Best Backpacking Rain Jackets Reviewed

If you’re looking for a rain jacket that offers solid warmth at a good value, you’ve come to the right place. The jackets we will be discussing are resistant to moisture, can breathe better and are more cost-efficient. These jackets protect you from exposure in the wilderness and provide warmth and comfort. Although there are a lot of expensive choices out there, you shouldn’t have to break the bank to keep yourself dry in the woods. An affordable option will get the job done.

Rain jackets can now be the same weight as they were a few years ago.  They’re lightweight, and some of soft-shelled are now fully rainproofed. But the main has not changed. To protect against rain you could still use a dense waterproof jacket. For a short being outdoors in changeable weather often only need a suitable jacket, not occupying much space in the backpack. For all other cases, there are countless varieties of soft-shell.

So these are the top 10 picks for the best backpacking rain jackets. Consider them for your next adventure.

1. Marmot PreCip

  • Material: NanoPro Nylon
  • Seams: Fully Taped
  • Fit: Regular, Angel-Wing Movement
  • Pockets: 2 zippered hand
  • Weight: 11 oz

Marmot PreCip is a lightweight rain jacket. For fans of backcountry and urban travelers focused on convenience jacket from the American manufacturer. Marmot PreCip has been on the market for a number of years. But this year it’s made with new technology. It has the most breathable 2.5-layer technology that the market has to offer today. Fully taped seams and 2.5-layer NanoPro coating makes our everyday classical model even more breathable. Additional details such as a full range body motion fit, active ventilation system and pockets PitZips Pack Pockets with easy access. PreCip jacket can be packed into its own pocket.

The PreCip jacket is very comfortable and it has a 2.5 layer shell with well-built features. Marmot PreCip is well-equipped with NanoPro technology that breathes exceptionally well for a low price tag.

Marmot PreCip is a great do-everything jacket. It is very lightweight, you can carry this jacket on long backpacking and climbing trips and it’s well ventilated for high energy activities. The hood rolls away if you like to wear a rain hat or if you’re using your jacket around town. The hand pockets can hold phone, keys, and gloves with no problem.

If you’re looking for one model to do everything and an affordable price, PreCip is for you.

Pros: Good breathability than others in its price range, good ventilation, roll away hood, nice pit zips, affordable

Cons: DWR lasts decently long, no chest pocket, not quite as breathable as membrane models

See the Marmot PreCip See the Women’s Marmot PreCip

2. The North Face Venture 2

  • Material: DryVent Nylon
  • Seams: Fully Taped
  • Fit: Relaxed
  • Pockets: 2 zippered hand
  • Weight: 11.6 oz

The North Face Venture 2 is a good value jacket. It’s recommended for hikers, backpackers, skiers, or someone who might merely need a rain jacket for running around town. Venture 2 offers excellent weather resistance and a DWR. It is also lightweight and packable enough. This feature makes it a very reasonable option for taking it for ultralight backpacking. Venture 2 has their own 2.5-layer propitiatory Dryvent fabric that offers weather protection.

Although this jacket is recommended for hiking and backpacking, you can also use it for climbing and mountaineering or even the occasional downhill skiing. That said, for a quite low price, you can find something that offers lighter weight, as well as better packability, durability, and breathability.

One thing to know, this is a low price waterproof jacket so it’s not going to be quite breathable as the other Gore-Tex jackets.

If you’re looking for a lightweight, waterproof or a rain jacket to wear on drizzly days, also, wanted it to have pockets, a hood, and have some style to it; this jacket will meet your requirements perfectly.

Pros: Affordable, zippered opening allow you to ventilate if you get war, fits great, good mobility

Cons: Relatively bulky fit, not the most breathable, the hood doesn’t fit over a helmet

See the North Face Venture 2 See the Women’s North Face Venture 2

3. Patagonia Torrentshell

  • Material: H2No Performance Standard
  • Seams: Fully Taped
  • Fit: Regular
  • Pockets: 2 hand (1 stow)
  • Weight: 12 oz

Patagonia has expanded its collection of new Torrentshell rainproof and windproof jackets. The new Torrentshell provides excellent protection from wind and precipitation, and water vapor permeability due to the proprietary H2No material. The jacket is made of a thick nylon 40D with ripstop. The material is made of two-layer H2No Performance Standard Shell with water-repellent Deluge DWR, nylon polyester and backed by a laminated membrane from the inside.

In men’s version, there’s a voluminous, double-layered hood and high collar, two hand pockets, and one chest pocket. The sleeve is fixed cuff with Velcro, under the sleeves, there are two vents two-way zip. New jacket, weighing 12 oz for medium size, comes in five different shades; the price is very reasonable.

