Best Rain Jackets for Backpacking
Carrying proper gear for all four seasons is essential for every backpacker. When you’re out in the mountains, sudden unexpected weather changes can ruin your experience.
And if you’re someone not living in a country with an arid and dry climate, a waterproof rain jacket is a must-have item for your adventures. A good rain jacket is highly effective in cold climates as it also traps the body heat and maintains your body temperature.
Rain jackets have been through a lot of changes in the last few decades. Nowadays, it’s easy to find highly breathable and comfortable waterproof jackets that last way longer than before.
These lightweight rain jackets do not increase the load on your back and fit easily in a small backpack.
They’re made of a variety of materials and are sold at a wide price range. And, it can a tedious and confusing task to pick an ideal rain jacket according to your backpacking needs.
In this article, we’ll review some of the best waterproof jackets for backpacking and hiking that’ll keep you safe and dry in harsh weather conditions.
Salomon BRILLIANT JACKET Men
With a bold message from the brand, “Play Brilliantly,” this jacket is built on heathered fabric coupled with a unique style, making it an extremely loved and trustworthy jacket in the apparel line.
Manufactured with utmost perfection, Salomon features 100g insulation and the full features of skiing that trap the heat and keep you warm. For the slopes and the resort, this jacket also comes up with a removable hood which comes in handy while hiking in cold weather.
The snow protection you get around your neck, which could often be an infuriating thing to deal with, protects you well enough and offers you a decent warmth-to-weight ratio.
Even though there is a lot of positive to say about the jacket, I must let you know about a slight negative I found during my experience with this jacket.
The hood on this jacket is not large enough to go along well with a helmet. Also, the outer material could be a bit on the lighter side, making it not the best option for tree skiing.
The jacket is available in nine vibrant colors and features multiple water-repellent pockets with zips. Life is short, and you must make the most out of your experiences without compromising on the gear which might put a minor dent in your memories.
The stretch AdvancedSkin waterproof fabric and the ‘Motion Fit’ cut ensure that the jacket stays right on you as you keep seeing through the snow or even climb up to rise to some levels. Overall, it’s one of the best jackets you could get for yourself if you’re a skier or hiker.
- Extremely comfortable
- Built with durable fabric
Not suitable for tree-skiing
Helly-Hansen Women’s Crew Hooded Midlayer Jacket
It is built on very high-quality Helly-Hansen fabric, offering excellent comfort. The jacket is exceptionally sturdy, which makes it windproof, waterproof, and breathable at the same time. Helly-Hansen features a hip-length cut and protective collar, which is good to go with any climatic conditions.
The jacket looks quite classy by its looks, and the amount of time spent on the design speaks volumes about it. Even though sailing is one of the primary uses of this jacket but, on the ground as well, it won’t disappoint you with regular usage.
With the Helly-Tech protection and 2 Ply fabric construction, this jacket is supposed to stay with you well for the years to come protecting you from the significant sailing issues you might encounter with a poor-quality jacket.
I can personally vouch for the Durable Water Repellent treatment (DWR), which beads up the water droplets efficiently and keep you dry during heavy rain. Besides that, you also get chest pockets and hand pockets with zipping to ensure proper safety for the essential items inside the pockets.
Helly-Hansen also features a comfortable collar with Polartec fleece lining that offers additional warmth to your body while tackling the colder weather conditions. It’s available in more than ten variations of colors and weighs a little.
The overall fitting with this jacket is excellent, and I loved it a lot. Being priced at an affordable range, this jacket from Helly-Hansen is one of the best women rain jackets you could get your hands on!
- Effective Durable Water Repellent
- Breathable fabric
- It comes with three zippered pockets
- Highly Affordable
- It might not be sufficiently warm in freezing temperatures
Outdoor Research Men’s Ferrosi Summit Hooded Jacket
Outdoor Research’s Ferrosi Jacket has to be the perfect missing fit for all your adventurous ventures! Its body is built on 91% nylon, 9% spandex. At the same time, the underarm and lower hood panels are made out of 86% nylon, 14% spandex, ensuring an impeccable overall quality of the fabric exhibiting perfect stretching.
Being in the affordable low-priced range, Ferrosi Summit does not shy away from offering you the staggering features making it par with the currently higher-end jackets in the market. The lightweight jacket is water-resistant, wind-resistant, abrasion-resistant, and it also features a hybrid-mapped construction and movement-mirroring stretch.
Having a beautifully designed helmet with excellent compatibility and a DWR-treated outer layer, you get a total of 4 zippered pockets- two as the chest pockets and two as the hand pockets. As a decently tall fit guy myself, I couldn’t appreciate the fitting quality of this jacket on my body.
