Packable rain jackets are invaluable when traveling, hiking, and exploring. Packing light is essential for any trip, and having a jacket that can be easily stowed away in your pack when not in use is key to being prepared for whatever the outdoors may have in store. You want to ensure you have all the proper gear when you go hiking. Hiking shoes, trekking poles, a good backpack, and a packable raincoat are essentials for any hiker.
Our Top Picks
This guide will compare some of the best packable rain jackets on the market. The best raincoat will keep you dry in any weather. Our top picks offer a range of features to suit your needs. Whether you’re looking for breathability, wind resistance, waterproofing, or durability, we’ve got the best options.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
What Is The Best Packable Rain Jacket?
Here is our ranked and reviewed list of the best packable rain jackets.
The 5 Best Packable Rain Jackets
- Best Overall Packable Rain Jacket – Patagonia Storm10
- Best Budget Packable Rain Jacket – REI Co-op XeroDry GTX
- Best Lightweight Packable Rain Jacket – Outdoor Research Helium Rain
- Best Performance Packable Rain Jacket – Rab Downpour Plus 2.0
- Best Breathable Packable Rain Jacket – Outdoor Research Microgravity
- Weight: 8.3 oz
- Material: Featherweight, 3-layer H2No®
- Women’s Version: Yes
This lightweight rain jacket with 3-layer construction and 100% recycled nylon ripstop face fabric.T he Patagonia Storm10 raincoat is a best-in-class option for moving fast and light through the mountains. The Alpine-helmet-compatible hood features a single-pull drawcord and elasticized sides to protect you entirely in harsh weather. At the same time, the tricot backer feels soft and comfortable against your skin. Whether hiking, backpacking, or climbing, the Storm10 is an excellent choice for staying dry and comfortable in any condition.
- Weight: 12.5 oz
- Material: 2-layer GORE-TEX PACLITE
- Women’s Version: Yes
If you’re looking for a lightweight jacket that won’t break the bank, look no further than the XeroDry GTX. This GORE-TEX PACLITE shell is a versatile ultralight rain jacket and repels water to keep you protected from wind and precipitation. With its articulated design, adjustable hood, and zippered pockets that double as core vents, this jacket offers comfort and convenience no matter where your adventures take you. And with DWR treatment to keep the coat in peak condition for years to come, the REI Co-op XeroDry GTX is an ideal choice for anyone looking for a best-value jacket.
- Weight: 6.3 oz
- Material: Bluesign-approved Pertex
- Women’s Version: Yes
Are you looking for the best lightweight raincoat? Look no further than the iconic Helium Jacket, trusted by outdoor enthusiasts worldwide. With a durable, light raincoat design and advanced waterproof protection, this jacket offers unbeatable performance and versatility on any adventure. Its adjustable hood and hem allow you to find the perfect fit, while its hidden key ring clip lets you keep your essentials close at hand. And with its compact design, this jacket takes up minimal space in your bag, leaving plenty of room for your other essentials. The Helium Jacket is the best ultralight rain jacket.
- Weight: 13.2 oz
- Material: 2.5-Layer Pertex®
- Women’s Version: Yes
The Downpour Plus 2.0 Jacket is perfect for a versatile, high-quality packable raincoat. With its lightweight design and breathable fabric, this jacket is ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, and trekking. The adjustable hood provides optimal protection from the elements, while the pit zips allow extra ventilation when needed. And with its soft fleece-lined chin guard, this jacket is a must-have for anyone who loves spending time outdoors in wet weather. So why wait? Invest in the best packable raincoat today and stay dry and comfortable no matter what Mother Nature throws your way!
- Weight: AscentShell™ 3L
- Material: 14.6 oz
- Women’s version: Yes
The Outdoor Research Microgravity AscentShell Jacket is the best breathable rain jacket that offers reliable protection from the elements. With its lightweight, stretchy construction and advanced waterproof breathable technology, this jacket provides superior comfort and protection whether you’re hiking, skiing, or climbing in wet weather. If you’re serious about your outdoor adventures, don’t hesitate to invest in the best rain jacket on the market and start exploring with confidence today!
Things to consider when buying a rain jacket
Choosing the proper rain gear can be daunting, especially if you’re seeking breathable ultralight rainjackets. When considering packable rain jackets, it’s essential to consider factors like material composition, breathability ratings, and weather resistance. Other vital considerations include size, fit, storage options, price point, and overall value.
Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant
No outdoor gear offers complete protection from outside moisture, but most rain jackets are “water-resistant” or “waterproof.” Many light rain jackets, windbreakers, and softshells are water-resistant, meaning that they shed water in light to modest precipitation but aren’t entirely waterproof under extended exposure. Waterproof jackets have a built-in laminate layer like GORE-TEX or a coating that essentially blocks outside moisture from entering under most conditions. Additionally, they have waterproof taping along the seams on the jacket’s interior.
All performance-oriented rain jackets on the market use a combination of fabric layers to create a waterproof jacket. Most packable rain jackets usually come in 2L, 2.5L, or 3L. Below, we break down the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision before purchasing your next waterproof jacket.
2-layer jackets are the most common type and usually come with a mesh liner to protect the inner coating (thus the “2-layer” name).
2.5-layer jackets have a very thin fabric attached to the waterproof/breathable laminate or coating. The added layer increases breathability and compressibility without the need for mesh. This makes them popular among hikers, backpackers, and climbers. The one downside, however, is that the interior fabric isn’t as soft to the touch as on 3-layer jackets (some people find it slippery or plasticky), but we’ve seen improvements with recent models.
3-layer rain jackets typically contain three independent pieces of fabric, with the waterproof and breathable membrane as the middle layer and more durable material on the inside. Although bulkier than 2.5-layer construction, it is long-lasting and provides better moisture wicking and feel against your skin.
Manufacturers use one of three main waterproof/breathable fabrics to make reliable, lightweight rain jackets: GORE-TEX, HyVent, and eVent. These laminated membranes are known for providing superior protection from outside moisture while also allowing sweat vapor to escape from the inside. Choosing the fabric that fits your needs and budget is best, as these materials come in a range of quality and price points. For example, Gore-Tex is considered the best-in-class fabric but comes at a premium price – whereas HyVent and eVent are more affordable options that still provide good performance.
Fit, including hood
When shopping for waterproof rain jackets, it’s essential to find one that fits your body type and provides adequate coverage from the elements. Take key factors like sleeve length, jacket length, hood design (is it adjustable? does it have a brim?), etc. Additionally, most lightweight rain jackets come in men’s and women’s fits.
When choosing a fully waterproof jacket, it’s essential to consider factors like weight, storage options, and overall packability. Lightweight jackets that are easy to store when not in use are ideal for hikers, backpackers, and other outdoor adventurers who need to have their gear easily accessible but also want the added protection of a reliable waterproof jacket.
Taped seams, including zippers
When stitching together, a garment produces hundreds of small holes in its seams. The best packable rain jackets tend to overcome this by using waterproof material to tape and seal the seams.
Pockets and Features
Features like pit zips, water-resistant zippers, and a backpack harness-friendly chest pocket make a rain jacket more functional, so it’s best to look for them when selecting your jacket. Overall, the best packable rain jackets have excellent waterproofing, breathability, and a comfortable fit that allows you to move comfortably.
Hardshell or softshell
As is typical for the apparel industry, there isn’t a universal definition for softshell and hardshell jackets, but most clothing brands have common standards. Soft jackets are typically more airtight, while hard shells provide more extended weather protection and lighter weight than the case. Hardshell coats feature softer rigidity than softshells, with a more robust 3-layer fabric sandwiched between the jacket’s inner and outer shell. The soft shell is a soft textured fabric.
Sustainability: Recycled Materials, PFC-Free DWR, and More
Every purchase comes with an environmental impact. The materials and production processes used to create products require energy and resources, which can harm the environment. When shopping for a new waterproof rain jacket, it’s essential to consider the eco-friendly materials and production processes and sustainability certifications like Bluesign or Fair Trade. For example, some manufacturers use recycled synthetics in their jackets and coatings free of PFCs or other harmful chemicals, which helps reduce their environmental impact. Other sustainable features to look out for include eco-friendly dyes and recycled packaging. When you’re making a conscious effort to reduce your environmental impact, choosing a rain jacket made with sustainability in mind will help you on the path to greener living.
Can you repair rain jackets?
Yes, companies like Patagonia offer repair services for all of their gear. Consider using water-sealing tape to fix jackets on your own.
How much does a rain jacket cost?
A raincoat costs between $60-$250 based on its features. Most expensive gear is designed specifically for mountain climbs and other harsh environments. A well-designed, technical jacket is sufficient for most people and generally costs around $200 to $300.
A packable rain jacket is essential for any outdoor adventurer, as it can keep you dry and comfortable in all types of weather. When choosing a raincoat, it is necessary to consider factors such as the sustainability of the materials used, the durability of the coat, and its cost. For best results, look for jackets made with high-quality construction and use recycled materials or PFC-free coatings for increased sustainability. With the right coat, you can stay dry and comfortable no matter where your outdoor adventures take you!