Backpacking can be an enjoyable activity, and it’s also a great way to learn about other cultures while seeing some of the most beautiful parts of the world. However, it’s essential to bring a lightweight rain jacket to protect yourself from unpredictable weather. Finding the best lightweight rain jacket for backpacking requires a lot of research, but you’d be happy to know that we’ve done all the research for you! Our team has gone through the internet with a fine-toothed comb to find the highest quality lightweight rain jackets that offer plenty of breathability and water resistance.
You’d likely want to carry your rain jacket with you when you go backpacking, which means that excess bulk can be irritating. That is why we have focused on an assortment of packable jackets, which means that you can stow them in your backpack easily. The layers of your rain jacket impact how much it weighs, with three-layer jackets weighing more than 2 or 2.5 layer varieties considerably. Each layer serves a purpose, though, so there’s a give and take that you should learn more about. Our mission is to guide you to the right path while making your decision.
Top Rain Jackets for Backpacking
- Black Diamond Men’s Lightweight Rain Jacket For Backpacking
- The Why: Built to take on the worst downpours, the StormLine Stretch...
- Fabric: 100% Nylon highly stretchable shell material laminated to...
- Fit: Regular fit with room for layers underneath. Underarm gussets and...
- Details: Adjustable hem and cuffs for dialing in the fit. Water...
- Packable: This rain jacket stuffs into its own right-hand pocket and...
The Black Diamond Men’s Lightweight Rain Jacket For Backpacking has been designed with 2.5 layers which makes it one of the top varieties on the market at present. An interesting fact about this jacket is that it can handle both heavy rain as well as snow with the same level of efficiency. That makes it great for people that want to travel to colder parts of the world.
There are countless features to appreciate in the Black Diamond Men’s Lightweight Rain Jacket For Backpacking, but one that we particularly liked is the nylon fiber. It keeps the rainwater at bay even during a heavy storm, and the fixed hood is a nice feature too thanks to its stretchy design. Comfortable and convenient, this variety doesn’t just keep external moisture out, it helps dry up internal moisture too thanks to its excellent breathability. It also has tw side pockets and an adjustable hem and cuffs.
- Lightweight and waterproof
- Durable and packable, easy to use on the go
- Stretch shell fabric for a standard fit
- Twelve different color options
- Two pockets keep your hands warm
- Adjustable, climbing-helmet-compatible hood
- Rather expensive
- Marmot Men’s PreCip Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket For Travelling
- Avoid Getting Soaked - Sturdy and durable with a patented dry-touch...
- The Next Generation Of Waterproofing - Our PreCip collection of pants...
- Comfort In Any Condition - An attached adjustable hood and...
- Innovating To Improve The Human Experience - Marmot strives to deliver...
- We Have You Covered - With Marmot, we warrant every product we make to...
We often waste money on purchases that don’t do us much good, usually because we don’t have the proper guidance. The Marmot Men’s PreCip Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket For Travelling is an example of a jacket that would be well worth the price, and you wouldn’t feel like your money has been wasted at all. It’s an imported jacket made with nylon, and one of its most significant advantages is that it’s machine washable. Its Nano-Pro fabric technology keeps the rain out, but it’s also easy to clean, which is crucial during a backpacking trip.
The Marmot Men’s PreCip Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket For Travelling uses 2.5 layers which keeps it waterproof and breathable, and it works perfectly in both warm and cool weather. While that means it’s not suitable for icy places, it offers a lot of versatility thanks to its superior ventilation. The full-length front zipper has an additional storm flap which adds even more waterproofing in case a storm hits, and that takes care of its relative inefficacy in snow and sleet as well! This is one of the most versatile rain jackets that we have been able to find, and its two side pockets with their secure zippers act as the cherry on top.
- Excellent weatherproofing
- Works well in moderate rain, snow and wind
- Elastic waist for a secure, comfortable fit
- Waterproof and breathable
- It’s easy to clean, machine washable
- Might not last in significant rainstorms
- Only available in standard fit
- Columbia Men’s Roan Waterproof Mountain Rain Jacket
- ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Columbia Men's Roan Mountain Jacket features our...
- HANDY FEATURES: This jacket features two side pockets to keep your...
- ADJUSTABLE FEATURES: Adjustable sleeve cuffs, an adjustable hood, and...
- EASY STORAGE: A construction that's packable into the hand pocket...
