The Best Backpacking Rain Jackets for Thru-Hiking in 2024

Your rain jacket may not be the most thrilling piece of your backpacking kit, but it’s pretty darn important. Sure, it might stay stuffed in your pack during the dry parts of the trail, but once the rainy section hits, you’ll be glad to deploy this critical piece of gear. The best backpacking rain jackets for thru-hiking will protect you from the wind and help keep your core warm when the temperature drops. Your ideal rain gear will fit comfortably and have a good balance of features, breathability, and weight.

Best Backpacking Rain Jackets for Thru-Hiking: Quick Navigation

The Best Backpacking Rain Jackets for Thru-Hiking in 2024

Outdoor Research Helium Men’s | Women’s (Most Durable Ultralight Rain Jacket)
MSRP: $170 – $180
Weight*: 6.3 ounces (men’s) | 6.3 ounces (women’s)

*All weights in this list are based on a size medium unless otherwise specified.

best backpacking rain jackets thru-hiking

Best backpacking rain jackets for thru-hiking: OR Helium

The intrepid Anne Baker found this jacket perfect for her thru-hikes of the PCT and Colorado Trail. It’s lightweight, packable, and reasonably breathable, yet still functional in heavy rains and persistent damp conditions.

The pocket configuration has been updated in the latest version of this classic UL rain jacket. Previously, the jacket featured one zippered chest pocket and no hand pockets; the men’s version is still that way, but the women’s version now has two zippered hand pockets and no chest pocket. Unclear why only the women’s version got this treatment, as it seems like a clear upgrade: the new pockets offer a lot more storage than the old chest pocket and only raise the total weight of the garment by a few grams.

Materials and Features

The OR Helium is made of 2.5-layer Pertex Shield 30D ripstop nylon. It has waterproof zippers, reflective details, elastic cuffs, and a drawcord hem. The women’s version has zippered two hand pockets, while the men’s has a single zippered chest pocket for small items. The fit is roomy enough to layer underneath without being bulky.

Pros: Good weight-to-durability ratio; decent breathability; no-frills; lots of color options; 30D nylon among the toughest on this list.

Cons: No hand pockets on the men’s version; no pit zips; waterproofing may not hold up to frequent use/heavy storms

Read our review of the Helium rain jacket and pants.

Return to top.

Montbell Versalite Men’s | Women’s (Best Fully Featured Lightweight Rain Jacket)
MSRP: $260
Weight: 6.4 ounces (men’s) | 5.8 ounces (women’s)

Best backpacking rain jackets thru-hiking

Best backpacking rain jackets for thru-hiking: Montbell Versalite.

The Trek’s brave leader, Zach Davis, is a big fan of the Versalite, having used it as his go-to rain jacket everywhere from the AT to the CDT, Wind River High Route, and beyond. It’s sufficiently waterproof at just 6.4 ounces. As Zach says, cutting weight at the expense of function is a bad idea, especially if you’re heading into cold and rainy environments, which is why hand pockets are non-negotiable for him. The Versalite is one of the lighter rain jackets that offer this feature.

Materials and Features

This jacket is constructed of two-layer Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper with a 10d Ballistic Airlight abrasion-resistant ripstop nylon face fabric. There is a protective coating on the inside to protect the membrane from dirt and body oils. Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper is considered water-resistant, not waterproof, but the addition of DWR on the face fabric and fully taped seams make this jacket more than adequate for light to moderate rain.

The Versalite has two side pockets, generous 16.5-inch-long pit zips, a water-resistant zipper, reflective details, and an adjustable hood, cuffs, and hemline. The arms are slightly articulated to improve ease of movement. The Versalite is cut from a single, continuous piece of fabric to minimize seams, improving the jacket’s waterproofness and durability.

Pros: Long pit zips; side pockets; minimal seams; lightweight; breathable.

Cons: Zipper not fully waterproof; not as waterproof as some on this list (best for light or moderately rainy conditions).

