CAMPING & HIKING

Best Rain Gear: Staying Dry on Your Next Hike

Best Rain Gear
Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

Whether you’re taking a morning stroll or climbing the nearest peak, being prepared for all weather conditions is key to staying comfortable and dry on your next adventure. Though rain can be detected by radar, it is not always the most predictable to forecast.

That’s why finding the best rain gear for your next hike, bike or run is crucial. Would you rather be wet and cold or comfortable and dry? It’s essential to be able to store these items away in your camp pack, or layer them with your current clothing.

If you’re planning an upcoming camping trip with friends, and rain is in the forecast, having a bundle of rain gear on hand will certainly not hurt.

What Should You Look for?

Let’s talk logistics. You want to be suited up head to toe, keeping everything covered. We recommend finding a durable, weatherproof jacket, pants, umbrella, hat, and evening hunting blind, to cover all the bases.

Rain Gear features

Traveling in dry conditions is also an option, but we can’t control the forces of Mother Nature, right? Below are some specifications to look for when choosing the rain gear for your next expedition.

  • Material: When referring to rain gear, the material or fabric is extremely important. What if you were researching gear and realized that your next “rain jacket” wasn’t completely waterproof?
    This would be a total bummer. It’s vital to check the material of the fabric and also the range of its waterproofing technology. Look for some special fabric that is custom to specific branding, including eVent fabric which controls body heat and repels outdoor elements, and Gore-Tex, which is a durable fabric that is windproof, waterproof, and breathable.
    Because we are recommending a variety of products, one universal fabric to cover the features of a hat versus a rain jacket, just won’t cut it. The bottom line is to make sure that your product is durable, and is able to withstand wind and rain.
    As for rain boots, finding a sturdy, thick rubber sole is important to keep in mind. This will come in handy when trekking through all surfaces, in all conditions.
  • Aesthetics: Have you ever heard someone say, “this jacket is hideous, but it’s waterproof, so I’ll take it!” … probably not. Typically we care about what we are wearing more than we are willing to admit.
    So even though you may be trapped on a mountain with friends, or haven’t showered for three days because you’re camping, you still want to look decent in your gear. Things aren’t “trendy” for no reason.
    If you’re gear is aesthetically pleasing AND waterproof, the brand is doing something right. Of course, brands know this, so you are bound to find the gear that suits you, fashion-wise and adventure-wise.
    Many of the products that we recommend, are offered in a variety of colors, so even if you aren’t 100% happy with the design of the hood or pockets, at least you have control of one category.
    Choose the hat, pants or jacket that you like the best! Remember though, it’s not a fashion contest in the outdoor world: rain can make you more miserable than you think if you aren’t protected.
  • Price: Okay, so you want the perfect rain gear, but you don’t want to break the bank. That’s perfectly understandable. Keep in mind, you don’t necessarily want to pick the cheapest option for this type of gear, because you do actually want it to prove itself as being windproof, waterproof and durable against most weather conditions.
    If you’re just looking for a quick fix for a morning walk in the occasional drizzle, a budget-friendly option should do.
    However, if you’ve looking for the whole package for a trek into the wilderness, you might want to be a bit more open-minded on the price.
    Thankfully, the options we are providing are not only highly recommended with solid reviews, but they are also reasonably priced for the quality they offer. I mean, you can’t go wrong with that, right?
  • Dimension: When referring to rain jackets and pants, the dimensions and size of the product are going to vary based on needs of the consumer, the brand and the overall coverage you are looking for, from the product itself.
    However, in regards to umbrellas, hats, blinds and other rain gear items, the dimensions of the product play a big role in the quality of the item and the protection it will provide.
    Make sure that the dimensions of the umbrella are adequate for the amount of people you are trying to accommodate and the conditions you are venturing out in.
    As for hat dimensions, this is similar to that of your wardrobe dimensions; they will vary from consumer’s head size and also the style that is more preferable. The real importance with dimensions lies in the walls of the hunting blind. This piece of rain gear is crucial to determining the amount of shelter you would like on your adventure, to protect you from most weather conditions.
  • Protection: So this feature kind of takes the cake. How durable is your rain gear? Which piece of rain gear is going to provide you with the most protection? As touched on previously, having a piece of budget-friendly is okay, as long as it suits your activity and matches the quality you are looking for. Rain gear needs to be at least waterproof, but being able to withstand wind is also a plus.
    When searching for the best gear, keep in the mind the amount of protection you are looking for, and the adventures you will be using your gear for. If you’re bringing your rain gear along for a “just in case” drizzle, having a lightweight, raincoat will probably do the trick.
    However, if you’re camping in a climate that has steady rainfall, you want to invest in the whole package, with a high protection rate across the board.

Now here are a few of the top rated products on the market to serve as a starting point for your search.

Top Products of 2017

Helly Hansen Men’s Midsund 2 Rain Boot

Helly Hansen Men's Midsund 2 Rain Boot

Dimensions: 12″ from arch (shaft), 1.25″ (Heel),  17″ around (boot opening)

Weight: 16 ounces

Specific Features: 100% Waterproof rubber, Pull on loop at heel, Tall, Weatherproof, Grip sole

Best Use: Camping, Everyday use, Outdoor activities in wet environments

Description: Whether you’re walking through the city on a rainy day, camping with friends in a steady downpour, or working outside amidst rainfall, this sturdy, weatherproof boot is the one for you.

