12 Finest Ultralight & Light-weight Rain Jackets [2023] BikeHikeSafari

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It is a gear overview of the Finest Ultralight Rain Jackets of 2023.

There are fairly a number of selections of very high-quality rain jackets available on the market proper in 2023. However few mix the mix of top of the range, light-weight, breathability, and compact design.

I’ve reviewed, examined, and used a number of the greatest light-weight rain jackets over the previous few years. With greater than 30 years of expertise mountaineering, backpacking, and thru-hiking and time spent managing a big multi-national outside retail retailer. I used all that information and expertise to overview solely one of the best ultralight backpacking rain jackets for thru-hiking, backpacking, and mountaineering in 2023.

I in contrast the burden, sturdiness, breathability, waterproofness, and design. Preserve studying to seek out one of the best ultralight rain jackets of 2023.

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Finest Light-weight Rain Jackets 2023

The Finest Light-weight Rain Jackets for Backpacking in 2023 are:

Finest Backpacking Rain Jacket – General

Zpacks Vertice Rain Jacket

Weight: 5.9 oz / 168 grams with pit zips
Outer cloth: 7 Denier 3-layer Ripstop Nylon
Breathability: 56000 g/m2/24-hour
Waterproof score:
Chest Pocket
Stuff Sac: 

> Ultralight
> Pit Zips
> Very Breathable
> Very small pack measurement
> Not low cost

The Zpacks Vertice Rain Jacket is a premium ultralight rain jacket that’s presumably probably the most packable rain jacket you’ll discover anyplace. That is an ultralight rain jacket greatest suited to backpackers and thru-hikers who need the utmost weight saving and most packable jacket doable.

The Zpacks Vertice weighs solely 5.9oz / 168 grams. It comes with a great set of pit zips to help in venting warmth which is one thing that mild and quick backpackers love. Not solely does it have pit zips however the cloth is likely one of the most breathable on this overview at 56000 g/m2/24-hour. Add to that the hydrostatic head waterproof score of 20000mm and you’ve got a great light-weight rain jacket that ticks a number of bins.

I examined and reviewed this rain jacket in each cold and warm climate and whereas mountaineering and mountain biking. I can verify it has one of the best at school breathability, and with the addition of pit zips, that is the jacket to get if you need an ultralight, breathable, and packable rain jacket.

General, the Zpacks Vertice is one of the best ultralight rain jacket for 2023 and greatest suited to ultralight thru-hikers and backpackers.

Finest Light-weight Rain Jacket

Outside Analysis Helium Rain Jacket Assessment

Complete Weight: 6.6 oz / 187 grams
Outer cloth
: 30 Denier Ripstop nylon 2.5 layer waterproof Pertex Protect
: Not specified however I consider it’s 20000 g/m2/24-hour
Waterproof score
: Hydrostatic Head score 15000mm
1 Chest Pocket solely
Stuff Sac: 
Stuff into chest pocket

> Ultralight
> Small pack measurement
> Upgraded tear-resistant cloth.
> Not as breathable as different jackets on this overview
> No hand pockets or pit zips

The Outside Analysis Helium Rain Jacket is the up to date model of the very profitable Helium 2. I used the Helium 2 to thru-hike the Appalachian Path, Pacific Crest Path, and Continental Divide Path so I do know and like it nicely, however is that this new jacket an enchancment.

The upgraded Outside Analysis Helium Rain Jacket weighs in at solely 6.6oz / 187 grams. This makes it probably the greatest light-weight rain jackets for thru-hiking and backpacking.

The OR Helium Rain Jacket is a minimalistic jacket with no hand pockets and a small chest pocket simply large enough for smaller-sized telephones or different objects that the hiker needs to maintain dry. The small pocket within the chest additionally doubles because the storage sack for the jacket.

I just like the elastic cuffs, waist drawcord hem, and every part concerning the adjustable hood. It is available in a spread of colours together with my favourite, Shiny Orange. An awesome coloration for a rain jacket for biking in uninteresting climate!

The Helium Rain Jacket is kind of breathable however I all the time appear to need extra breathability than any jacket appears able to offering. Having stated that, I’m an enormous fan of the two.5 Layer development comprised of Pertex Protect Professional outer materials.

The Sturdy Water Repellent Coating (DWR) appears to be simply pretty much as good because the earlier mannequin, which was okay however not excellent.

General, the Helium Rain Jacket Rain jacket can get a bit sticky after some time, particularly when climbing up steep trails in moist climate. The jacket has no pit zips to vent the warmth however that helps preserve the general weight down.

