CAMPING & HIKING

Best Rain Jacket: How to Weather the Storm

Best Rain Jacket
Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

It is a hassle to be climbing, backpacking or trekking when it’s raining cats and dogs, isn’t it? If only you had the best rain jacket from the market, which wouldn’t leave you sopping wet during a hike, right? Are you in the market for a new one?

Whether it’s a light drizzle or a heavy rain, you wouldn’t have to worry about the weather when you have your functional rain jacket with you. Rain jackets these days aren’t just any ordinary rain jackets anymore, as they are fitted with amazing features that allow them to be lightweight, breathable, and waterproof at the same time. But, with a wide selection of rain jackets available on the market, you can easily make a mistake and buy a model that doesn’t fit your needs, and that is why we are here, to help you out in your search.

In this article, we will help you understand the features and functions of the newly designed rain jackets, and highlight what to keep an eye on when looking for a new jacket. After you get armed with the needed knowledge, you will get to the reviews part, where you can make sure you are getting the features you need, and pick a rain jacket that is suitable for yourself.

Our Top Picks

ProductWeightAvailable sizesSpecific featuresPrice
Marmot Essence Men's10.6 ouncesS - XLStretchy, lightCheck price on Amazon
Marmot Precip Men's12.8 ouncesS - XXLWaterproof, breathes wellCheck price on Amazon
Outdoor Research Foray Men's16 ouncesS - XXLGreat for heavy rain, durableCheck price on Amazon
Outdoor Research Aspire Women's16 ouncesS - XLLight, loose fittingCheck price on Amazon
Outdoor Research Helium II Women's17 ouncesXS - XLTaped seams, lightCheck price on Amazon
Arcteryx Beta SL Men's17 ouncesXS - XXLWaterproof, lightCheck price on Amazon
Arcteryx Zeta LT Men's19 ouncesS - XLWaterproof, wind proofCheck price on Amazon
The North Face Venture Men's14.4 ouncesS - XXLAdjustable hood, draw cordCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

Before the purchase, you should understand the features of the rain jacket. Here, we will explain the product features in detail, and there may be suggestions available such as buying tips for our readers, get ready!

Waterproof

Do keep in mind there is no such outdoor gear that has the function or feature to protect the user or wearer from water or moisture. The much anticipated waterproof rain jackets may always be labelled and promoted for their outstanding waterproof features, but they are not able to completely protect you from exposure to moisture.

Waterproof rain jackets are made up of laminated Gore-Tex fabric that features waterproof taping on both the exterior and the seams of the interior of the rain jacket. The details of the waterproof are usually stated in the form of ‘mm’, ranging from as little as 0 up to 20,000.

Gore Tex Jacket

Image credit: cyclingtips.com

The trick here is that the higher level of the stated ‘mm’ does not mean it provides higher protection. This is only related to its features such as the durability of the fabric and how thick the fabric of the rain jacket is, surprisingly. So outdoor enthusiasts, please do not conclude only after looking at one feature of the rain jacket!

Water Resistant

A great rain jacket is an adventurer’s good friend, but when it comes to choosing the functional rain jacket that is able to keep precipitation off your body or your face, you may notice that some may be advertised as a ‘waterproof’ rain jacket while some may be labeled as ‘water-resistant’.

The only difference between the two jackets is that a water-resistant jacket has a different fabric, and may be thicker to protect the wearer from the rain. It is able to resist better than the waterproof jacket as its fabric is made up of layers that are combined to provide a thick layer for the jacket’s interior coating.

Water Resistant Jacket

Image credit: paddypallin.com.au

The downside of the water-resistant jacket is that it may not be as breathable as the waterproof rain jacket, as it has a thicker layer. The thickness of the jacket interior can range from 2 layers up to 3.

Generally, you’ll find it easier to find the 2-layer jackets as they are the basic rain jackets. Beginners would usually go for the 2-layer jackets.

As for the 2.5-layer jacket, you will be able to fine an inner fabric that makes the jacket more breathable as compared to the 2-layer jacket. It is lightweight, and it is a popular choice for most backpackers, trekkers, campers and hikers. Its fabric may not be soft, but if you’re looking for a jacket with a softer fabric, we recommend that you go for a 3-layer jacket.

Orange Rain Jacket

Image credit: bikepacking.com

The 3-layer jacket is made up of three pieces of waterproof and breathable fabric that makes it very durable. You’ll find the fabric that makes up the 3-layer jacket softer than the 2.5-layer jacket as it has a substantial fabric on the interior of the jacket. When you wear the 3-layer jacket, it gives you that light and soft feeling on the skin. In terms of the pricing, the 3-layer jacket is definitely on the pricey side.

