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What is the Best Rain Jacket for New Zealand?

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Which rain jacket to buy for New Zealand.

The rain isn’t messing around in New Zealand. Thanks to New Zealand’s maritime climate, it gets rain a lot even in summer. That’s why at the top of any packing list to New Zealand it should read “Good Rain Jacket”! But what are the best rain jackets for New Zealand? We’ll go through some of our top picks in this article.

For such a simple concept: keeping dry, rain jackets have become quite a complex item of clothing! With specification lists as long as your packing list itself, choosing a good rain jacket for New Zealand can be quite overwhelming. We’ll go over what the specifications mean, as well as picking different rain jackets for the different types of travel. By the way, if you haven’t picked your backpack yet, head over to What is the Best Backpack for New Zealand? for some tips.

For more information on the New Zealand weather, see What is the Weather Like in New Zealand?

What do the rain jacket specifications mean?

Rain jacket manufacturers like to boast about the performance of their jackets with different numbers and “this and that” technology, but what does it mean? More importantly, will it keep you dry? Well, luckily any rain jacket you buy from a proper outdoors store (or pick from the list below) will keep you dry. Major rain coat manufacturers have the waterproofing thing down now. However, to make their jackets stand out from the rest, other specifications look at how “breathable” a jacket is and the weight of the jacket.

There are three main numbers that you will see when comparing rain jackets:

  • Millimeters (mm) – This is to show how waterproof the jacket is. 0-5,000mm being the least waterproof to 20,000mm being the most waterproof. You want your rain jacket to be at least 10,000mm.
  • Grams (g) per metre squared (m²) – This measures breathability by how much water vapor can pass through a square metre of the fabric. The larger the number the more breathable the fabric.
  • Layers (L) – The thing that makes a jacket waterproof and breathable is the combination of layers: an outer layer called the “face fabric” and and inner layer called the membrane. What other layers are included determines how heavy the jacket will be. 3 layers (3L) will be the heaviest, 2 layers medium and  2.5 layers use an abbreviated pattern to make a more light-weight layer.
Caring for your rain jacket

With enough water and enough moisture and oil from skin, rain jackets lose their waterproof and breathable effectiveness over time. If you drop some water on your rain jacket and it beads up and rolls off, then your jacket it still waterproof and ready to go. However, if water sits on top of the jacket and slowly starts to seep through, you will need to wash it and re-waterproof it. Follow the laundry instructions on your rain jacket and use special waterproofing detergent such as Nikwax Tech Wash.

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Amazon

Marmot PreCip

When you walk into any New Zealand outdoors store, you’ll see Marmot dominating the rain jacket department. When it comes to keeping you dry, Marmot’s offering is huge. However, we believe the best value-for-money rain jacket on offer from the popular outdoors’ gear brand is the Marmot Precip. This lightweight rain jacket excels in breathability while keeping you bone dry after a day of constant light-to-medium rain or even during quick heavy showers.

The waterproof rating is 10,000mm, the breathability 17,000gm, and has a 2.5 layer. It’s super lightweight and packs up tightly to fit into your day pack.

We recommend this rain jacket for New Zealand when doing multi-day hikes in warmer months and for year-round day hikes (although you will really want to layer up underneath this jacket during the cold months).

Check out the latest prices on Amazon. This model is available for both men and women.

Amazon

Fjallraven Greenland Jacket

When it comes to style points, Fjallraven always gets the win and it’s no different for their Greenland Jacket. This jacket is super versatile from the trails on mountain hikes to bustling around New Zealand’s cities. Plus, it will keep you ultra dry during any downpour with their highly durable and densely woven 65% polyester and 35% cotton that now comes in eco-friendly recycled and organic materials. To keep the jacket waterproofing function maintained, you might also want to purchase the Fjallraven Greenland Wax.

We recommend this rain jacket for New Zealand if travelling in the colder months and for day outdoors activities like day hikes. Due to the heavier fabric than other rain jackets on this list, it would not be the best pick for multi-day hikes.

Check out the latest prices on Amazon. This model is available for both men and women.

Amazon

Arc’teryx Zeta

For the outdoors enthusiast that isn’t sh*tting around, Arc’teryx is the premium rainwear brand with all the bells and whistles: Gor-Tex technology, 3-layer, water-tight zippers including arm pit zippers. Of course, this does mean that this Arc’teryx Zeta is by far the most expensive rain jacket out of our picks. However, it will keep you unimaginably dry. It’s lightweight, comes in plenty of colours so there’s no chance of looking like a walking rubbish bag, and the hood is well designed to keep your face dry while not impeding your vision.

We recommend this rain jacket if you plan to be in the outdoors a lot during your time in New Zealand, whether it’s multi-day hiking or for everyday use when you’re out and about, whatever the season. Although a few extra layers under the jacket will be needed in winter.

Check out the latest prices on Amazon. This model is available for both men and women.

Amazon

North Face Resolve 2

For a lightweight rain jacket that you can carry with you every day, pick the North Face Resolve 2. With a high collar and stowable hood, it’s an effective windproof jacket too. It boasts 750-800 g/m² breathability and fully waterproof with “DryVent” technology, the North Face brand of membrane-layer technology. At a lower price point than other rain jackets, the North Face Resolve 2 is well worth considering for your travels in New Zealand if you’re on a budget.

We recommend this rain jacket for travelling New Zealand in warmer months and for day hikes and other day outdoor activities.

Check the latest prices on Amazon. This model is available for both men and women.

Amazon

Marmot Minimalist

Like it says on the tin: it’s minimalist. However, where it lacks in fancy features like decent pockets and armpit zippers it makes up for in the most important thing: it’s super waterproof. Made with 2.5-layer Gore-Tex Paclite, it’s sure to keep you dry and easy to carry. Plus, we love the easy-to-use hood toggles that will keep the hood snug around your face during heavy downpours. It comes in different colours and looks flattering on both men and women. It’s perhaps not as breathable as other rain jackets, but it still does a great job at keeping you cool enough in summer and is warmer than other jackets for winter travels.

We recommend this rain jacket for year-round travelling, day or multi-day hiking, and if you are on a budget.

Check out the latest prices on Amazon. This model is available for both men and women.

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