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Waterproof Parka Shells

Seven waterproof solutions for keeping drier without the bulk

by CH Editors in Style on 13 October 2011

For general inclement weather, we rely on a sharp rain shell, layering it for colder months and tucking it into carry-ons, to see us through a wet day. While it's a less bulky way to stay dry than expedition-grade wear, those that hit at the waist leave your behind unprotected from soaked bike seats or sitting on wet concrete steps—generally making for an overall soggier experience. The solution comes in the form of the parka-length shell. From those designed specifically for biking to a pink number that looks swiped from a stylish kindergardener, these seven picks will wick away the moisture without sacrificing style.

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Outlier

Constantly outdoing themselves, Outlier's Storm King Parka, a functional garment with a great cut, uses the most technically-advanced fabric available. Supermarine Cotton, along with full sleeve ventilation and invisible pit zips helps keep you dry without the clamminess caused by "breathable" synthetics. Further intuitive design details include a wraparound storm flap on the zipper to protect chins and necks, as well as extra fabric on the front envelope pockets that help keep water out and assist with buttoning. For $650, you get top-of-the-line technology and the same trim fit, clean lines and timeless style found in all Outlier gear.

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Salvor Projects

Salvor constructs the Snow Feather Parka with eight-ounce organic cotton twill, finished with a mix of water-resistant base and white pigment. The mixture, applied by hand with a pallet knife, gets into the weave of fabric that's actually nailed down during the intensive process. Resembling white feathers on the black twill weave-based fabric, the resulting finish is unique to each piece. Each jacket comes made-to-order for $750 from the Salvor Projects Soho store and will also be available soon via the web store.

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Athletics Far East Hooded Parka

Produced as part of Nike's exclusive Athletics Far East collection, the three-layer Hooded Parka has essentially everything you could want in a jacket like this—unsurprisingly, it's virtually impossible to find. The Gore-Tex shell's fully-taped seams and laser-cut ventilation holes keep you comfortable while sheltering from the elements. In keeping with the design-minded AFE aesthetic, the details are the real focal points, here including leather accents and hidden zipper grips. We heard a selection of the limited-run parka was last seen at 21 Mercer in NYC, but Hano has it online for £330.

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Nau

Waterproof, breathable and lightweight, the street-conscious Rebound Jacket features fully-taped seams and zero flair. Made of 100%-recycled polyester fabric with just enough stretch to keep you comfortable—whether it's on a brisk walk to work or jogging through a sudden downpour. Get it from Nau online for $340.

Patagonia

The Torrentshell Parka does the trick as an everyday rain jacket. Completely waterproof with a clean, streamlined fit that'll work with any wardrobe, it packs into its own pocket for ultra-lightweight portability. It's not hard to see why the Torrentshell has become Patagonia's best-selling rain jacket. Get it online from the Patagonia online store for a relatively reasonable $150.

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Folk

Bold, daring colors don't often show up in men's outerwear. The Rainmac, a salmon-pink bright exception, has a removable hood and taped seams; drawstrings lend an adjustable fit. The back vents, a nice touch as well, help out on those unexpectedly warm days. Find the Rainmac for $330, alongside some more subdued designs from Folk clothing, online.

Grundens

The Grundens Parka wins for all-around best design. Heavyweight cotton twill, coated with a specially-formulated PVC coating designed to resist dirt and grime, remains flexible, even in extreme weather conditions. We like the combination of the jacket's perfectly-toned orange hue and minimalistic silhouette too—often seen sported by stylish seniors in NYC. Available from Erik Schedin, this traditional fisherman parka sells for $215.

Contributions by Graham Hiemstra, Evan Orensten, Josh Rubin and Tim Yu

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