Essential Rain Gear To Keep You Dry During Downpours

collage of rain gear

Graphic by Giovanna Pineda/KCM

Don’t take a rain check on these standouts.

You know what they say: April showers bring…well, soggy grass, mud puddles, and a certain unpleasant chill to the air — oh, and hopefully May flowers. For some of us, the nasty rain has us hiding out in our at-home havens, cocooned in blankets, sipping hot apple cider, and bingeing Netflix. For those of us commuting to work, exercising outside, or simply too restless to stay cooped up all day, we need the proper gear to get us through the wet months.

As a quick refresher, there’s both waterproof and water-resistant rain gear, both of which are good to have in your closet for different uses. Water-resistant items are made of a material that keeps water out to a certain extent, but won’t keep you dry if you, say, stand under a drainpipe like Gene Kelly in Singin’ in the Rain. Water-resistant jackets are perfect for days when the weather is pleasant but there’s a chance it will drizzle at some point. They tend to be lightweight, packable, and good for layering, making them ideal for hikes and working out. 

On the other hand, waterproof jackets do not let water in, period. They’re coated in or made of a material that is impervious to water, which can also make them less breathable. They’re often less flexible and thicker than water-resistant jackets, but they definitely do a better job of keeping you dry. Our recommendation is to have one — or more — of each to match different occasions, and to buy them in sizes that you can layer over sweaters or other bulky clothing throughout the seasons.

We rounded up some of the best waterproof and water-resistant clothing and accessories that’ll be your best friends on the wettest of rainy days — whether you’re splashing around in a park, going for a run, or taking a quick walk to the grocery store, this rain gear will keep you dry from point A to point B.

The Best Waterproof and Water-Resistant Rain Gear

Everlane ReNew Anorak

This should go without saying, but investing in a rain parka with year-round functionality should be a top priority. We love this water-resistant one from Everlane, which is long enough to cover your thighs and oversized enough to layer over cozy fall clothes. It features a roomy hood to fit over your favorite hoodie and a cinchable waist for an adjustable fit. 

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The North Face City Breeze Waterproof Rain Jacket

Next on the list is a waterproof jacket for days with heavier rain. This one from The North Face is lined for extra warmth, and it has adjustable cuffs to keep the water locked out. With a curve-skimming silhouette and sleeves long enough to tuck your hands into, you might even catch yourself reaching for this jacket on days with a clear forecast. 

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Weatherman Stick Umbrella

Investing in an umbrella may seem silly if you constantly are misplacing yours, but if you live in a rainy area, it’s a must. If you want to go all out, this large umbrella will keep you dry even in the heaviest of rainstorms. The cup-like shape gives you more coverage, but it also helps it withstand winds up to 55 mph.

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Allbirds Wool Dasher Mizzles

If you’re dedicated enough that you go on your daily runs no matter the weather, we salute you. These waterproof Allbirds runners will keep your feet dry, that way you won’t squish each time your feet hit the ground. A slightly higher ankle area helps keep water that splashes on your legs from seeping into your socks, and added traction keeps you from slipping in slick conditions.

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TenTree Nimbus Short Rain Jacket

Sometimes all you need is a light layer to protect you from a light shower. A cropped rain jacket hits right above the hip, accentuating your waist and making your legs look super long. This one is made from recycled water bottles, has a stowaway hood, and has reflective sleeve cuffs to keep you safe if you’re walking in the dark.

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Vessi CityScape Waterproof Sneaker

Wearing clunky rain boots to run errands isn’t ideal, but neither is having to get things done in soggy sneakers. Vessi’s shoes are 100 percent waterproof thanks to their tightly woven fabric. Despite not allowing any water in, they’re stretchy and breathable, so you can easily wear them on warm, rainy days without feeling like you have swampy feet.

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Lululemon Cross Chill Jacket

Lululemon’s Cross Chill Jacket is everything you’ve been looking for in a transition-weather running jacket. It’s made out of a waterproof fabric that still has four-way stretch, so you’ll be able to move in it despite the flattering cut and high-level protection. We give it extra points for the cozy fleece lining.

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Lululemon Break a Trail Jacket

If reading “fleece-lined” has you sweating already, never fear: Lululemon has the perfect jacket for anyone who runs hot. It’s still waterproof for total coverage, but has a looser fit so you can decide just how many layers you need. The high collar and hood are big pluses for us.

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L.L. Bean Mountain Classic Anorak

If you’re craving one of those funky windbreakers that were big in the ‘90s but would actually like a little wind protection, go for this cheery jacket from L.L. Bean. It’s breathable and water-resistant for some light protection, and it packs down into its own pocket to make it easy for you to toss it in your backpack. It’s the perfect color combination to add a little flare to your outfit.

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Hunter Original Tall Rain Boots

Everybody needs a good rain boot, and there’s a reason Hunter has been the go-to brand for years. Their hand-assembled boots come with a two-year warranty to guarantee your satisfaction, and I have had my Hunters — plus the shearling insoles — for more than a decade of midwestern weather: If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is. We love the classic tall boot, but the short boots and slim-calf versions are great options as well.

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The Original L.L. Bean Boot

Get your New England on with L.L. Bean’s iconic all-weather boot. The made-in-Maine boots have been around since 1912 and are as fall ready as they come. Pair them with thick wool socks or, for anyone with chronically cold feet, choose the Thinsulate or shearling-lined versions for added warmth.

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L.L. Bean Rugged Wellie Chelsea Boots

If you’re a lifelong Bean Boot fan but are looking for a slightly more refined look, go for this Chelsea style instead. They’re protective and heavy-duty, but aren’t quite as clunky as duck boots or a full length rain boot, making them easy to walk around in on days when it isn’t quite downpouring. We love the white stripe on the navy boots, but the green and black options will work great with any fall outfit as well. 

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Totes One-touch Auto Open Mini Umbrella

Say goodbye to soaked backpacks and groceries with this mini umbrella, which is the perfect size to slip into your purse or the side pocket of your backpack. It has a special coating that helps the water roll off, rather than soaking into the material and leaving you with an annoyingly drippy umbrella that takes hours to dry. It comes with a matching sleeve with a handle for easy storage and carrying.

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Ariza Waterproof Pouch Case

Few scenarios match the stress of trying desperately to keep your phone dry as you rush home during a downpour or the despair of pulling a soaked phone out of your backpack pocket. If you’ve wasted multiple bags of rice on resuscitating your phone, it’s time to purchase a waterproof pouch. This one will protect your phone even when fully submerged, so you can walk home in the rain without having to worry. 

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