Pros: Takes up little room in a daypack, wrist straps can be made pretty tight so that during a rainstorm your arms and body will stay dry

Cons: The pockets are created by attaching extra fabric to the whole jacket and seams are not well protected thus cause leakage

See the Patagonia Torrentshell See the Women’s Patagonia Torrentshell

4. Marmot Minimalist

  • Material: Gore-Tex Paclite
  • Seams: Fully Taped
  • Fit: Regular
  • Pockets: 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest
  • Weight: 14.9 oz

Gore-Tex is characterized by excellent waterproof and breathable characteristics. Fit Angel-Wing Movement does not restrict movement and provides maximum comfort. There is a reasonable choice of jackets for active outdoor recreation in all weather conditions.

This jacket has zipper flaps and a seam that runs vertically along the inner flap. This feature helps keeps water from getting to you. Pockets are sealed and taped with Gore-Tex from the inside. You could fill your pockets with water and it would not reach you. There are only a few seams so the jacket ends up being more breathable.

This is one of the great Gore-Tex jackets on the market for the money. If you are looking to keep totally dry and want to breathe in temperatures at 70 degrees or below (no Gore-Tex jacket breathes above about 70 degrees as it requires a temperature differential to breath) then this is the jacket for you.

Pros: Lightweight, feels sturdier and a little more durable than a true ultralight jacket, the hood is great

Cons: The only thing we don’t like in this jacket is the left-handed zipper.

See the Marmot Minimalist See the Women’s Marmot Minimalist

5. Outdoor Research Helium II

  • Material: Pertex Shield
  • Seams: Fully Taped
  • Fit: Regular
  • Pockets: 1 Napoleon, 1 stow
  • Weight: 6.4 oz

Helium II is made of Pertex Sheild 2.5-layer ripstop nylon. The jacket is very lightweight and packs down so small. It’s compressible to the measure of a granola bar. The Helium II keeps you totally shielded from unpleasant climate on the trail yet doesn’t squander space or include in excess of a feather’s worth of weight to your pack.

This jacket is very light you can carry this jacket in your pack on every hike. There is nothing better than pulling it out of the pack during squalls and keeping the elements at bay.

The jacket has a drawcord on the very bottom. This allows you to fit the jacket to whatever waist size. If your waist is about 36 inches, you don’t need to adjust this. The cuffs also have the elastic inside of them which is helpful in keeping the water elements out.

Overall, it’s a great jacket and very portable either by carrying in hand or in a pack. You’ll love the waist adjuster and the hood adjuster. You can use it solely for backpacking.

Pros: Super lightweight, works as advertised, cuts the wind and rain, upper zip pocket for keys

Cons: The cuffs aren’t adjustable but they’re just fine and stay in place. Little expensive for what you get – but at the end of the day it’s a nice reliable and packable jacket.

See the Outdoor Research Helium II See the Women’s Outdoor Research Helium II

6. Arc’teryx Beta AR

  • Material: N40r-X Gore-Tex Pro
  • Seams: Fully Taped
  • Fit: Regular, e3D articulated patterning
  • Pockets: 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest
  • Weight: 1 lb

Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket made for the versatile mountaineer who climbs alpine all summer and skis the backcountry all winter. The jacket is made of updated membrane material Gore-Tex Pro laminate material. According to the manufacturer, up to 28% more permeable than the previous version. The outer layer of the sandwich material is made of nylon fabric N40p-X. The density of the fabric is 40 denier. The fabric is also treated with water-repellent impregnation.

The cut of the jacket provides low back, adjustable sleeve cuffs and jacket hem and two large front zippered pockets and one laminated pocket inside. Jacket and pockets, wind and waterproof zippers, all seams are additionally glued.

If you’re doing tons of hiking or backpacking, this jacket will always keep you dry and warm. The fabrics of this jacket are incredible. There’s a new front zipper which seems much more robust and durable than the previous version. Use this jacket to go backpacking or wear it to work throughout the week. You’ll never find the versatile jacket like this.

Pros: Very functional and great looking and feeling outside the shell, amazing quality

Cons: The only con is the price. It’s expensive!

See the Arc’teryx Beta AR See the Women’s Arc’teryx Beta AR

7. Outdoor Research Optimizer

  • Material: Gore-Tex Active
  • Seams: Fully Taped
  • Fit: Regular
  • Pockets: 1 chest zip, 2 hand zip, 1 internal zip
  • Weight: 13 oz

Outdoor Research Optimizer Jacket gives you heavy-weight protection and a surprisingly lightweight package. Averaging 13 oz for the large size, this jacket brings complete rainproof performance to the table. This jacket has some premium materials which make it perform so well in the mountains.