The upgraded 2.5 layer Pertex Protect Professional is 30 Denier and makes use of Diamond Fuse know-how which primarily is upgraded ripstop nylon that’s stated to be 5 instances stronger than the earlier mannequin.

General, the Outside Analysis Helium is likely one of the Finest light-weight rain jackets for the Appalachian Path because of the elevated sturdiness of the fabric and resistance to the abuse from the sharp sticks and branches that exist on many sections of the path.

Finest High quality Rain Jacket

Arc’teryx Beta Rain Jacket

Arc'teryx Beta Rain Jacket

Complete Weight: 10.6 oz / 300 grams
Outer cloth: N30p 3 layer Gore Tex
Breathability: Not specified however this jacket is kind of breathable
Waterproof score:
Pockets: 1 Chest Pocket, 2 hand pockets
Stuff Sac: No, Stuff into hood
> Good 3-layer Goretex cloth
> Excessive-quality Rain Jacket
> Hand pockets work nicely whereas sporting a backpack with a hip belt
> Not low cost
> Not as mild as another jackets on this overview

The Arc’teryx Beta Rain Jacket is a part of their giant vary of jackets which incorporates the Beta LT and extra. It charges as probably the greatest high quality rain jackets available on the market for 2023. Whereas not as light-weight as another jackets it’s proper up there with the Patagonia Torrentshell (which is cheaper) and the Patagonia Storm 10 as a premium rain jacket.

In case you are searching for a great mixture of sturdiness and waterproofness then this might be the jacket for you. Add to that probably the greatest hoods of any of the jackets on this overview.

The Arc’teryx Beta Rain Jacket comes with hand pockets within the excellent place to make use of if you find yourself mountaineering and backpacking as they don’t intervene along with your hip belt or sternum strap.

Regardless of being made with high-quality materials it is available in at a premium value and is a bit of on the heavy aspect for some individuals wanting a light-weight rain jacket.

General, the Arc’teryx Beta Rain Jacket is one of the best rain jacket for backpacking and greatest fitted to somebody who needs a top-tier product that’s sturdy and in a position to stand up to most moist climate conditions.

Finest Finances Rain Jacket

Marmot PreCip Eco Rain Jacket Assessment

Complete Weight: 10.5oz / 293 g
Outer cloth:
100% Recycled Nylon Ripstop NanoPro Eco
17000 g/m2/24-hour
Waterproof score:
2 hand pockets, 1 chest pocket, and pit zips
Stuff Sac
: It packs into the lefthand aspect pocket

> Pit zips and mesh pockets to vent warmth
> Environmentally pleasant
> 14 colours to select from,
> Low-cost
> Breathable however might be higher
> Not ultralight

The Marmot PreCip rain jacket has been round since about 1999. This newest improve offers the Marmot Precip an eco-friendly conscience.

The Marmot PreCip Eco is comprised of recycled nylon face cloth and makes use of a PFC-free DWR which is likely one of the rain jacket’s greatest options.

The Marmot PreCip Eco prices lower than $100 at some retailers which makes it one of many least expensive rain jackets for mountaineering, solely the Outside Analysis Helium 2 is shut within the high quality vs value class. For these wanting a price range backpacking rain jacket and wanting one thing environmentally pleasant, it ticks all of the bins.

This 2.5-layer jacket is just not probably the most breathable rain jacket on this overview and hikers will want it was a bit of extra breathable throughout hikes with lengthy uphill climbs. To handle this the Marmot Precip Eco has pit zips to vent warmth and there’s a mesh lining for the hand pockets.

The Pit Zips and the pockets pit zips with mesh do a great job at regulating physique warmth and transferring moisture exterior when wanted.

Weighing in at 10.5oz / 293g, it’s simply mild sufficient for mountaineering and backpacking, multi-day hikes, and biking. Via-hikers and ultralight hikers will look elsewhere as there are higher choices for the burden.

The fastened hood is adjustable with velcro tabs so you’ll be able to simply put on it over a baseball cap or a hooded-down jacket. It additionally has two twine changes so you’ll be able to shortly cinch it nearer to your face to maintain the rainwater out.

Marmot makes use of a novel identify for the design of this jacket. It has a built-in “Angel-wing motion” design. If you attain overhead the sleeves won’t wish to transfer all the way in which up the lengths of the arms. A nicely thought out characteristic that seems to work nicely.

For the worth, that is one of the best rain jacket for price range backpackers and hikers. In case you are out there for rain gear that’s environmentally pleasant and is a fan of round economic system, you’ll be able to’t go fallacious with the Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket.

