The British summer weather is unpredictable to say the least, so a rain jacket is an essential part of a festival-goer’s kit.
And not just any rain jacket will do – the right piece must have substance as well as style: it should actually keep you dry; it should have plenty of pockets to store your phone, money and other essentials.
It should also be roomy enough to wear layers beneath, and lightweight so that it isn’t a burden to carry when dry. Jackets that fold up small or pack away into a pouch are a definite bonus.
On top of all of that, your rain jacket needs to look good too – because no self-respecting fashionista would truly let the weather hamper her festival look.
We tried on countless rain jackets in a range of styles to find you our favourites this season.
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Lululemon seek the sky jacket: £168, Lululemon
This is water-repellent, rather than fully waterproof, but we preferred it to any of the other jackets in-store at the activewear Mecca because it feels so light and easy to wear. There are lots of pockets, it’s machine washable and – the best part – it packs into a belt bag, so when the sun comes out, you don’t have to think about carrying it around.
Rains holographic glossed PU jacket: £89, Net-A-Porter
We love the holographic finish of this glossy jacket by Danish brand Rains, which looks a little like an oil slick. The hood also has a visor-like section at the front, which is a stroke of genius as it keeps the rain off your face. It feels really substantial to wear – it would withstand a really torrential downpour, we reckon – and still holds its own in the style stakes.
Joules navy spot golightly waterproof packaway jacket: £29.95, Joules
Polka dots are one of the biggest trends of the summer, and Joules has nailed the look in this light, mid-length packable jacket. It covers all the important functional bases: hood, pockets, elasticated cuffs and it’s fully waterproof too. It’s roomy enough for a knit underneath, feels very lightweight to wear and even packs away nice and small into a coordinating pouch.
Barbour x Alexa Chung pip nylon smock: £249, Alexa Chung
Along with Kate Moss, Alexa Chung was one of the first to make the Barbour jacket a British festival classic. Now she’s partnered with the heritage outerwear brand on a trio of pieces of which this Pip smock is one. The pull-over style is really easy to wear and we like the lacing at the neck. The front pocket is super-convenient, too. It’s a great marriage of style and function – bravo, Alexa!
Zara neon packable raincoat-backpack: £25.99, Zara
This jacket has all the trends covered, from the cropped length to the neon colour. It has a zip-away hood, toggles at the sleeves to keep any water out, two side pockets, and a back pocket into which you can stuff the whole garment and carry it as a backpack. While you can’t expect a Zara purchase to last forever, this is a great buy to see you through the summer festival season in style.
Marfa Stance the signature reversible liner jacket: £695, Marfa Stance
The design of this luxe padded jacket by new brand Marfa Stance was inspired by a vintage parka liner. It feels super light and warm, folds down to almost nothing, is water-repellent and is even reversible, so you can switch up your look on different days. We love that there are pockets on both the inside and outside too. It’s pricey but we reckon we’d never tire of it.
Everlane the city anorak: £69, Everlane
US basics brand Everlane has finally started shipping to the UK, and this anorak, made from 25 recycled plastic bottles, is a really thoughtfully designed piece at a great price. It closes with both a zip and snap buttons, has side pockets and a roomy hood, plus the minimalist A-line shape looks cool whether it’s worn open or closed. It’s relatively lightweight too.
Hunter Boots original pleated vinyl jacket: £195, Hunter Boots
A great option if you have no intention of letting a little rain get in the way of a fashion moment, this semi-transparent vinyl jacket comes courtesy of festival stalwart Hunter. The A-line shape and pleats give it contemporary look, while the snaps at the hood and cuff make the fit adjustable. It’s clearly a quality piece, with details like vents under the arms so you don’t feel too sweaty, and welded seams to make it fully waterproof.
Iets frans pink batwing pac-a-mac: £30, Urban Outfitters
Iets Frans’ roomy jacket is ideal for wearing over bardot-style or batwing tops, and the cheery colour will make up for the inclement weather that necessitates it. The design features elasticated wrists and hem, plus a drawstring hood and zip-up side pockets – plus the whole thing packs away into a pouch. It’s a really versatile buy at a great price.
The verdict: Festival raincoats for women
For pure practicality and versatility, we settled on the Lululemon jacket, which not only packs into a belt bag, but is well made and thoughtfully designed too. We also adored Alexa Chung’s colourful Barbour smock and the sheer Hunter jacket for the fashion potential alone.
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