Updated on

When you’re enjoying a nice sunny day in the great outdoors, it’s important to remember that Mother Nature can change her mind in an instant. This is why having the best lightweight rain jacket for women should be a top priority for your backcountry gear list.

For backpackers and hikers alike, it’s common to want gear that performs well, but is also lightweight. You don’t want to add extra ounces to your back when you can have a jacket with the same features for a lesser weight. That’s why we think having a lightweight rain jacket is the way to go.

A durable, weather proof rain jacket should keep you dry amid a snow or rain storm in the mountains. And unlike other gear essentials that you’ll have to replace annually, like shoes, a rain jacket should last you for years.

Listed below are a range of rain jackets we think you’ll like. Made of different fabrics and extending different lengths, these jackets are quite different, but share one thing in common: they are all lightweight options.

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

 

Quick Answer - The Best Women's Lightweight Rain Jackets

  1. Arc’teryx Zeta SL
  2. Outdoor Research Helium II
  3. Black Diamond StormLine Stretch
  4. Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow
  5. Arc’teryx Beta AR
  6. REI Co-op Rainier
  7. Outdoor Research Aspire
  8. Arc’teryx Codetta
  9. The North Face Venture 2

 

Comparison Table - Best Women's Lightweight Rain Jacket

PictureNameVentilationLengthWeightPriceRating
Arc’teryx Zeta SLN/AHip Length9.5 ounces$$$5.0
Outdoor Research Helium IIN/AHip Length5.5 ounces$$4.5
Black Diamond StormLine StretchPit ZipsHip Length7.9 ounces$$4.5
Patagonia Stretch RainshadowPit ZipsHip Length9.5 ounces$$$5.0
Arc’teryx Beta ARPit ZipsHip Length13.2 ounces$$$$5.0
REI Co-op RainierPit ZipsHip Length11.4 ounces$4.5
Outdoor Research AspirePit ZipsHip Length12.4 ounces$$4.0
Arc’teryx CodettaCore VentsThigh Length14.8 ounces$$$5.0
The North Face Venture 2Pit ZipsHip Length1 lb$4.5
PictureNameVentilationLengthWeightPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Lightweight Rain Jacket for Women

Arc’teryx Zeta SL

Specs
  • Fabric: Ripstop Gore-Tex
  • Length: Hip Length
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Type of Waterproofing: 2-Layer Gore Tex plus Waterproof Breathable Laminate
  • Weight: 9.5 ounces
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Ventilation: N/A
Features
  • Halo Adjuster Provides Fitted Hood
  • Watertight Front Zipper
  • Adjustable Cuffs and Waist For Maximum Comfort

BEST FOR:  THE LONG DISTANCE HIKER

Arc’teryx has a reputation in the backcountry community for having the sleekest, lightest, and most durable gear for good reason. The Beta SL Rain Jacket is no exception. 

The design of this jacket provides coverage for everywhere you need it. The back of the jacket runs to your hip length, to make sure you have waterproof coverage all the way down your back. The sleeves of this jacket are long, so you don’t have to worry about your sleeves being too short when you extend your arms. The hood of this jacket has an adjustable halo cord, so you can tailor the fit of the hood to your preference and make sure rain stays out of your eyes. 

The feel of the Gore Tex material this jacket is made of is soft, extremely durable, and fully waterproof. You can bet your bottom dollar that this jacket will keep you dry, and it won’t rip on you, even when you’re conquering the toughest of rock scrambles.

All that said, this is a solid option for a lightweight rain jacket, if you can afford it. Arc’teryx gear comes with a steep price tag, but if you can swing it, you will thank yourself for years to come.

