When you’re just taking a stroll in the outdoors you can get away with a relatively low quality rain jacket. But an unlucky backpacker might end up spending days and days in the rain, and though no one wants to think about this scenario, you need to prepare for it. The best backpacking rain jacket will get you through those days and days of rain dry, and relatively comfortable. You will wish the weather had been better, but the trip wont have been ruined either.
Best Backpacking Rain JacketWhat to look for when you want the best backpacking rain jacket.
- Reinforced – Backpacking shoulder straps and hip belts tend to rub, and over days and days of rubbing, can damage whatever clothing is under them. You don’t want an expensive rain jacket to be damaged at the end of a backpacking trip, so consider getting a backpacking rain jacket with reinforced pads on the shoulders and the waist.
- Material – When you go backpacking you need to think hard about what material you want. Something like nylon treated with DWR will keep you dry for a little while, but not over days of steady rain. Materials like Gore Tex and eVent are more expensive, but they also perform better, and are worth that extra money.
Best Backpacking Rain Jacket ReviewsA select few of the very best backpacking rain jackets.
- Marmot Super Mica - The Super Mica is the ideal jacket for taking backpacking, because it's designed with a backpacker in mind. First, the hand pockets are raised slightly, so that they're fully accessible without having to undo off your hip belt. Both the hips and the shoulders are also reinforced, so that your backpack straps don't rub the waterproof exterior and damage it over long periods of time. Marmot also used their lightweight MemBrain fabric, which keeps you dry, breathes well and packs down extremely small, so that you're not carrying something big and heavy. So really, the ideal backpacking rain jacket. It weighs 9 ounces, or 247 grams.
- Marmot Minimalist (Women's) - The Minimalist is a good jacket for someone who wants a Gore Tex jacket without having to carry around something big and heavy. It uses Gore Tex Paclite, which is the 2.5 layer, more breathable version of Gore Tex. Paclite is also the more packable version of Gore Tex. It doesn't have much in the way of features, which helps to offset the extra weight of Gore Tex. At 15 ounces, or 425 grams it's a respectably lightweight backpacking rain jacket option.
- Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Tarp-Poncho - No list of the best backpacking rain jackets would be complete without at least one poncho. Ponchos generally aren't what you would wear around town, but out on a trail they're ideal, because they will keep both you and your backpack dry, wont cause any ventilation problems and are very easy to get on and off. This particular one from Sea to Summit also doubles as a tarp, so that you can use it either as a shelter or as a backup shelter. And best of all it weighs a very respectable 10 ounces, or 283 grams. So not the most fashion forward choice, but definitely one of the best backpacking rain jacket options.