Best Rain Shell for Backpacking

Protecting yourself from the elements involves more than just a down or synthetic layer. In all four seasons, you must have a waterproof layer to keep you dry when you are navigating an overgrown trail with wet vegetation or hiking in the rain, sleet, or snow.

But don’t let the weather scare you into being a hermit for the weekend instead of heading out for a healthy and memorable adventure. The right mindset and a quality rain jacket will empower you to seize any opportunity to get outdoors, regardless of the forecast.

You can choose a poncho or an umbrella to keep you dry, but the most popular piece of waterproof gear by far is a rain jacket. A waterproof coat typically is the outermost layer and can be worn alone in the summer or with an insulated jacket as part of a layering system in the fall and winter.

Of course, there are tradeoffs – an ultralight rain jacket will generally not be as durable as a heavy bombproof alpine-worthy hardshell. Some cheaper ultralight waterproof materials also lack breathability.

Best Rain Shell for Backpacking

For three-season hiking and backpacking, an ultralight rain jacket is often the ideal choice. It will minimize pack weight when not in use yet will provide the necessary rain protection when required. And unless you are doing the fiercest bushwhacking, modern ultralight materials should easily stand up to the challenges of the trail.

We’ve spent countless hours researching and testing the best rain jackets on the market. We hope our guide makes it easy to find the jacket that’s just right for you.


Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket Men’s

Arc'teryx Zeta SL Jacket Men's

Summer hiking and trekking involve unpredictable mountain weather. The Zeta SL Jacket is meant as an emergency shell for hiking. It packs up small, so it’s ready whenever sudden storms arise.

This superlight, packable, emergency waterproof jacket get made from GORE-TEX fabric with Paclite Plus product technology. The minimalist design and fully articulated patterning give an exceptional fit and freedom of movement.

The first-class outerwear provided by Arcteryx brings unparalleled warmth and weather protection for a spread of situations, regardless of if you’re on a week-long hiking trek or planning a fast trip to the shop, or even a week-long trip to the shop if that’s your kind of thing. Arcteryx has built a set of jackets and coats that are as great at beating tricky weather as feeling and searching great.

It’s not almost protection, though: perhaps most significantly, what’s it you wish to wear? Well, Arc’teryx has thought of that too – and it’s where the Zeta shines.

There are no hanging drawcords or oversized fits here; the minimalist design and fully articulated patterning give an exceptional fit and freedom of movement.

Riptape wrist closures minimize the quantity of water that’ll run down your arms and sleeves, and therefore the internal storm flap will prove quite capable keep water out.


  • 310g (M)
  • Hem drawcord
  • Adjustable cuffs
  • Trim fit, hip length
  • Zipped hand pockets
  • WaterTight Vislon front zip
  • Adjustable low-profile StormHood
  • N40r face fabric is compact and light-weight with a DWR treatment
  • GORE-TEX PACLITE Plus is durably waterproof, breathable, and packable



RAB Kinetic Plus Jacket Men’s

RAB Kinetic Plus Jacket - Men's

The Kinetic Plus is an extraordinary creation; it takes the delicateness, stretchiness, and breathability of a softshell and the waterproof abilities of a hard shell to make a coat somewhere between the two. It’s ideal for use in similar circumstances as you’d typically utilize a softshell, however, where the climate might be somewhat more inconsistent.

The Rab Men’s Kinetic Plus Jacket is a waterproof softshell for remaining dynamic and moving quickly in the mountains. Stretchy and breathable, Proflex™ will not confine your movement as you climb, climb and explore your way to the top.

Not just that, the adaptable layer will keep you dry when the startling precipitation or snow begins to fall. The climate may change for the day, yet you will not need to change your jacket. Except if you get too hot, at that point, simply stuff it in your pack.

Developed with a waterproof layer, this lightweight softshell offsets waterproof assurance with stretch and breathability for complete solace in blended testing conditions.

A skintight stretch hood keeps wind and downpour from sneaking into the jacket, while a dropped back stitch gives extra inclusion whether you’re climbing, hiking, or exploring the backwoods on your skis.


  • Champ of Backpacker magazine Editors’ Choice Award 2017
  • Waterproof delicate shell texture has the most extreme underlying stretch and breathability, with a durable water repellent (DWR) covering and taped creases for extra water repellency
  • Lining moves dampness away from the skin rapidly to help you stay dry
  • Twofold hood has a tight inward edge with an overlaid, hardened external edge to shield from downpour; string at the back allows you to change the fit
  • Water-safe zippers on front and hand pockets
  • Snare and-circle movable sleeves seal out the components
  • Join free stitch and sleeves add comfort
  • Thin fit



Mountain Hardwear Men’s Exposure

Mountain Hardwear Men's Exposure

The Mountain Hardwear Exposure/2 hits the sweet spot in case you’re searching for strong waterproof security with enough highlights for climbing and playing outside. Chief among said highlights: stretch at not exactly a pound. The Exposure/2’s stretchy face texture gives a true representation of its waterproofing, giving you abundant mobility for going after overhead handholds and slicing your paddle through the water.