Outdoor Research Helium II

Specs
  • Fabric: Nylon
  • Length: Hip Length
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Type of Waterproofing: PerTex Shield and 2.5 Layer Waterproof Breathable Laminate
  • Weight: 5.5 ounces
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Ventilation: N/A
Features
  • Taped Seams Ensure Waterproof Jacket
  • Halo Adjuster Provides Fitted Hood
  • Chest Pocket
  • Packs Into Pocket
  • Adjustable Cuffs and Waist For Maximum Comfort
  • Taped Seams Ensure Waterproof Jacket

BEST FOR: THE ULTRALIGHT HIKER

The Outdoor Research Helium II rain jacket is the lightest rain jacket featured by the Adventure Junkies, so if weight is at the top of your rain jacket priority list, this is your jacket. 

This product is truly a work of art. It’s incredible that Outdoor Research was able to design a rain jacket that has a chest pocket and adjustable features while still only weighing about five ounces. You can adjust the cuffs, hood, and waist of this coat to achieve maximum comfort even in the rain.

You can guarantee you will be dry while sporting this stylish rain jacket on the trail. The Pertex Shield water repellent treatment this jacket has is highly weather resistant and breathable. The taped seams will double as a water treatment for this jacket, and will ensure your belongings inside your pockets will be dry in a rainstorm. 

Although the coat advertises to be hip length, it runs a bit shorter than that. So if you definitely want coverage over your hips when you’re wearing a raincoat, you may think twice about this jacket.

Black Diamond StormLine Stretch

Specs
  • Fabric: Majority Nylon
  • Length: Hip Length
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Type of Waterproofing: Waterproof Breathable Laminate
  • Weight: 7.9 ounces
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Ventilation: Pit Zips
Features
  • Pit Zips
  • Packs Into Pocket
  • Adjustable Cuffs and Waist For Maximum Comfort
  • Climbing Helmet Compatible
  • Halo Adjuster Provides Fitted Hood
  • Watertight Zipper

BEST FOR: THE MOUNTAIN CLIMBER

Black Diamond’s StormLine Stretch Rain Jacket is a good option for the versatile outdoor athlete. 

The hood of this rain jacket is compatible with a climbing helmet, making it a great option for hiking, backpacking, and climbing. Weighing in at just under half a pound, it’s pretty unbelievable that Black Diamond was able to include pit zips and adjustable cufflink and waist drawstrings into this jacket design. 

Other than being a lightweight option, this jacket can also pack into the left pocket of the jacket, so it’s extremely packable and will never need a seperate stuff sack. This jacket compliments a woman’s body by not being too tight, but rather providing extra space where it’s needed and slimming in areas where it’s not.

The nylon this product is made of isn’t as comfortable as a product made with a Gore Tex membrane, and can be a bit stiff at times, but is fully waterproof.

Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow

Specs
  • Fabric: Recycled Ripstop Nylon Stretch
  • Length: Hip Length
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Type of Waterproofing: 2.5 Layer H2No Performance Standard Shell
  • Weight: 9.5 ounces
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Ventilation: Pit Zips
Features
  • Performance Shell is Made of 100% Recycled Material
  • Water Repellant Treatment
  • Watertight Zipper and Pit Zips
  • Chest Pocket
  • Adjustable Cuffs and Waist
  • Halo Adjuster Provides Fitted Hood

BEST FOR: THE MULTISPORT HIKER

Looking for a rain jacket that’s versatile for the trail and for your everyday activities? Patagonia’s Stretch Rainshadow Jacket should be your go-to.

This packable, lightweight rain jacket echoes Patagonia’s dedication to sustainability, and is made out of all recycled products, including yarns constructed of discarded fishing nets. 

Patagonia uses a 2.5 Layer H2No Performance fabric for this jacket. This fabric is lightweight, durable, breathable, windproof, and waterproof. Patagonia doubles this fabric with a water repellant treatment, protecting you from rain and snow in the backcountry. 

This rain jacket has pit zips to help ventilate while you’re on the go, whether that be logging miles in the mountains or walking in a busy city on your way to work. The chest pocket is a great addition to this jacket, to store a protein bar while you’re hiking or your wallet when you’re running errands.

