your Zip-In compatible TNF fleece jacket to create a dynamic waterproof winter jacket. This gives the Varius Guide basically 4-season versatility that is tough to find with other waterproof jackets.