The Mountain Hardwear Men’s Exposure/2 GTX Paclite Jacket is a packable jacket for staying dry around the town and the mountains. GORE-TEX Paclite stretch texture doesn’t simply keep pack weight down; it moves simply, so you’re unhindered whether you’re accelerating through town or climbing the best path through the downpour.

It’s waterproof and breathable just as squares wind, detering the tempest so you can continue forward, including side vents to cool your body immediately when burning some serious calories, in addition to a tackle viable chest pocket so you can generally arrive at your four-leaf clover for a touch before the next set.


  • Texture offers a lightweight feel and flexibility for the opportunity of movement during dynamic pursuits
  • Waterproof YKK strengthened zipper and completely crease fixed to keep you dry and lockout dampness, shielding you from the components
  • Droptail stitch keeps you covered during surprising deluges
  • Overflowed hood with a flexible drawcord gives altered to fit and astounding fringe vision
  • Front bridle viable zippered chest pocket and zippered hand pockets let you stash the fundamentals
  • Snare and-circle terminations on sleeves let you change your fit
  • Hidden fix snap for simple changes
  • Standard Fit isn’t excessively close, not very free, and will fit over base and mid-layers without limiting development



Men’s Helium Rain Jacket

Men's Helium Rain Jacket

More durable and lightweight than ever. The Helium Rain Jacket and Pants take durable, lightweight waterproof assurance to a completely new level. Diamond Fuse innovation empowers the Helium Rain Kit to be 5x more tear-safe than the honor-winning Helium II Collection and much lighter weight.

Totally crease taped, waterproof, yet still breathable and agreeable in rough conditions, the new Helium Rain Jacket and Pants will be the primary thing any explorer, top bagger, or off-trail traveler will pack for the most solid lightweight downpour security.

The Helium downpour jacket packs down to generally the size of a grapefruit, so it will not take a lot of room in your backpack or travel. It’s intended to be fully into its chest pocket, wiping out the problem of monitoring a little stuff sack. It’s additionally furnished with a hang loop for advantageous carrying on a waistband or backpack.

Simply remember that the visor on the hood may get somewhat distorted whenever compacted for quite a while. We like to store our downpour jacket freely at the highest point of our backpacks for simple access or balance them on a holder in a wardrobe at home.


  • Single Chest Pocket: This coat has only one pocket, effectively open at the chest. This is useful for individuals with backpacks as, in many cases, the hip belt on a pack makes side pockets blocked off. This pocket likewise serves as a stuff sack.
  • Versatile Cuffs, Elastic Drawcord Hem: Tighten or slacken for solace or need. The flexible sleeves get fitted without feeling contracting, and the drawcord hem helps keep blowing rain out.
  • Waterproof Zipper: The YKK AquaGuard Zippers are a water-repellent zipper model made with polyurethane-covered tape to seal downpour and other precipitation in the weakest spots on any downpour gear. The jeans likewise highlight this equivalent zipper.
  • Fitted, Adjustable Hood: The hood is profound, however, fitted, which implies you will not turn your head to look behind you and simply see within the hood. It’s likewise huge enough to fit over a bicycle cap, ideal for our new blustery bicycle tour.



MARMOT mens Precip Eco Jacket

MARMOT mens Precip Eco Jacket

The Marmot Men’s PreCip Eco Jacket is a durable rain shell for keeping covered from the wet climate when you’re backpacking and climbing. Marmot made this jacket with waterproofing and harmless to the ecosystem texture.

Its NanoPro layer gives waterproof, breathable security, and completely fixed creases keep a solitary raindrop from leaking through. Zippers under each arm enhance wind stream and ventilation.

Not exclusively does the hood pack into the jacket’s neckline, the coat can likewise pack in its pocket for conservativeness in backpacks just as convertible inclusion.

Sturdier, more durable than any other time in recent memory, and with a protected dry-contact finish, the Marmot PreCip Eco men’s jacket stuffs into its pocket, so there’s no motivation to give it up on your movements.

Underarm zippers ventilate overabundance body heat progressing, the flexible hood stuffs into the collar when you needn’t bother with it, and you can stuff the entire thing into its hand pocket for minimal capacity.


