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I'm surprised this lightweight rain jacket keeps me so dry

I've never worn such a comfortable raincoat.

Left: Close-up of Merrell Whisper Rain Jacket hood; Right: Merrell Whisper Rain Jacket in Rain Credit: Merrell

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I live in northern Virginia, where this summer has been wetter and warmer than normal. I’ve become accustomed to waking up in the morning, asking Alexa the weather, and getting dressed—only to return home drenched due to the sudden change in precipitation. While I always keep an umbrella in my car, I'm not a big fan of rain jackets. In my experience, supposedly lightweight jackets often protect me from the rain but leave me covered in sweat. So, for the longest time, I’ve done without.

But then, as fate would have it, Merrell sent me its top-rated rain jacket—the Merrell Whisper Rain Jacket—to test in Hurricane Elsa's downpours. And just like that, I was introduced to the raincoat that changed it all—and in my opinion is worth every penny of the $160 price.

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What I like about the Merrell Whisper Rain Jacket

Black Merrell Whisper Rain Jacket
Credit: Merrell

You can easily fold it away when not in use.

I sized up from my usual large and got the rain jacket in an XL because I prefer a relaxed fit that I can easily layer over other pieces. Whether I wear a crop top, T-shirt, long-sleeve blouse, or sweatshirt, this jacket fits comfortably over top. Where some rain jackets are lightweight but not 100% waterproof and some are 100% waterproof but not breathable, the Merrell one checks both boxes with its airy, stretchy fabric made of polyester. It keeps me dry but not sweaty. It has a reinforced hood so it maintains its shape and stays on my head once I've pulled it up. It also features a two-way zipper, so I can leave it unzipped or open at the top and closed at the bottom (or vice versa).

Oh, but that’s not all. The jacket has zippered pockets, so when I'm running through the rain, I don’t have to worry about anything falling out or rain droplets spraying in. What’s more, it has a hip-length, drop-tail silhouette, so the back is ever-so-slightly longer than the front, which I find to be as flattering as it is practical for keeping me dry. When I'm not wearing it, it's easy to fold up to fit inside the left pocket for storing. The convenient hanger loop means I don’t have to hang it by the hood—which, by the way, can stretch coats over time.

What I don’t like about the Merrell Whisper Rain Jacket

The only thing that I don’t love about my rain jacket is the sleeve length. Because I like it in a larger size for a looser fit, the sleeves are notably longer than they should be—they hit mid-palm. Thankfully, they’re easy to roll up, which I happen to like the look of anyway.

Is the Merrell Whisper Rain Jacket worth buying?

This rain jacket is so good that I’ve been recommending it to friends and family members since the day I received it. Heck, I've even been considering buying the "birthday" color because I love how cheerful and playful the liner is. There are seven other colors to choose from, including basic black, light gray, and an icy blue. I hope Merrell adds more fun colors—the bright coral, berry fuchsia, mermaid-y teal, and neon yellow it uses in some of its other products, perhaps?—because I plan on buying my own ASAP. It's more than I'd spend at, say, Target, but you also can’t expect the great qualities for those prices—and it’s right on par with similar brands like Patagonia and The North Face that make similar claims, but I haven’t tested those.

Get the Whisper Rain Jacket from Merrell for $160

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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