Monday, March 17, 2014

Which are the Best Preppy Rain Jackets?


There are a wide variety of rain jackets on the market today.  Some popular options are:
  • the relatively inexpensive L.L. Bean Trail Model Rain Jacket for $79.00 (in Yellow, below);
  • the more mid-range Patagonia versions (older Gray Storm and Blue Jackets, below); and
  • the Henri Lloyd Eco Jacket (Blue, below), or Atmosphere Jacket.


Other options are numerous and including (from past conversations) the
  • Musto;
  • Gill ocean racing option;
  • Marmot Precip;
  • Loro Piana storm system;
  • Paul and Shark Typhoon; and
  • L.L. Bean Ascent jacket/Gore-Tex Pro shell.
Is what you get when you pay more worth it?




There is always the commercial fisherman route of Grundens.



What is best for every day use....


...versus the more demanding ocean racing?


45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Funny, my husband and I were just talking about buying some rain gear. We have begun the search. We don't need anything terribly rugged, just sturdy enough for casual wear/light work. Preferably something made in the USA. Remember those cute rain slickers from the 80's? I had a green one with a whale print lining, and a red and clear stripe "Jellies" one. --Holly in PA

Hilary said...

Helly Hansen is a long-time favorite here.

Anonymous said...

I can't find a label on the seemingly indestructible ones that we own, but my guess is Land's End or LLBean as they were Christmas gifts from my mother and she liked both. They are reversible. The rubbery side of each is beige and the satiny (not shiny) side is another color. Each family member got a different color which made it easy. They still look great. I think they must be from the 80s!

WRJ said...

I like Patagonia's Torrentshell. It navigates the breathable/waterproof line pretty well in my experience. I had the Bean Trail Model for years but was never a fan of the shade of yellow. It bears mentioning that all waterproof finishes will wear off after some number of soakings or launderings--a fact that has not convinced my dad to give up his now literally threadbare Marmot Precip.

Danno said...

I personally reach for one of my ragged old Patagonia hardshells or my Filson Anorak.

AJC said...

Like WRJ, I'm fond of my Torrentshell, but there are times when I'd prefer something a bit longer to keep my thighs from getting wet in heavier downpours.

If I could do it over, I'd go with something made of GoreTex. As an Army vet with many rainy/muddy field training exercises under my belt, I can attest to its excellent performance, durability, and ease of cleaning. Plus, it doesn't have that plasticky feel which often leaves me feeling a bit clammy, and because it's waterproof properties come from the fabric itself and not from any finish applied to it, I don't think you'd have the lost finish problem that WRJ described.

Anonymous said...

I came to the United States year of 2000. I saw lots of good jackets from Polo, Patagonia, Brooks, and LL Bean. I told myself, "These are all great quality. I will buy them next time," believing that they would be here forever, but I was wrong because they are not here any more although their names are. I should've bought to pile them when there was a chance. So sad...

Anonymous said...

Blessed is the company who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the way of sinners, and sit on the seat of the mockers. but, their delight is in the Law of the Lord, good quality products, and customer satisfaction and putting them before their own interest. they will be like a tree planted by stream of water. Whatever they makes shall be successful and prosperous."

Anonymous said...

The thicker the membrane, the better. If you can find a 3L goretex hardshell on sale it will be worth it. Gore just came out with a new fabric that is stealing the show, really sets itself apart from competitors like eVent.

John G said...

For everyday use, light hiking, etc., I loved my old, unlined (early 90s) LLB Baxter State Parka. Relatively inexpensive; worth every penny. You had to waterproof it after a while, but it was well-built, rugged, and good pockets. Can't comment on the newer versions. For everyday use in warm temperatures, I use the thin Bimini Bay that Orvis used to sell.

Brad Cole said...

For on land, I agree with WRJ's Patagonia recommendation above. For serious offshore work, I recommend Musto.

Cheers, BC

Anonymous said...

I have been using my very old LL Bean Goretex jacket for a long time. It seems to work okay but I have been wondering if it needs to be treated every few years, or is there a newer, better technology , or if there are made in USA alternatives that deserve a look.

Anonymous said...

I own some beautiful ones from LL Bean and Eddie Bauer, purchased back in the 80s or 90s (and made in USA), that are still in excellent condition. So fortunate I have them, as I get asked all the time where I purchased them. They sure don't make them now like they used to.

snowysailor said...

If by land... Patagonia
If by sea... Musto
If NYC...???

Anonymous said...

The L.L. Bean "Trail Model" works very well for keeping the rain off even in a heavy downpour. I have the knee-length one for extra protection, and bought the one without the fleece liner so I could use it in warm weather and layer it on top of the L.L. Bean "wind challenger" fleece jacket when it's cold.