Breathing Ability

One of the key aspects to choosing rain jackets would be its breathability. This is the top feature of a water-resistant and waterproof jacket, that includes its ability to shed perspiration and other moisture. You may be able to find cheap rain jackets on the market, but most of it may not be breathable. So, to make sure you are protected from getting wet from the inside, make sure the one you are about to buy is breathable.

Packability

The rain jacket can be measured in different ways, however, its packability is one of the factors that most backpackers and other outdoor enthusiasts would consider before deciding on purchasing the rain jacket.

Packed Rain Jackets

Image credit: bikepacking.com

To determine the packability of the rain jacket, consider how compressible the jackets can be. This will determine if the jacket can fit your backpack, or if you need to find other means of transport for the jacket when you are outdoors and not wearing it.

Caring for a Rain Jacket

In some cases, you may find that there is dirt that has clogged up the layers of your rain jacket and you may need to always wash it to keep it cleaned. The durable water repellent, also known as DWR, refers to the coating on the exterior of the rain jacket.

We suggest that you revitalize the coating immediately after you’ve washed the rain jacket. The DWR is not a solid layer and it only allows precipitation to roll off, so you have to be very careful with it.

Waterproofing the Rain Jacket

Image credit: gearpatrol.com

In situations where you’ve found your jacket to be very wet and that the water cannot bead off and that the jacket is absorbing it, you will have to dry the rain jacket and after that, apply the coating of the jacket with Nikwax TX Direct wash-in Waterproof. This product helps maintain the breathability of the jacket and increases its water-repellency.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Now that we’ve seen what features you should look for, here are some of the top-rated products on the market.

Marmot Essence Men’s Jacket

Price: Approx. $180Marmot Essence Jacket

Weight: 10.6 ounces

Available sizes: S – XL

Specific features: Athletic fit, all nylon, light

The Marmot Essence Jacket is most suitable for backpackers and trekkers as it is light and stretchy, it is a hands down favorite jacket for most outdoor enthusiasts. For those who are looking for optimum rain protection, this jacket is the one.

This jacket is made of NanoPro MemBrain material, along with 100% Nylon Stretch Ripstop 2.0 material. It features a lightweight fabric that allows great breathability and packability. It is waterproof as it has a stretch and streamlined fabric that delivers great protection for the wearer from precipitation and heavy downpour.

You can expect it to deliver optimum performance as it features the NanoPro Membrain technology that allows great air flow and exchange to shed excess moisture. The pore structure of the jacket increases its breathability and makes the wearer comfortable, giving him or her the next-to-skin feel.

It features up to 140% more breathable material and superb waterproofing that adds on the ability of the jacket to deliver excellent performance. Do not iron, bleach or dry clean this jacket.

PROS:

  • Stands out, looks good
  • Offers premium protection
  • Good air flow
 CONS:

  • 2 color choices; blue and black
  • Feels thin
  • Must be careful of how you wash it

Related: Having a jacket to keep you warm and dry is great, but what about if you have to light a fire during a rain or when there’s too much wind? The Huayang Windproof Matches are great matches that can be lit in windy conditions. They come in a waterproof case and will burn under water or in the rain.

Check the price on Amazon

Marmot Precip Men’s Jacket

Price: Approx. $80Marmot Precip Jacket

Weight: 12.8 ounces

Available sizes: S – XXL

Specific features: Waterproof, breathes well, made of nylon

The Marmot Precip Jacket is made of 100% nylon and it is imported. It has a zipper closure, and is waterproof at 15,000 mm and breathable at 12,000 gm. It features lightweight fabric that makes easy to be brought around, along with great packability. It is made of breathable material and is slim cut. We recommend wearing another layer for warmth.

While thin, this jacket does do its job and comes in an array of colors that can satisfy anyone. You will definitely stand out in this stylish rain jacket that comes with a hood that you can adjust or roll it up into the collar if you don’t need to use it.

Overall, this is an affordable rain jacket that will stand up over time and keep you dry when you need it. We recommend this jacket for many reasons, but namely the price, the dry factor and the many color options.

PROS:

  • Hood is adjustable and can be tucked away
  • Comfortable and light
  • Breathes well
 CONS:

  • Waterproof feature fades over time
  • Sleeves feel narrow
  • Not super warm

Related: The Portwest Waterproof Rain Pants are great rain pants that are waterproof and come in various sizes. For under $15, you can’t beat the durability or the price, and combined with the jacket, you will stay dry no matter the downpour.

Check the price on Amazon

Outdoor Research Foray Men’s Jacket

Price: Approx. $200Outdoor Research Foray Jacket

Weight: 16 ounces

Available sizes: S – XXL

Specific features: Polyester, taped seams, pocket turns into a stuffsack

Designed with great versatility, the Outdoor Research Foray Jacket is made of imported material, 100% polyester, and the seam of the interior of the rain jacket is fully taped. As it boasts lightweight GORE-TEX shell, with great waterproof protection, it is a genuinely high-quality rain jacket that would be able to withstand heavy downpour.