Finest Rain Jacket for Australia and New Zealand

Macpac Tempo Rain Jacket

Macpac Tempo Rain Jacket review

Complete Weight: 7.8oz / 220 grams
Outer cloth
: Pertex Protect Air
: 40000 g/m2/24-hour
Waterproof score
: 10000mm
: Chest Pocket
Stuff Sac
: Packs into pocket

> Light-weight
> Very waterproof
> Very breathable
> Very packable
> Solely accessible in Australia and New Zealand
> No hand pockets and no pit zips

The Macpac Tempo rain jacket is comprised of a quite new Pertex cloth known as Pertex Protect Air which has next-level breathability.

The Macpac Tempo rain jacket is likely one of the most breathable rain jackets I’ve examined. It’s comprised of Pertex Protect Air which is extraordinarily breathable at 40000 g/m2/24hour. Whereas there are a few jackets within the overview which will charge greater this jacket is sweet about pretty much as good because it will get. If solely it had pit zips which might flip this into one of the best rain jacket on this overview! Possibly which may occur sooner or later.

The Macpac Tempo is like most light-weight jackets. It’s minimalist in design with no hand pockets and solely a practical chest pocket. The DWR end is OK, however not one of the best, and can must be reapplied over time. I like this jacket and it’s my present jacket of alternative that I put on within the rain when mountaineering, backpacking, and touring.

General, the Macpac Tempo is likely one of the greatest rain jackets. It’s light-weight and really breathable however solely accessible in Australia and New Zealand.

Mountain Hardwear Publicity/2 Rain Jacket Assessment

Complete Weight: 9.1oz / 258 grams
Outer cloth
: 2.5 Layer Gore-Tex Paclite Material
: 15000 g/m2/24-hour
Waterproof score
: Hydrostatic Head score 28000mm
: Chest pocket and hand pockets
Stuff Sac
: None

> Good light-weight waterproof Gore-Tex
> Not packable

The Mountain Hardwear Publicity/2 rain jacket continues to be light-weight at 9.1oz / 258 grams however there are nonetheless some jackets a bit lighter.

Made with Gore-Tex Paclite it isn’t solely breathable because of the high quality light-weight materials however very waterproof. The construct high quality can be very strong and because of the prime quality, it is going to final a very long time.

This mannequin lacks a number of the options that have been on earlier fashions similar to aspect zips to assist with venting warmth when climbing up a wet however sweaty hill.

General, this can be a good high quality light-weight rain jacket. It has been discontinued so for the time being it’s a cut price in comparison with the conventional retail value. Test the costs beneath to see simply how good the costs are for the time being, however hurry, they could not final for lengthy.

Patagonia Storm 10

Complete Weight: 8.3 oz / 235 grams
Outer cloth
: 100% recycled 3-layer Ripstop Nylon known as H2No
15000 g/m2/24-hour
Waterproof score
: 15000mm
: Chest Pocket, 2 hand pockets
Stuff Sac
: The chest pocket is used because the stuff

> 100% recycled outer materials
> Sturdy materials
> Good hand pockets
> Premium product at a premium value

The Patagonia Storm 10 Jacket is likely one of the few jackets which have made the dedication to be comprised of 100% recycled supplies and makes use of licensed truthful commerce stitching within the manufacturing course of.  

The Stretch Storm 10 jacket is a 3-layer jacket comprised of a fabric known as H2No. The shell cloth is product of 100 % recycled nylon cloth. The fabric additionally has a good DWR coating.

The Patagonia Storm 10 Jacket is likely one of the lightest rain jackets from Patagonia which weighs solely 8.3 ounces / 235g. Though there are different lighter jackets on this overview there are few that may boast the environmental credentials for supplies and truthful commerce practices. For that reason, the rain gear comes at a premium value.

The Patagonia Storm 10 comes with good hand pockets that really are in a spot that can be utilized when carrying a pack and the hood matches nicely.

The Patagonia Storm 10 Jacket is breathability however like all of the jackets on this overview, it could actually get a bit clammy after some time. Among the earlier light-weight Patagonia Rain Jackets had pit zips to vent warmth from the jackets however they’re lacking on this newer rain gear.

Patagonia Storm 10 Jacket is a greater possibility than the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L as a result of it’s a a lot lighter rain jacket. It ticks all of the bins as being one of many nice rain jackets, I simply want it had pit zips to vent warmth build-up. If it had them, it will be the right jacket. In the event you care concerning the atmosphere and need a truthful commerce licensed jacket comprised of recycled supplies then this might be an ideal alternative.

