April showers bring May flowers.
It also reminds you how important it is to have a good waterproof shell. Problem is, there’s just too many to choose from. Some companies use a two-layer time-tested material; others experiment with more modern fabrics. There’s polyurethane-coated fabric; a sprayed on waterproofing. There’s also laminated fabric, acting like glued on waterproofing. Other things to consider are weight, comfort, versatility, breathability, and, perhaps most importantly, cost. Simple rain jackets can range from $80 to $250, where hard-shell jackets are well over the $300 range.
My choice for quite some time has been the Outdoor Research Foray Jacket ($215). It hasn’t failed me yet. Its construction is a 2.5-layer, built with a lightweight—and affordable—Gore-Tex laminate. It’s definitely not as ultra-light as some other brands, but it’s extremely durable… more so than most rain jackets. Not only is the Foray made from a breathable (and waterproof) fabric, it also has an amazing ventilation system to allow your own moisture to escape. The jacket’s “Torso Flow” pit-zips fully open the jacket up, like a poncho. The pockets are also mesh lined, allowing extra ventilation.
Basically, if you’re looking for a rain shell that’s as durable and waterproof as a hard shell—but has the ventilation and lower cost of the common rain jacket—the Foray is awesome.