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

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It is a gear evaluation of the Greatest Ultralight Rain Jackets of 2023.

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

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

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

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Greatest Light-weight Rain Jackets 2023

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

Greatest Backpacking Rain Jacket – Total

Zpacks Vertice Rain Jacket

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

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

The Zpacks Vertice Rain Jacket is a premium ultralight rain jacket that’s presumably essentially the most packable rain jacket you will see that wherever. That is an ultralight rain jacket greatest suited to backpackers and thru-hikers who need the utmost weight saving and most packable jacket potential.

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

I examined and reviewed this rain jacket in each cold and hot climate and whereas climbing and mountain biking. I can affirm it has one of the best at school breathability, and with the addition of pit zips, that is the jacket to get in order for you an ultralight, breathable, and packable rain jacket.

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

Greatest Light-weight Rain Jacket

Outside Analysis Helium Rain Jacket Overview

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

> Ultralight
> Small pack dimension
> Upgraded tear-resistant material.
> Not as breathable as different jackets on this evaluation
> 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 top-of-the-line 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 sufficiently big for smaller-sized telephones or different objects that the hiker desires 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 thing in regards to the adjustable hood. It is available in a variety of colours together with my favourite, Vibrant Orange. An important shade 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 mentioned that, I’m an enormous fan of the two.5 Layer building 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.

Total, 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 hold the general weight down.

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

Total, the Outside Analysis Helium is among the Greatest 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.

Greatest High quality Rain Jacket

Arc’teryx Beta Rain Jacket

Arc'teryx Beta Rain Jacket

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

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 top-of-the-line 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 mixture of sturdiness and waterproofness then this might be the jacket for you. Add to that top-of-the-line hoods of any of the jackets on this evaluation.

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

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

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

Greatest Price range Rain Jacket

Marmot PreCip Eco Rain Jacket Overview

Whole Weight: 10.5oz / 293 g
Outer material:
100% Recycled Nylon Ripstop NanoPro Eco
17000 g/m2/24-hour
Waterproof ranking:
2 hand pockets, 1 chest pocket, and pit zips
Stuff Sac
: It packs into the lefthand facet 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 provides the Marmot Precip an eco-friendly conscience.

The Marmot PreCip Eco is comprised of recycled nylon face material and makes use of a PFC-free DWR which is among 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 climbing, solely the Outside Analysis Helium 2 is shut within the high quality vs worth 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 essentially the most breathable rain jacket on this evaluation and hikers will want it was somewhat 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 job at regulating physique warmth and transferring moisture outdoors when wanted.

Weighing in at 10.5oz / 293g, it’s simply gentle sufficient for climbing and backpacking, multi-day hikes, and biking. Through-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 wire changes so you’ll be able to rapidly cinch it nearer to your face to maintain the rainwater out.

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

For the value, 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 financial system, you’ll be able to’t go fallacious with the Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket.

Greatest Rain Jacket for Australia and New Zealand

Macpac Tempo Rain Jacket

Macpac Tempo Rain Jacket review

Whole Weight: 7.8oz / 220 grams
Outer material
: Pertex Protect Air
: 40000 g/m2/24-hour
Waterproof ranking
: 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 reasonably new Pertex material known as Pertex Protect Air which has next-level breathability.

The Macpac Tempo rain jacket is among 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 evaluation which will fee greater this jacket is nice 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 evaluation! 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 useful chest pocket. The DWR end is OK, however not one of the best, and can have to be reapplied over time. I like this jacket and it’s my present jacket of alternative that I put on within the rain when climbing, backpacking, and touring.

Total, the Macpac Tempo is among 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 Overview

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

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

The Mountain Hardwear Publicity/2 rain jacket remains 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 also be very stable and because of the prime quality, it’s going to final a very long time.

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

Total, it is a good high quality light-weight rain jacket. It has been discontinued so in the mean time it’s a cut price in comparison with the conventional retail worth. Verify the costs beneath to see simply how good the costs are in the mean time, however hurry, they might not final for lengthy.

