10 best kids' waterproofs 2018
From lightweight, packable coats to fully protective all-in-ones, here are our top wet-weather picks
When you’re buying your kid a waterproof jacket, you need to think about how much of an outdoorsy family you are or plan to be. If you like camping or getting out for walks whatever the weather, it’s worth investing in a decent waterproof jacket that will withstand regular use from spring to autumn.
This is also important if they walk or cycle to school, and if they do you should also look out for waterproof jackets with reflective strips to keep them safe on and around busy roads.
If you only need something for occasional use, getting something highly technical is less important, though you might want to look for a waterproof jacket that is not too bulky so it can be easily stuffed into a backpack or under a buggy.
Younger kids tend to like bright designs. Breathability is less important for this age group too, though keeping them warm in wet weather will be something you want to think about.
All of the jackets on this list are effective at repelling water, though some of the fabrics felt more hard-wearing than others in our testing. The age ranges provided here are those indicated by the brands, but we recommend checking size guides before you buy.
Muddy Puddles Puddlepac Lined Jacket: £28, Muddy Puddles
Size range: 1-12 years
Colour options: Blue stripey, yellow raindrop
Our young testers liked the bright, eye-catching designs from Devon-based Muddy Puddles, and I also like small kids to wear vivid colours, as you’re less likely to lose them in a crowd, plus it’s safer if you’re cycling or walking around busy roads. The Puddlepac has a fleece lining, which makes it comfy but also warmer than some of the more basic waterproofs on test. It felt light and not bulky when folded up in a backpack. The waterproofing held up well in strong showers, the hood wasn’t adjustable but was a snug fit, ditto the wrists. Choose from blue stripes with orange trim or a bright-yellow raindrop design. There is also a non-lined version in different designs.
Helly Hansen Block IT Jacket: £90, Helly Hansen
Age range: 8-16 years
Colour options: Pink, blue, black/grey, green/grey
This was the most expensive jacket we tried, but also the one our seven-year-old tester took the biggest shine to. It kept him warm and dry in wet, windy weather on a coastal walk. It was also one of the lightest on test. He played football in it without getting sweaty, so I’d give it a good score for breathability. The hood is detachable, the side pockets are zipped and it has a decent reflective trim. Using it as their main spring-to-autumn jacket rather than as an occasional waterproof could help you justify the cost.
Dry Kids All In One Waterproof Rainsuit: £12.95, Amazon
Age range: 1-12 years
Colour options: Navy, pink, green, red, blue
This all-in-one may look a little like a hazmat suit, especially in this bright yellow version, but we found it to be a great piece of kit and incredibly good value. At my children’s primary school, it’s the most popular brand among parents when the outdoorsy school trip comes around. The waterproofing is reliable, the fact it’s a one-piece will keep them extra warm and dry in miserable weather and the reflective piping keeps them visible on darker nights. It’s bulkier than others when packed up and on hotter days they can’t shed half of it, but for wet, cooler days these suits are winners.
Polarn O Pyret Blue Waterproof Shell Jacket: £55.20, Polarn O Pyret
Age range: 2-12 years
Colour options: Blue, turquoise, pink, khaki
Swedish brand Polarn O Pyret isn’t cheap but if you have the type of children who need regular outdoor exercise whatever the weather, it’s a sensible choice. This was one of the thicker jackets we tested, which is more important for younger children, but it is also extremely waterproof and as hardy as you’d expect from a shell jacket. As a result it’s slightly more bulky when it comes to stuffing it into a backpack. It’s a very practical design; the hood’s detachable, the pockets zip up, and there is a decent bit of reflective trim. Polarn O Pyret sells a matching pair of robust waterproof dungaree trousers too.
Freedom Trail Essential Kids’ Waterproof Set: £15, Go Outdoors
Age range: 3-12 years
Colour options: Black
This is a good no-frills waterproof set at a very decent price. It was the lightest on test and fits easily into a zip case, so it would work well for school day-trips or walks in the countryside. The waterproofing held up well enough on test though our tester said he felt colder in the rain in this jacket than the others, which makes sense as the fabric is thin and not especially breathable; none of this should matter if you have a decent jumper or fleece underneath though. As it’s only available in black, it’s not ideal for cyclists but there are reflective strips on the back.
Reima Reimatec Jacket Aava: £66, Reima
Age range: 2-12 years
Colour options: Grey/yellow, red with dots, navy with dots
Reima is a Finnish brand that’s long been popular in Scandinavia and eastern Europe but is now growing in appeal over here, thanks to its original designs and pretty patterns combined with hardy technical credentials. The Aava felt quite lightweight but repelled water really well even in a heavy downpour, and as you might expect, it was also good at blocking out cold Siberian winds. The hood is detachable, and as it is one of the pricier coats on test, it would make sense to use it as an everyday jacket in milder weather. There are loads of styles in different patterns and degrees of warmth to choose from.
Jojo Maman Bebe Children’s Fisherman Jacket: £36, Jojo Maman Bebe
Age range: 1-6 years
Colour options: Yellow, red, pink
This Fisherman-style coat is a consistent bestseller for Jojo Maman Bebe and not just because it looks cute on smaller kids, but also because it is waterproof and windproof so it keeps them warm in all manner of wet weather. It has a waxy finish and a soft cotton lining that adds to the cosy factor. It was one of the heavier jackets on test so we think it’s more suited to everyday wear than one you would fold up in a bag for wet-weather emergencies. For the quality, this is a good-value coat.
Columbia Sportswear Watertight Jacket: £40, Cotswold Outdoor
Age range: 4-18 years
Colour options: Light blue, royal blue, orange, black, navy
This is a top-quality waterproof jacket. Our tester stayed dry while wearing it in a heavy downpour – the raindrops were rolling off the fabric, yet the jacket has a breathable, lightweight feel and it packs up easily into a school backpack. The hood and wristbands are elastic and easily tightened with velcro, which our tester found helpful while cycling and playing football in the rain. This would work as a solid everyday option for school, but it would also be good for summer camping trips.
Joules Skipper Waterproof Coat: from £42.95, Joules
Age range: 1-12 years
Colour options: Shark print, blue and white stripes
The Skipper has a similar waxy finish to Jojo Maman Bebe’s Fisherman jacket but with a slightly lighter feel. It would work well as a daily spring-to-autumn jacket and our younger testers loved the bold shark and scuba diver designs. It is reliably waterproof, windproof and comfy, with a fleece liner. It’s not a breathable jacket but that’s not normally necessary for smaller children. It does lack reflective features though.
Quechua Hike 900 Children’s Hiking Jacket: £29.99 Decathlon
Age range: 8-14 years
Colour options: Grey; turquoise; bright blue; black; navy; pink; purple
Decathlon is known for its good value yet technical outdoor gear and we found this one kept our tester completely dry even in seriously heavy rain. The fabric feels crunchier than some of the other jackets and we found it wasn’t as warm in the wind as some of the more expensive brands, but it is breathable and lightweight, and folds up into a school backpack. Our older tester liked the contrasting fluoro zip design on the black version, which also provided good reflectivity at night, and the headphone tag on the inside stopped his wires getting in a tangle.
The Verdict: Kids’ waterproof jackets
The Muddy Puddles Puddlepac is our Best Buy as it is a nicely designed waterproof jacket at a fair price. Alongside the Joules Skipper, it was the most popular with our younger testers, while the older tester liked the Helly Hansen Block IT, Columbia Sportswear Watertight and the Quechua Hike 900, the latter from Decathlon representing great value for money. For less frequent use we’d recommend the Dry Kids All In One overall or Freedom Trail set.
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