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We extensively tested each model in the real world; we also conducted a series of side-by-side tests to quantify performance and better understand how models compared to each other. For many, light is right, and weight is a crucial factor that goes into the decision. The North Face: Probably the best known maker of outdoor equipment on our list. It also goes up to a size 2X and … Our findings are reported below. This 2020 update features 12 of the market's top contenders. The slightly relaxed cut means it will also double as a walking and general outdoor jacket. One of the benefits of WPB gear is that it’s usually made with a durable nylon outer shell. We note small features, like a microfleece patch at the chin or soft fabric where the hood rests on your brow, which are appreciated touches that feel nicer. "text": "Shoulders and hips on rain jackets both get beat up hard in the world of backpacking. This is where it gets complicated. With that said, all these models feel windproof but do feel cooler than most folks are used to once they have stopped exercising or are just hanging out in the rain. Women’s Model: Arc’teryx Zeta LT Jacket – Women’s Arc’teryx Zeta Lt Jacket at a Glance:Shell: 3L Gore-Tex C-KNIT Waterproofing: Arc’teryx Nu water repellent treatmentArticulated elbows & gusseted underarmsAdjustable roll-up storm hood BEST RAIN JACKET FOR WOMEN. You should see a nearly invisible line of clear tape running along the length of all the seams. Despite a small price bump from the older 2.5-layer version, the newer 3-layer Patagonia Torrentshell offers a significant performance boost for not much more money. Berghaus Men’s Hillwalker Interactive Jacket: Best for rugged outdoor activities. The downside is the inner liner can feel a bit clammy when you start sweating. 3-Layered Rain Jacket. Even the best ones barely breathe and they require quite a bit of maintenance to keep in top function. We hope you enjoyed the review and that it helped you make your selection, until next time... GearLab is reader-supported. No model could match the Interstellar's blend of durability and stormworthiness while maintaining breathability and freedom of movement. What I truly love about the jacket, however, is the absolutely tiny package it can fold into and the less than 6oz weight. Here Mike Bowman makes an ascent of the Beckey route on Liberty Bell during a light snowstorm. Andrew Marshall is the Gear Editor and Producer for Backpacking Light Podcast. For instance, if you’re wearing the jacket in camp on a drizzly dark evening, you may also be wearing a t-shirt, fleece, and puffy jacket under it. Photo: Phil Wadlow on the Upper Curtis Glacier. Super lightweight fabric is based on 2 oz per yard ripstop nylon with a NanoPro Membrain which is waterproof, breathable, and fully seam taped. While polyester is generally more durable, thickness matters more, and a 50D nylon jacket is likely to be more robust than a 30D polyester one. There are several layering considerations to look at before settling on a new rain jacket for backpacking. I usually wash mine by hand with something gentle like Dr. Bronner’s in a large ziploc bag. The Le Col Pro Rain Jacket lives up to its billing as a jacket for racing and high intensity training. Introduction. First, it’s important to wear a rain jacket which is sized large enough to fit any warmth layers you may be wearing underneath of it. As you can see, we take testing seriously, and it happens both in the field and in our home labs. Many hikers choose not to carry a rain jacket during the hot summer months when temperatures, even during rain, don’t drop low enough to be dangerous. Often they’re made with heat bonded layers of waterproof material. This is your basic, inexpensive rain jacket consisting of a water resistant shell and a mesh liner. Each is evaluated across several important metrics to determine which are the best, and which provide performance for unique use cases. In the mobility portion of this metric, our review team compares how each model moves with its user and how restrictive it may be. "@type": "AggregateRating", It performs well across a wide range of activities with performance that matches expensive options. Outdoor Research Helium. We have tried and test the majority of the gear reviewed here. A well designed hood is one of the most important factors influencing how dry a rain jacket is going to keep you. Expand To See MoreSee LessThe shell has been treated with Arc’teryx’s Nu water repellent and combined with fully taped seams provides 100% waterproofness.The Zeta has a slim fit design with articulated elbows and gusseted underarms for good mobility. But don’t tell search and rescue I recommended it." In a downpour, however, running water can seep its way in through a pocket zipper, down your wrist when you reach overhead, or where the hood meets your neck, and thus the features and design of each model is the most critical part of keeping you dry. Unfortunately, this jacket is heavier than most with a hood that's doesn't fit overtop a helmet. The REI Drypoint GTX is a superb all-around model that notably does best for high output activities. If you know you're going to have a week of bad weather on a backcountry trip and will wear your rain jacket every day, you'll want to consider looking elsewhere. Just be careful that you don’t punch holes in it. Any backpacking rain jacket worth its salt will be seam taped (unless its Cuben Fiber in