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How to buy Rainwear

There are a few options to choose from when selecting the type of rainwear you want. First, consider material type.

Waterproof breathable

  • By and large the best option for most activities. Keeps rain out, while allowing sweat to escape. Can use laminates or coatings.
    • Laminates – Gore-Tex is a laminate. This option provides highest breathability and durability, but costs more.
    • Coatings – Offers equal waterproofing to laminates, but will suffer in breathability. They are less expensive.

Water-resistant breathable

  • Good for rain protection while active.
  • Should only be used if heavy rain is not a threat.
  • Slows the penetration of water, but won’t prevent it.
  • These are typically soft shells, or windbreakers.


  • Flexibility of a soft shell with waterproof protection.
  • Popular among climbers or runners who value mobility.
  • E.g., Soft shell jacket with Gore-Tex laminate.

Waterproof non-breathable

  • Moisture can’t get in or out.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Good rain protection for low stress activities (e.g., fishing).
  • The classic yellow rain coat.

Look for quality

Good rainwear is a great investment and is incredibly versatile. A quality rain shell can turn into your primary outerwear jacket, and can offer great comfort in almost any conditions.