- VERSATILE STYLE: This jacket is comfortable and lightweight enough to...
The Columbia Men’s Roan Waterproof Mountain Rain Jacket offers multiple features at a surprisingly affordable price point, and that might be the biggest reason for us including it in our list. It’s designed with the highest quality nylon fabric, which means that you wouldn’t need to wash it by hand. Instead, you can pop it into a washing machine when you have some free time. It’s also quite durable, which means you won’t lose your inner or outer layer while it’s getting washed. That means you can keep your drizzle to downpour protection intact while also enjoying a very convenient cleaning process.
Another thing that we loved about the Columbia Men’s Roan Waterproof Mountain Rain Jacket is how much storage space it offers. With plenty of zipped pockets, this jacket allows you to keep your phone and wallet right where you need them at all times. It also has a lovely adjustable hood and drawstring hem to make the jacket conform to the contours of your body, which means that people at all sorts of fitness levels would have no trouble wearing it comfortably. It’s an excellent option for all seasons due to its numerous and diverse features.
- Adjustable cuff and hood for a customizable fit
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Waterproof fabric to keep you dry
- Stylish aesthetic
- Easy to use and packable for travelling
- Very affordable
- Not suitable for heavy rain
- Zippers are a little fragile
- FROGG TOGGS Women’s Ultra Lightweight Rain Jacket
- Rain jacket that is lightweight and easily packable
- Adjustable hood with cord locks
- Full front zipper with snap-down storm flap
- Elastic cuffs
- Stuff sack is included with purchase of jacket for easy toting
If you were searching for a rain jacket that’s both lightweight and waterproof, your search ends here. The FROGG TOGGS Women’s Ultra Lightweight Rain Jacket is made of a unique FrogToggs fabric patented by the company, which means that no one else provides anything close to this level of quality. To top that off, this jacket also comes with a polyester lining which is why it can help you feel warm even in the coldest weather.
Another thing that we liked about the FROGG TOGGS Women’s Ultra Lightweight Rain Jacket because it looks stylish. You can make yourself look great at a low price, and the adjustable waist means that you can make this as figure-hugging or loose as you would prefer.
It’s not just about looks with this jacket either. You also get the all-essential full-length front zipper which acts as a storm flap to keep moderate winds out. The zipper has the added advantage of being reflective, which means you would be visible even if you’re out backpacking in the middle of the night. These features make this rain jacket the perfect companion for any backpacking journey you are thinking of taking.
- Waterproof and windbreaker jacket for backpacking
- Ultra lightweight and packable
- Adjustable hook-and-loop wrist closures help to keep moisture out
- Well made for the winter season
- Not as durable as some other varieties
- Only suitable for women
- MARMOT Men’s Minimalist Lightweight Backpacking Rain Jacket
- Your Go-To Layer In Changing Conditions - No matter the forecast, stay...
- Keep The Warmth In And The Weather Out - Outerwear in our Minimalist...
- Adjustable Features For Varying Environments - For a customized fit...
- Innovating To Improve The Human Experience - Marmot strives to deliver...
- We Have You Covered - With Marmot, we warrant every product we make to...
The MARMOT Men’s Minimalist Lightweight Backpacking Rain Jacket offers a lot, starting with its polyester lining. Polyester is one of the most waterproof materials out there, which is why it’s so popular among jacket manufacturers. Another thing to note is that it provides a lot of warmth which is the perfect combination for rain jackets for backpacking. The jacket can withstand some heavy downpours too, which is not something that most jackets can claim to do. You might get intimidated if you hear a grim weather forecast while out backpacking, but this jacket can help you proceed with confidence regardless of that. It also gets surprisingly tiny when you pack it away, which makes it perfectly portable for all manner of backpackers because you can keep it with you even if it’s not raining and take it out whenever rainfall begins.
The adjustable hood that the MARMOT Men’s Minimalist Lightweight Backpacking Rain Jacket comes with provides additional facial security because you can tighten the hood to protect your face from rain or sleet. With a paceline created with blended Gore-tex technology, this jacket manages to be both waterproof and breathable. It combines comfort with practicality, and the chest and side pockets add to that in significant ways.
- Lightweight and waterproof
- Drawstring hem offers a secure fit
- Highly compact and portable when packed
- Can be washed in a machine
- Not suitable for heavy winters, only for rain in other seasons
- A bit more expensive than similar products
- CARP Women’s Packable Windbreaker Jacket
- Incredibly versatile 100% silicone sealant that dries translucent...
