Runners know the importance of staying dry and protecting themselves from the elements (unless of course you only run on treadmills, but where’s the fun in that really?) A lot of runners like the changing scenery and the added challenge of running on the uneven and varied terrain that comes with outdoor running.
If you’re running outdoors, you have to learn how to manage the added difficulty of weather conditions. From extreme heat to heavy rain, you need the right gear to help you tackle anything that nature can throw at you.
If you live in a wetter area, then you need to find the best running rain jacket with excellent breathability to keep you cool and dry regardless of the weather. But what if you live in a warmer, more tropical climate? Then you’ll want to find a very light water-resistant option that will keep you dry without weighing you down!
Our guide will go over our favorite lightweight jackets to beat the rain and keep you cool while you’re out training for your next big race!
With an extra lightweight polyester design, the Avoogue raincoat resembles a lightweight windbreaker that is great for shrugging off light rain. Made from waterproof material that dries quickly, this is the perfect jacket for running during the spring and fall.
The Avoogue raincoat comes with a drawstring holder, so it can easily be taken off and stored away in case there’s a break in the rain. It also comes with two zippered pockets to hold anything you want to keep dry during your run. Extra storage is always helpful to ensure you’re prepared for a long run.
This water-resistant jacket comes in a staggering 25 different color options, so no matter your taste, there’s something there for you. There are 6 different sizing options from small to triple XL, you’ll be able to find a comfortable fit no matter your size.
Having a comfortable fit is important so that the jacket can actually do its job of keeping you dry and providing a good range of motion while you’re running. When in doubt, it’s probably better to go a size up than a size down, but you will sacrifice some of the wind protection. If the jacket is too loose, stronger winds will find their way right around any gaps.
There are a few really interesting features that come with the Marmot running jacket, namely the patented waterproofing technology. Marmot uses a recycled nylon fabric overlaid with a micro-porous coating that not only keeps you extremely dry even in heavy rain but helps to keep you cool with its breathability.
The top of the jacket is removable, which allows you to adapt to changing or varied weather conditions. The hood as well as the chin and neck guard pieces can be taken off when they aren’t needed. This allows you to feel less confined and warm when you’re running in warmer weather conditions.
The seams of the jacket are reinforced and internally taped, which makes the jacket completely waterproof. As an added bonus, the jacket is able to fold up and be stuffed into an oversized side pocket, effectively making it its own carrying case.
Having the jacket basically carry itself makes it super portable — you can bring it with you in the event that you need it for a surprise downpour. Available in 5 sizes from small to double XL, the Marmot jacket has a nice relaxed fit that’s still snug and comfortable without being restrictive.
It has a straight and non-tailored cut all the way through the end of the sleeve and is extremely comfortable to wear.
Made from activewear titan Columbia, this jacket exceeded our expectations. It’s made out of 100% nylon, and it’s machine washable and extremely lightweight. It’s also guaranteed to keep you dry and block out any wind as it’s made from Columbia’s patented waterproof material.
The “Hydroplus” shell is also made from nylon and makes the jacket work well as both a layering piece for extreme cold or wet weather conditions and as a primary jacket to stay warm and dry in lighter rains. The hood is not removable like the Marmot jacket, so that’s something to take into consideration.
This is one of the lightest jackets in our review thanks to the durable and lightweight Hydroplus construction. It’s able to hold up to a wide range of wet weather conditions, from a light fall drizzle to a total downpour scenario.
While the internal protective layer is great to have for staying warm and dry, this jacket is on the lighter side. If you’re running in very cold or excessively windy weather, you might want to consider adding a heavier overcoat as you might not stay warm enough with only this jacket.
Columbia really outdid themselves with the construction and design, particularly with the stitching. This jacket is definitely durable enough to last for years.
Also helpful to have are the elastic cuffs, which again help to conform to your specific size. Having more snug wrist cuffs prevents heavier rain from sneaking up loose-fitting garments and saturating the inner layers of the jacket. The two jacket pockets are nice to have for holding keys, wallets, and phones.
Lastly, this jacket has a layer of reflective elements that add increased safety when you’re running at dusk or in other possible low-light situations.
While not as well known as Columbia, Demozu has produced a solid and durable running jacket that offers a good amount of overall weather protection. Machine washable and made entirely of nylon, the jacket will hold up to moderate weather conditions.
This jacket is a pullover as opposed to a zip-up, and it’s completely up to you in terms of which style you prefer. Similar to the other jackets in our guide, this jacket can also fold up into a tiny self-contained bundle that fits in your back pocket. We always like having easily portable options so that you can rest assured you’ll be ready for any weather that comes your way.
