It’s pouring, and you’re halfway through your hike. There’s still a few miles between you and shelter, and your only choice is to deal with the elements. If you want to stay dry as you make it through the storm, you’ll need a rain jacket. Hiking for hours in the rain without a jacket can put you at risk for hypothermia. Your rain jacket is an important line of defense for keeping you warm and safe while you’re outdoors. But how do you know what’s the best rain jacket for hiking?

That’s where we come in! One of our big goals here at The Adventure Junkies is to make your life easier when it comes to gearing up for the outdoors. This guide will walk you through how to find the best rain jacket for you and show you our selection of the top models of the year.

For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out the Best Rain Pants for Hiking.

 

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Quick Answer - The Best Rain Jackets for Hiking

  1. Mammut Wenaha
  2. Outdoor Research Helium II
  3. The North Face Venture
  4. Columbia Watertight II
  5. Marmot Minimalist
  6. The North Face Resolve
  7. Columbia Arcadia
  8. Marmot PreCip

Comparison Table - Best Rain Jackets for Hiking

PictureNameFabricType of WaterproofingVentilationPriceRating
Mammut WenahaMammut WenahaPolyesterGore-TexPit Zips$4.8
Outdoor Research Helium IIRipstop NylonPertexNone$$4.6
-The North Face VentureRipstop NylonWaterproof Breathable MembranePit Zips$4.4
Columbia Watertight IINylonOmni-TechNone$4.5
Marmot MinimalistPolyesterGore-TexPit Zips$$4.4
The North Face ResolveRipstop NylonWaterproof Breathable MembraneNone$4.6
Columbia ArcadiaNylonWaterproof Breathable MembraneNone$4.5
Marmot PreCipRipstop NylonWaterproof Breathable MembranePit Zips$4.6
PictureNameFabricType of WaterproofingVentilationPriceRating

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Reviews - Best Jackets for Hiking in the Rain

Mammut Wenaha


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Fabric: Polyester
  • Liner: Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane
  • Type of Waterproofing: Gore-Tex
  • Ventilation: Pit Zips
Mammut Wenaha

BEST FOR LONG DISTANCE HIKING

PROS: Windproof, adjustable hood, zipper vents, interior zip pocket, headphone port

CONS: Very fitted – limited room for layers underneath, does not pack into a pocket

Outdoor Research Helium II


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Fabric: Ripstop Nylon
  • Liner: None
  • Type of Waterproofing: Pertex
  • Ventilation: None

BEST FOR DAY HIKING

PROS: Lightweight, breathable, adjustable hood, draw-cord hem, stows in zippered pocket

CONS: No hand pockets, no zipper vents, very thin, no lining, runs small

The North Face Venture


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Fabric: Ripstop Nylon
  • Liner: None
  • Type of Waterproofing: Waterproof Breathable Membrane
  • Ventilation: Pit Zips

BEST FOR 3-SEASON HIKING

PROS: Lightweight, windproof, adjustable hood, adjustable cuffs, zipper vents, stows in zippered pocket

CONS: Runs large, sleeves are too long, no interior pockets, very thin, no lining

Columbia Watertight II

Specs
  • Fabric: Nylon
  • Liner: None
  • Type of Waterproofing: Omni-Tech
  • Ventilation: None

BEST ON A BUDGET

PROS: Inexpensive, windproof, adjustable hood, draw-cord hem, stows in zippered pocket

CONS: Very fitted – limited room for layers underneath, no zipper vents, doesn’t breath well in high heat

Marmot Minimalist


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Fabric: Polyester
  • Liner: None
  • Type of Waterproofing: Gore-Tex
  • Ventilation: Pit Zips

BEST FOR BACKPACKING

PROS: Windproof, breathable, adjustable hood, draw-cord hem, zipper vents

CONS: Seams lose waterproofing over time, does not pack into a pocket, no interior pockets

