It’s a well-known fact that Brits are obsessed with the weather but right now we have a reason to be.
The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for rain in Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West, East Midlands and the east of England, while a yellow rain alert is also in place for Wales, Northern Ireland, central and northern England and southern Scotland.
Getting through a rainy day isn't so bad when you can stay snuggled up on the sofa but combating downpours while you're walking the dog or stocking up on essentials, is its own beast.
This doesn’t mean, however, that the inclement weather should ruin your plans completely.
Heading out in the rain doesn’t have to leave you soaked and the right gear really can save you from a soggy slog. We’re talking raincoats, brollies and boots for all the family that will help you stay dry in style.
We know that tackling wet weather is all about preparation, so we’ve pulled together an edit of wet weather-proof gear that everyone should own.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Few pieces of clothing will keep you dry like a sturdy raincoat during torrential downpours.
Whether you’re going for a serious hike or a quick stroll, a proper waterproof coat or jacket is a wardrobe essential. In our round-up of the best styles for women, this torrentshell jacket (£84 Patagonia), was praised for feeling lightweight and having a boxy fit, making it easy to wear layers underneath.
It has an "adjustable and stowable hood, wide pockets, and comfy fleece-lined neck,” our reviewer said, adding that it’s made with 100 per cent recycled fabric, making it a planet-conscious choice too.
If you’d prefer to cosy up in something a little more stylish, this Seasalt Cornwall plant hunter coat (£150, Seasalt Cornwall), looks great and does the job.
Our reviewer said the coat “performed brilliantly” in storms thanks to being waterproofed with Nikwax, and that it managed to keep them warm thanks to its cotton lining that felt “far nicer worn next to skin than other plasticky coats”. We love the mustard yellow colour, but it’s also available in blue, green, black and floral print.
In our men’s round-up, the North Face 1994 jacket (£325, North Face) won the top spot for being packable and versatile. The coat is made with the brand’s “futurelight” material that increases breathability and delivers advanced waterproofing.
“Considering the parka length coverage that you get with the jacket we never felt weighed down or restricted and the soft, light material moved and vented extremely well when the environment we were walking began to get more challenging,” our tester said.
If you don’t want to spend that much, this packaway down jacket (£39.99, Trespass) is a great alternative. It has a warm soft shell that compacts down so you can keep it in your rucksack incase of unexpected showers and is lightweight enough that it can be used as a mid layer underneath another lighter jacket.
Wellies and walking boots
A great pair of boots is a must to keep you walking in comfort during the winter months and if you want to avoid soggy toes, it’s worth spending a fair amount on a reliable pair that are waterproof. We recommend investing in the Hanwag banks lady II boots (£160, Costwold Outdoor), which are made with the branded waterproofing technology Gore-Tex.
The style featured in our round-up of the best walking boots for women and were picked for feeling very solid and stable. “If you have weak ankles, the thick mesh-lined ankle support is ideal, offering protection on uneven ground when laced up tightly,” the reviewer said. “The ever-reliable Gore-Tex fabric offers waterproofness even in heavy rain.”
For a cheaper option, check out the Vango velan hiking boots (£56, Go Outdoors). Our reviewer said they were impressed by how much bang you get for your buck with the this pair, which are lightweight, grippy and waterproof enough to deal with light rain.
For men, we recommend the North Face activist walking boots (£91, North Face), which are made using the brand’s “futurelight” membrane that’s designed to keep the shoe watertight while still being breathable. “Cushioned and supportive footbeds combine with an anti-clogging outsole to ensure sure-footedness across a range of trails and open ground,” our reviewer said.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for boots that are less about traction and more about protecting you from mud splatters, consider a pair of wellies. Designed for men with wider calves, Hunter’s balmoral rubber boots (£135, Hunter) featured in our round-up of the best wellies for men, with the reviewer describing them as “outstandingly well made.”