There are two zippered side pockets on the front of the jacket for secure and waterproof storage for any items you might bring on your run with you. The jacket pockets also have a waterproof lining for extra protection for your personal items.
The Demozu jacket comes in 5 different colors, all of which have a reflective outer layer on top of the inner waterproof layer. For a higher level of protection during extreme weather conditions, you might want to consider wearing this jacket as an intermediary layer underneath a heavier outer layer.
One great thing about the Demozu jacket line is that all the jackets are available in 7 different sizes. From small to quadruple XL, this jacket will easily fit any sized runner.
The highest quality women’s jacket in our guide, this rain jacket is a premium option for female runners. To start with some simple specs, 14 different matte colors are available, so you’re guaranteed to find one you like. Available in 6 different sizes, this jacket should be a top consideration for women looking for a shield from the elements.
This jacket can stand up to even the heaviest of downpours and the most inclement weather. It’s made from an extremely high-quality and durable material with multiple inner mesh layers to keep you totally dry during heavy downpours. Even more impressively, it’s quite light and won’t weigh you down during a long run.
Underneath the armpits, there’s a breathable mesh layer that allows air to flow into the jacket so you stay cool while running. If it’s too cold out, you can zip the armpit mesh closed and shut off any airflow, thereby preventing cold air from getting inside your jacket.
There’s an adjustable hood operated via a drawstring, so you have a bit more control over how snugly the hood will fit your head. You can get a really great, tight fit with the hood, which will help stop any water from soaking your hair and neck. It will also help to break any strong winds.
As an added bonus, the jacket is multipurpose and also serves as a great hiking or cycling jacket. We won’t go into that much here, but it’s always good to know that you can spend money once and get multiple uses from the same jacket.
Buying Considerations and FAQs
If you’re an avid outdoor runner, then you can’t go wrong with any of these running jackets. From cold weather to outright bad weather, these jackets will help keep you warm and dry so you can focus on running without having to worry about extreme discomfort.
Of course, that being said, the best jacket for you depends on your exact needs and running situations. Firstly, do you usually run early in the morning, later at night, or in any kind of lower light scenario? If so, you definitely want to make sure that the jacket you purchase has a reflective layer to keep you visible and safe.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to count on drivers, cyclists, or electric scooter users to be paying as much attention as they should be — an ounce of prevention with a reflective layer can go a very long way in keeping you safe and running for the long term.
The second largest consideration should be what kind of climate you are generally running in. The rainy and cool northwestern US necessitates a heavier jacket that offers better protection from the cold and rain. In this case, the 33,000 ft brand rain jacket would be a good choice.
If you’re in the warmer and wetter southeastern US, then you’ll have different needs in terms of your outdoor running jacket. In this case, you’ll want a more breathable jacket that will help keep you cool while still keeping you dry.
It would also likely be worth considering the different weights of the jackets as well. For example, a lightweight running jacket will serve you better in a warmer climate or even during warmer months in general than a heavier option. If your jacket is so heavy that you overheat, it defeats the purpose of staying dry.
Next, think about the non-climate environment that you’re doing most of your running in. For example, running through city streets or neighborhood blocks would be less demanding on your jacket’s durability than running through forests or mountain paths.
If you’re lucky enough to live close to beautiful outdoor vistas where you can run, you’ll probably want to choose a thicker and more durable jacket that can survive being torn at by low-hanging branches and other natural debris that you’ll come across when running out in nature.
Lastly, consider the fit and availability of adjustable elements. While nothing off the rack will likely ever give you an absolutely perfect fit, you’ll want to make sure that you can get as close as possible to a snug fit for maximum waterproofing.
Remember, if your jacket is too loose and baggy, then you’re increasing the chances that rainwater can find its way inside and around the protective mesh layers. High winds would work the same way, finding their way into “weak spots” in your fit and defeating the purpose of the jacket.
One final note: also think about how much you tend to carry with you while you’re running. If you’re bringing along a lot of extras like wallets, keys, credit cards, and even snacks, it will be helpful to have a jacket that has more zipper pockets or other storage.
On top of storing your extra goods, consider whether you’d like a jacket that has a separate carrying bag or one that can fold in on itself and be stored within its own pockets.
Once you’ve considered the environment, climate, storage, and time of day, you’ll be that much closer to finding your perfect outdoor running jacket.
Please note that the answers to the questions below apply to all of the products covered within our guide unless specifically noted.
Are these jackets made domestically or imported?
These jackets are made in China and imported into the US or wherever you will be buying from.
Can I patch the jacket if it tears, or will that make it no longer waterproof?