  • Tough rain jacket made harmless to the ecosystem
  • NanoPro layer is dependably waterproof and serenely breathable
  • Reused nylon texture with completely fixed creases for climate assurance
  • Zippers under each arm intensify ventilation
  • Movable hood folds into the collar for convertible inclusion
  • Extra changes at sewing and collars secure the fit
  • Coat packs into the pocket for conservativeness



Marmot Men’s Magus Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket

Marmot Men's Magus Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket

This is a jacket built from a stretch and strong material, totally waterproof and breathable with all creases taped. The 2.5 layers waterproof system utilized here depends on Marmot’s stretch NanoPro film, and its plan is with the end goal that it considers layering and for different open-air exercises.

The zippers are water-safe, and the principal front zipper is with an inner storm fold. The sleeves are uneven and outfitted with tabs, so you can secure them effectively for additional protection. Note that there is no versatile on the sleeves. This has a few advantages since you can open them wide if you need additional ventilation. On the stitch, there is a drawcord, and the change is simple through the single switch, which is on the right side.

There are three pockets altogether, all exceptionally enormous and with water-safe zippers. The chest pocket is truly huge and with texture inside. The hand pockets are with a network, and such a plan gets utilized to consider additional ventilation if you get associated with some exceptionally vigorous action.

The coated front zip prevents leaks, and PitZips open wide when the rain does not stop however your body heat needs an escape. Hood up or hood down, it’s connected so you will not lose it, and Angel-Wing Movement keeps movement common, prepared for high-fives at the culmination of your next 14er with your best bud.


  • Marmot Stretch NanoPro waterproof
  • Connected hood with a fringe string change
  • Chest pocket with water-resistant zipper
  • Zippered hand pockets
  • Lopsided sleeves with velcro change
  • Versatile drawcord Hem
  • Angel-wing movement



Helly Hansen Men’s Seven J Waterproof

Helly Hansen Men's Seven J Waterproof

Completely waterproof, windproof, and breathable. It is built from sturdy water repellent HellyTech execution texture complete with storm fold.

At the point when the sky opens, this spotless and exemplary downpour coat is ideal for traveling, trekking, or climbing up mountains and on seaside trails.

Lightweight and breathable, it’ll keep you cool when the sun shows up, and after a mid-year shower, the advantageous brisk dry covering will keep you hot.

Clean exemplary rain jacket for an assortment of open-air exercises. Completely waterproof with a tempest fold and helpful fast dry coating. Flexible fit and zippered pockets are helpful for traveling, trekking, or any outside exercises.


  • Fully waterproof with a storm flap and convenient quick-dry lining
  • Adjustable fit and zippered pockets are convenient for trekking, biking, or any outdoor activities
  • Anti-chafe chin guard, bottom hem cinch-cord, adjustable cuffs
  • Quick-dry lined for comfort
  • Fixed hood, one-hand hood adjustments
  • Closeout


Factors to Consider Before Buying Best Rain Jacket for Backpacking

There are a lot of rain jackets on the market these days. And while having options is great, it can be overwhelming to choose. Here are four important considerations when deciding on the best jacket.


There are a plethora of choices when it comes to trekking jacket material. First of all, you want something waterproof accompanied by some amount of or access to breathability/ventilation. The best jackets are of sturdy, tear-proof material on the outside. Choose a material that can protect you from all elements such as snow, water, and wind.


First, you need to decide how you’ll be using this piece of outerwear. Will most of your time get spent backpacking or hiking? Or are you commuting around town? There’s no right or wrong, but having a clear vision of the intended use will help you evaluate the following features.


A trash bag will keep you dry, but it will also make you sweat ’til you’re wet. And an unbreathable rain jacket will do the same. For short jaunts, you can get away with a less-breathable option.


If you only need a rain shell for occasional showers, durability isn’t a major concern. But if you’ll rely on it in the backcountry, it needs to get built to withstand heavy use. If you regularly climb, scramble, or bushwack, forgo ultralight jackets like the aforementioned Rab Phantom and choose something a little heftier.

Final Thoughts

The more breathable a jacket is, the more comfortable you will feel. There are two main types of waterproof material – membrane and coated. In both cases, the membrane or coating gets applied to the inside of the jacket’s face fabric. A Durable Water Repellent finish or DWR is not the bit that makes a jacket waterproof.

Don’t forget to look at how the jacket wears at your neck, hands, and waist as well. Cuffs should be adjustable, so rain doesn’t run down your sleeves. It should be tight but comfortable at the neck, so you don’t get water down your back. And it should be reasonably tight at the waist without restricting your hips.

It’s also good to know that clothing rated between 5,000 mm and 10,000 mm (10k) is a good choice for riders who spend long days out and ski or snowboard in any weather conditions. Avid skiers and snowboarders, especially those in wetter climates, should look for waterproof ratings in the 10,000 mm to 20,000 mm range or better.

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