Rain jackets are certainly a necessary piece of gear to have with you, but they can also be heavy, bulky pieces of gear that it’s not much fun to lug around everywhere. If you’re backpacking, hiking or doing anything else where you have limited backpack space especially, it pays to have a small, light rain jacket that you can stuff in to your backpack and forget about until you really need it. The best rain jacket is the one that you don’t even know you’re carrying, until you need it.
Light Rain JacketWhat to look for when you're looking for a light rain jacket.
- Material – The most important thing to consider when looking for a light rain jacket is the material the jacket is made out of. A heavy, 3 layer Gore Tex will do an excellent job of keeping you dry, but will be bulky and heavy. Something like Gore Tex Paclite would do a better job, as would something like eVent.
- Ventilation – One good reason to get a light rain jacket is that it is likely to breath better. Lighter, thinner materials tend to allow more air circulation, which is always a good thing when you’re out and staying active. But you should also look for other ventilation options, like pit zips, that will help you stay cool and sweat free inside your rain jacket.
Best Light Rain JacketSome of the very best light rain jackets for men and women.
- Marmot Minimalist Rain Jacket (Women's) - It's right there in the name, this is a jacket designed with minimalism in mind. It uses Gore Tex, but the lightweight and very breathable 2.5 layer Paclite Gore Tex. And while it has pit zips and a few pockets it doesn't have much else, and does a good job of living up to the Minimalist name. So if you want a light Gore Tex rain jacket, this is a good choice. It weighs 15 ounces, or 425 grams.
- GoLite Tumalo Pertex Storm Jacket (Women's) - This is the lightest waterproof jacket from a company that named themselves after the idea of going light. It's another 2.5 layer jacket, but uses Pertex to keep you dry and breathing well. It has pit zips and a few zippered pockets for your hands, but like the Minimalist above it's lacking on the features so that it can have a low weight, and at just 9 ounces, or 255 grams you'll hardly even notice that you're carrying it.
- Marmot Super Mica Jacket - One more light rain jacket, this one designed with anyone who carries a backpack in the rain in mind. First, the shoulders and the hips are both reinforced, so that you don't have to worry about your backpack straps rubbing and damaging the fabric. The pockets are also raised slightly, so that they wont be covered by a backpack hip belt. The jacket uses Marmot's MemBrain fabric to keep you dry and ventilated. And at 8.7 ounces, or 246 grams this is just barely the lightest rain jacket on this list.