Patagonia Storm 10

Whole Weight: 8.3 oz / 235 grams
Outer material
: 100% recycled 3-layer Ripstop Nylon known as H2No
15000 g/m2/24-hour
Waterproof ranking
: 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 worth

The Patagonia Storm 10 Jacket is among the few jackets which have made the dedication to be comprised of 100% recycled supplies and makes use of licensed honest 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 material is manufactured from 100 % recycled nylon material. The fabric additionally has an honest DWR coating.

The Patagonia Storm 10 Jacket is among the lightest rain jackets from Patagonia which weighs solely 8.3 ounces / 235g. Though there are different lighter jackets on this evaluation there are few that may boast the environmental credentials for supplies and honest commerce practices. Because of this, the rain gear comes at a premium worth.

The Patagonia Storm 10 comes with good hand pockets that truly 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 evaluation, it may possibly 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 in regards to the atmosphere and desire a honest commerce licensed jacket comprised of recycled supplies then this might be an ideal alternative.

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L

Patagonia Torrentshell 3l Rain Jacket

Whole Weight: 13.9 oz / 394 grams
Outer material: 50 Denier 3-layer nylon waterproof material
: Not specified
Waterproof ranking
: Not said
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 end up 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 the direction of its eco-friendly heritage. It makes use of its personal H2No 3-layer materials which is a 100% recycled and honest commerce sewn jacket. Whereas it’s a bit on the heavy facet at 13.9 oz / 394 grams it’s 3-layer materials which most others on this evaluation usually are not. It additionally comes with good hand hotter pockets, venting pit zips, and an honest DWR end. And the hood has good protection and cinches down nicely.

Total, the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L rain jacket does every thing nicely and is an efficient, trustworthy jacket to choose if you’re confused with all the alternatives. In the event you do, you may be completely satisfied.

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.
> Good selection of colours.
> Light-weight however a bit heavier than others on this evaluation.

The Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Shell is among the higher stretch rain shells on this evaluation. It’s a good all-weather jacket for the energetic backpacker.

The Black Diamond Stormline stretch jacket makes use of a 2.5-layer building and pairs with an honest DWR end. However one of many higher issues in regards to 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 evaluation. However at a weight of 11.3 oz / 320 grams, it places this jacket on the greater finish of light-weight jackets.

Total, the Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Shell is among the higher stretch rain shells available on the market in 2023 and nicely suited to the energetic backpacker.

Enlightened Gear Visp Jacket Overview

Whole Weight: 5oz / 142 grams (with out Pit Zips)
Outer material:
7Denier Ripstop Nylon with ePTFE membrane
75000 g/m2/24-hour
Waterproof ranking:
2 pockets for fingers
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 evaluation the product as quickly as it’s launched, keep tuned. Within the meantime, the brand new mannequin ought to be an improved model of the one written about beneath. Learn what I believed in regards to the older mannequin.

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

With its wonderful safety towards each rain and wind, it was greatest suited to ultralight thru-hikers. The Enlightened Gear Visp could be one of the best rain jacket for the Pacific Crest Path or an identical 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 comfortable to the contact, snug, and weighs round 5 ounces or 142 grams.

Being such a skinny materials will probably be extra liable to getting holes whereas climbing within the backcountry. If going off path or on trails with numerous sharps sticks I might keep away from this jacket instead of heavier responsibility.

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

There’s extra price and weight however this might be one of many rain jackets greatest upgrades that you could possibly do. The sizes run a bit large on this jacket. Remember 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 ranking of 20,000mm which is greater than sufficient for any backpacking rain jacket.

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

Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket Overview

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

> Light-weight
> Giant shade alternative
> Gore-Tex
> Very Costly
> Want it was extra breathable
> Discontinued and arduous to search 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 virtually 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 is probably not an ultralight jacket however this Gore-Tex energetic rain shell simply works.

It has an honest DWR, superior waterproof ranking, and is kind of breathable however like all the opposite rain gear it may possibly get a bit clammy over time. With no pit zips to vent extra warmth and moisture.

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

Outside Analysis Helium 2 Overview

Outdoor Research Helium 2 waterproof jacket

Whole Weight: 6.4oz / 180 grams
Outer material
: 30D (denier) 2.5 Layer Pertex Protect
: Not specified however I imagine it’s 20000 g/m2/24-hour
Waterproof ranking
: 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
> Turning into troublesome to search 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 probably the most standard light-weight rain jackets for a few years. It has now been discontinued and changed by the Helium Jacket so it’s changing into troublesome to search out. If yow will discover one they characterize superb worth.