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L

Patagonia Torrentshell 3l Rain Jacket

Complete Weight: 13.9 oz / 394 grams
Outer cloth: 50 Denier 3-layer nylon waterproof cloth
: Not specified
Waterproof score
: Not acknowledged
2 Hand Pockets
Stuff Sac: 
Stuff into left hand pocket
> Good 3-layer materials
> Good pockets
> Eco-friendly supplies
> Heavy

The Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Rain Jacket is the rain jacket you purchase if you find yourself confused by all the alternatives on the market. You recognize will probably be good as a result of it’s Patagonia.

The Patagonia Torrentshell 3L leans very closely in direction of its eco-friendly heritage. It makes use of its personal H2No 3-layer materials which is a 100% recycled and truthful commerce sewn jacket. Whereas it’s a bit on the heavy aspect at 13.9 oz / 394 grams it’s 3-layer materials which most others on this overview aren’t. It additionally comes with good hand hotter pockets, venting pit zips, and a good DWR end. And the hood has good protection and cinches down nicely.

General, the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L rain jacket does every part nicely and is an effective, trustworthy jacket to choose if you’re confused with all the alternatives. In the event you do, you can be comfortable.

Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Shell

Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Shell

Weight: 11.3 oz / 320 grams

> Good stretch materials.
> Pit Zips.
> Fairly priced.
> Waterproof and breathable.
> Sensible choice of colours.
> Light-weight however a bit heavier than others on this overview.

The Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Shell is likely one of the higher stretch rain shells on this overview. It’s a good all-weather jacket for the lively backpacker.

The Black Diamond Stormline stretch jacket makes use of a 2.5-layer development and pairs with a good DWR end. However one of many higher issues concerning the jacket is the usage of pit zips. This provides one other layer of breathability to the jacket.

Additionally it is fairly fairly priced in comparison with others within the overview. However at a weight of 11.3 oz / 320 grams, it places this jacket on the greater finish of light-weight jackets.

General, the Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Shell is likely one of the higher stretch rain shells available on the market in 2023 and nicely suited to the lively backpacker.

Enlightened Gear Visp Jacket Assessment

Complete Weight: 5oz / 142 grams (with out Pit Zips)
Outer cloth:
7Denier Ripstop Nylon with ePTFE membrane
75000 g/m2/24-hour
Waterproof score:
2 pockets for arms
Stuff Sac: 

> Ultralight
> Very Breathable
> Pit Zips
> Costly

NOTE: The Enlightened Gear Visp Jacket is sort of out of inventory as they put together to launch their new up to date model. I’ll overview the product as quickly as it’s launched, keep tuned. Within the meantime, the brand new mannequin must be an improved model of the one written about beneath. Learn what I believed concerning the older mannequin.

The Enlightened Gear Visp Rain Jacket was one of many lightest, most breathable, and most waterproof light-weight jackets accessible for the time being.

With its wonderful safety in opposition to each rain and wind, it was greatest fitted to ultralight thru-hikers. The Enlightened Gear Visp can be one of the best rain jacket for the Pacific Crest Path or an analogous long-distance path.

The three-layer jacket is comprised of ultralight 7D ripstop nylon. It is a paper-thin waterproof breathable membrane that’s ePTFE is delicate to the contact, snug, and weighs round 5 ounces or 142 grams.

Being such a skinny materials will probably be extra susceptible to getting holes whereas mountaineering within the backcountry. If going off path or on trails with a number of sharps sticks I might keep away from this jacket rather than heavier obligation.

With a claimed breathability score of 75000 g/m2/24hour, that is probably the most breathable jacket on this overview. They now come customary as a rain jacket with pit zips. The pit zips do a great job of venting warmth when wanted.

There may be extra price and weight however this might be one of many rain jackets greatest upgrades that you might do. The sizes run a bit massive on this jacket. Bear in mind that on the time of writing there could also be provide points with this jacket, so click on the hyperlink beneath and test if they’re in inventory.

It has a water-proof score of 20,000mm which is greater than sufficient for any backpacking rain jacket.

General, Enlightened Gear’s Visp Rain Jacket is likely one of the greatest waterproof breathable rain jackets for thru-hiking. With class-leading mild weight, best-in-class breathability, and the choice of pit zips for higher air flow there’s little to dislike about this rain jacket.

Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket Assessment

Complete Weight: 10.9oz / 310 grams
Outer cloth
: 40 Denier Ripstop 2 layer Gore-Tex Paclite Plus
: 15000 g/m2/24-hour
Waterproof score
: 28000mm
: 2 hand pockets
Stuff Sac
: No

> Light-weight
> Massive coloration alternative
> Gore-Tex
> Very Costly
> Want it was extra breathable
> Discontinued and laborious to seek out.

The Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket is manufactured with Gore-Tex Paclite Plus materials with the standard waterproof zippers and two hand pockets and a pleasant adjustable hood.

Weighing nearly 11 ounces / 310 grams, this jacket is greater than twice as heavy because the Enlightened Gear Visp making it barely heavy for these seeking to purchase one of the best rain jacket available on the market.

It might not be an ultralight jacket however this Gore-Tex lively rain shell simply works.

It has a good DWR, superior waterproof score, and is kind of breathable however like all the opposite rain gear it could actually get a bit clammy over time. With no pit zips to vent extra warmth and moisture.

General, the Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket is a superb 2-layer Gore-Tex mountaineering and backpacking rain jacket however for these wanting an ultralight jacket. This jacket has been discontinued however I’ve saved it on the listing as a result of when you can nonetheless discover one you’ll be able to decide up a high-quality cut price.

Outside Analysis Helium 2 Assessment

Outdoor Research Helium 2 waterproof jacket

Complete Weight: 6.4oz / 180 grams
Outer cloth
: 30D (denier) 2.5 Layer Pertex Protect
: Not specified however I consider it’s 20000 g/m2/24-hour
Waterproof score
: Hydrostatic Head 20000mm
: 1 chest pocket
Stuff Sac
: No, the chest pocket doubles as a stuff sack

> Light-weight
> Packs up small
> Very low cost proper now
> Changing into tough to seek out as it’s now on clearance because of the new mannequin.
> The DWR coating might be higher.

The Outside Analysis Helium 2 has been one of the vital fashionable light-weight rain jackets for a few years. It has now been discontinued and changed by the Helium Jacket so it’s changing into tough to seek out. If you could find one they signify excellent worth.

I used this jacket for Via Mountaineering Triple Crown whereas mountaineering the Pacific Crest Path, Continental Divide Path, Appalachian Path, and in addition the Te Araroa Path New Zealand! Greater than 8000 miles of use!

The Helium ii is likely one of the many 2.5 Layer jackets made with high-quality Pertex Protect Ripstop Nylon cloth. The Helium II is just not solely light-weight however works nice as a wind jacket or full-featured water resistant jacket to be used in torrential rain.

Like each single ultralight jacket on this overview, I want this jacket had a greater DWR. It’s not so good as I would really like so I wanted to reapply the coating many instances over time.

The standard of DWR used on the face cloth is just not one of the best. However that is frequent with each jacket on this overview.

It has an adjustable hood that’s ok in all however the worst form of windy circumstances.

At solely 6.4oz Helium ii is likely one of the lightest jackets available on the market and the truth that this jacket has proved so fashionable over time is a testomony to its high quality and the belief many hikers like myself have positioned within the jacket to maintain me dry over hundreds of miles of trails over time.

This jacket is getting more durable to seek out as it’s now discontinued in favor of the upgraded Outside Analysis Helium (Learn the overview above).

In the event you can nonetheless discover one on clearance you’ll get a bargain-priced rain jacket that might be one of many Finest rain jackets for the Pacific Crest Path or any long-distance mountaineering path.

In case you are searching for an affordable, light-weight, and high-quality rain jacket then look no additional.

Try the hyperlinks beneath to retailers that also could have them in inventory at a really low cost value, however hurry, as soon as they’re gone, they’re gone.

Different Rain Jackets not but lined on this overview

there are a lot of different jackets that would have been included in one of the best backpacking rain jackets overview together with a number of the different jackets talked about beneath.

  • Frogg Toggs – These embody probably the greatest price range jackets known as Frogg Toggs that are very low cost and do a great job. Regardless of the very low cost value, it’s a waterproof breathable jacket utilized by many backpackers on a price range.
  • Arc’teryx Beta Rain Jacket LT: The Arc’teryx Beta Rain Jacket LT is a barely heavier model of the Beta however is an effective possibility.
  • REI Co-Op Rainer: The REI Co-Op Rainer is an effective price range possibility with good options.
  • REI Co-Op Xerodry GTX: The REI Co-Op Xerodry GTX is one other good Gore-Tex waterproof possibility.
  • RAB Kinetic: The RAB Kinetic is being reviewed for the time being and could also be added to the listing quickly.
  • Montbell Versalite – The Montbell Versalite is being reviewed for the time being and could also be added to this overview sooner or later. The perfect options of this ultralight rain jacket are the burden or lack of it, the pit zips, and the highest quality DWR.
Backpacking in New Zealand and using a Rain Jacket as a Windbreaker on cold mornings. Using the Helium 2 rain jacket
Gear Testing within the Mountains of New Zealand with the Outside Analysis Helium ii

Finest Ultralight Rain Jacket for Via-Mountaineering

All one of the best rain gear on this overview might be improved, whether or not or not it’s shaving off a few ounces in weight, having a greater DWR or they might be cheaper. There isn’t a such factor as the right rain jacket.

