Gear Review: REI Co-Op Essential Rain Jacket
Weight: 7.6 ounces
Material: Nylon (Bluesign approved), with a 2.5-layer waterproof breathable laminate
Circumstances of Review
I have used this jacket during both rainy walks in Philadelphia, and wet early-fall hikes in the Pennsylvania woods. We’ve had rain almost every day during the past month, so this jacket has seen a lot of use.
Waterproofing: DWR teams up with a 2.5-layer waterproof, breathable, and fully seamed laminate to allow you to stay dry throughout light rain and snow.
Articulated Hood: Adjustable three-piece hood allows you to fit the jacket to your exact size and preferences, and doesn’t make you stare at the inside of the hood when you turn your head.
Cuff Seals: Hook-and-loop tabs allow you to change how much room you have in the sleeves, depending on how many layers you are wearing underneath.
Drawcord Hem: Adjustable hip drawstrings allow you to bundle up and keep out the elements while you hike.
Sustainability: The jacket is made out of Bluesign-approved nylon, which means it was manufactured in an environmentally safe and friendly way.
Roomy, But Not Too Roomy
I always like my rain jackets to be a little on the roomy side so that I can layer additional clothing beneath it. The issue always seems to be finding a jacket that has a little room to spare, but doesn’t swim on me when I wear it with minimal layers. The REI Essential Rain Jacket has this perfect size nailed down, and a big part of that is thanks to the adjustable sleeve and hood features. The Velcro on the sleeve cuffs allows you to custom fit the sleeves so that they can be roomier if you are wearing multiple layers, and tighter if you need less space. The hood also includes drawstring closures that let you control how large the hole is. These features make parts of the jacket customizable to both your preferences and different climate situations.
Stronger Than The Storm
We’ve all had a rain jacket that seems to let water seep through after only a short amount of time outside, but this jacket is a far cry from that situation. I’ve worn it a maximum of four straight hours in the rain, and water was never able to penetrate through the waterproofing. You can actually watch the rain falling on the jacket and then quickly rolling off in little beads as you hike. For not having ventilation zippers, the jacket is also surprisingly breathable and less sticky than I was expecting when wearing it during a warmer rainstorm (more on that in a minute).
From Trail to Town
One of my favorite things about this jacket is how easily it transitions from the trailhead to the local bar; it’s able to hold up well while climbing mountains in the rain, but also looks good enough to wear to work on a stormy morning. Certain features, like full-sized pockets and a brim on the hood, make this great in a variety of situations, which means you no longer have to have your “trail jacket” and “town jacket.”
Lacking Ventilation Zippers
Although the material is incredibly breathable for being a waterproof fabric, I still found myself missing ventilation zippers in the armpits. Eventually, after hiking for a while, I did start to get sweaty and sticky inside the jacket, and was dreaming of being able to unzip a vent or two on the jacket.
Doesn’t Fold into Itself
I found myself wishing that the jacket had a way of folding into itself so that I could store and stuff it into my pack easier. When rolled up, the jacket does reduce down to a reasonable size, but being able to fold it into a self-contained pouch would help with gear organization and make it easier to throw into a day pack during questionable weather.
This is a great, affordable jacket for rainy day adventures. The REI Co-Op Essential Rain Jacket is full of features that make it feel customizable and is able to withstand rain for more than a few hours. The jacket is great for both day hikes, and rainy days spent in town, which means it has an insane amount of versatility. For a jacket this price, it’s pretty hard to beat the quality and functionality, and I would definitely recommend it for single day hikes spent on rainy trails. Due to its slightly heavier weight, and lack of ventilation zippers, I would say that this isn’t the best jacket for backpacking, but it’s a rock star for day hikes and will keep you dry until the sun goes down!
Final Overall Rating: 8/ 10
Disclaimer: This product was donated for the purposes of review
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