The cuts with this Ferrosi Summit jacket tend to err on the slender side, making it a pretty great fit universally! Outdoor research features two different kinds of layout, which they like to call ‘Hybrid Mapping’; it is an excellent addition that increases the stretching capabilities of underarms and increases the mobility of the hood!
The brilliant weather resistance is something to vouch for as we’ve tested the jacket personally in a lot of higher-exertion activities.
The breathable material delivers a perfect experience. Despite being soft hand, the Ferrosi Summit fabric is decently reliable and ensures years of durability.
For the price it comes under, it’s absolutely the finest jacket you could pick. Let it be 50F-70F winds, or it’s a stormy, rainy day, you are not to worry about anything with this Outdoor Research product.
- Hybrid-mapped construction for better mobility.
- Multiple zippered pockets
- It is water-resistant, not waterproof
Marmot Men’s Magus Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket
Marmot’s mid-budget jacket is perfect for people not willing to spend a hefty sum on a waterproof jacket. The jacket is designed with 100% polyester fabric that is easier to clean.
Not many rain jackets can be machine-washed, but you can wash or dry this jacket in a machine. It features an advanced NanoPro Fabric technology by Marmot popular for its high airflow, waterproof and windproof qualities.
The 2.5 layered breathable fabric makes it suitable for hours of hiking and trekking in cold and hot weather by preventing excessive sweat.
The jacket has a moderate waterproof rating of 10,000 and maintains a high breathability rating of 17,000.
Another thing we liked about this product is that it only weighs around 0.6 pounds, making it one of the most lightweight multi-layered rain jackets on the market. It uses the famous GoreTex fabric, which is rated as the best waterproof technology by experts.
Other impressive features include an adjustable hood which is not helmet compatible but covers your face reasonably well. It’s also equipped with PitZips or Under Arm Zips that help to increase the airflow and maintain a perfect body temperature.
You’ll also get fully taped seams, two pockets attached with water-resistant zippers that provide extra convenience and improve the jacket’s overall usefulness.
- It can be washed or dried in a machine
- A 2.5 layered polyester fabric built
- Suitable for both cold or hot environment
- An adjustable hood
- The number of pockets could be a bit bigger
Salomon Lightning WATERPROOF JACKET Women
This is yet another waterproof jacket by Salomon on our list. But unlike the previous product, this rain jacket is designed only for women. It’s available in four feminine colors that are appealing to most women.
If you’re looking for a cheap jacket with single-layered fabric, you should not waste your time on this product. This jacket lies on the higher price range manufactured with premium and durable fabric construction that protects you in cold, rainy, or windy weather.
The 2.5-layer fabric material is designed to handle the wear and tear of extreme conditions while keeping the water away from your body.
With this waterproof jacket in your backpack, you’re always ready to face the challenges of nature in the wild. Salomon’s Lightning jacket is highly compressible and weighs a little more than 7 ounces. It’s effortless to fit this jacket in your pockets or hood to save some much-needed space in your backpack.
The company uses less fabric and stitching to provide a minimalist design and better water-resistance to the jacket.
It also features an adjustable elastic hood, waist, and wrists to ensure that the jacket fits perfectly to all body types. The two side pockets are deep enough to store multiple items and include sturdy zippers to keep your things safe. Additionally, Salomon has also focused on extra ventilation around the back and underarms with this jacket to increase breathability and provide better airflow.
- Vibrant colors for women
- A 2.5-layer fabric material
- Ultralight and breathable
- Compressible and easy to store
- No durable water repellent coating is provided
Things to consider when buying a Rain Jacket for Backpacking
There are endless types of rain jackets available in the market. While all these jackets serve the primary purpose of keeping you dry, it’s essential to keep several other factors in mind when looking for a waterproof rain jacket. Here are some things to consider: –
Most cheap rain jackets made of inferior material may be waterproof but have poor breathability and ventilation. It prevents the inside heat from escaping and makes you sweat a lot. It heavily depends on the type of fabric material used to manufacture the jacket. Make sure you look for multi-layer fabrics as they’re comparatively better when it comes to better ventilation. When you’re hiking, it’s recommended to wear less warm clothes in normal weather conditions. Many people wear multiple layers of clothes and end up sweating a lot after a few hours of hike. It would help if you were not anxious about being too cold on an outdoor adventure and minimize the cloth layers.
The weight of an everyday use jacket may not be very important, but it’s crucial for people who love backpacking for days. Carrying a lot of weight on your back is not easy, and you should not miss opportunities to cut the overall load on your back. I hate wearing jackets to reduce the weight in my backpack even when I don’t need them. This is why I recommend you to look for jackets that strictly weigh less than a pound and are durable enough to survive challenging hikes.
Pockets are often overlooked when buying an ideal jacket. They provide great utility and allows you to keep small things well-organized. There are also helpful to keep your hands warm in extreme conditions. Every jacket has several pockets located at different parts of your jacket. The placement of these pockets heavily impacts their use and relevancy depending on the buyer’s preferences. Some like them a bit high, while most people prefer lower pockets to keep their hands.