Not only is Helly Hansen Men’s Midsund 2 Rain Boot versatile for multiple weather conditions and activities, but it’s conducive to what your style wants to be and what your wardrobe needs.

This boot checks off all of the important features on the list. It is made of solid, waterproof rubber, featuring a thick, gripping sole that promises a slip-proof walk to wherever you’re headed. It’s a standard, yet stylish boot that is acceptable across all trend-setting cities and better yet, it’s affordable.

Arcteryx Beta SL Jacket

Arcteryx Beta SL Jacket

Dimensions: 18 x 13 x 3 inches

Weight: 1.5 lbs

Specific Features: Lightweight, Breathable, Compact, Watertight zippers, Gore-tex fabric

Best Use: Camping, Backcountry hiking, Climbing, Trail running, Outdoor activities in all environments

Description: Unsure of the weather conditions but need to bring a reliable jacket to store away in your pack? Backcountry hiking isn’t easy to do when you’re unprepared. This Arcteryx Beta SL Jacket is super packable and compact, leaving plenty of space in your pack for other necessities.

Some of its most desirable features are the lightweight feel and breathability. It’s also made from the Gore-tex fabric, which protects you from the wind and rain, so you can trek out into those not-so-perfect conditions.

It gets even better. The Arcteryx Beta boasts a low-profile storm hood and watertight zippers to keep out all the liquid. It has plenty of pocket space for your must-brings on your hike. The price, however? There is no doubt that this jacket is made well, so you’re definitely getting what you pay for.

However, this is essentially a waterproof shell. If you’re venturing out into brisk conditions or heavy downfalls, it’s unlikely this jacket would fair against a mean mother nature. You might be able to find something a bit cheaper that does the trick.

Outdoor Research Men’s Helium Pants

Outdoor Research Men's Helium Pants

Dimensions: 31˝ / 79 cm (inseam)

Weight: 5.4 ounces

Specific Features: 100% Nylon + ripstop, Waterproof, Ankle zippers, Pertex rain shield, Elastic waist

Best Use: Camping, Backcountry hiking, Climbing, Trail running, Outdoor activities in all environments

Description: To put it simply: these Outdoor Research Men’s Helium Pants  are awesome. You will barely even know they are in your pack; they weigh a miniscule 5.4 ounces and can fold up into their own packing sack, courtesy of the back pocket.

These pants are made of 100% nylon and are double-crossed with a ripstop fabric, spiking the durability. The Pertex rain shield makes these nylons into the perfect storm protection in unpredictable circumstances.

For best protection and comfort, layer these pants over the ones you’re wearing; they are the epitome of a waterproof shell. These pants also feature ankle zippers, which accompany your outdoor shoes well; keep in all the heat and keep out all the rain.

Downside? Rumors have it that these pants are not true to size and they run small.  Make sure to check the sizing chart and the sizing reviews. You don’t want to get stuck on a mountain with these as your only rain shield if they can barely cover your ankles.

Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero Hat

Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero Hat

Dimensions: 2-3 / 4-inch (brim)

Weight: 3.5 ounces

Specific Features: 100% Nylon, 100% Polyester Lining, Moisture management, Three-layer 70D Taslan Gore-tex fabric, Foam-stiffened brim, Removable chin cord.

Best Use: Backpacking, Camping, Backcountry hiking, Trail exploring, Outdoor activities

Description: Versatility and quality are this hat’s best features. Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero Hat is made of the same nylon, Gore-tex fabric that is found on most rain other rain gear, and even sports a polyester lining that controls all the unwelcome moisture.

It’s foam-stiffened brim is not only an essential part of the hat to fend off the rain, but in the unfortunate event that it’s dropped in the nearest body of water, have no fear… it floats!

You can stay as attached or detached from this hat if you’d like, as it features a removable chin cord with a cord lock, to keep the hat secure.

The best part? These hats come in all sorts of colors…so get your style on! Not only can you be spotted amongst all your friends, but the colors are appealing and will match most outerwear.

This hat is great for an all-purpose outdoor activity, a morning hike with a light drizzle, or even can be whipped out in the gnarliest of storms.

Lewis N. Clark Compact & Lightweight Travel Umbrella

Lewis N. Clark Compact & Lightweight Travel Umbrella

Dimensions: 11 x 2.5 x 10.5 inches, 38 inches (canopy), 11 inches (compact fold)

Weight: 10 ounces

Specific Features: Polyester, Opens and closes automatically, Water-resistant, Storage sleeve

Best Use: Everyday use, Commuting, Camping, Travel

Description: This Lewis N. Clark Compact & Lightweight Travel Umbrella has the works. Not only is the price right (under $20), but this sturdy, steel-made umbrella opens and closes automatically with the quick touch of a button.

It flies out to a 38-inch canopy that protects you from the heaviest of downpours.

It’s made of mildew-resistant, fast-drying polyester and even comes with a storage sleeve (mold resistant) that allows the umbrella to be packed away at a moment’s notice.