Enlightened Equipment Visp (Best Fit and Coverage)
MSRP: $250
Weight: 6.4 ounces

Best backpacking rain jackets thru-hiking

Best backpacking rain jackets for thru-hiking: Enlightened Equipment Visp.

“Enlightened Equipment continues to up the cottage-industry apparel game with this sub-seven-ounce rain jacket. Reasonably priced, featherlight, and with EE’s option to customize the color, this rain jacket is a thru-hiker’s dream.

The Visp is built with three layers, including a soft lining to avoid the clammy rain jacket feel, lightweight 7D ripstop nylon, and an ePTFE membrane for the coveted combo of being waterproof while still breathable. This is one of the lowest denier face fabrics, and while it’s still durable, we recommend keeping an eye on potentially abrasive off-trail areas. The jacket has a deep hood and a longer hem to allow water to drip.” Maggie Slepian

Materials and Feature

After being out of stock for nearly two years due to supply chain issues, the Visp is finally back.

The Visp is a remarkably lightweight three-layer jacket featuring ultralight 7D ripstop nylon face fabric and a luxuriously soft tricot lining. We love its relaxed fit (roomy enough for layering without being sloppy) as well as the deep hood, cinchable droptail hem, and shaped Velcro cuffs—all of which are cut generously to keep you snug and fully protected from the rain. The Visp also features waterproof zippers and pit zips for added ventilation and temperature control.

Pros: Pit zips; one of the lightest jackets on this list; extra-long sleeves; deep hood; droptail hem; waterproof zippers; relaxed fit for layering and mobility.

Cons: 7D nylon isn’t the most durable; no pockets; only one color

Read our review of the Visp.

Return to top.

Arc’teryx Beta Jacket Men’s | Women’s (Most Stormworthy Backpacking Rain Jacket)
MSRP: $400
Weight: 10.6 ounces (men’s) | 9.5 ounces (women’s)

Best backpacking rain jackets thru-hiking

Best backpacking rain jackets for thru-hiking: Arc’teryx Beta Jacket.

The Beta is a three-layer jacket with durable 30D Gore-tex and a Gore C-Knit interior backing. The backing is supposed to make the jacket lighter, quieter, and more breathable.

The Beta is undoubtedly the most expensive jacket on the list, and while you’re getting a high-quality piece of gear, you’re also paying in part for the name brand.

The jacket does not come with pit zips, so extra sweaty hikers might want to look for another model, but the next-to-skin feel is softer than other comparable jackets.

This is far from the lightest jacket on the list, but for hikers anticipating rough trails and rough weather, the Beta delivers with rugged durability, resilient waterproofness, and excellent build quality.

Materials and Features

The three-layer Gore-tex fabric with Gore C-knit technology and DWR finish is extremely tough and will hold up in the nastiest of weather. Arc’teryx delivers, as usual, with thoughtful features like a laminated adjustable hem, anatomical shaping, and gusseted underarms for a more comfortable fit. The jacket has three pockets: two hand pockets and one internal, all with zippers.

Pros: 3L Gore-tex fabric is among the most durable on this list; long-lasting DWR; gusseted underarms and anatomical shaping improves mobility and fit; taped seams make jacket even more waterproof.

Cons: Expensive; relatively heavy; no pit zips; slim fit not conducive to layering.

Return to top.

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Men’s | Women’s (Most Durable Backpacking Rain Jacket)
MSRP: $179
Weight: 14.1 ounces (men’s) | 12.4 ounces (women’s)

Best backpacking rain jackets thru-hiking

Best backpacking rain jackets for thru-hiking: Patagonia Torrentshell.

Reasonably priced and a classic option for thru-hikers, the Torrentshell uses Patagonia’s proprietary H2No Performance membrane, which isn’t quite as breathable as some of the other options out there, but the venting pit zips take some pressure off the membrane.