As we mentioned earlier, rain jackets are made of a variety of materials. Most cheaper jackets are made of single-layer and lightweight material that does the job reasonably well but lacks durability and gets easily worn out. Ventilation is also not adequate on these jackets leading to more sweat and discomfort. Some companies offer premium three-layer fabric like Polyurethane or Gore-Tex in their waterproof jackets that are highly durable and breathable. It’s not worth saving some money on the fabric and opting for a low-grade jacket. Also, make sure your jacket uses fewer pieces of fabric with less stitching to provide better waterproofing.
There are times when you don’t need to wear a rain jacket. You don’t want your jacket to occupy more space in your backpack. An ideal waterproof jacket can be considered compact if it can fit in its own pocket. These foldable jackets can be tucked in small spaces to create room for essential outdoor gear. The compressibility and weight are also crucial factors to determine the storing size of these rain jackets.
Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating is another important aspect when looking for the best waterproof jackets. It involves applying a fluoropolymer to the outer layer of a jacket to make it water-resistant. It prevents your jacket from absorbing moisture and works efficiently in normal conditions. However, the coating can wear off after some time and may require proper maintenance to be effective. You can easily find many DWR sprays to treat your jacket and restore its water-resisting capacity.
An adjustable hood has a massive impact on the overall performance of your jacket. While most backpackers prefer a non-helmet compatible hood, it can be of great help to climbers. A hood with adjustability options fits a lot better and provides complete protection from wind or snow. Most of these jackets are equipped with a high zipped collar and flexible side openings to maintain an excellent fit in harsh weather conditions.
Side and Pit Zips
Although it’s unnecessary to opt for a jacket with multiple side or pit zips, they can help to increase the breathability and ventilation in your jacket. You can utilize these zips to increase the airflow and release the trapped heat inside the jacket. It does not affect the waterproof rating but may increase the jacket’s weight considerably, which can bother some buyers looking for an ultralight jacket. Overall, side and pit zip can be a great addition to a rain jacket, depending on your needs.
The quality and longevity of a jacket highly depend on the fabric used in the product. Most multi-layered fabrics are comparatively heavier and bulky but generally more durable than single-layered fabrics. It’s evident that cheaper jackets tend to tear out faster as they’re made of low-grade fabrics. I recommend you to find a jacket made of thick nylon or polyester material as they’re more durable and suitable for all seasons.
Rain Jacket Maintenance Tips
It doesn’t matter how expensive or premium your rain jacket is; it will lose its waterproof rating over time. All outdoor gears require proper care and maintenance to work effectively, and it’s the same with rain jackets.
These jackets rely on Durable Water Repellent coating and fabric layers to prevent the water from sneaking through the material, which is highly effective for the first few uses. But, the DWR coating can easily fade in extreme conditions and heavy usage.
However, you can reapply the DWR by using wash-in or spray-on DWR methods. Keep in mind that it’s only effective to restore the outer layer of your jacket and does not work if your inner membrane is damaged.
Brands like Nikwax provide highly affordable and effective water-repellent sprays and wash-in DWRs. It’s recommended to use the wash-in DWR on the single-layered jacket as it’s straightforward, while the spray-on DWR can be applied on a jacket with multiple layers of fabric. Make sure you wash the jacket before applying the DWR.
It’s not essential to dry it after washing, and you can directly apply the spray after a quick wash. Try to use a protective and flat surface to spray the jacket so that you don’t have to deal with the hassle of cleaning your surface later.
Another question that many users ask is what is the best way to wash your rain jacket, and how often should you wash it? Rain jackets are designed with special waterproof fabric, which can easily get damaged with bleach, powder detergents, or stain removers.
Using a liquid Detergent is the most effective way to wash a rain jacket. You can dry some rain jackets in a dryer, but we recommend you air dry them manually to prevent any harm.
Best Waterproof Jackets for Hiking & Backpacking – Final Words
Waterproof Jackets are a lot more capable than just keeping you safe from rain. These fascinating all-weather jackets are made of tough shells and provide you extreme comfort at the same time. You can also use rain jackets while skiing or camping to keep yourself warm and comfy.
They’re some of the most lightweight outdoor gears, and it’s easier to carry and store these jackets, making them appropriate for long hiking trails.
We’ve shortlisted and mentioned some of the best waterproof jackets for backpacking and hiking currently available in the market.
These highly convenient, lightweight, and breathable jackets can be a great addition to enhance your outing experience. We hope our rain jacket buying guide helped you find the best-suited waterproof jacket for your personal needs.
See The Best Waterproof Jackets for Hiking & Backpacking From Amazon For Better Price and Read All Customer Reviews Here
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