- Best for sealing gaps or cracks between two surfaces; works on window,...
- Indoor/outdoor; 100% waterproof
- Won't yellow, shrink or crack
Rain jackets can protect you from getting wet, but only the special ones get dry quickly as well. The J.CARP Women’s Packable Windbreaker Jacket is an example of a jacket that does that, and its quick-drying feature is something that can prove helpful after the storm has passed because you wouldn’t have to wait before putting it back on. That said, you might want to use an umbrella during particularly heavy storms because this jacket isn’t designed for them.
A significant aspect of the J.CARP Women’s Packable Windbreaker Jacket is that you can minimize its volume when backpacking. That makes it easier to stuff it into your backpack, which is a more convenient way for you to carry it around. It’s lightweight, even more so than other rain jackets, and it also comes with nice elastic cuffs and hems that can stop rain from entering and getting you wet. Finally, this jacket has reflective coloring for improved safety and visibility in the dark, and its front zipper is specially designed to be waterproof too.
- Made of 100% polyester
- Quick drying
- Fashionable design
- Very soft and comfortable
- Easy to pack
- Well ventilated
- A little too thin for snowfall
- Amazon Essentials Women’s Lightweight Long-Sleeve Jacket
A common complaint about polyester products is that they’re not as breathable as other materials. Still, you don’t have to worry about that with the Amazon Essentials Women’s Lightweight Long-Sleeve Jacket. This jacket manages to use polyester in a truly breathable way which is surprising but beneficial because polyester also happens to be one of the most waterproof materials you can use in a jacket. We highly recommend this jacket because it can tackle freezing weather thanks to the use of polyester, and what’s more, it’s machine washable for added convenience.
One somewhat underrated aspect of the Amazon Essentials Women’s Lightweight Long-Sleeve Jacket is how easy it is to pair with other elements of your outfit, such as your sweater. It provides a lot of security from both rain and wind, and the zipper is fully secured, which is excellent because zippers can often be a troublesome area that often lets lots of water in.
- Great rain jacket for chilly weather
- Packable, perfect for backpacking
- Two inside pockets keep belongings safe
- Fully secured zipper
- Relatively affordable
- Only comes in slim fit
- Tends to start smelling bad fairly quickly, requires frequent washing
- MARMOT Women’s Precip Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket
Marmot has built a reputation for itself as a stellar rain jacket brand, and for a good reason. If you want to keep your body dry while working or playing outside, the MARMOT Women’s Precip Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket is a great item to invest in. It’s highly in-demand, so you might have some trouble buying it from stores, so you should snap it up as soon as you get the chance; otherwise, you might miss out on its high-quality nylon fabric. This jacket is so good that you don’t even need to use an umbrella while you have it on!
What’s more, is that the MARMOT Women’s Precip Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket has a detachable hood that you can put on if the rain ever gets too heavy. With its good hip and waist-length, this jacket offers full coverage as well as maximum comfort. In fact, it’s so comfortable that you might even forget that you have anything on in the first place. Backpacking can be uncomfortable if you don’t have the right rain jacket, but this product helps prevent that from happening.
- Perfect for hiking, climbing, cycling and backpacking
- Excellent waterproofing
- Breathable, works in warm or humid weather
- Can keep you dry for hours
- Easy to travel with
- Two mesh side pockets with zippers
- Extremely comfortable
- Only suitable for hot, rainy weather
- Might be too light for cold areas
- Mountain Hardwear Men’s Stretch Ozonic Jacket
- Dry.Q Active technology banishes moisture
- Ultra soft 4-way all over stretch fabrication for maximum movement
- Abrasion resistant 40D face fabric
- Large under arm vents
- Fully adjustable hood
There are a lot of reasons for you to need to go outside during heavy rain. Perhaps you have some work that you need to do, or you might like how the rain feels on your face. Either way, you need a rain jacket that can keep you from shivering in the icy rain, and the Mountain Hardwear Men’s Stretch Ozonic Jacket is perfect for that because it can keep your body warm and dry. It also has excellent underarm ventilation, so you can use it during slightly warmer weather without getting sweaty and sticky in an uncomfortable way.