Patching a damaged jacket can be difficult, but it is possible to repair your jacket by sewing a patch internally to close up any tearing. Keep in mind, however, that if the mesh itself tears, you won’t be able to repair it, which will reduce the breathability and internal waterproofing. As long as you’ve patched the outer layer without leaving any space, your jacket should remain just as waterproof as when it was new.
If the jackets are all machine washable, does that mean I can also machine dry them?
No, you should not use a dryer to dry your jacket after washing. If your jacket has an internal mesh, this could get damaged from high heat drying, though the biggest risk would be to the outer reflective layers. Reflective fabric works by weaving reflective micro-glass beads into the material. These little beads can become damaged by being dried out in a machine, which would make them unable to properly reflect light. For this reason, you can machine wash your jacket, but you should hang it up and let it air dry.
Is the outer waterproof layer made from Gore-Tex waterproofing material?
The Marmot Men’s jacket has an outer waterproof layer made from GoreTex. Gore-Tex is a type of patented waterproof fabric that is generally regarded as being the most popular waterproof material, though it isn’t the only option.
What is the difference between waterproof and water-repellant, and does it matter?
In short, yes it does matter whether a material is waterproof or water-repellant, though in both cases, you’re likely to stay dry. Water-repellent fabric means that water is not absorbed into the material and will literally roll right off the fabric. However, water-repellent fabrics have a lower capacity overall to repel water than a fabric that is waterproof.
This means that in heavy rain, water-repellent fabrics will basically become overwhelmed and you will eventually start to notice that you’re getting wet. Waterproof is a designation given to fabrics that have a water column greater than 8,000 mm. Ironically, waterproof material actually absorbs water into the outermost layer, but the underlying layers will remain totally dry. For extremely heavy rain conditions, make sure that you are outfitted with waterproof or “DWR (durable water repellent) fabrics so that you will stay totally dry.
Will ventilation defeat the waterproofing of the jacket?
Possibly yes, but you’ll need to make a few compromises with this one. If you’re getting too hot and sweating too much, you’ll effectively be wet under your jacket anyway, regardless of the rainy conditions. Most jacket manufacturers put the ventilation in an area where it would have partial shielding from rainy weather, like under the armpits. In very heavy rain, it’s likely that rain will find its way into the open vents, but in light rain where you’re sweating heavily, the ventilation will probably be a net benefit towards keeping you dry.
Here’s a quick guide to the brands that have been mentioned in this guide to help give you an idea of who you’re making a purchase from.
Avoogue is a small athletic wear manufacturer that primarily sells its products via partnerships with major retailers. Their products are affordably priced and quite durable, though they are not known for making the most premium athletic wear on the market.
Marmot was founded all the way back in 1971 by college students Dave and Eric, both attending UC Santa Cruz. The founders met while hiking in Alaska, where they were united by their love of the outdoors and their realization that current activewear options weren’t enough to give avid outdoorsman quality ways to protect themselves against extreme weather.
Their big break came 3 years later when their early outdoor jackets were featured in a Clint Eastwood movie. The company has been expanding ever since, and they launched their women’s line in 1982. They now continue to make high-quality outdoor gear for men, women, and children.
Columbia clothing almost needs no introduction — they are a titan in the activewear industry and have been since their founding back in 1938. Founded and still based in Portland, Oregon, Columbia activewear is heavily influenced by the demands of the Pacific Northwest (where the company was founded).
Built for the most avid and passionate outdoor adventurers, Columbia has been creating quality gear to suit all types of ecosystems and environments for almost a century.
Similar to Avoogue, Demozu is a smaller private label company that produces quality activewear for cost-conscious consumers. Their apparel is available via brand partnerships with major retailers such as Amazon and Walmart.
Owned by the parent company Fashion Flying Group, 33,000 Ft is a smaller offshoot brand that is solely dedicated to creating quality activewear. 33,000 Ft is a digital storefront-only brand based in Fuzhou City, Fujian, China, and they focus on utilizing innovative and creative fabric designs to push the limits of activewear performance and durability.
Get Ready to Get Running
Finding the best running rain jacket takes a lot of research, and your specific choice will be based on several factors. From the climate that you’re running in down to the time of day you prefer to run, the needs that define the best jacket will change from person to person.
The products in our guide are all high-quality choices for runners with any budget in mind and cater to a variety of climate needs. Whether you’re looking for a lightweight water-resistant jacket or a high-quality, premium option such as the Columbia jacket, there is a perfect option for you!
Once you have reviewed the personal circumstances that categorize your running, you’ll be better equipped to find your next, perfect jacket that will keep you dry while running outdoors in even the toughest rainy conditions.
After reading our guide, we hope you’ll find the perfect jacket so that you can stop shopping and start running!