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The best rain covers for your camera gear in 2021: keep your camera dry in bad weather

Best rain covers for cameras

The best camera rain covers are the perfect way to stop a sudden downpour from ruining your day's shoot!

You may not like the idea of photographing in the wet, but sometimes it can be just the thing for capturing a dramatic image, especially if you're working in genres like sports or wildlife, where the show will go on regardless of the weather.

Many mid- and high-range DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are now weather-sealed, which you may think would render rain covers redundant. However, this isn't the case; some are only weather-sealed up to a point and may not stand up to a serious downpour. Also, many lenses don't enjoy the same level of protection, and you need to think about protecting your glass just as much as you do your camera.

Also, even if your camera is weather sealed, it being dripping wet can cause all sorts of complications when it comes time to change memory cards or camera batteries

With all that in mind, we’ve gathered a selection of traditional rain jackets designed to let you shoot with the cover in place, along with simpler products that provide a quick and convenient pouch in which to stow your camera in the event of a passing shower.

There’s more to a rain cover than simply shielding your camera from dust or a drenching:

1. Use your hood
A rain cover will keep your camera dry, but it can’t do much to stop droplets forming on the front of your lens. That’s a problem best solved by fitting your lens’ hood.

2. Size matters
Most rain covers are designed for use with pro DSLRs and equally large lenses. Smaller setups are likely to be swallowed by excess material, making them tricky to operate.

3. A clearer view
A cover with a clear plastic panel will let you see your camera, but some also have a small hole that’ll keep your viewfinder visible should the plastic fog up inside.

4. Strap up
Threading your camera’s strap outside a rain cover will get it wet and compromise water resistance. A cover with an integrated strap is a much better solution.

5. Long lenses
The average rain cover is best suited to a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. However, some manufactures offer longer or extendable versions for super-telephoto optics.

6. Going underwater
The cases and covers here are designed for rain, not submerging in water. If you want to do that you need to pick from the best underwater housings for cameras and phones

So, which rain cover would suit you and your camera? Read our guide to the best rain covers for camera equipment below to find out... And remember that we'll be constantly updating this list, so don't forget to check back.

Best rain covers for cameras and lenses

Best rain covers: Think Tank Emergency Rain Cover

(Image credit: Think Tank)

01. Think Tank Emergency Rain Cover

A simple and effective rain cover from one of the best in the business

Size: 48cm long (medium version) | Color: Black

Coated and well-sealed
Folds down well
Might need more than one size

When you get down to it, a good camera rain cover doesn't need to be complicated. It needs to protect your camera from the elements while also giving you the ability to keep on shooting. This is a target that the Think Tank Emergency Rain Cover hits perfectly, for a good price that seals its place as the best camera rain cover you can buy right now.

The DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating actively repels moisture from the outside, while the extensive seals ensure there's no chance of ingress through the material. It folds down into a small carrying pouch, and when you do need it, it's quick and easy to deploy. You can access your camera controls through the cinchable sleeve, with an oversized window that makes it easy to see what you're doing at all times. It uses the shoe mount to securely attach to your camera, so you can be sure it won't slip off.

This is the Medium version of the cover, which also comes in Small and Large. If you frequently use lenses of wildly different lengths, you might find yourself needing to pick up more than one to ensure all your bases are covered. Happily, they're well-priced enough that this won't represent a horrendous outlay of cash.

(Image credit: LensCoat)

02. LensCoat RainCoat Rain Sleeve (Medium)

Good rain cover for wildlife fanatics

Size: Mеdіum fоr саmеrа bоdу and lеnѕ uр tо 15" (Small and Large also available) | Color: Available іn a range of colors and camouflage patterns

Durable
Good protection

Тhе LеnѕСоаt RаіnСоаt Rаіn Ѕlееvе рrоvіdеѕ рrоtесtіоn fоr уоur саmеrа and lеnѕ frоm things lіkе rаіn, salt ѕрrау, sand and dust, while enabling уоu to ассеѕѕ all your саmеrа and lеnѕ controls easily. 

Тhis cover іѕ made frоm а lightweight wаtеrрrооf, breathable mаtеrіаl. Тhе ѕеаmѕ аrе tape-sealed fоr mахіmum рrоtесtіоn. Тhе RаіnСоаt RЅ gоеѕ оn quickly and еаѕіlу – and (оn mеdіum and large mоdеlѕ) аllоwѕ уоu tо аdјuѕt the length of the cover and tо kеер іt snug аrоund уоur lеnѕ. Yоu саn аlѕо ассеѕѕ the саmеrа through the rear opening.

03. Peak Design Shell – Small

A good, basic rain cover

Size: Small | Color: Black

Great portability
Didn't work as well as we'd like

This rain cover is designed to work in harmony with Peak Design’s Capture Clip system, which attaches your camera to a belt or a bag strap.

The stretchy neoprene sleeve slips over your lens and onto the camera body, with drawstring cords tightening around the base and lens to create a snug fit. A couple of well-sealed slots allow your camera’s strap to pass through the top.

Although Shell looks neat and tidy when fitted, the cover needs to be folded back awkwardly to use your camera; even then, the lens is still obscured, making this better suited to protecting a prime optic. A clever concept, but not without its limitations.

04. Manfrotto Pro Light E-702

Easy to use and versatile

Weight: 160g | Color: Black

Super lightweight 
Padded dividers
Large window so you can see the controls
Condensation might build up

This cover is spacious enough to protect a full-frame SLR and a 70-200mm lens, with enough room to allow easy operation of all the camera and lens controls. However, unlike some covers, where you’ll have to fumble around blind, Manfrotto’s large clear plastic panel lets you see everything, although condensation build-up in cold or humid weather could spoil the view.

Rain will have a job getting inside, thanks to drawstrings securing both arm holes and the lens opening. The latter has a semi-rigid adjustable collar to ensure free movement of an extending lens barrel.

Attaching the cover is quick and easy, with a large Velcro-fastened slot in the base that also allows a tripod mount to pass through. 

Best rain cover for photography

05. Matin M-7098 Deluxe

A good versatile cover

Size: Suitable for digital SLR cameras | Color: Black

Clear window
Material feels a little cheap

Like the Manfrotto cover, this design features a transparent section. It’s only large enough to view your camera’s rear and top panels, though, so you’d better be well acquainted with your controls. On the plus side, the clear portion incorporates a small hole that lets a viewfinder eyepiece pass though, so you won’t miss a shot should the plastic fog up.

This is a versatile cover. In its standard configuration, it’ll shelter a good-sized pro body and a 24-70mm optic, but an additional cover stowed in a small attached pouch can be unravelled to add an extra 33cm of lens protection. 

However, it’s hardly an elegant system, and the joint between the two sections of cover isn’t watertight. The thin, cheap-feeling material doesn’t inspire confidence, either. You get a lot for your money, but don’t expect top quality.

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