This jacket has a medium fit that’s ideal for layering and an adjustable hood that allows adequate visibility. Be aware that the construction of the hand pockets can allow water to seep in during heavy rain, so if you’re heading to a particularly wet trail, this might not be the best option.

The latest version of this classic rain jacket, the Torrentshell 3L, has been updated with three-layer construction. This makes the new jacket more breathable and more durable, but also heavier and more expensive, than previous 2.5-layer incarnations.

At 14 ounces for a men’s medium, the Torrentshell is pushing the envelope in terms of how much weight a typical thru-hiker is willing to heft. But this jacket is famously comfortable, reasonably priced, and you shouldn’t need to baby it the way you would a paper-thin UL rain jacket.

Materials and Features

This three-layer jacket is highly durable thanks to the bombproof 50D ripstop face fabric, the burliest on this list. The face fabric, which is made with recycled nylon, and a soft tricot interior liner sandwich Patagonia’s proprietary H2No waterproof-breathable membrane.
The Torrentshell has standard (not waterproof, but DWR-treated) zippers protected by storm flaps but makes up for this with nice features like an adjustable brimmed hood (keeps drips off your face and, if you wear them, glasses) and a comfy fleece-lined neck. The jacket can pack down into its own hand pockets, of which it has two.

Pros: 50D face fabric is most durable on this list; comfortable; pit zips; brimmed hood; adjustable cuffs and hem.

Cons: Heaviest on this list; hand pockets can leak; standard non-waterproof zippers.

Zpacks Vertice Men’s | Women’s (Best Quality Ultralight)
MSRP: $299
Weight: 5.6 ounces (men’s) | 5.4 ounces (women’s)

Best backpacking rain jackets thru-hiking

Best backpacking rain jackets for thru-hiking: Zpacks Vertice. Image via Zpacks.

A sub-six-ounce rain jacket that has pit zips, a chest pocket, and superb breathability? What the what?? This jacket is on the more expensive end of the spectrum, but it’s significantly lighter than similarly priced offerings.

At just 5.6 ounces for a men’s medium, it’s also the lightest jacket on this list—but while most ultralight rain jackets sacrifice features or durability (or both) in the name of shaving grams, the Vertice has classic features like pit zips and doesn’t feel like a paper bag when you put it on.

Materials and Features

The jacket is made with Zpacks’ proprietary Vertice fabric. This three-layer, ultralight material consists of a soft tricot inner lining, a scant 7D nylon face fabric with DWR finish, and a waterproof-breathable membrane in between.

Per their website, Zpacks says the jacket “is thick enough to withstand light brush and abrasion,” but 7D nylon is still a very thin fabric, so be prepared to baby your rain gear at least a little bit.

Have we mentioned the pit zips yet in relation to this jacket? Yes? OK well just to reiterate, there are pit zips and we’re excited about that fact. And waterproof zippers.

The Vertice also features a deep, adjustable hood, an elasticized hem, and shock cord adjustable cuffs. The whole jacket can pack into its own roomy chest pocket, which is also carefully placed so that you can easily access it while strapped into your backpack.

Pros: Lightweight; breathable; packable; pit zips; chest pocket; adjustable cuffs and hood.

Cons: Expensive; 7d face fabric is not the most durable.

Return to top.

Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite² Men’s | Women’s (Best Budget Rain Jacket)
MSRP: $25
Weight: 5.8 oz (men’s small according to our reviewer)

Best backpacking rain jackets thru-hiking

Best backpacking rain jackets for thru-hiking: Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite².

They’re far from the fanciest rain jackets on the trail, but in a fashion environment dominated by ragged soccer shorts and thrift store Hawaiian shirts, Frogg Toggs fit right in — and they’re insanely budget-friendly. They don’t have pit zips, waterproof zippers, or even pockets, but they’re waterproof enough to do the job, and the price is right.

