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.

 

QUICK ANSWER: THE BEST RAIN JACKET FOR HIKING

  1. Mammut Wenaha
  2. Arc’teryx Beta LT Hybrid
  3. Marmot Minimalist
  4. Outdoor Research Helium II
  5. The North Face Venture
  6. Marmot PreCip
  7. Columbia Watertight II
  8. The North Face Resolve
  9. Columbia Arcadia
  10. REI Talusphere

 

 

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THE BEST RAIN JACKET FOR HIKING – A COMPARISON

PICTURE
RAIN JACKET
FABRIC
TYPE OF WATERPROOFING
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
RAIN JACKET
FABRIC
TYPE OF WATERPROOFING
PRICE
RATING
rei1
Mammut Wenaha
Polyester
Gore-Tex PacLite 2.5-layer
$
4.8
Arc'teryx Beta LT Hybrid
Nylon
Gore-Tex 3-layer
$$$
4.2
Marmot Minimalist
Polyester
Gore-Tex PacLite 2.5-layer
$$
4.4
Outdoor Research Helium II
Ripstop Nylon
Pertex 2.5-layer
$$
4.6
The North Face Venture
Ripstop Nylon
HyVent 2.5 layer
$
4.4
Marmot PreCip
Ripstop Nylon
PreCip NanoPro 2.5-layer
$
4.6
Columbia Watertight II
Nylon
Omni-Tech
$
4.5
The North Face Resolve
Ripstop Nylon
HyVent 2-layer
$
4.6
Columbia Arcadia
Nylon
Omni-Tech
$
4.5
rei2
REI Talusphere
Polyester
2.5-layer Elements
$
4.1

 

 

RAIN JACKETS 101

 

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST RAIN JACKET FOR HIKING

 

1. 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.

 

2. 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.

 

3. 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 article on the best rain pants for hiking.

 

4. 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.

 

5. 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.

 

best rain jacket for hiking

Photo By istockphoto.com/portfolio/LeventKonuk

 

 

RAIN JACKET FOR HIKING REVIEWS

TOP 10 BEST RAIN JACKETS FOR HIKING

 

1. BEST RAIN JACKET FOR OVERALL USE

MAMMUT WENAHA

rei1

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: 3-season hiking

WOMEN’S VERSION: Mammut Wenaha 

FABRIC: Polyester

LINING: Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane

TYPE OF WATERPROOFING: Gore-Tex PacLite 2.5-layer waterproof breathable laminate

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

 

 

 

ARC’TERYX BETA LT HYBRID

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: 3-season hiking & backpacking, shell

WOMEN’S VERSION: Arc’teryx Beta LT Hybrid

FABRIC: Nylon

LINING: None

TYPE OF WATERPROOFING: Gore-Tex 3-layer waterproof breathable laminate

PROS: Windproof, durable, adjustable hood, zipper vents, stows in zippered pocket

CONS: Expensive, hood is too large

 

 

 

MARMOT MINIMALIST

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Warmer weather hiking & backpacking, shell

WOMEN’S VERSION: Marmot Minimalist 

FABRIC: Polyester

LINING: None

TYPE OF WATERPROOFING: Gore-Tex PacLite 2.5-layer waterproof breathable laminate

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

 

 

 

 

2. BEST LIGHTWEIGHT RAIN JACKET

OUTDOOR RESEARCH HELIUM II

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Warmer weather hiking & backpacking, shell

WOMEN’S VERSION: Outdoor Research Helium II 

FABRIC: Ripstop Nylon

LINING: None

TYPE OF WATERPROOFING: Pertex 2.5-layer waterproof breathable laminate

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

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: 3-season hiking & backpacking, shell

WOMEN’S VERSION: The North Face Venture 

FABRIC: Ripstop Nylon

LINING: None

TYPE OF WATERPROOFING: HyVent 2.5 layer waterproof breathable membrane

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

 

 

 

 

3. BEST AFFORDABLE RAIN JACKETS

MARMOT PRECIP

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: 3-season hiking & backpacking, shell

WOMEN’S VERSION: Marmot PreCip

FABRIC: Ripstop Nylon

LINING: None

TYPE OF WATERPROOFING: PreCip NanoPro 2.5-layer waterproof breathable coating

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

 

 

 

COLUMBIA WATERTIGHT II

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Spring and fall hiking & backpacking

WOMEN’s VERSION: N/A

FABRIC: Nylon

LINING: None

TYPE OF WATERPROOFING: Omni-Tech waterproof breathable laminate

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

 

 

 

 

4. BEST RAIN JACKETS FOR WOMEN

THE NORTH FACE RESOLVE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Spring and fall hiking & backpacking, shell

MEN’S VERSION: The North Face Resolve

FABRIC: Ripstop Nylon

LINING: Polyester Mesh

TYPE OF WATERPROOFING: HyVent 2-layer waterproof breathable coating

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

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: 3-season hiking & backpacking

MEN’S VERSION: N/A

FABRIC: Nylon

LINING: Polyester/Polyester Mesh

TYPE OF WATERPROOFING: Omni-Tech waterproof breathable laminate

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

 

 

 

REI TALUSPHERE

rei2

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: 3-season hiking & backpacking, shell

MEN’S VERSION: REI Talusphere 

FABRIC: Polyester

LINING: None

TYPE OF WATERPROOFING: 2.5-layer Elements waterproof breathable membrane

PROS: Windproof, breathable, internal chest pocket with media port, adjustable hood with bill, draw-cord hem, zipper vents

CONS: Looks bulky, fit is tight in the chest area

 

Best Rain Jackets For Hiking – Hiking Clothes for Summer, Winter, Fall and Spring – Hiking Outfits for Women, Men and Kids – Backpacking Gear For Beginners
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