As an alternative, my well-maintained Barbour "border" jacket is also excellent in wet weather, but is too warm for summer storms and not warm enough in the dead of winter without layers. Today it's 33 outside and a wintry mix is coming down, and I wore my Barbour over an LLB "trail model" fleece vest, LLB ragg wool sweater, an oxford shirt, and LLB ragg wool socks and was very comfortable and dry while scraping off my car, keeping my tootsies dry with Bean boots, which I swap for Sperrys when I get to my office.

James said...

My "tent" colored L.L. Bean double-layer nylon jacket from the 1990's has been a trusty layer over any sweater or fleece. It needs occasional waterproofing as it's not gore-tex, but has traveled the world and is ready for more. Good for light to medium rains.

Max said...


I always had a very good experience with Rukka products from Finland.

Greenfield said...

If you want value, the Grundens rule; ours are still in perfect shape 19 years after the lobster boat was sold! For the teeming sploosh when fashion isn't relevant, still on the peg.

For civilized company I have a horsey brand called "Joules." It's a light retro sky blue, has a mesh liner that prevents that clammy feeling, and so far has not deteriorated one bit in 9 years. It's also long enough to cover your hips, has huge pockets and a roll-away hidden hood.

If headed offshore today,(on a vessel that doesn't smell), I'd consider both tops and bottoms by Henri Lloyd a good investment; and preferably with a lining.

Anonymous said...

What a timely article. I’m looking for something to replace my old LL Bean raincoat (it has seen better days). I was considering the Guy Cotton Rosbras. Is anyone familiar with this brand and/or jacket?
CHP

Michael said...

I have a sharp-looking and well-made Musto team jacket, given to me,when I was a sailing coach here where I teach. It keeps me dry in most conditions. But when I was actually coaching--in a small Boston Whaler, often in freezing temperatures and real seas--I always wore a heavy-duty Henri Lloyd foul-weather gear jacket. It was like a Grundens, but with stout nylon fabric over the sealed-seam rubber lining. Plus good sea boots over wool socks. Maybe I had gone soft after too many cold years on boats, but I was no longer interested in being wet and miserable. My hardy student sailors, ice coating their dry suits and their teeth chattering, would accuse me of "yachting." If only.

Michael

jo baldwin said...

Got an Eddie Bauer in 1997 and still use it. It goes barely below the waist, so obviously not suitable for real heavy weather.
It has a hood zipped into the collar and folds up into its own pouch and it fits easily into a shoulder bag or backpack. I don't leave home without it.

Bradley Sant said...

I personally like my Patagonia Torrentshell because of the quality and it keeps me completely dry. I have heard the Marmot Precip is a good buy as well. By the way, I believe it is spelled "Marmot" and not "Marmont"
Cheers

Anonymous said...

In the dark ages, there was a company in Gloucester called Mighty Mac. We used to buy foul weather gear there, the same clothing commercial fishermen wore, always in orange, in case you washed overboard.

These days, anything Patagonia suits me fine. Not only am I a fan of their products, they try hard to be responsible, both in terms of workers’ rights and wages. They may not always succeed, but this is a complicated issue in a global economy.

I’m not one for logos, but the Patagonia label adds good vibes whenever you slip one of their products on.

MGC

maruchan said...

Here in the Uk we have some new brands replacing the old ones that sort of 'lost it'. My favourite is Seasalt (based in Cornwall) UK made clothes, ethical approach and great service and their rainware is great! I now have three of their jackets. They work well, tested on many dog walks in the typical English weather.

jrandyv said...

After 60 years in NW have worn most everything; Bean, Lands End, Columbia- most with gore tex. Currently have Barbour, Paul and Shark, Piana storm and Arcteryx. I like the look of P + S, well made and good protection. The most technical with the best protection is the the gore tex pro, BC made Arcteryx- also most $. Have not tried Lloyd/ Musto but would like to see-hard to find in NW.

Jrandyv
Vancouver WA

groneng said...

I agree with Hilary. Helly Hansen is wonderful!

Brian said...

To the commenter who asked about Guy Cotten (not "cotton"), they make superb foul weather gear. The Nylpeche fabric of the Rosbras jacket is very nice.

For fans of Grunden's, take a look at the gear made by COFISH. Once the same company, COFISH broke off from Grunden's and makes heavier, less expensive gear for commercial fisherman (hence, the name). The quality is every bit as good as Grunden's and both are made in Portugal (probably in the same factory).

For a hiking/general use rain shell, I like the P-gonia Torrentshell and Marmot Precip. The recently re-issued LL Bean Mountain Anorak is a good budget option for a packable, no frills pull-over.

Anonymous said...

We always wore Helly Hansen sailing. Two piece, pants were overalls. Never leaked.

JDS said...

I had a LLB Baxter State Parka(mentioned by John G.) for many years. My Mother had stitched up so many times that my then girlfriend said I "wore it like a badge of courage". Begrudgingly, I finally got rid of it. I now have a LLB yellow Goretex jacket that I bought more than ten years ago to use in afternoon rain storms when bicycling to and from work 16 miles. It also makes a great wind breaker for sailing.
Anon: 3/17/14 12:38 clever paraphrasing the 1st Psalm. I must add: "The Ungodly (companies) are not so, but are like the chaff that the wind driveth away."