They aren’t very durable and can snag easily on sharp rocks and branches, but they’re perhaps not as delicate as popular opinion would have you believe: with a little extra care and a willingness to resort to occasional duct tape repair jobs, The Trek’s Kelly Floro had a single set of ‘Toggs last some 1300 miles. (It’s worth noting that the Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite² pants, despite being made of the same material as the jacket, somehow seem even more delicate and are very prone to ripping).

Materials and Features

Unlike most rain jackets, Frogg Toggs don’t rely on DWR as the first layer of defense against precipitation, which means you won’t experience the wet-out problems common with DWR jackets, and you won’t have to worry about periodically reapplying.

Frogg Toggs can last over a thousand miles if you baby them, but they are fairly delicate and can easily snag or develop holes where your pack rubs the material, so you’ll have to baby them. Frogg Toggs have standard zippers, an adjustable (but floppy) hood, elastic cuffs, and no pockets. They do run large, and the fit is fairly bulky.

Pros: Very inexpensive; can last an entire thru-hike or longer if you baby them; easily replaceable online or at Wal-Mart; no DWR.

Cons: Tear fairly easily; no pockets; no pit zips; hood is a bit awkward and frequently droops into your eyes; hideously ugly; next-to-skin feel isn’t amazing; not that breathable.

READ NEXT – Why $20 Frogg Toggs Are the Ideal Rain Gear for a Thru-Hike

Return to top.

Lightheart Gear Rain Jacket (Unisex | Best Permanently Waterproof Jacket)
MSRP: $125
Weight: 6 oz

Best backpacking rain jackets thru-hiking

Best backpacking rain jackets for thru-hiking: Lightheart Gear Rain Jacket. Image via Lightheart Gear.

Breathable rain jackets are great, but let’s face it: despite their best efforts, you’ll still end up drenched in sweat after a few hours. Breathable rain jackets also rely on a DWR finish on the face fabric to keep from wetting out, and that finish will eventually wear out and have to be reapplied. It’s hard not to feel, at times, like expensive “waterproof-breathable” gear ends up being not really breathable and not really waterproof. So why bother with all that?

Lightheart Gear’s single-layer silpoly rain jacket is specifically non-breathable, but it’s fully and permanently waterproof, and it has extra-long pit zips to help with ventilation. The brand used to make its distinctive rain jackets from silnylon, but LightHeart now favors more waterproof silpoly (the fuschia color is still silnylon). The Trek’s Kelly Floro reviewed this jacket back in 2022, and not much has changed with it since then (including, delightfully, the price).

The price-to-weight ratio of this jacket (a scant six ounces for only $125) is superb, thanks to this jacket’s straightforward, minimalist construction. If you’re intrigued by the single-layer rain jacket concept, Antigravity Gear makes a similar garment out of rugged 70D silnylon that’s also worth a look.

Materials and Features

A single layer of 20D silicone-coated polyester—no liner, no face fabric, no DWR—gives this jacket its waterproofness. Silpoly is hydrophobic and won’t absorb water or stretch or sag when wet the way silnylon can.
The jacket is constructed with bound seams (not sealed or taped) and standard zippers. It has a brimmed hood and generous pit zips, which help to improve the ventilation of this non-breathable layer.

Pros: Brimmed hood; two hand pockets and two waterproof internal pockets; silpoly more waterproof than silnylon; large size range (XS – XXXL); no DWR to fuss about reapplying; amazing price-to-weight ratio; customizable sleeve length.

Cons: Some users say the sleeves run short; jacket doesn’t come seam sealed (bound seams are mostly waterproof, but you’ll want to seam seal yourself for maximum protection); zippers aren’t waterproof; no zipper on pocket; zero breathability.

Marmot PreCip Eco Men’s | Women’s (Best Rain Jacket for Beginner Backpackers)
MSRP: $100
Weight: 10.1 ounces (men’s) | 8.7 ounces (women’s)

Best backpacking rain jackets thru-hiking

Best backpacking rain jackets for thru-hiking: Marmot Precip Eco.