Arc’teryx Beta AR

Specs
  • Fabric: Ripstop Gore-Tex
  • Length: Hip Length
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Type of Waterproofing: 3-Layer Gore Tex Pro Waterproof Breathable Laminate
  • Weight: 13.2 ounces
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Ventilation: Pit Zips
Features
  • Fully Taped Seams
  • Reinforced Shoulder and Armpit Areas
  • Pit Zippers
  • Adjustable Cuffs and Waist
  • Halo Adjuster Provides Fitted Hood
  • WaterTight Front Zipper

BEST FOR: THE MOUNTAINEER

Another five star rain jacket from Arc’teryx, the Beta AR Jacket is similar to the Zeta SL Rain Jacket, but with more bells and whistles.

This product is made with 3-layer Gore Tex, and to be honest, waterproofing material just doesn’t get better than that. Different than the Zeta SL, this jacket has a collar that circumferences the neck of the jacket, providing a bit more coverage and warmth amid a storm. 

This jacket also has pit zips that help with ventilation, and all of the zippers (pit zippers, front pocket zippers, and the jacket zipper) are taped and watertight, meaning they won’t break on you. And, when fully zipped, the jacket will provide complete coverage from rain and snow.

The Beta AR jacket performs extremely well in very cold weather conditions, so if you’re hiking in the alpine, this is the jacket that will keep you warm. 

Again, a product of this superiority comes with a hefty price tag. But know if you buy one of these, you won’t have to buy another for a very long time.

REI Co-op Rainier

Specs
  • Fabric: Recycled Ripstop Nylon
  • Length: Hip Length
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Type of Waterproofing: 2.5 Layer Waterproof Breathable Laminate
  • Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Ventilation: Pit Zips
Features
  • Shields Wind Up To 60 MPH
  • Water Repellant Treatment
  • Adjustable Cuffs and Waist
  • Packs Into Pocket
  • Halo Adjuster Provides Fitted Hood

BEST FOR: THE BACKPACKER

REI’s Rainier Rain jacket is a comfortable, lightweight option that won’t take up much space in your pack or make a dent in your wallet. It’s also a sustainable option so you can feel good about helping to reduce waste in the environment because this rain jacket is made with recycled material. 

This rain jacket is a highly lightweight and packable option because it packs into the left pocket of the coat. The collar of this raincoat is also lined with a soft material, creating a pillow-like texture for your neck to rest on throughout your day.

The Rainier Rain Jacket comes with a velcro hood and velcro cufflink adjusters, so you can personalize the fit of this coat to your liking. Pit zips will help you increase airflow when you’re working hard putting in the days or miles on the trail.

This jacket comes in several dual-color combos and weighs in at 11.4 ounces.

Outdoor Research Aspire

Specs
  • Fabric: Polyester
  • Length: Hip Length
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Type of Waterproofing: Gore Tex Water Breathable Laminate
  • Weight: 12.4 ounces
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Ventilation: Pit Zips
Features
  • Torso Vents Increase Ventilation
  • Packs Into Pocket
  • Adjustable Cuffs and Waist
  • Two Way Front Zipper Offers Adjustability
  • Halo Adjuster Provides Fitted Hood

BEST FOR: THE BEGINNING BACKPACKER

Outdoor Research’s Aspire Jacket is a sure thing when it comes to battling rain storms in the mountains. 

The Gore Tex membrane of this jacket is waterproof and breathable, repelling water while being lightweight and comfortable. Several adjustable options on this jacket, including the cuffs, hood, and waist, make it a great option to personally customize the fit of your coat.

This jacket has a two-way front zipper making it a breeze to get in and out of, even when you just need to quickly access your headphone cord that’s stored inside the jacket. Also a very lightweight option weighing just less than a pound, this jacket folds into its own pocket, guaranteeing it won’t take up much space in your pack. 

This jacket runs a bit large, which isn’t always a bad thing. It means you have room to wear your puffy or thermal layer underneath on cold mornings, but keep this in consideration when making your selection as it will add extra weight.