Anonymous said...

Bought a Marmot jacket nearly ten years ago for skiing. It has a down-lined interior and a removable PreClip exterior shell. In winter I use the combo together but use the PreClip shell year-round for rain. Great jacket. Like a duck's back, the rainwater rolls right off me. But be forewarned, the PreClip is truly a light weight shell and offers little warmth.

Patsy said...

We have Patagonia full foul weather sets, Patagonia & Marmot shells & spray jackets and a bunch of Atlantis jackets with hoods (mine) and without (my husband's. I also have an Isis soft shell.

All of them keep the rain off.

And I would wear each if by land, by sea or in NYC, since I think the rain is just as wet everywhere :)

LG said...

For everyday use I really like my Women's New Englander Rain Jacket from Charles River Apparel. The fit is nice and comfortable. I picked mine up at an event and would encourage others to look out for the brand at race weeks, etc.

Anonymous said...

Some years ago, I picked up an old Helly Hansen yellow rubber rain jacket at an estate sale in Annapolis. $5. It's my rain jacket for life.

Phil M. said...

The Mariners Jacket by F.L. Woods.

http://www.flwoods.com/product/the-mariners-jacket

JSL said...

I agree with the recommendations for Helly Hansen. My spouse wears a very lightweight Patagonia rain jacket and he's happy with it, but my HH offers much better protection. Neither jacket is insulated, but there's plenty of room under mine for sweaters and fleece. Admittedly we're not avid sailors, but I'd feel more than comfortable puttering around on the lake in bad weather with my jacket. Not sure how long spouse would stay dry in his Patagonia, but he went for light weight over excellent protection.

As to the question of which rain coat to wear in the city, I believe this is where the trench coat comes into play. London Fog and Burberry are both classics. Neither are hard core rubber slickers, but everyone in NYC seems to carry aggressively large golf umbrellas anyway, so perhaps an impermeable coat is not necessary?

Anonymous said...

U.S. Army issue Goretex parka. I have three designer colors from which to choose. Woodland, desert, and ACU work equally well! However, I did just check out a very well- designed and sturdy lightweight rain parka from North Face at Dunham's Sporting Goods.
Tom K

Anonymous said...

Wow. Loro Piana made the list. That's pretty luxurious for use puritan New England Yankees. I don't know. In all honesty, I walk by that shop everyday on my way to lunch (I live in San Francisco) just so I can look inside and drool. Absolutely gorgeous, classic, beautiful clothing and accessories. In SF, my daily rain gear for street or sailing is Patagonia. It has a lining and hoods that are removable, but don't leak, great colors.

BlueTrain said...

I don't seem to get invited on sailing excursions but I also have an army Goretex parka. I expect it would look out-of-place on a boat. It gets used when I shovel snow and it has been used a lot this winter. I use a poncho in the woods. For raw weather I use a Filson cover cloth field jacket, which is starting to show considerable wear, so I've been using an ordinary nylon Jansport parka, which is pretty much just as good. But how much does one need to go from the house to the car and from the car to the office?

William L. Montag IV said...

http://www.carhartt.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10101&storeId=10051&productId=100458&langId=-1 Hands down the best outter shell jacket for all occasions. I am a Construction Supervisor for a major utility company by the shore in New Jersey. No other jacket has protected me better in the field and looked as good walking into a meeting at corporate HQ.

Joyce North said...

I really like my Patagonia Torrentshell for general use.

nutrivore said...

Talking of Carhartt, they have a few fabulous women's rain jackets (the Duck Woodward or the Force Equator).

However, they frequently change the material on the women's jackets while keeping the comparable men's version unchanged. The Cascade is an example. One year they had the same material as the men's jackets, the next year, it was cheap and flimsy for the women, the original for the men.

I will buy a Carhartt jacket only if I can compare it side by side with the men's version. If the material is less sturdy, forget about it. And if the zipper breaks or the lining comes off, they won't do a thing about it.

Carhartt is not the only brand that thinks it can dip into my my pocketbook while giving me the dregs. Looking at you, Ralph Lauren.

Labrador said...


http://heavytweedjacket.tumblr.com/image/80055003365

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried the original Mackintosh? Expensive, but these garments will keep you dry even if the 40 day and 40 night thing happens again. As for me, I just grab an umbrella and RUN!

andrew said...

Depends on my needs. For the worst imaginable weather, a UK-based company, RAB, makes a waterproof/breathable rain shell, the Latok, that is my favorite. a heavyweight, highly durable, made with an eVent membrane.

Patagonia recently rolled out a waterproof/breathable light rain shell, the Alpine Houdini, that weighs six ounces and stuffs into a pocket the size of a glove. Spartan but highly functional.

Andy said...

I was wondering what the name of the Patagonia Blue jacket is. I can't seem to find it anywhere?