The iconic Marmot PreCip is a thru-hiker favorite for a reason. It packs a lot of functionality into an affordable, 10-ounce package. And while it doesn’t win out in any one category—it’s neither the cheapest, nor the lightest, nor the best-performing—it performs at least moderately well in all categories and provides a nice balance of weight, price, and features.

It’s ideal for newbie backpackers who would like to learn the ropes with a thoughtfully designed rain jacket that won’t break the bank.

Materials and Features

The Marmot PreCip Eco is a 2.5-layer jacket featuring Marmot’s proprietary NanoPro waterproof material, a laminate comprised of recycled nylon face fabric with a PFC-free DWR coating, a microporous membrane, and a protective coating on the interior.
Standard zippers protected by storm flaps adorn the front of the jacket as well as the handwarmer pockets and pit zips. The jacket has a high collar and the adjustable brimmed hood, when not in use, can be rolled down and stowed unobtrusively. The entire jacket also packs down into one of its pockets for easy storage in your pack.

Pros: Relatively inexpensive; pit zips; hand pockets; adjustable hood, cuffs, and hem; stowable brimmed hood; lined chin guard.

Cons: Wets out relatively easily; not the most breathable; no waterproof zipper.

Return to top.

What to Look for in the Best Backpacking Rain Jackets for Thru-Hiking


Your rain jacket shouldn’t weigh more than 12 – 14 ounces. Really, something closer to 8 – 10 ounces is ideal. Less than 8 ounces = an ultralighter’s dream.


Your backpacking rain jacket should be a medium fit. You want to comfortably layer underneath it without sacrificing mobility, but it shouldn’t feel so big that it bunches up. Because this can be used as another layer to protect against cold, you don’t want to have to work harder to keep that microclimate warm.

Look for a longer model with a drop waist to help rain runoff in the back, and also in case you want to sit down. At the very least, the jacket should be long enough that it doesn’t ride up under a hip belt.


The two main types of waterproofing are a PU laminate and an ePTFE membrane. Rain jackets built with a PU laminate are less expensive but won’t be as breathable. Gore-Tex was the original user of the ePTFE membrane, which is waterproof and breathable. If you have the budget, look for mentions of GTX, eVent, or proprietary branding that utilizes ePTFE.

If possible, look for a jacket that uses a PFC-free DWR treatment. Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are industry-standard in durable water repellent (DWR) finishes, but they’re also toxic and persist for tens to hundreds of years in the environment.

A growing movement in the cottage UL industry now favors inherently waterproof silpoly and silnylon rain jacket construction. Silpoly and silnylon rain jackets aren’t breathable, but they typically have extra ventilation features like pit zips to offset the stuffiness. And because they’re made with just a single layer of fabric, they’re often lighter than traditional waterproof-breathable garments.

Return to top.


Pit zips: Good for dumping heat while wearing it on the move, but not totally necessary.

Drawcord waist: Protect from splashing and keep your other layers (sort of) dry.

Adjustable cuffs: Same as the drawcord waist. Nothing’s worse than reaching up and having water pour down your sleeves. Look for elastic or Velcro closures.

Hood fit: This one can be tricky. You want the hood to be fitted and deep enough (with a brim) so the rain doesn’t sneak in, but you also don’t want to lose your peripheral vision. Make sure you can tighten the hood enough to turn your head and have the hood turn with you, not turn your head and be staring at the inside of the hood.

Sealed pockets: We don’t recommend keeping anything of value in your rain jacket pockets, but make sure the model has waterproof zippers … at the very least highly water-resistant.

Maggie Slepian

Return to top.

The Best Thru-Hiking Rain Jackets: FAQs

Do I need rain pants for backpacking?

Not necessarily. Rain pants are deathly uncomfortable and inconvenient to put on / take off. As a result, many thru-hikers find that their rain pants sit untouched in the bottom of their packs until they finally get sick of the dead weight and mail them home. For light rain protection, a rain kilt is a more breathable alternative to pants.