I used this jacket for Through Climbing Triple Crown whereas climbing 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 among the many 2.5 Layer jackets made with high-quality Pertex Protect Ripstop Nylon material. The Helium II is just not solely light-weight however works nice as a wind jacket or full-featured waterproof jacket to be used in torrential rain.

Like each single ultralight jacket on this evaluation, I want this jacket had a greater DWR. It’s inferior to I would really like so I wanted to reapply the coating many instances through the years.

The standard of DWR used on the face material is just not one of the best. However that is widespread with each jacket on this evaluation.

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

At solely 6.4oz Helium ii is among the lightest jackets available on the market and the truth that this jacket has proved so standard through the years is a testomony to its high quality and the belief many hikers like myself have positioned within the jacket to maintain me dry over 1000’s of miles of trails through the years.

This jacket is getting tougher to search out as it’s now discontinued in favor of the upgraded Outside Analysis Helium (Learn the evaluation above).

In the event you can nonetheless discover one on clearance you’ll get a bargain-priced rain jacket that will be one of many Greatest rain jackets for the Pacific Crest Path or any long-distance climbing 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 might have them in inventory at a really low cost worth, however hurry, as soon as they’re gone, they’re gone.

Different Rain Jackets not but coated on this evaluation

there are various different jackets that might have been included in one of the best backpacking rain jackets evaluation together with a few of the different jackets talked about beneath.

  • Frogg Toggs – These embody top-of-the-line price range jackets known as Frogg Toggs that are very low cost and do job. Regardless of the very low cost worth, 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 efficient possibility.
  • REI Co-Op Rainer: The REI Co-Op Rainer is an efficient 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 in the mean time and could also be added to the checklist quickly.
  • Montbell Versalite – The Montbell Versalite is being reviewed in the mean time and could also be added to this evaluation sooner or later. The perfect options of this ultralight rain jacket are the burden or lack of it, the pit zips, and the very best 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

Greatest Ultralight Rain Jacket for Through-Climbing

All one of the best rain gear on this evaluation 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 any 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 thing a light-weight thru-hiker would want.

Greatest Total Rain Jacket

Total, my alternative of the Greatest Rain Jacket for 2023 is the Zpacks Vertice. It is a nice rain shell and simply top-of-the-line backpacking rain jackets available on the market proper now. If you would like one of the best waterproof and windproof jacket for ultralight climbing then that is your jacket. The most suitable choice for ultralight thru-hikers. The Outside Analysis Helium can also be top-of-the-line ultralight rain jackets for backpacking.

Greatest Rain Jacket with Pit Zips

Pit zips are the underarm zips on rain jackets used to shed warmth rapidly. Rain jackets with pit zips are nice to cut back the build-up of warmth and sweat when energetic. Normally, they’re an amazing thought however there are downsides of pit zips.

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

Ultralight rain jacket with pit zips

Greatest Environmentally Pleasant Rain Jackets

For individuals who need essentially 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 climbing and backpacking.

Greatest Price range Rain Jackets

The perfect price range possibility is the Outside Analysis Helium 2 which is discontinued and there usually are not many left on the earth, so the Marmot Precip Eco is a greater possibility. Both means, 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 should be waterproof, in fact.
  • They will need to have a high quality DWR Coating, that is tremendous necessary.
  • They should be breathable, the extra the higher.
  • They should be packable, the smaller the higher.
  • They should be light-weight, ideally ultralight.

Waterproof Ranking 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 ranking for rain jackets is commonly known as the Hydrostatic head, rated in millimeters (mm). It refers back to the quantity of water strain wanted to leak by the rain jacket materials.

A rain jacket with a hydrostatic head ranking 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’s going to leak by.

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

A very good waterproof membrane is crucial to maintain the water out. The perfect waterproof breathable material can also be light-weight comparable to Gore-Tex, Pertex, and ePTFE.

DWR Coating: Virtually as necessary because the Material

A DWR Coating, also referred to as Sturdy Water Repellent Coating is arguably an important characteristic wanted for a rain jacket.

It’s a chemical coating on the face material of a jacket that brought about the water to bead and run off the floor of the rain jacket. All of the Greatest backpacking rain jackets have DWR.