The cut of the jacket weighing approximately 12 oz provides a volume adjustable hood with a high collar, low back, elastic vapor-permeable panel under sleeves, preformed sleeves with adjustable cuffs and three pockets with zip closure.

Outdoor Research Optimizer Jacket is made from a relatively new material Gore-Tex Active 3L. The outer layer is rip-stop 20D nylon, lining — polyester 20D. It’s characterized by a high level of water-resistance and vapor permeability and low overall weight and high compactness. In the design of jacket used an oversized hood with high storm collar, low back and adjustable volume on the bottom edge, permeable elastic panels in the armpits, slightly elongated preformed sleeves with adjustable cuffs and three inset pockets with zip closure.

Pros: very breathable, great quality, soft and pleasant materials, lightweight

Cons: Expensive, no vents

See the Outdoor Research Optimizer See the Women’s Outdoor Research Optimizer

8. The North Face ThermoBall

  • Material: Nylon
  • Seams: N/A
  • Fit: Slim
  • Pockets: 2 hand, 1 zippered chest
  • Weight: 1 lb 0.4 oz

Refreshed with streamlined astounds shaped to fit your body, their PrimaLoft ThermoBall coat offers ultra-light, exceptionally compressible engineered protection to keep you warm in an assortment of winter conditions. Their new protection innovation includes round ThermoBall bunches that trap and hold warmth to accomplish extraordinary warmth in a chilly, wet climate. Wear or pack this ultra-light coat for solid warm protection while winter outdoors in the backwoods.

Thermoball is a lightweight, compressible for storing in a backpack, and yet retained its warmth. This jacket is the most comfortable to wear. This jacket is perfect for activities like backpacking, ski touring, alpine climbing, or even a night on the patio of your favorite brewery. It performs well enough to hold its own in the backcountry while retaining some urban style. You’ll really appreciate the buttery smooth zipper sewn into this jacket. There is plenty of room in the shoulders of this jacket. The body of the jacket is long enough and boxy enough that it does not crawl up around your waist.

Pros: Stylish, stowaway pocket

Cons: Much heavier than other models with similar warmth, poor wind resistance

See the North Face Thermoball See the Women’s North Face Thermoball

9. Arc’teryx Beta SL

  • Material: N40r Gore-Tex PacLite
  • Seams: Fully Taped
  • Fit: Athletic
  • Pockets: 2 hand
  • Weight: 11.1 oz

Arcteryx Beta SL is made of durable nylon fabric technology Gore-Tex that provides protection from moisture and wind. It has a traditional silhouette, straight fit, two hand pockets, comfortable hood with adjustable cord and a high collar. In addition, it consists of taped seams, waterproof zipper, sleeve with Velcro and straps at the bottom. Special design and lightweight fabric allow you to fold the jacket into a small bag. The model is presented in solid color, decorated with neat branding on the chest.

This will keep you dry; from daily jungle showers to afternoon thunderstorms in the mountains and just everyday city rain. The sleeves are wonderfully designed and are long enough. The Velcro on the wrist is tiny but strong so the fit is incredible and the jacket comfortably moves with you. The hood is large and easily adjusted. The cords are ingeniously minimal and pretty simple and easy to use. The fabric on the inside feels soft. The jacket is long enough in the back to cover your butt even when you’re moving around.

Overall, the jacket is incredibly lightweight and packs down small. The jacket is great for weekend trips for fieldwork as well as backpacking trips.

Pros: Mobility and range of motion, top-tier storm worthiness, awesome hood design, long-lasting DWR, harness and hip-belt friendly pockets, exceptional breathability

Cons: Expensive, no ventilation options, no easy way to clip to a harness, only slightly below average in weight

See the Arc’teryx Beta SL See the Women’s Arc’teryx Beta SL

10. Patagonia Primo Down

  • Material: Gore-Tex
  • Seams: Fully Taped
  • Fit: Regular
  • Pockets: 1 chest with headphone port, 2 hand zip, 1 sleeve pass, 1 internal stash, 1 internal goggle drop-in
  • Weight: 2 lb

Primo Down is a rainproof windproof warmest jacket with breathable Gore-Tex material. The top is also treated with a waterproof impregnation DWR. The smooth lining allows you to slide the inner insulating layers of clothing while maintaining complete mobility. The ergonomic loose cut does not hinder movement. The jacket is fully adjustable in two planes hood with visor, compatible with the helmet. Ventilation zips under the sleeves. It has a removable snow skirt. Two hand pockets with zipper, one chest pocket, one sleeve pocket, one internal zip pocket and one internal pocket for a ski mask.