A few the jackets stood out from the pack just like the Zpacks Vertice, and Outside Analysis Helium. All of those are ultralight, very packable, and filled with every part a light-weight thru-hiker would want.

Finest General Rain Jacket

General, my alternative of the Finest Rain Jacket for 2023 is the Zpacks Vertice. It is a nice rain shell and simply probably the greatest backpacking rain jackets available on the market proper now. If you need one of the best waterproof and windproof jacket for ultralight mountaineering then that is your jacket. The best choice for ultralight thru-hikers. The Outside Analysis Helium can be probably the greatest ultralight rain jackets for backpacking.

Finest Rain Jacket with Pit Zips

Pit zips are the underarm zips on rain jackets used to shed warmth shortly. Rain jackets with pit zips are nice to cut back the build-up of warmth and sweat when lively. Most often, they’re an incredible thought however there are downsides of pit zips.

Pit zips on one of the best light-weight rain jacket can fail shortly attributable to the truth that they’re in a really high-wear space. In addition they add weight and value to the rain jacket.

Ultralight rain jacket with pit zips

Finest Environmentally Pleasant Rain Jackets

For many who need probably the most environmentally pleasant rain jackets, the selection is clearly both the Patagonia Storm 10, Patagonia Torrentshell 3L, or the Marmot Precip Eco. These environmentally pleasant and eco-conscience jackets will assist you to really feel like you’re doing one thing good for the atmosphere whereas mountaineering and backpacking.

Finest Finances Rain Jackets

The perfect price range possibility is the Outside Analysis Helium 2 which is discontinued and there aren’t many left on the planet, so the Marmot Precip Eco is a greater possibility. Both approach, each might be bought for beneath $100.

How to decide on a Light-weight Rain Jacket

There are 5 issues you have to think about when buying Backpacking Rain Jackets.

  • They have to be waterproof, in fact.
  • They will need to have a top quality DWR Coating, that is tremendous essential.
  • They have to be breathable, the extra the higher.
  • They have to be packable, the smaller the higher.
  • They have to be light-weight, ideally ultralight.

Waterproof Score of Rain Jackets

Wearing and testing a lightweight rain jacket in the snow
Utilizing a water-proof breathable jacket within the chilly of northern Montana on the Continental Divide Path

The waterproof score for rain jackets is usually known as the Hydrostatic head, rated in millimeters (mm). It refers back to the quantity of water stress wanted to leak by way of the rain jacket materials.

A rain jacket with a hydrostatic head score of 20000mm is the equal of putting a cylinder of water 25mm (1 inch) spherical on a jacket and filling it with 20000mm of water earlier than it is going to leak by way of.

For a mountaineering rain jacket to be waterproof whereas sporting a backpack it’s typically accepted that it have to be rated at 15000mm or above. Solely rain jackets being worn within the metropolis and never within the backcountry must be rated decrease similar to 5000mm.

A great waterproof membrane is important to maintain the water out. The perfect waterproof breathable cloth can be light-weight similar to Gore-Tex, Pertex, and ePTFE.

DWR Coating: Virtually as essential because the Material

A DWR Coating, often known as Sturdy Water Repellent Coating is arguably an important characteristic wanted for a rain jacket.

It’s a chemical coating on the face cloth of a jacket that triggered the water to bead and run off the floor of the rain jacket. All of the Finest backpacking rain jackets have a great DWR.

Consider it as just like the way in which water runs off the floor of a automobile after it has a layer of wax utilized.

How lengthy does a DWR Coating final?

A DWR coating won’t final without end. It’s going to normally final for a number of backpacking journeys earlier than it wears off and must be reapplied. Hikers and backpackers might want to pay attention to when the DWR remedy is beginning to put on off.

With out a high quality DWR, your rain gear will ‘Moist Out’. The water will sit on the floor of the jacket as a substitute of beading and operating off the jacket making the waterproof breathable membrane ineffective.