Arc’teryx Codetta

Specs
  • Fabric: Nylon
  • Length: Thigh Length
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Type of Waterproofing: 3-Layer Gore Tex
  • Weight: 14.8 ounces
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Ventilation: Core Vents
Features
  • Shaped Cuffs, Back, and Underarms Increase Mobility
  • Trenchcoat Design Provides Full Coverage
  • Two Way Front Zipper
  • Watertight Zippers
  • Halo Adjuster Provides Fitted Hood

BEST FOR: THE INTERNATIONAL HIKER

Arc’Teryx designed the Codetta Coat for the traveler who enjoys a little extra coverage when it comes to a rain jacket. 

The length of this rain jacket is similar to a trench coat, extending to the top of the thighs. But it doesn’t have the typical weight of a trench coat, weighing in at a couple ounces less than a pound. 

This jacket is structured and flattering, and Arc’Teryx doesn’t lack any details when it comes to this product, with stylized and shaped cufflinks, collar, hood, and back. It also comes in several beautiful colors, including shorepine green and ginger root.

The back of this jacket has a pleat near the back of the knee that will allow you to sit on a bike seat without having to pull the jacket up over your hips. The two way zipper on the front makes it easy to get in and out of. 

Similar to other Arc’Teryx products, this lightweight rain jacket will cost you a pretty penny, but will last you for years and will be your favorite jacket in your closet.

The North Face Venture 2

Specs
  • Fabric: Ripstop Nylon
  • Length: Hip Length
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Type of Waterproofing: 2.5 Layer Waterproof Breathable Laminate
  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Windproof: Yes
  • Ventilation: Pit Zips
Features
  • Pit Zips
  • Halo Adjuster Provides Fitted Hood
  • Packs Into Pocket
  • Adjustable Cuffs and Waist

BEST FOR: THE BEGINNING HIKER

The North Face Venture 2 Rain Jacket is a solid, affordable option for someone who is breaking into outdoor recreation.

This coat has a relaxed fit, so you can fit a thermal layer or puffy underneath it easily. It comes in endless color options too, so your favorite color is sure to be available.

The relaxed fit of this jacket is also customizable, with adjustable cufflinks, hood, and waist. The pit zips will help with ventilation while you’re on the go. The North Face’s Venture 2 packs down to fit into the left pocket of the jacket, so you know it won’t take up much room in your closet or your pack.

Take note that this jacket won’t provide you the level of warmth some other jackets featured in this article will, because the nylon it’s made of is a bit thin.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A LIGHTWEIGHT RAIN JACKET

TYPE OF WATERPROOFING

The rain jackets featured in this article come with a multitude of waterproofing treatments. Let’s break them down a bit.

Gore Tex is the most foolproof option for water resistant fabric. This is because Gore Tex is not only fully waterproof (meaning it keeps you dry in snow or rain), but it also allows vapor to pass through. So while you’re hiking in the rain and sweating from the miles, it will breathe out your sweat while keeping you dry.

Waterproof Breathable Laminate is also a great option because it’s fully waterproof. Laminate is also very breathable, durable, and lightweight. Two-Layer Laminate means that the laminate is layered inside of the jacket as well as the outside of the jacket, providing double the coverage.

Coatings on rain jackets are not as full proof as Gore Tex or Laminate, but can often still be waterproof and specialize in being ultralight. So if you’re going hiking somewhere where it doesn’t rain often but you still want some coverage, this could be a good option for you.

Check out this article to learn more about types of waterproofing.

 

WEIGHT

This article is about lightweight rain jackets, so we understand that weight is an important factor in picking out bad weather gear.

When deciding on a weight for a rain jacket, it’s important to determine what you’ll be using the jacket for. Will you be taking this on a long-distance hike across the country, where every single ounce counts, or will you be taking it with you on day hikes where rain could be in the forecast?

If your pack is going to have ten pounds of other gear in it, it might be more important for you to have a more lightweight rain jacket than if you’re going on a day hike.

It’s also important to decide which features you’re not willing to compromise on. Some rain jackets featured in this article are extremely lightweight, but don’t have adjustable cufflinks.

Would that bother you? Are you willing to compromise that for a few ounces? The choice is up to you.