The North Face Resolve


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Fabric: Ripstop Nylon
  • Liner: Polyester Mesh
  • Type of Waterproofing: Waterproof Breathable Membrane
  • Ventilation: None

BEST FOR SPRING AND FALL HIKING

PROS: Windproof, mesh knit lining, adjustable hood, breathable, draw-cord hem

CONS: No vents, Velcro over the zipper can snag clothing, runs large, hood is too large

Columbia Arcadia

Specs
  • Fabric: Nylon
  • Liner: Polyester/Polyester Mesh
  • Type of Waterproofing: Waterproof Breathable Membrane
  • Ventilation: None

BEST FOR EVERYDAY USE

PROS: Inexpensive, windproof, breathable, mesh lining, stows in zippered pocket

CONS: Very fitted – limited room for layers underneath, fabric is noisy, doesn’t always stand up to heavy downpours, no zipper vents

Marmot PreCip


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Fabric: Ripstop Nylon
  • Liner: None
  • Type of Waterproofing: Waterproof Breathable Membrane
  • Ventilation: Pit Zips

BEST FOR PACKABILITY

PROS: Lightweight, windproof, adjustable hood, zipper vents, stows in zippered pocket

CONS: No interior pockets, very thin, no lining, inner membrane decays over time, loses waterproofing over time

LEARN HOW TO CHOOSE HIKING GEAR FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE

 

 

 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST RAIN JACKETS FOR HIKING

LAYERING

Rain jackets can be a versatile part of your layering system. They’re thin enough to be worn in warmer weather but also work as shells when the temperature drops.

A shell is the outermost layer in a fall/winter/spring clothing layering system. Its purpose is to be your first line of defense against wind, rain, and snow.

If you’d like to use your rain jacket in cooler weather, then look for one that can fit over your base layers and mid layers. You want to be able to incorporate enough layers to stay warm but still be able to move comfortably on your hike.

Not sure how to layer for hiking? Check out our guide on how to layer clothing for some tips on how to stay warm and dry in cold weather.

 

WATERPROOFING

How do rain jackets keep you dry? They take advantage of innovative technologies that repel water.

Most multi-sport rain jackets use either a laminate or a coating for waterproofing. Laminates are a thin membrane attached to the inside of your jacket. Coatings are a liquid application applied to your garment.

Both types of waterproofing repel water. However, laminates perform better and are more comfortable to wear. Laminates also tend to be more expensive. If you’re looking for a less expensive rain jacket, then one with a coating may be the best choice.

 

WATERTIGHT

Your rain jacket must be watertight in addition to waterproof. In a downpour, water will do everything it can to penetrate the barrier of your jacket. As you hike, water will try to get in through your sleeves, the opening of your hood, and in the seams.

Look for jackets that have adjustable hoods, sleeves, and hems. The more you can adjust and close the openings in your jacket, the more you will be able to keep out water.

Before you select your rain jacket, check its seams, pockets, and zippers. You’ll want to choose a jacket with flaps, taped seams, and other reinforcements. These features will make your jacket an impenetrable layer of protection against rain.

Searching for more ways to keep out water while hiking? Check out our articles on the best rain pants for hiking and the best backpack rain covers.

 

VENTING

All multi-sport rain jackets are designed to be breathable to some degree. However, as you hike in the rain, heat will build up. Vents are a simple way to release heat while bringing airflow into your jacket.

Look for a jacket with zippered vents under the arm pits. Also, check for additional ventilation in the pockets and the body of the jacket.

 

STOWING

You want to be able to easily tuck your rain jacket away when it’s not in use. Look for a jacket that stuffs into an inner pocket or folds to a small size. If your jacket is convenient to pack and carry, you’ll be more likely to bring it with you just in case of an emergency.

 

READ MORE

For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: 

Rain Pants for Hiking | Socks for Hiking

Convertible Hiking Pants | Waterproof Hiking Shoes

Lightweight Hiking Boots | Hiking Shorts

Lightweight Hiking Shoes | Waterproof Hiking Boots

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