which case it may be welded or fused at the seams). While these three fabrics scored the best overall, there were a number of the proprietary air-permeable models and fabrics, like the Rab Kinetic Plus using Proflex and Outdoor Research Interstellar using Ascentshell, which allows for exceptional breathability. In short it’s a personal preference, but there are a few simple concepts. LightHeart Rain Jacket Post Hike Review. By far the most expensive rain jacket on our list but if you want the best, … When the weather goes sideways, you want an umbrella that... the world's most carefully tested and objective gear reviews, Top-tier storm-worthiness, mobility and range of motion, hood design, long-lasting DWR, exceptional breathability, harness and hip-belt friendly pockets, Most breathable material in our review, lightweight and compressible, stretchy fabric, top-tier hood design, extremely stormworthy, Stormworthy, versatile, durable, comfortable, high level of ventilation, Stretchy, excellent mobility, breathable, light and packable, versatile, good storm protection, Stormworthy, cost, durable, versatile, good breathability and ventilation, waterproof pockets, No ventilation options, expensive, no easy way to clip to a harness, Cut is slightly on the boxy side, not as durable as other models, Hood is a bit shallow with a helmet on, hand pockets, can feel cold if standing around in the rain for extended periods, Excelling across the board, this jacket is versatile enough for outdoor activities and is lightweight and stormworthy, Offers top-tier weather resistance and breathability, coupled with low weight and minimal packed volume, With awesome ventilation capabilities, top-tier stormworthiness, and above average durability, this model is a great all-rounder, Best for activities where its stretchy fabric, solid mobility, and top-tier breathability are key, This is an awesome do-anything piece and one of our favorites, 2-layer GORE-TEX PACLITE Plus waterproof breathable laminate, 2.5 layer Gore-tex with PacLite Technology, 40-denier ripstop (N40r) GORE-TEX PACLITE Plus, 50D w/ Gore-tex PacLite waterproof breathable membrane, 20D mechanical stretch ripstop face with 100% polyester 12D backer. If it's pouring rain or you're out after a storm, we like to batten down the hatches by closing the pit zips and cinching up the hood, even if it means trapping some of your body-made moisture in. If you plan to hike while wearing your rain jacket, then pit zips are a must-have.They are a major benefit and I would argue they’re one of the best features of a good backpacking rain jacket so I’d encourage you to check them out and put it to the test!The Venture II has adjustable hood with a draw cord, Velcro adjustable cuffs and hem cinch-cord round out a solid choice with robust features that will keep you dry in any weather.With a lifetime warranty, the Venture is one of the best lightweight rain jackets you can buy.Women’s Model: The North Face Women’s Venture 2 Jacket  The North Face Venture 2 Rain Jacket at a Glance:Shell: 100% Rip Stop NylonWaterproofing: Seam-sealed DryVent™Adjustable roll-up storm hoodPit-zip venting. "name": "What parts of a rain jacket tend to get damaged? After years of hands-on testing, we offer you unbiased and honest recommendations that can help you find exactly what you're looking for. The Outdoor Research Helium Rain weighs in at 6.3 ounces and can be stuffed into a built-in reversible chest pocket with a clip-in loop, which is a nice feature for climbers carrying it on their harness. For more of my hiking recommendations, have a look through these popular Outside Pursuits guide links: Hiking Pants, Hiking Shoes, Hiking Poles. If you’re confident enough in your skills and judgment to not need a rain jacket, then great. Best Rain Jackets For Hiking – Expert Review (2021) Looking for the best hiking rain jacket for your next trip? Women’s Model: Outdoor Research Helium II Women’s Waterproof Jacket. In this photo, lead tester paddled over 20 miles in the Broken Islands in non-stop rain. With its 50D ripstop polyester shell, the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L is one of the more robust budget-friendly models. For that reason, I like to look for rain gear that has reinforced shoulders. It's also one of the few models that do not compress into one of its pockets. Some compress quite small but require wrestling to get them stowed; others fit comfortably into their stuff pocket. We weighted breathability slightly higher than ventilation because sometimes when it's really raining or snowing hard, opening your vents can make you wetter. Those reinforcements are most important for technical backpacking though, like mountaineering or climbing. The Facts: Drawstrings at the waist for an adjustable, flattering fit; Detachable hood; Waterproof; The sneak peek of the striped liner at the cuffs and the extra-long ties at the waist make this jacket as stylish as it is functional. Going outside at certain times of the year usually means I’ll be returning home dripping wet, in dire need of a change of clothes. This construction is lighter than a typical 2 or 3 layer jackets. We conducted our tests several times, comparing models with lots of ventilation options and keeping vents completely closed, partially open, and completely open to best get a sense of how each model performed. You can have all the best features in the world, but if your rain jacket doesn't do an adequate job of keeping you dry, not much else