DWR coating on a rain jacket during testing

Rain Jacket Wetting out

When the jacket ‘Wets Out’ it won’t permit the waterproof and breathable membrane of rain gear to permit the switch of moisture from the within of the jacket to the skin.

This results in a build-up of moisture contained in the waterproof jacket and the sensation of clamminess. Some hikers will suppose the jacket is now not waterproof when the truth is, it’s simply the sweat and build-up of moisture contained in the jacket.

This sense is made worse if mountaineering uphill because the build-up of moisture is just not in a position to switch by way of the material anymore. It may be prevented by reapplying a brand new chemical layer of DWR, however extra about that later.

Rain jacket wetting out while thru hiking in the rain
Mountaineering the Pacific Crest Path with a Rain Gear that has misplaced its DWR. The jacket is ‘wetting out’ and is now not breathable.

Is DWR Environmentally Pleasant?

A few years in the past waterproof raingear used the non-environmentally pleasant C8 DWR. It was long-lasting, sturdy, and did a tremendous job at repelling the water for a really very long time.

When the C6 environmentally pleasant DWR was developed it was a lot better for the atmosphere however actually, it was not as sturdy and long-lasting because the previous C8.

Consequently, the DWR coating on all new jackets must be reapplied extra typically to maintain the jacket waterproof and forestall ‘Wetting Out’. It’s tremendous essential on an ultralight rain jacket to have a great DWR remedy.

Fortuitously, it’s doable so as to add a brand new chemical coating of DWR by utilizing merchandise similar to Nikwax to make the jacket breathable once more and preserve you dry.

In conclusion, the DWR Coating is extremely essential to the perform of the rain jacket and simply fastened. The video beneath will assist clarify how extra.

Rain jacket with quality DWR coating
That is what a rain jacket appears like with a great high quality DWR that enables the water to bead and run off the face cloth to maintain you dry

The way to restore a DWR Therapy Video


Breathability is measured by the quantity of moisture that transfers by way of the material in grams per sq. meter of material (g/m2) in 24 hours. The minimal customary of breathability of a high-quality rain jacket is 15000g/m2.

The extremely breathable cloth on a rain jacket will permit 15000 grams of water vapor to move by way of a sq. meter of material in a 24 hours interval.

The Backpacking Rain Jackets Breathability is likely one of the key options to staying heat and dry when mountaineering or backpacking.

For the jacket to be at its greatest it must be utilized in mixture with a great DWR. On this overview, I charge breathability as extra essential than the waterproof score of the jacket. The upper the breathability score the higher the backpacking jacket will likely be.


There are a few essential options to look out for on light-weight rain jackets. Aside from the plain means to maintain the hiker dry, there are some issues that set one jacket other than one other. There are 4 essential options to contemplate when buying a high-quality rain jacket:

  • Pockets
  • Hood
  • Waist Cinch Twine
  • Pit Zips
  • Waterproof Zipper
Waiting for a large storm to hit while putting on the rain jackets
Placing on the rain jackets simply earlier than a big rain storm is about to hit whereas mountaineering within the Australian Alps

Rain Jacket Pockets

Pockets are an incredible characteristic however they add a little bit of weight to the rain jacket. Most ultralight rain jackets don’t have hand pockets, normally, the chest pocket is as sophisticated because it will get.

Having used a jacket with out pockets for a few years I don’t really feel they’re essential, others really feel they’re tremendous essential.

Most backpacking rain jackets pack into an inside pocket for storage, some have a stuff sac, and a few roll into the hood for storage when not in use.

The compressed pack measurement of the jacket when not in use is essential for an ultralight hiker.

Rain Jacket Chest Pocket

Rain Jacket Hood

It ought to make sense that an adjustable hood is designed to maintain the water off the top and forestall it from operating contained in the jacket.

Hooded rain jackets are available in so many designs with some which can be easy elastic and that pull the hood tight over the top.

Rain Jackets with an adjustable hood typically use a cinch twine and toggles to stop wind or water from coming into the physique across the head and neck a lot better than easy elastic hoods.

When issues flip nasty and the wind is blowing laborious with sideways rain the toggles or cinch twine are price the additional weight.

The toggles and cinch chord add weight and the backpacking rain jackets that use easy elastic on the hoods will likely be a lot lighter.

Lightweight Rain Jacket hood

Helmet Suitable Hood

For people who spend time in alpine areas and require an Alpine rain jacket then they could additionally want a helmet appropriate 3 layer jacket.