Each pair is made from the brand’s Newflex Vibram rubber, which ensures they feel lightweight and flexible, while the thick tread gives you plenty of grip to tackle slippery paths. You can buy the women’s version here.
Finding an umbrella that can survive a storm is no mean feat but this birdcage style (£29, Fulton) promises to keep you comfortable in both drizzles and downpours alike.
Featuring in our guide to the best brollies, the reviewer noted that Fulton is a favourite with the royal family. It’s light enough to hold and transparent, so you can easily see where you’re going, while the fibreglass ribs and dome shape mean it handles high winds well, too.
If you tend to drive everywhere, and simply want to invest in one that you can keep in the boot of your car for those caught-short-between-showers moments, we recommend Samsonite’s up way umbrella (£22, Samsonite).
It has a reverse-opening that means it retains rain and won’t leave you with a soggy floor or car seat. Also, if it gets blown inside out, it has a magic button you can press to flip it back the right way round.
Rainy day essentials for kids
Being couped up inside all day is no fun, so make sure your little ones don’t have to miss out on playtime outside by kitting them out in the right gear.
Firstly, invest in a raincoat and remember that if you want something to withstand more than a light shower, it needs too be fully waterproof, not just showerproof. For this, we suggest picking up Helly Hansen’s jr jacket (£40, Helly Hansen), which won best buy in our round-up of raincoats for kids and is lightweight, waterproof, windproof and breathable, meaning it will do for everything from trips to the park to mountain walks.
For a more budget-friendly option, we love the look of this Regatta coat (£21, Next), which is made from waterproof fabric and comes in an array of cute animal designs, including a dinosaur and a duck.
If waterproofing your child is going to require something more substantial, we recommend investing in a one-piece that’s perfect for puddle jumpers. Otherwise known as puddle suits, these all-in-one’s protect against wind, cold and rain while allowing plenty of space for layering underneath. In our guide to the best ones, we loved this jolly raindrop design (£50, Muddy Puddles), which has a zipper that goes all the way down the leg to make it easier to put on and take off.
The reviewer also praised it for having detachable foot stirrups and the fact that it features 40gm insulation, which makes it a super-warm option on wet and windy days. Over at Next, you can pick up this star print version (£21, Next) for a fraction of the price. Our reviewer said it is “perfect for drizzly days in the park” but that you will need to layer up underneath because it’s unlined.
Finally, you’re going to want to invest in a pair of hard-wearing wellies and these classic boots from Hunter (£38, Hunter) took first place in our review of the best ones for kids. Available in an array of colours, including red, yellow and pink, the reviewer said the sole provides decent grip, while the cotton lining is comfortable and the boots feel lightweight.
We also love these adorable scottie dog wellies (£12.50, Blade & Rose), which feature contrasting decorative laces and a cheerful polka dot design. They are also fleece-lined for warmth and have a slightly squashy insole for maximum comfort.
Dogs needs to stretch their legs a couple of times a day, whatever the weather, so you’re going to want to make sure your pooch is protected from the elements too.
The coat comes in two styles, mustard and dog print, but our reviewer favoured the latter, calling it the pièce de resistance of the design. But, there’s more to it than just its good looks. “Everything about this jacket, which has a concealed hole for leads and harnesses, screams quality, from the detailed motifs and the super-soft lining to the faux brass buttons on the neck strap and the toggle, designed to prevent material rubbing against your pet’s face when the collar is folded back,” the reviewer said.
Alternatively, pick up this Barbour style (£39.95, Barbour) which our reviewer highlighted for having substance as well as style. “The extra-wide underbody strap, which relies on a buckle rather than Velcro, made it easy to put on and take off, and its waxed finished provides unbeatable waterproofing,” they said. The design features a Balmoral-worthy tartan lining and Barbour’s royal warrant, which is displayed on the inside of the coat in fancy gold lettering. A must-have for any posh pooch.
For more cold-weather tips, read our guide to staying warm at home without having the heating on all day