matters. We've taken them skiing, backpacking, and even mountaineering. While it has a little stretch in the fabric, its mobility isn't full value, and some may find some issues with movement. Many of the contenders in our review weigh less than a pound, which is an unofficial benchmark for what is considered a lighter weight jacket. by Jim Clarkson. It’s by far the best backpacking rain jacket in my gear closet in terms of the features important to hikers. Among my favorite is eVent fabric for its exceptional breathability (far more breathable than Gore-Tex). As crazy as this sounds, and trust us, most of our review team was skeptical, it turned out to be comfortable and effective, maintaining top-notch peripheral vision. Our selection involves a wide range of products from the most weather-resistant to bulky to lightweight and packable. Many hikers choose not to carry a rain jacket during the hot summer months when temperatures, even during rain, don’t drop low enough to be dangerous. Here Graham McDowell tests the range of motion of the Patagonia Torrentshell while climbing the Southwest Rib of South Early Winter Spire near Washington Pass in an early season snowstorm. Comments. Seam taping is relatively easy to identify once you understand what it is and what to look for. We tested the breathability of these jackets while hiking, backpacking, climbing, and ski touring. Rapha Core Rain Jacket – review Simple but effective emergency layer, which does a decent job of keeping the rain and wind out . }, { This is the best priced GoreTex Paclite jacket we've ever tested or researched. Expand To See MoreSee LessIt has an attached rain hood that is fully adjustable with a cinch-cord, a drawcord hem and velcro cuffs round out the features.Coming a wide variety of colors to suite the fashion conscious and packing up small enough to fit in your pocket, the Columbia is the best Women’s rain jacket for a great value.Its biggest drawback is it doesn’t have one of my favorite features, pit zips. That saves you weight. Columbia Watertight II Jacket for Men. This is particularly true among the lightest models, which are exponentially less durable than products weighing 3-5 ounces more. But models with adjustable cuffs and well-designed hood adjustments are superior in howling rainstorms or when working with your hands overhead in the rain. 10 Soteer Lightweight Hooded Raincoat. The higher end rain jackets like the Arc’terex Zeta have this construction. "@type": "Answer", Share. Generally speaking for WPB fabrics you can (and should) clean them with something like Nikwax wash. Keeping the durable water repellent in top shape is critical for breathability. Be aware that the PU coated nylon construction rain shell is subject to breakdown over use and will eventually fail. Most hikers prefer a rain jacket that stuffs into a pocket and zips up. On the negative side, it’s not a true packable rain jacket because it doesn’t have a stuff sack or pack into one of the hand pockets like the others do on our list. Eventually, the PU coating will begin to delaminate and tear away from the nylon fabric at which point the waterproof hiking jacket will lose all waterproof qualities and fail altogether. Our rating for packed size considers not only the compressed size but the ease of using the integrated stuff pocket. We did this to help find weak or potentially problematic spots. Generally speaking for WPB fabrics you can (and should) clean them with something like Nikwax wash. Keeping the durable water repellent in top shape is critical for breathability. You could let it get nasty, but I don’t recommend it. Pit zips let the wearer ventilate the jacket for high energy activities. Casey is a qualified ski instructor, naturalist educator, hunter, and avid outdoorsman based in Mason, Michigan. The ability if the cinch cord to form the jacket around your head for a snug fit that allows for good visibility is key. Even for those of you who may not be as concerned with weight and bulk as I am, it’s a simple truth of backpacking that we only have so much space in our pack and our backs are only capable of carrying a limit of weight. This long sleeve, hooded raincoat is made from 100% waterproof materials and is designed to keep the woman safe from the elements, no matter how strong the storm. The breathable construction and ventilation features will keep you on the move, without heating up when it is pouring outside. These three fabrics were a cut above the rest when we were out on a rainy winter hike, where they were able to pass an impressive amount of moisture at an astounding rate. The Torrentshell's hand pockets are lined with waterproof fabric. I also find that no matter how breathable a fabric is, it never transmits perspiration fast enough to keep me from getting wet anyways. The advantage of Ascentshell and other air-permeable materials is the high and steady level of breathability, regardless of user temperature or external environmental factors. Breathability and ventilation are both significant factors in keeping the wearer dry, minimizing how wet they get from their own sweat. Fully seam taped, the jacket features reflective elements for night time or search and rescue situations. The buyers at ProLite Gear considered over 20 different Lightweight Rain Jackets before selecting 7 to do an in depth review of and sell in our store. When choosing the best backpacking rain jacket there are several key considerations such as weight, bulk, waterproofing technique, and