Consider it as much like the best way water runs off the floor of a automotive after it has a layer of wax utilized.

How lengthy does a DWR Coating final?

A DWR coating won’t final ceaselessly. It would 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 therapy is beginning to put on off.

With no high quality DWR, your rain gear will ‘Moist Out’. The water will sit on the floor of the jacket as an alternative of beading and working 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 enable the waterproof and breathable membrane of rain gear to permit the switch of moisture from the within of the jacket to the surface.

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 not waterproof when in reality, it’s simply the sweat and build-up of moisture contained in the jacket.

This sense is made worse if climbing uphill because the build-up of moisture is just not capable of switch by 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
Climbing the Pacific Crest Path with a Rain Gear that has misplaced its DWR. The jacket is ‘wetting out’ and is 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 outdated C8.

In consequence, the DWR coating on all new jackets must be reapplied extra usually to maintain the jacket waterproof and stop ‘Wetting Out’. It’s tremendous necessary on an ultralight rain jacket to have DWR therapy.

Happily, it’s potential so as to add a brand new chemical coating of DWR through the use of merchandise comparable to Nikwax to make the jacket breathable once more and hold you dry.

In conclusion, the DWR Coating is extremely necessary to the operate 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 high quality DWR that enables the water to bead and run off the face material to maintain you dry

Find out how to restore a DWR Remedy Video


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

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

The Backpacking Rain Jackets Breathability is among the key options to staying heat and dry when climbing or backpacking.

For the jacket to be at its greatest it must be utilized in mixture with DWR. On this evaluation, I fee breathability as extra necessary than the waterproof ranking of the jacket. The upper the breathability ranking the higher the backpacking jacket can be.


There are a few necessary options to look out for on light-weight rain jackets. Other than the apparent potential to maintain the hiker dry, there are some issues that set one jacket other than one other. There are 4 necessary 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 climbing within the Australian Alps

Rain Jacket Pockets

Pockets are an amazing characteristic however they add a little bit of weight to the rain jacket. Most ultralight rain jackets wouldn’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 necessary, others really feel they’re tremendous necessary.

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

The compressed pack dimension of the jacket when not in use is necessary 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 pinnacle and stop it from working contained in the jacket.

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

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

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

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

Lightweight Rain Jacket hood

Helmet Appropriate Hood

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

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

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

Rain Jacket Waist Cinch Twine

A cinch wire on the underside of the jacket is used to limit the quantity of chilly air getting 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 offer a decent match across the waist or hood.

The cinch wire does add a small quantity of weight and price to the jacket however for essentially the most half that is thought-about nicely price it. Additionally it is necessary that the hip belt of the backpack doesn’t dig into the waist cinch wire 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 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 comparable.

Pit Zips on Rain Jackets

Pits Zips are beneath the arm or typically 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 may be 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 so much faster than regular zips. Whereas most individuals won’t expertise this concern, in case 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 evaluation makes use of a high quality waterproof zipper. YKK is the present gold normal for high quality waterproof zippers for out of doors use.


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

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’s going to pack as much as a small dimension and be very gentle weight. Listed below 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 very good high quality light-weight rain jacket can be sturdy, waterproof, light-weight, and pack right down to a small dimension. 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 Greatest Breathable Waterproof Jacket?

The perfect breathable waterproof Rain Jacket is just not solely light-weight however permits moisture generated from train to move by 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 the rain jacket material 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’s going to enable 15000 grams of water vapor to move by a sq. meter of material in a 24 hours interval.

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BikeHikeSafari Gear Overview Course of

The creator, Brad McCartney from BikeHikeSafari is a small impartial adventurer and out of doors gear tester who owns and runs

BikeHikeSafari is just not half of a big weblog community and is proudly impartial. All evaluations on this website are impartial and trustworthy gear evaluations of outside merchandise by the creator.

The creator, 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 outside retail retailer and may be very skilled in what’s necessary when utilizing and testing gear for evaluations like this.

BikeHikeSafari won’t ever obtain any cash for evaluations and they don’t settle for sponsored evaluations on this web site. All of the feedback in regards to the gear evaluations are from the creator primarily based on his years of expertise. Hope this impartial evaluation was useful for you.

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