The helmet-compatible jacket is normally heavier however this isn’t all the time the case. Many of the jackets on this overview wouldn’t be really useful for climbing in Alpine areas. Higher to take a look at heavy-duty 3-layer Gore-Tex Jackets or related that are far more abrasion resistant.

Backpacking in the rain with a quality rain jacket
Not daily of thru-hiking is enjoyable when it’s raining!

Rain Jacket Waist Cinch Twine

A cinch twine on the underside of the jacket is used to limit the quantity of chilly air coming into the jacket from the burden and supply one of the best match. Not all jackets have this characteristic. Some jackets use easy elastic stitched into the jacket to supply a good match across the waist or hood.

The cinch twine does add a small quantity of weight and value to the jacket however for probably the most half that is thought-about nicely price it. Additionally it is essential that the hip belt of the backpack doesn’t dig into the waist cinch twine of the rain jacket or will probably be too uncomfortable to put on all day.

Zpacks Vertice Rain Jacket cinch cord around the waist

Rain Jacket Cuffs

The Rain Jacket cuffs are available in a number of choices. There are elastic cuffs that are the most typical on most waterproof and breathable jackets. Most full-featured jackets use adjustable cuffs. The adjustable cuffs use velcro or related.

Pit Zips on Rain Jackets

Pits Zips are beneath the arm or generally zips within the chest space of the jacket that may be unzipped to vent warmth. It is a helpful characteristic when climbing up hills on heat days when there’s simply sufficient rain to warrant the usage of a rain jacket however not sufficient that having the jacket opened up a bit will get you moist.

Whereas they’re good at venting warmth they’re in a excessive put on space and may fail quite a bit faster than regular zips. Whereas most individuals won’t expertise this problem, when you personal and use a rain jacket with pit zips lengthy sufficient chances are you’ll expertise this type of failure.

Pit zips additionally add to price and weight.

Waterproof Zippers

All of the rain gear on this overview makes use of a top quality water resistant zipper. YKK is the present gold customary for high quality waterproof zippers for outside use.


All of the Rain Jackets Examined within the Ultralight Rain Jacket Gear Assessment are nice and value shopping for. However the ultralight ZPacks Vertice Rain Jacket and Outside Analysis Helium are the 2 greatest selections.

What’s the greatest ultralight rain jacket for backpacking?

The perfect ultralight rain jacket for backpacking is just not solely waterproof and breathable however it is going to pack as much as a small measurement and be very mild weight. Listed here are one of the best ultralight rain jackets accessible proper now: Enlightened Gear Visp, ZPacks Vertice Rain Jacket, and the Outside Analysis Helium.

Are light-weight rain jackets price it?

A great high quality light-weight rain jacket will likely be sturdy, waterproof, light-weight, and pack all the way down to a small measurement. For many hikers and backpackers a light-weight rain jacket is healthier than a heavy-duty rain jacket, and they’re normally cheaper.

What’s the Finest Breathable Waterproof Jacket?

The perfect breathable waterproof Rain Jacket is just not solely light-weight however permits moisture generated from train to move by way of the material out to the environment. Not all breathable rain jackets are the identical. The perfect breathable waterproof jackets available on the market proper now are the Enlightened Gear Visp, ZPacks Vertice Rain Jacket, and the Outside Analysis Helium.

How do you measure the breathability of a rain jacket?

Breathability is measured by the quantity of moisture that transfers by way of the rain jacket cloth in grams per sq. meter of material (g/m2) in 24 hours. A high-quality rain jacket ought to have 15000g/m2 of breathability. Due to this fact it is going to permit 15000 grams of water vapor to move by way of a sq. meter of material in a 24 hours interval.

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BikeHikeSafari Gear Assessment Course of

The writer, Brad McCartney from BikeHikeSafari is a small unbiased adventurer and outside gear tester who owns and runs BikeHikeSafari.com.

BikeHikeSafari is just not half of a big weblog community and is proudly unbiased. All opinions on this web site are unbiased and trustworthy gear opinions of out of doors merchandise by the writer.

The writer, Brad McCartney is a really skilled triple crown thru-hiker, adventurer, and bike tourer having spent 1000s of nights sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag (Learn extra). He was a supervisor of an out of doors retail retailer and may be very skilled in what’s essential when utilizing and testing gear for opinions like this.

BikeHikeSafari won’t ever obtain any cash for opinions and they don’t settle for sponsored opinions on this web site. All of the feedback concerning the gear opinions are from the writer based mostly on his years of expertise. Hope this unbiased overview was useful for you.

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