With the Mountain Hardwear Men’s Stretch Ozonic Jacket, you don’t have to compromise on style or personality. The rain jacket comes in many designs and colors, so you can pick whatever suits your aesthetic preferences. It also has plenty of significant practical advantages, such as its superior breathability and its lightweight, packable nature. You can protect yourself from all kinds of heavy rain with this product, and its adjustable hood provides some extra waterproofing in case a heavy downpour occurs.
- Lightweight, easy to carry around
- Surprisingly foldable
- Suits a diverse array of stylistics preferences
- Underarm zipper helps prevent sweat
- Comfortable to wear, yet durable
- Machine washable
- More expensive than other models
- Not enough layers for the price
- Columbia Women’s Ruby River Interchange Jacket
- COMFORTABLE WINTER JACKET: The Columbia Women's Ruby River Interchange...
- CLASSIC THREE-IN-ONE DESIGN: This women's fall and winter coat system...
- WATERPROOF OUTER COAT: Made with advanced fabrics and materials, this...
- SOFT FLEECE LINER: Designed to zip in to the outer shell for an added...
- HANDY FEATURES: This jacket features an adjustable and removable storm...
The Columbia Women’s Ruby River Interchange Jacket has a unique winter-focused design that acts almost like three jackets in one. It comes with a nylon outer shell meant to act as a waterproof guard, and the polyester interior boosts warmth. You can wear each of these layers together or separately based on what the weather is like, and that level of versatility is something that makes this a great buy.
One unique aspect of the Columbia Women’s Ruby River Interchange Jacket that it’s is designed to work as both an outdoor jacket and casual work wear. You can wear this jacket to the office without eliciting any strange looks as long as your workplace has a business casual dress code. Its numerous pockets, including an ample chest pocket with a waterproof zipper, make it easy for you to carry your phone around in the rain without it getting damaged at all.
- Made with durable, waterproof materials
- Versatile and stylish
- Comfortable and offers to keep you dry across a wide range of climates
- Easy to clean
- Outer shell is perfect for backpacking
- Sleeves can be a bit tight
- Only fits specific body types
- The North Face Men’s Venture Jacket
- RAINY ADVENTURES. Constructed with a waterproof, breathable, and...
- PREMIUM FABRIC. Made from 100% recycled materials with DryVent...
- STANDARD FIT. With a flattering shape and ample mobility, this jacket...
- OUTDOOR VERSATILITY. Never Stop Exploring with thoughtful features...
- EXPLORATION WITHOUT COMPROMISE. Easily find our most sustainable...
The North Face Men’s Venture Jacket is so effective at keeping you dry that you might think it’s magic, but the truth is much simpler than that. This jacket uses its numerous features, including an attachable hood to give you plenty of options when you’re trying to keep yourself dry in the rain. It’s prevalent among travelers looking for something fully waterproof yet breathable, something that can be hard to find in all save for the highest quality rain jackets.
The underarm zippered ventilation system is an added touch that further increases breathability in The North Face Men’s Venture Jacket. Your body acclimatizes to the weather outside, so it can get quite sensitive to a sudden increase in temperature, leaving you feeling very sweaty and uncomfortable. The underarm ventilation helps to prevent that by focusing on the most sweat-prone area of your body, and you’d be amazed at how effectively it can keep you cool while you’re still wearing the jacket.
- Great for rainy days in summer
- Very convenient and packable
- Great quality at a reasonable price
- All purpose fit
- Lovely adjustable hood
- Better suited to warmer days
- Doesn’t offer adequate warmth for snowfall
- Starter Men’s Waterproof Breathable Jacket, Amazon Exclusive
- Relaxed fit
- 10.5-ounce, 50 percent cotton/50 percent polyester blend with rain...
- Quilt lined
- Attached quilt-lined extended hood for extra warmth
- Full-length antique nickel zipper with storm flap
When you first see the Starter Men’s Waterproof Breathable Jacket, Amazon Exclusive, you might not think it would be waterproof because of how lightweight it is. However, rest assured that it’s one of the most waterproof jackets that you could ever hope for, and its full front zip helps to keep it that way. The zip allows easy access to the jacket and can help you to take it off or put it on easily, and the breathability is also something that we greatly admired in this product.
What’s more is that the Starter Men’s Waterproof Breathable Jacket is perfectly suited to rough weather, and it offers an elastic waist and hem that make it great for going for a run in rainy weather. It can also work well in a casual setting which gives it appreciable versatility, but the main advantage of using this jacket is that it can help you enjoy your backpacking experience regardless of what the weather ends up being like.