You do want to carry rain pants if you anticipate potential cold weather, such as on winter backpacking trips, exposed high-elevation trips where the weather can change on a dime, and early-season thru-hikes. In these scenarios, you’ll value the extra warmth and protection rain pants provide because cold + wet = hypothermia, and you definitely don’t want that.

READ NEXT – Do You Really Need Rain Pants for Backpacking?

Return to top.

Can a hiking umbrella replace my rain jacket?

Hiking umbrellas pull double duty by shielding you from both rain and sun, and they’re well-ventilated and comfortable compared to stuffy, sweat-inducing rain jackets. On the flip side, they don’t perform well in high winds or on overgrown trails and won’t provide much protection against cold weather or swirling mist.

On warm-weather hikes where you don’t anticipate a lot of rain, using an umbrella as standalone rain gear is a great way to save weight and stay comfortable. In more humid and/or colder environments, most hikers stick with traditional rain gear and, at most, carry an umbrella as a supplement to their rain jackets.

Top hiking umbrellas: Gossamer Gear Liteflex, Six Moon Designs Silver Shadow Carbon, Snow Peak Ultralight

Should I use a poncho or a rain jacket for backpacking?

Compared to rain jackets, ponchos get a decent amount of airflow through the giant hole at the bottom and can be worn over top of your backpack. This maximizes your protection and potentially saves you the weight of a separate pack cover (or the weight of a rain-sodden pack if you opt for an internal pack liner).

That said, it’s not all roses. At the end of the day, ponchos are heavier than rain jackets, they don’t perform well in windy conditions, and all that bulky material (and no zipper) makes them unwieldy. Rain jackets are definitely the more popular choice, and we tend to agree in the name of sheer comfort and convenience.

Can’t pick between the two? The Packa is a poncho-jacket hybrid with a front zipper and pit zips that’s specifically designed to fit over your backpack. It’s also marvelously sexy. Trust us.

How do waterproof-breathable rain jackets work?

Waterproof-breathable jackets typically feature a microporous waterproof membrane protected from abrasion by an external face fabric with a durable water-repellant (DWR) coating and from damaging dirt and body oils by an interior liner. The membrane’s micropores are large enough to allow water vapor to escape from inside the jacket but small enough to prevent liquid water droplets from penetrating.

These layers can be laminated together to form one unit (three-layer jackets), the face fabric and membrane can be laminated together as one unit while the interior liner remains separate (two-layer), or the face fabric and membrane can be laminated together with a protective coating painted on the inside of the jacket in lieu of a liner (2.5-layer).

2.5-layer jackets are typically the lightest, while three-layer jackets are the most breathable and durable. Two-layer jackets are usually the heaviest and the least suited to backpacking, but they’re also inexpensive.

Why does my rain jacket get wet inside?

When your rain jacket “wets out,” it’s not because the jacket’s waterproofness has failed and rain is getting through from the outside. Usually, it’s from condensation and sweat that form inside the jacket.

Normally, a breathable jacket’s microporous waterproof membrane allows this internal water vapor to escape, but if the DWR coating on the outside of the fabric fails, the external face fabric becomes saturated and prevents the jacket from breathing properly. Condensation and sweat build up inside, leaving you wet and clammy.

Fortunately, DWR treatment can be reapplied to breathe new life (heh) into your rain gear.

How can I avoid sweating in my rain jacket?

Wear less underneath to stay cool, and look for a breathable rain jacket with ventilation features like pit zips.

Don’t wear the jacket in warm, rainy conditions while you’re actively hiking: save it for cold weather or rest periods when staying warm is more of a challenge. Take off your hiking shirt before donning your rain jacket so that the shirt will remain dry and sweat-free when the storm passes.

Re-up the DWR treatment on your jacket periodically so that it can breathe effectively.

And, at the end of the day, accept that virtually all rain jackets will make you sweat if you try to hike in them. Contrary to popular belief, the primary function of rain gear isn’t to keep you dry: it’s to keep you warm, because, again, cold + wet = hypothermia.

