The best rain jackets will vary, depending upon what you are doing while you're wearing them. For backpackers in particular, the best rain jackets will have certain features that make them suitable for the kind of wear and tear that a backpack can inflict on a rain jacket.
Best Rain Jackets for Men List
- Marmot Super Mica Jacket - The Super Mica from Marmot is without a doubt one of the best rain jackets for backpackers, though there is no reason it cant be worn hiking or around town either. It features abrasion resistant pads on the shoulders and hips that protect the jacket from the rubbing caused by backpack straps. It's also lightweight, extremely breathable and dries quickly, making it best rain jacket for a backpacker who needs gear that is versatile.
- Arc'teryx Alpha LT Jacket - The Alpha LT is the kind of rain jacket that is at home in the bush as much as around town. It looks good, but also has a whole slew of technical features that make it ideally suited for life on the trail. No abrasion resistant spots for your backpack straps, but it's made with the heavy duty Gore-Tex, so it wont damage easily. It's definitely one of the best rain jackets that does everything well.
- Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Tarp-Poncho - If you don't care what you look like in your rain jacket then a poncho is the best rain jacket for you. This one from Sea to Summit is particularly great for backpackers because it is large enough to cover your backpack, which means that your backpack stays dry and you stay well ventilated and sweat free. It also converts in to a tarp tent, so if you get stuck in the bush or leave your tent at home, you can spend the night dry.
Best Rain Jackets for Women List
- Marmot Strato Jacket - This is a rain jacket that does a bit of everything. It's lightweight and breaths well, and is good looking enough for the trail and downtown.
- Arc'teryx Beta AR Jacket - Arc'teryx is the outdoor clothing brand that you want to go to when the weather turns ugly. The Beta AR is made from the tough, 3 layer Gore-Tex so it will stand up to the abrasion of backpack straps well. It also features a great fit and a minimalist design that would look good around town. All around, one of the best rain jackets on the market for women.
- Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Tarp-Poncho - A poncho doesn't really have any features that make it better suited for one sex or the other, which is why this poncho appears on both lists. Ponchos are ideal for backpackers because most rain jackets must go underneath the backpack, which always tends to cause a lot of sweat. Ponchos are the best rain jackets for backpackers precisely because they go on top of the backpack, and allow your back to ventilate as normal.