Known to survive high winds and sudden rainfall, this umbrella is rugged and reliable. It’s built on a 3-fold, chrome-plated steel shaft that is rust resistant. Take this umbrella with you anywhere with it’s compact style and sleek-black look.

REI Rhyolite Rain Jacket

REI Rhyolite Rain Jacket

Weight: 12 ounces

Specific Features: 100% Nylon, eVent Fabric, Windproof, Waterproof, Core Ventilation

Best Use: Hiking, Climbing, Everyday outdoor use

Description: This rain jacket, thin, breathable and weatherproof could almost be classified as a shell. It’s layered with eVent DValpine fabric, which keeps the jacket waterproof and breathable. It’s also windproof up to sixty mph. Yes, you heard it right. 60 mph.

Take this jacket hiking, biking or climbing and you’ll not only be protected amongst many conditions, but you’ll feel light as a feather.

This specific rain jacket is great for layering on the top of the clothes you’re already wearing to give you that extra protection and seal in all the warmth.

There is core ventilation in the pockets, along with with adjustable cuffs on the jacket sleeves. This jacket is great for everyday use if the climate calls for heavy wind or rain; it’s a great “pack away” item that is compact enough to throw in a backpack, purse or camping pack.

Ameristep Care Taker Hub Blind-Realtree Xtra

Ameristep Care Taker Hub Blind-Realtree Xtra

Dimensions: 99 x 20 x 18 – 69” shooting width & 66” tall

Weight: 7 lbs

Specific Features: Durashell, Insect resistant, Easy setup

Best Use: Hunting, Camping, Hiking

Description: If you’re looking for an easy setup during hunting season, this Ameristep Care Taker Hub Blind-Realtree Xtra is for you.

Not only does it feature Durashell capabilities that prove to be insect resistant and weatherproof, but it also includes mesh windows, which are accessible from both sides.

This blind provides a 360-degree view for the occupant when all windows are drawn. Though this blind is constructed for your average hunter, it would work well for an easy, waterproof setup for your next camping or hiking trip. The next time you plan a long hike that requires you to camp halfway through, you should keep this blind in mind.

Quick to set up and a breeze to tear down, this blind makes the experience of a camper, hiker or hunter much easier than ever anticipated.

It’s affordable for the quality and it provides you with the shelter you need to withstand unforeseen or unwelcome weather conditions. Test this blind the next time you’re stuck in a wind or rain storm, and you won’t be disappointed.

The Take Away

Preparing for a trip doesn’t always come easy and making sure that you have all the essential gear to withstand Mother Nature may be harder than you think.

Rain Gear

However, with these recommended products, you get a good idea about how to budget for outfitting your next adventure. Prices range from $15-200+, but nothing beats the price of staying dry and warm in the midst of a nasty storm.

Make sure to find the dimensions, size, price and style of your gear that suits you and your activity best. It’s best to compare prices from different outlets to find the best deal.

You with have a brand new, waterproof wardrobe in no time! Feel free to share your own experiences with this recommended gear, or leave a comment to guide other readers. Oh, and don’t forget to snap a pic when you’re all suited up.

Safe travels!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Foster
Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.

  • Natalie Green

    Most people never think of pants when they think of getting rain gear. Yet it ends up being quite important when you really start thinking about it. Good rain pants will keep your unmentionables dry, and really good rain pants might even act more like snow pants, with cuffs that keep water from splashing up from the ground or puddles and into your socks and shoes. As soon as those inner layers get wet, your hike gets a lot less fun, so get some good rain resistant pants.

  • Mark Foster

    Agree with you on this one! There are a lot of excellent rain gear in the market, but most often than not, we often emphasize the upper part only and forgetting that we need waterproof/water-repellent pants, as well. Incidentally, check out the sombrero hat to complete your ensemble! 🙂

  • Mark Watson

    I hate being wet on a hike. They’re supposed to be enjoyable. I don’t want to be too wet or too cold. I really do like Columbia or Merino. I always like to have something light, not too heavy, so I can carry it around in my pack just in case. In some places, the weather can change on a dime and you can just never be too careful. It’s always good to be prepared!

  • Samantha Brown

    Does the weather really change that quickly when you’re out camping? I’ve only been a couple times and one of those times was in my own backyard. It seems a good idea to be prepared but I wonder can you be over prepared? I think I would be one of those paranoid people that would want to pack absolutely everything I could think of just to stay warm and dry!

  • Mark Foster

    One basic rule: do not overpack. That means being proactive and checking…and rechecking your list. As long as you invest in quality equipment and clothing, a few pieces will do. Buying from top-notch and reliable manufacturers is key to an uneventful camping experience. Gore-Tex is one material that you must look into so make sure your rain gear is made of it. You’ll see the difference right away. 🙂

  • Mark Foster

    Yes, it is wise to be prepared. The material of your rain gear is important, so you have to choose according to your needs. Make sure it is durable and can protect you adequately from wind and rain. That means choosing the right jacket, boots, hat or umbrella is crucial if you want to stay warm and dry. I hope this review will give you lots of options, as well.

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