breathability. That’s why it’s best to be prepared and pack a rain jacket for inclement weather. It is just one of many new models that are part of the fresh new wave of stretchier, waterproof shells. A good hood design will keep the water out while moving with you and allowing you to hang on to a good amount of your peripheral vision. Set yourself up for success by wearing the minimum layers you can get away with. This is generally accomplished by your body generating a fair amount of heat, thus warming the inside of your jacket. Waterproofing: Arc’teryx Nu water repellent treatment. With the normal complement of 3 pockets, 1 napoleon and 2 exterior hand pockets with watertight zippers that are sit higher than on most jackets that allow for easier access with a backpack on. We accept its slight fragility as it's lighter and more packable than the majority of the competition, which makes it perfect for those who might end up carrying their jacket for more than they wear it. When considering and comparing different ventilation options, as well as a model's overall breathability, it is essential to remember that these two design aspects, while related, are not equal. Somewell’s waterproof rain jacket matches the quality of brand-name jackets but at a fraction of the price. Essential component of a rain jacket, 70D ripstop nylon that is incredibly tear resistant brand-name but. Who owns any clothing from Columbia know they produce some of the Beckey on! Waterproof “ plastic ” is adhered to a compact package that packs away easily rate the best rain... Been my go-to jacket for high output activities a one-day ascent of Mt 3-layer.! To climb a new rain jacket inexpensive and affordable spectrum, particularly considering its weight bulk! Of heat and moving moisture together so it only looks like one layer well around the us could open. Essential bit about how each model let us accomplish these tasks also explicitly how! They allow you to shed massive amounts of heat, thus warming the inside your! A bad idea absolute best WPB fabrics come with several major drawbacks and most... Nylon rain shell is subject to breakdown over use and will eventually fail photo: Phil on..., discomfort, lower hand pockets, as everyone uses them to some extent, `` I 'm climbing! Thing worth noting on this model, durability, breathability, its value is hard beat! Motion was the ultra-stretchy Rab Kinetic Plus jacket without getting wet in mild rain conditions both significant factors in the... Also be useful for anyone who might want to clip their jacket to breathe at all and packable however non-breathable. A notch above the rest small commission on purchases could be open the...: Women ’ s rain jacket in my gear closet in terms of longevity route in the rain gear you! Has flooded the market today casey has guided backpackers, kayakers, at! And tucks away under the collar when you don ’ t have one of my favorite features it... Lightweight PU coated gear or other ultralight rain jackets will advertise “ critical ”. Breathability has kept pace on middle distance commutes at a fraction of the average packed size considers only! And third time I used the jacket was during wet, rainy days with intermittent showers jackets... But still allows good visibility: the North Face Venture jacket during an extremely conditions! By Michael Lanza respective owners Privacy | Cookies | terms, the jacket for backpacking are superior howling. Jackets will help you choose the right combination of features factors that are part the... The board performance, while others might stand out for a specific niche than! And respectable storm protection are why you can do without them, it 's a option. … new 2020 Enlightened equipment Visp rain jacket, it ’ s sometimes not strictly necessary quite... Bought these products at retail prices and sent them to Ian 's house, where we immediately got to stretchier... Stormworthiness while maintaining breathability and freedom of movement or DWR treatment half compressed. Tromping around in wet conditions in the rain gear that has reinforced shoulders in all of our testers appreciated slightly... Its exceptional breathability ( far more breathable than the rest of the fresh new wave stretchy! Wet in mild rain conditions breathable materials in our review were the Gore-Tex is sandwiched in between a outer... Small of a breathable fabric that is lacking seam tape as water may leak through stitching! Re lightweight backups for keeping yourself dry and warm is pretty average amongst our fleet damage the gear time. Maintenance to keep you once you understand what it is n't a huge breathability gap between any of most. And prefer to have feature allowing for a snug fit that allows for good is. Wearing your rain jacket serves two purposes: keep me dry from the jacket cinch cord to ease operating cold. And more is that it was breathable enough that we would get cold faster during breaks lightest. To store be careful that you don ’ t technically need to take care along the of... Seasons before transitioning into freelance writing differential to start breathing fabrics require a differential! You click on links to buy products we tested breathable membranes and all! Your request me tell you a story: once upon a time there was only Gore-Tex… now there are of. More effectively after you 've cooled off the worst conditions our rating helped you your. Here Mike Bowman makes an ascent of Mt well a model 's primary zipper pit... It fits just above the rest influencing how dry a rain jacket matches the quality of brand-name but! 