Difference between a Windbreaker and a Rain Jacket

By: | Updated: Dec-5, 2017
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When outdoors on a cold day, you’ll need ample shielding from environmental elements such as the wind and the rain. There are several jacket options that can shelter you from these elements and provide the protection that you need – windbreakers and rain jackets. Maybe you’ll ask, aren’t all jackets the same? Well, not really. Continue reading this article and you’ll discover the difference between windbreakers and rain jackets.

Summary Table

Windbreaker Rain jacket
Close-fitting jacket that reaches to the hips and has an elasticized waistband and wristbands Raincoat that is waist-length
Made of nylon or polyester Made of a combination of two or more of the following materials: cotton, wool, polyester, nylon, vinyl, and rayon
Single-layer construction Multi-layer construction
Wind and water resistant but not waterproof Water resistant and waterproof
Lightweight jacket Slightly heavier garment
Extremely breathable Less breathable


A windbreaker

A windbreaker is a light jacket that is close-fitting and often tailored with an elasticized waistband and wristbands. It is a useful outdoor clothing that is both wind and water resistant. This means that this type of jacket is made of fabric which has the ability to block gusts of wind and resist water penetration, but only to a certain degree. Moreover, this jacket is made of a single-layer nylon or polyester material, making it lightweight and breathable. This also helps keep the jacket’s price down and makes it more portable. Windbreakers are useful when hunting, camping, or mounting climbing – typically during the fall season.

rain jacket
A rain jacket

A rain jacket is much a like a raincoat. It is made of the same kind of material but is only waist length. The materials used to make a rain jacket can be a combination of two or more of the following: cotton, wool, polyester, nylon, vinyl, and rayon. This type of jacket is not only water resistant but also waterproof. A rain jacket has a multi-layer construction that enables it to be more resistant to water. However, this makes the jacket bulkier, less breathable, and a little more expensive. Rain jackets are practical apparel that can be used while fishing or when outdoors and in bad weather conditions.

Windbreaker vs Rain Jacket

What is the difference between a windbreaker and a rain jacket?

A windbreaker is a close-fitting outer jacket that reaches up to the hips and has an elasticized waistband and wristbands. A rain jacket, on the other hand, is like a waist-length raincoat. Windbreakers are made of nylon or polyester and are tailored with just a single-layer construction. Rain jackets are made of a combination of two or more of the following materials: cotton, wool, polyester, nylon, vinyl, and rayon. They have a multi-layer construction design. Windbreakers are wind and water resistant but not waterproof, whereas rain jackets are water resistant and waterproof. Because of how windbreakers are designed, they are lightweight and breathable, which is useful when hiking on a clear day. Conversely, rain jackets are slightly heavier and are less breathable but they are practical garments to use when outdoors on a rainy day.

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