The rain jacket has been tested by the IFMGA test team and according to their feedback, the Foray Jacket is able to perfect for the heavy rainy weather. Not to forget its breathable, waterproof and lightweight material, it also comes with a fully adjustable hood that can be cinched tight around the face for better protection.

Outdoor enthusiasts can wear it out to the woods without having to worry about its fabric as it is waterproof with TorsoFlo that provides excellent ventilation and temperature regulation. Comfortable and warm, we must recommend this jacket as it works well and keeps you dry.

PROS:

  • Light, waterproof
  • Great in heavy rain
  • Adjustable hood
 CONS:

  • Pricey
  • Few color options
  • Zipper can fail

Related: Sometimes, if there’s wind from all directions, having a waterproof jacket will not be enough, as your face will be splashed all the time and you will not be able to see where you are going. In such situations, a high-quality, windproof umbrella can come in handy. The Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella is a windproof umbrella that has a Teflon coating. It’s under $25 and comes with its own carrying bag to store it.

Check the price on Amazon

Outdoor Research Aspire Women’s Jacket

Price: Approx. $170Outdoor Research Aspire Women's Jacket

Weight: 16 ounces

Available sizes: S – XL

Specific features: Front zip, hood, taped seams

Outdoor Research Aspire Jacket is equipped with all-season features that would protect the wearer from the rainy weather, it features GORE-TEX technology, that provides excellent protection from exposure to moisture, along with its breathable and lightweight fabric. The rain jacket is designed with a looser fit cutting that is suitable for casual use.

It also features TorsoFlo technology that allows regulation of the temperature and provides great level of ventilation. The Outdoor Research Aspire Jacket also comes with an adjustable hood.

While it is on the pricier end, you will find that this jacket is warm, comfortable and feels good on the skin. We love the hood that has a draw cord attached and the hand pockets, which zip up if we need to keep the money or small items inside.

In the end, this rain jacket is stylish, the sleeves fit well and it looks good overall.

PROS:

  • All polyester made
  • Zippered hand pockets, arm pocket
  • Front zip storm flap
 CONS:

  • Pricey
  • Not waterproof
  • Fits big

Related: Since this jacket is not fully waterproof, you will need something to store your phone or other valuables that might get damaged if wet. The Mpow Universal Waterproof Case is a small case where you can put your phone inside and it won’t get wet. It comes with a strap so you can hang it around your neck if you wish. It’s universal, so you can put nearly any phone inside of it.

Check the price on Amazon

Outdoor Research Helium II Women’s Jacket

Price: Approx. $160Outdoor Research Helium II Women's Jacket

Weight: 17 ounces

Available sizes: XS – XL

Specific features: Taped seams, lightweight, compressible, PERTEX SHIELD technology makes it waterproof and breathable

The Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket features PERTEX SHIELD technology as it is made of waterproof and breathable material. It’s the most compressible women’s rain jacket as it features a fully seam taped interior.

Furthermore, it features great packability as well, as its lightweight material makes it easy to pack into its own pocket. You can easily attach it to your backpack before heading out and have quick access to it whenever you’re in need of using it.

The zipper on the front of the jacket measures at 7.5’’/19cm. The cuffs of the jacket are elastic ad it has a Napoleon pocket that can be zipped. It also comes with a single drawcord hem adjustment. The features of the jacket gives it the ability to deliver great performance, perfect for just any outdoor enthusiast!

The jacket is suitable for runners as it is the perfect rain shell and is light in weight. Backpackers would find the jacket suitable as it keeps the wearer completely protected from unfriendly weather on the trail and it does not take up lots of space with its great packability feature.

PROS:

  • Stuff pocket
  • Light, breathes well
  • Adjustable hood
 CONS:

  • For lighter rain
  • Not fully waterproof
  • No side pockets

Related: The jacket will keep your torso dry, but what about your hands? The SLB Touchscreen Gloves are waterproof and great for outdoor use. They allow you to still use your touch screen phone if need be and they are made with quality materials.

Check the price on Amazon

Arcteryx Beta SL Men’s Jacket

Price: Approx. $250Arcteryx Beta SL Men's Jacket

Weight: 17 ounces

Available sizes: XS – XXL

Specific features: Waterproof, light, imported, Ripstop, 100% nylon, wash cold

The Arcteryx Beta SL Jacket features GORE-TEX technology, with lightweight fabric that provides superior waterproof protection. A lot of people may go for the heavy ski jackets, but they’ll find this Arcteryx Beta SL Jacket different as it has a breathable material along with a waterproof fabric breathable hood. It is incredibly windproof and waterproof, and its length is good for sleeves and torso.