Return to top.

More From This Series

Why should you trust us?

Because we’re so incredibly intelligent, of course! Attractive, too. (Not to mention extremely humble).

But if that isn’t enough to impress you, there’s also the fact that everyone who contributed to this article is an experienced thru-hiker with thousands of on-trail miles under their belt. We’re gear nerds who love putting our equipment to the test on trails long and short, and we’ve tested dozens of rain jackets in pursuit of drier backcountry days.

Moreover, we do our best to stay plugged into the trail community’s gear preferences (we are definitely those obnoxious people on-trail who always want to know what everyone else is packing). That means our picks for the best backpacking rain jackets for thru-hiking aren’t just our opinions: they’re based on years of feedback from the thru-hiking community.

Competence and backpacking proficiency personified.

Rachel Shoemaker and Alexander “GPS” Brown contributed to this list.

Featured image: Graphic design by Chris Helm.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 40

  • TicTac : Feb 25th

    What? No mention of the rain jacket most often seen on thru-hikers, the Marmot PreCip??? And while selectively permeable jackets (permeable coating or PTFE-either two or three layer GoreTex) are flashy, the reality is that they depend on a positive pressure differential (greater level of humidity inside the jacket than outside, something that rarely happens when it is raining) to promote transfer of molecules of water vapor. Under rainy/humid circumstances, these do not breathe at all

    Another viable approach is to wear a impermeable rain jacket that does not even offer the pretense of breathability, but protects totally from rain when it is cool enough to require staying dry from cold rain. A perfect example of this type of jacket is the Lightheart Gear Rain Jacket ( that weighs only 6.5 ounces and is made of silnyon.

    And an even simpler option is to wear a rain skirt and carry an umbrella, but this obviates the possibility of wearing your rain jacket as a wind barrier

    • Timothy B McNeil : Feb 28th

      I was gonna mention the LightHeart Gear raingear myself, but you beat me to it. Super lightweight, packs down tiny, completely waterproof, huge pitzips for ventilation, it’s the perfect rain jacket.

      • Blair Colquhoun : Feb 3rd

        That’s good to know. Which one would be good for me?

    • Coolio : Dec 1st

      I used the Precip on the majority of the AT and part of the JMT (until I lost it in Lone Pine), it performed very well and never let me down (got mighty smelly a couple times), purchased the Helium II as a replacement and it did fine on the remainder of the JMT but while hiking the southern section of the AT this year with many days in teh rain it performed terribly and wet out very easily. I would not recommend the Helium II for the AT! Did the editors recommending this ever use this on a thru or long distance hike? I am not the only one with these issues and I can’t believe it is a top recommendation.

  • LGonTREK : Feb 25th

    02 Rainwear really needs to be rediscovered. While a lot of their gear is meant for cycling, their rain jackets are light and bombproof. Have had mine for a decade and just now thinking about replacing it.

  • Gediminas : Feb 26th

    Where is the Frogg Toggs?????

    • Joshua Visi : Mar 6th

      I agre, light, cheap, easily replaced

      • Mike Smith : May 12th

        Frogg Toggs are nice but REALLY BULKY. The poncho (and the raincoat and pants) take up so much space in my pack that I only carry them on day hikes, and I really want that space back regardless. I ordered the LightHeart Gear SilPoly jacket, so we’ll see how it performs down the road.

  • Brian Kirk : Feb 27th

    The Montbell recommended here is not waterproof, its water resistant. Gore’Tex’s Infinium product has water resistant coating, but is not seam-sealed. It is good for light rain for a period of time, but not heavy or consistent rain. Just want readers to be aware as saying the product is “sufficiently waterproof” is misleading. Information received from my insiders at the Gore labs.

    • Jeff McWilliams : Feb 28th

      MontBell state on their website that they seam sell their Versalite jacket.