Patagonia Primo Down is a warm jacket great for hikers, backpackers and even skiers in cold and stormy climates. It works well on the lifts and can be brought along on backcountry missions. As it is lightweight and warm. Prime Down is carefully and well-designed garment with typical Patagonia quality and attention to detail.

Pros: Great weather protection, down insulation, generous fit

Cons: Drafty construction unless well cinched down, boxy cut

See the Patagonia Primo Down See the Women’s Patagonia Primo Down

Best Backpacking Rain Jackets: Comparison Table

Marmot PreCipNanoPro NylonFully TapedRegular211 oz
The North Face Venture 2DryVent NylonFully TapedRelaxed211.6 oz
Patagonia TorrentshellH2NoFully TapedRegular312 oz
Marmot MinimalistGore-Tex PacliteFully TapedRegular314.9 oz
OR Helium IIPertex ShieldFully TapedRegular26.4 oz
Arc'teryx Beta ARN40r-X Gore-Tex ProFully TapedRegular31 lb
OR OptimizerGore-Tex ActiveFully TapedRegular413 oz
The North Face ThermoBallNylonN/ASlim31 lb
Arc'teryx Beta SLN40r Gore-Tex PacLiteFully TapedAthletic211.1 oz
Patagonia Primo DownGore-TexFully TapedRegular62 lb

How to choose the Best Backpacking Rain Jacket?

Every man needs protection from wind and rain. And if we talk about the active, and sometimes more than active, lifestyle, a good jacket is a necessity. Membrane jackets are widely demanded in various types of outdoor activities. The manufacturers also offer a variety of models to meet different requirements.

For the toughest conditions manufacturers of outdoor clothing using a three-layer membrane, the fabric is denoted by 3L. The membrane connects with rugged outer material and internal lining. This prevents any displacement of the layers, which gives high resistance to wear and tear. Such jackets often have increased a more dense material in the places most subject to wear. The jackets using three-layer membrane material, having high strength, are ideal for frequent, year-round use in all conditions. Before choosing the right jacket you should take into account the mention features of the quality jackets.

Quality of Seams

Good Quality Seams Backpacking Rain Jacket

When choosing a jacket, pay attention to what threads sewn product. The jacket does not have the right to cross the stitches; all the stitches should be windproof. If you use poor quality threads jacket will be damaged after the first wash.

Pay attention to the lining (lining material). The better stitched the jacket, the more expensive lining is used, and in good jacket should be natural materials. Manufacturers who value their brand will not use thin polyester in their products.


Good Fitting Yellow Jacket

Choose a jacket that is well-equipped with high-quality fittings. Check zippers, buttons and all fasteners. Zipper should operate smoothly and jams. To fasten buttons, do not need to make strong efforts. Good jackets almost all the accessories I try to enclose the braid or sheathing fabric.


Man in Good Material Rain Jacket

NylonOttoman – slightly shiny material, the surface of which is lined with embossed squares. Sew from it, as a rule, jackets sporty style, which requires a special strength and hygroscopic properties. The material has repellent properties, nevertheless is breathable, which is important for people leading an active lifestyle.

StretchVinil worth a special mention, as there are lots of jackets of similar material at the markets now. In fact, it is cheap and short-lived. Real StretchVinil has a rubber structure and, in contrast to fakes, matte surface. This vinyl is fragile, quickly erased, and the place of the fading appears glossy spots. Genuine StretchVinil absolutely not shiny, not wet, it is a very durable material that is capable of slightly (but not much) stretch.

The fabric is reminiscent of Amaretto plush (soft) or faux suede (according to the length of the pile). Soft, velvety, at once gives the impression of comfort and good quality. Not protecting from rain, this fabric has a water-repellent impregnation and breathes well.

Water-Resistance Rain Jacket

Most of the characteristics of water resistance of the membrane are indicated on the product, in millimeter of the water column. Water resistant clothing is considered to be indicators of at least 5,000 mm the water column.

Water Vapor Permeability

Water Vapor Permeability of a Jacket

This term describes the ability of the fabric to withdraw the evaporating sweat to the outside. It does not apply to the transmission of air inside. Sports clothing should be well “breathe” under high load, its owner, to the sweat evaporating from the body surface, easy left, not condensing lined outerwear. Thus partly prevents overheating of the body and the accumulation of moisture.
Remember that every jacket has to be comfortable for you personally. That is why choose the one which perfectly suits you. You should select the jacket in which you could do different activities and feel comfortable.

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