Singing in the rain?
There are many types of rain jackets on the market. However, they can easily be narrowed down into two categories: hard-shell jackets and soft-shell jackets.
These are the absolute high-tech products that protect against wind, rain, sleet, and snow, and any other extreme weather condition. They consist of either a 2-ply or 3-ply membrane, an outer polyester or polyamide layer, and an inner layer of nylon or polyester. Taped zippers and welded inner seams are essential for a water-tight membrane. However, hard-shell jackets are less breathable than their soft-shell counterparts. Hard-shell textiles are usually a larger cut, and most often worn as the outermost layer. However, they also work great as an insulating outer shell, when combined with a thermal fleece or layer underneath. They are extremely resistant to abrasion, which makes them perfect for rock sports and long back-packing trips.
Soft-shell jackets consist mostly of two or three laminated membrane layers. The outer layer is usually made of robust, abrasion-resistant materials. These insulate the inner lining and remove moisture. Ideally, various woven synthetic fabrics or laminates are used at different areas around the body. These match their respective purpose... for example, a permeable membranes under the armpits for breathability, or a highly abrasion-resistant artificial fabric at the shoulders to avoid abrasion and prevent chafing from a backpack. Shoft-shells are a great compromise for fleece jackets and rain jackets, as they can withstand light rainfall and snow, but still are not as heavily insulated.