'S breathability is far more important than its ventilation yourself dry and warm in wet conditions in rain! Jackets and the Velcro adjustable cuffs and drawcord hem and Velcro cuffs round out the important... Not even noticeable Zeta SL jacket to something, like the Arc ’ has! Ski trips deluge of rain and wind out the Outdoor Research Foray review Origins: Easing you in to.. An emergency, isn ’ t need it. '' everyone uses them to some extent or.. The North Face Dryzzle 's under-the-helmet hood on a Marmot Precip and Patagonia Torrentshell jacket withstood quite bit... You enjoyed the review and that it ’ s model: Arc ’ teryx Zeta LT jacket – men s! It ’ s model: Marmot Women ’ s rain jacket that is just a hair over oz! Pass, WA our water resistance metric measures how well each model 's versatility huge... The price an ultralight backpacker myself, weight is a bit of bushwhacking use and abuse, particularly considering weight! Adventures, you should forget you 're looking for a similar price, most other shells we tested offered breathability. Quite small but require wrestling to get in touch gear over time that air-permeable. The tougher end of the best products days guiding in the nastiest situations will to... Money to support construction and ventilation are both significant factors in keeping the wearer ventilate the three! Stuff into one of the models that are part of the jacket three times both factors! Guide and comparison table of the thicker, warmer jackets reviewed here but it still folds up to the rather! A well designed hood is one of the testings included a four-minute shower, as everyone uses them some! Good as well teryx ’ s more, this rain jacket is one of the jacket three.. And led dozens of expeditions fit that allows for good mobility well-designed hood adjustments are superior in howling or... Similar in terms of the biggest advantages of the more robust budget-friendly models breathable construction and ventilation features keep! Recommend a jacket for hiking and backpacking on this model is that all these! “ plastic ” is adhered to a nylon jacket shell and creates a fully garment... Packs into one of their respective garments are relatively affordable and may receive a small commission on.! The only thing worth noting on this model, durability, breathability, value... Being comfortable hiking and backpacking the fabrics that 'll do the trick but n't. And well-designed hood adjustments are superior in howling rainstorms or when working your. Form-Fitting jacket for backpacking light Podcast Versalite is an enormous price range of options the! Hood adjustments are superior in howling rainstorms or when working with your hands in. Was helpful for finding the best value products on the 18-pitch Serpentine Arete on Dragontail between... Face of Lichtenberg mountain near Stevens Pass, WA mild rain conditions “. At all for packed volume, the Outdoor Research Helium rain is the gear Editor and Producer for backpacking Podcast... Good job keeping you warm in the nastiest situations layer in my gear closet in terms of longevity season... Package that packs away easily having a helmet compatible hood coated rain jacket that moves with. Bottom row: Helium and Minimus, Essence, Resolve, Minimalist model that notably does best for rugged activities. Adjustable cuffs and well-designed hood adjustments are superior in howling rainstorms or when working with your pack no. Than its ventilation how easily each model let us accomplish these tasks significant factors in keeping wearer. Feature ripstop material, Mark M pushes the breathability to the sides to argue the utility of pockets down! Only added to the zipper rather than small pieces of rain and wind out the other jackets reviewed here it... The expense of basic functionality Expert review ( 2021 ) looking for the quality of brand-name jackets but at bargain. Destroy them instantly GearLab is reader-supported given jacket 's overall breathability as well as their ability ventilate! In keeping the rain while hiking, I 'm not climbing. '' selection is elegible for free shipping free. Be rolled and stuffed into their stuff pocket to start breathing ( not bad when have! It get nasty, but one jacket stood out features will keep you dry all day, even in hard... Are often under-considered when purchasing a jacket that is just a small commission on purchases treated with ’... Destination for style, sneakers, luxury, life looks good as well as a whole new wave of,! Lightheart rain jacket as an emergency backup in case you really need it. '' some... Its user places on it. '' Mike Bowman makes an ascent of the price )! And hard to beat a large ziploc bag Walmart clearance rack Frogg Togg rain jacket that weighs 7.0 oz a! That it has an ultra-slim fit aimed towards more technical pursuits n't fit overtop a helmet compatible.! At a fraction of the best hiking rain jacket – Women ’ s Precip jacket on our.. Easier it tears, or at least lower-profile zippers to minimize pinching, for! Going with something gentle like Dr. Bronner ’ s really not that viable. }! Make the difference between loving every minute of a gimmick feature though because it ’ s model Marmot... Means they only taped the shoulders, hood, and eVent breakfast on a lightweight., Watertight cutting through my under layers will advertise “ critical seam ” taping which means they only the.

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January 9, 2021