    • Dan Schoenekase : Apr 2nd

      Five days ago, I spent 4 straight hours in a heavy downpour with my Montbell Versalite and it performed perfectly. Key technical specs that the reviewers should include for their rankings rather than anecdotes derived from marketing materials are the tested water resistance and breathability. The Versalite is rated: Water resistance: 30,000mm, Breathability: 43,000g/m2/24hrs (JIS L-1099 B-1 method). That puts it in the rainproof level and well ahead of the Precip and Helium as well as others.

  • Jeff McWilliams : Feb 28th

    Brian Kirk – MontBell states on their website that they seam seal their Versalite.

  • Joey1849 : Mar 1st

    I am done with rain gear that relies on a DWR finish to function properly. For next year’s review, I hope you look at waterproof options like Light Heart Gear and Anti Gravity Gear.

  • Frank P : Apr 2nd

    I qualify for Geezer status so I’ve been around for awhile and have spent much of that time and an absurd amount of money trying to find the truly breathable rain jacket that also kept out the rain. I’ve bought many of the cool brands and spent the ultralight obligatory starting point of $200 and up. Simple fact is if you’re hiking with any effort in any of them your going to get wet either from the inside or when it wets out. I’ve come back around to the Precip. It’s durable, vented reasonably priced. Here in the PNW there were just too many snags etc in the forests for my frog toggs tryout to work.

  • Jason : Apr 2nd

    How does Zpacks compare?

    • The Heck : Feb 17th

      Had a lot of those and would only recommend the EE Visp, don’t even mess with the Zpacks it’s a bad design and not worth it over the Visp.

  • Shannon : Apr 7th

    Great article! I absolutely LOVE my Arc’Teryx Zeta SL, it was well worth the money. I also got lucky and got it discounted (almost half off!) at REI. If you have your heart set on a certain piece of gear I can’t recommend enough just diligently checking REI and other outfitters websites regularly because eventually they do seem to discount certain colors/sizes but I do realize a lot of times its luck. I used to have the Marmot PreCip which was notably cheaper and did the job but the Zeta SL is on another level and performs extremely well in all of the elements!

  • Betty : Sep 29th

    FYI – the Enlightened Equipment website says the Visp is made in Vietnam, Not USA

  • A_Scott : Feb 12th

    As shown by comment dates, and some grossly mispriced items, this is a clickbait article that’s been re-dated. Come on Zach, you and your team are better than this.

    • Andrew : Feb 2nd

      And there is out of date info. For example, the LightHeart Gear jackets are fully seam sealed. This article says they are not. Wrong, bad info. One look at the LG website would have corrected this.

  • Chip : Feb 18th

    Please add available sizes to your summaries of all clothing and outerwear! This is helpful to a lot of people from short to tall and from small to big! It is extremely tedious, time consuming and frustrating to have to go to each website to find what sizes a company offers an item in, just to discover that they do not make it in a fairly standard size (like xxl) or offer a petite or tall version. Thanks.

  • Andy K : Feb 3rd

    Plus one to Chip’s comment: Which offer tall sizes? Jacket length? Or just a “Best for Tall People” category? At 6’5″, I use none of these jackets as they don’t cover my bum.

  • Ron G : Feb 2nd

    The OR Apollo rain jacket (large) weighs in at 11.2 oz, and has everything you can ask for in a rain jacket. It has a storm flap on main zipper, pit zips, zippered pockets, adjustable hood, drawstring waist, plus it can be found for well under $100 if you shop around. How could this awesome jacket not make the list?

  • David M Ryan : Feb 2nd

    As a geezer and total newbie, I would just like to say how much I appreciate the articles in this publication. I have learned a lot and really enjoy reading about the different gear, pros and cons ,as well as the articles on various hikes. Thank you.

  • Doug : Feb 2nd

    Your LightHeart Gear review is outdated. The zippers ARE all waterproof and the seams ARE taped. Also the price has gone up a bit to $150 and the claimed weight is 7.4 oz for medium.


What Do You Think?