- Well made windbreaker, helps protect from chills
- Breathable despite excellent waterproofing
- Made with top notch materials
- Not overly expensive
- Not suitable for heavy rain
- Some might dislike sleeve length
How To Choose The Best Lightweight Rain Jacket For Backpacking
Waterproofing is essential for a high-quality rain jacket. The purpose of such a jacket is to keep you dry even when it’s raining, something that can help you go backpacking without a care in the world. It would be best to buy a jacket with an outer finish that uses DWR or Durable Water Repellent. It can resist heavy rain and keep your body dry in wet weather. Excessive waterproofing can sometimes make your jacket uncomfortably heavy, though, which makes this one of several tradeoffs that you would need to keep in mind when you’re buying a jacket that you can use.
Backpacking is a physically intensive activity, so you need to ensure that your skin can breathe while you’re out and about. Breathability is something that can impact waterproofing, so you need to ascertain whether the country you’re going to is hot and humid or relatively cool. The former requires more breathability because it gets very humid after rainfall, so your jacket should leave you some room to sweat and cool off. Cooler areas tend to experience frigid rain, so you would ideally want as little breathability as possible. It would be best if you always prioritized at least a little bit of breathability so that you can take part in the physicality of backpacking without too much trouble.
No matter where you are going, it is essential that you buy a lightweight jacket. That’s because a heavy jacket can become cumbersome and prevent you from thoroughly enjoying your backpacking experience. Your rain jacket should also be portable so you can stow it away when it’s not needed instead of having to wear it at all times.
Pockets are an often underrated feature of rain jackets, even though they can be quite helpful in lots of ways. Having multiple pockets can allow you to store personal belongings easily, along with keeping them dry in the rain. These pockets won’t just be for random objects either; they can also keep your hands warm and dry, which is another reason why you should always look for them in your rain jackets. Suffice it to say that a rain jacket without at least two pockets wouldn’t be of much use to you.
Layers can provide lots of advantages in a rain jacket. The more layers you have, the more waterproof your jacket will be. Extra layers also improve durability, and they’re better than having one thick layer because they don’t make your jacket unnecessarily heavy. Triple-layer jackets are the best, but you should know that they are more expensive than other varieties. 2.5 layers are the next best thing, and it’s more or less the same from a waterproofing and durability standpoint, although they tend to have a less aesthetically pleasing appearance. Finally, we have two-layer jackets which are decent and affordable but might not last as long as jackets with more layers.
It is essential to buy a rain jacket that has plenty of adjustable features. That includes hoods, cuffs, and waists. You can tighten or loosen these features as you see fit. Tightening your hood or cuffs can help increase waterproofing, and a tighter waist can press the jacket to your body, thereby making you feel warmer. Loosening each of these features is helpful if the weather takes a sudden turn and gets warmer because it would allow more air to pass through and cool you down. It’s easy to see why adjustability is such a big priority when selecting rain jackets.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why do I need a rain jacket for backpacking?
While you will likely stay in a few dorms and hotels while backpacking, chances are that you would need to be outdoors a lot too. A rain jacket is helpful because it can keep you dry if it ever rains while you’re outside the room you’re staying in for the night.
2. Can I buy a 2 layer rain jacket?
Plenty of people try to make do with a 2 layer rain jacket, but that’s only useful if you’re in a relatively warm country. 2 layer jackets offer better breathability but that comes at the expense of warmth. They’re perfect for areas that get hot and humid during the rainy season, though.
3. Should I wash my rain jacket by hand?
Some rain jackets need to be washed by hand, but the good ones are mostly machine washable. That said, you can hand wash them if you want to make them last longer because it’s a gentler way to get your jacket clean.
4. Do I need pockets in my rain jacket?
Pockets are essential for any rain jacket because you’d always need waterproof places to secure your belongings. A rain jacket with a pocket can allow you to keep your hand within reach even if it’s pouring outside.
A good quality rain jacket can work wonders for you, but it must be lightweight if you want to use it while backpacking. Our list of top rain jackets has been optimized to make sure that we provided only light options. Any option from the list would be great for a backpacking experience, and they can all enable you to stay as dry as possible while you are out seeing the world. We’ve tried to provide affordable products and higher-end offerings for those that don’t mind spending a little extra for a quality experience.