Great for lighter rain, you can find this jacket in many colors that will satisfy your color scheme from colors such as Sumac to Madras to the standard Black. While this jacket is very expensive, it is highly comfortable, soft and keeps you dry.

We like this jacket because it fits well, looks good, and is made with quality materials so it will last you a long time, and we recommend checking this jacket out, as you will not be disappointed.

PROS:

  • Made with nylon rip stop fabric
  • Lots of colors choices
  • Fits comfortably, looks good
 CONS:

  • Very expensive
  • Must wash cold
  • Fits as low cut

Related: The Blue Sky Basics Pouch is a great pouch that you can take to the beach, on a boat or anywhere. It keeps you items safe as it is waterproof, and when combined with the rain jacket, you won’t everhaveto worry again about your valuable items getting wet.

Check the price on Amazon

Arcteryx Zeta LT Men’s Jacket

Price: Approx. $430Arcteryx Zeta LT Men's Jacket

Weight: 17 ounces

Available sizes: S – XL

Specific features: Light, Gore C-Knit, high performance, waterproof

The Arcteryx Zeta LT Jacket delivers great protection for the rainy weather with its lightweight material, which features GORE C-Knit backer technology. It is also compressible and it is designed specifically to provide high level performance with an optimized fit.

It provides excellent coverage and cinches that delivers excellent performance outdoors. The fabric of the jacket is great as it is incredibly waterproof and windproof.

The seams and high-wear areas of the jacket may be intact. Besides that, the Arcteryx Zeta LT jacket also comes with a hood, that has drawstrings that allow you to tighten it to protect your face and keep it off precipitation and downpour. It has great breathability so you can always bring it on your outdoor adventures, and is definitely warm and works well when put to the test.

PROS:

  • Light, breathes well
  • Waterproof, weather proof
  • Not bulky
 CONS:

  • Highly expensive
  • More of a trim fit
  • Arms seem long

Related: A dry bag will help you keep your valuables safe and it can hold a lot more than just a regular fanny pack. The Earth Pak – Waterproof Dry Bag is great for fishing, boating or any outdoor use and it comes with a waterproof phone case.

Check the price on Amazon

The North Face Venture Men’s Jacket

Price: Approx. $80The North Face Venture Men's Jacket

Weight: 14.4 ounces

Available sizes: S – XXL

Specific features: Hand pockets, hidden draw cord system, waterproof

The North Face Venture Jacket is a rain jacket made of 100% nylon, and, you can easily attach the jacket to your backpack for convenience or when you want to have to easily reachable just in case. Furthermore, the venture jacket is perfect for wet weather activities as it is waterproof, breathable and seam sealed.

It also comes with an adjustable hood that protects the wearer’s face from precipitation and also, it comes with a hidden draw cord system. Furthermore, it has a front zip on the center and Velcro closure that makes it easy to be zipped and closed. It is designed with brushed chin guard lining, two secure zip hand pockets and it is stow-able in hand pocket.

Besides that, the jacket has a hem cinch-cord with zippered underarm vents that allows maximum air flow, which makes it a great jacket in terms of breathability.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Many color options
  • Easy to use zippers
 CONS:

  • Super thin
  • Moisture builds up inside
  • Some do not fit correctly

Related: Now that you have the jacket covered, what about other useful items that will make your outdoor adventures more enjoyable? What about a waterproof power bank so that you make sure your phone is always full. The Unifun External Power Bank is a waterproof power bank that has 10,400 mAh and has a strap hole as well as a small flashlight attached.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

With The North Face Venture Jacket, we have reached the end of our article. Our product reviews are based on our suggestions and opinions in which you may compare and find out which is the most suitable for yourself. It may be difficult to figure out which is best, but these details and reviews may help you narrow down your list of choices of rain jackets. We hope you’ll find the details here informative and helpful with your purchase.

For those people who are only looking for a rain jacket for casual use, it wouldn’t be necessary to go after a very functional and substantial fabric that is suitable for higher performance. Casual rain jackets, such as the Acadia rain jacket or the Columbia rain jacket would be ideal.

Woman is Wearing Rain Jacket

Not to worry about whether the prices of these jackets would fit within your budget, because we can assure you that these are budget-friendly options. They are reasonably priced, but they may not be suitable for higher performance.

On the other hand, hikers, trekkers, and backpackers may want to consider substantial, packable and lightweight fabric rain jackets that may be higher in price and perfect for withstanding heavy rainy weather. The features are usually designed for peak performance and these rain jackets are suitable for heavy rain conditions, perfect for daily use.

We hope you have found this article helpful when choosing a rain jacket! Got any questions? Leave us a comment below and share your thoughts with us. Thanks for reading, and if you think that your friends will also find this article interesting to read and useful, feel free to share it on social media.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jerry Mueller

Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.