 

PRICE

A solid rain jacket is going to be an item you’re likely going to spend $100+ on. BUT if you get the right coat, you shouldn’t have to replace it for years.

A rain jacket is a vital piece of gear for the outdoors. Being wet in the mountains is not only uncomfortable, but it can be dangerous at alpine heights or extremely low temperatures. It’s important to have a coat that is water resistant and keeps you warm and shielded from the wind.

See what you can finance for a rain coat, then look for something in your price range that offers features you want and go from there.

 

ADJUSTABILITY

Most of the rain jackets in this article can be tailored to a fit you feel most comfortable in. This can be very helpful with a rain jacket, because oftentimes rain coats can be a bit bulky, so tailoring them to your body is a great feature.

Adjustable cufflinks, waist, and hood will all ensure your raincoat will keep you as dry as possible while also performing best for you. No one wants a raincoat that hinders their vision, so having an adjustable hood is possibly the most important adjustable feature.

Having an adjustable waist will help you feel safe and secure in your jacket, and adjustable cufflinks help keep water off your arms when you’re hiking with trekking poles.

All of this being said, you will definitely make it with a jacket that doesn’t have adjustable features, as long as it’s still fully waterproof.

 

POCKETS

All of the jackets in this article come with two side pockets for your hands or storing gear. Some of these rain jackets come with a front chest pocket, a great addition for extra storage.

A chest pocket is a versatile feature for the outdoors or wearing your coat in town, because it’s a good place to throw a bar for a midday snack, or your keys when you’re going grocery shopping.

 

VENTILATION

Ventilation is important when you’re going to be using your rain jacket to protect you from weather while you’re putting in work in the mountains.

Pit zips are possibly the most favorable ventilation system for a rain jacket, but torso vents, back vents, and chest vents can also help release some of the steam your body builds up from sweat when it’s raining.

Most pit zips and other ventilation areas are accessible with a watertight zipper, or double layer fabric design, making it easy peasy to access the ventilation zones when you need them.

However, ventilation systems cost you ounces, so the more lightweight the jacket, the less ventilation areas are typically available.

Read this article for more about how to pick out rain gear.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

HALO ADJUSTER

A halo adjuster can be either a drawstring cord or a velcro fabric adjuster that helps you fit the hood of the jacket to the size of your head. This is beneficial because you don’t want your hood to be so big on you that it covers your eyes, shielding you from the outside.

WATERTIGHT ZIPPER

A watertight zipper means that the zipper won’t let any water in amid a rain or snow storm. These zippers are also durable and function well, meaning they won’t break on you or cause you serious frustration when you’re on the go.

ADJUSTABLE CUFFS AND WAIST

Several of the jackets The Adventure Junkies feature in this article have adjustable cuffs and waist. This means that you can tailor the fit of the cuffs and waist to your liking. If you want a medium sized coat, because you want to wear a puffy underneath it, but you have a small sized waist, an adjustable drawstring will help you out.

TAPED SEAMS

Taped seams means that the jacket simply won’t be coming apart at the seams, because these areas are reinforced with a waterproof material.

REINFORCED AREAS

Shoulders and pits are the areas this article features reinforcement in rain jackets. This means that there is either an extra layer of fabric to provide durability, or a waterproofing treatment has been applied to these areas to ensure you stay dry.

PIT ZIPS

Pit zips are a popular ventilation zone for rain jackets. This means that you can zip the pits open and let all the air and sweat out that accumulates while you’re logging miles. This will keep you cooler than jackets without pit zips. BUT zippers are going to cost you ounces, so if you’re looking for an ultralight rain jacket, it likely doesn’t have this feature.

TWO WAY FRONT ZIPPER

A two way front zipper does exactly as it sounds: zips both up and down. A great option if you regularly access snacks or other things inside of your jacket, or if you enjoy an easy take on and off process.

READ MORE

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

We just published a NEW eBOOK
"The Beginner's Guide To Hiking Gear"

0 Shares
Tweet
Pin
Share
Email
Flip