There are many excellent rain jackets out there to choose from, but only a few of them will pack down especially small. A packable rain jacket is definitely a good thing to have though, especially if you’re a camper, hiker or backpacker. If you’re taking a rain jacket along on the off chance that you might get wet, the last thing you want is a big, bulky piece of equipment. You want something that you can stuff away and forget about, until you really need it.
Packable Rain JacketThings to look for when you're buying a new packable rain jacket.
- Storage Pocket – Many of the more packable rain jackets will fold up in to a pocket that is built in to the jacket itself. And while this is by no means a necessary feature to have on your jacket, it is a convenient feature to have, especially if you are looking to be able to quickly pack your rain jacket up in to a small package and slip it in to your backpack.
- Pit Zips – Even with a small, lightweight, packable rain jacket, it is important to retain the ability to stay well ventilated. And while there are many ways of doing this, pit zips, which are zippers underneath the arm pits, are still one of the best ways to do it. Rain jackets can get stuffy, after all, and the last thing you want to do is start sweating.
Best Packable Rain JacketA few of the better packable rain jackets to choose from.
- Outdoor Research Foray Rain Jacket - First, a great little jacket from Outdoor Research. It uses Paclite, which is the lightweight, minimalist version of Gore-Tex, and it has pit zips, as well as a full length front zipper, to give you plenty of ventilation options. Beyond that it's lacking on features, which does help to cut down on bulk and weight, though it does have an inner pocket that doubles as the jackets stuff sack, for packing. It weighs 16 ounces, or 453 grams. The women's version is called the Aspire.
- Marmot Minimalist Jacket - Another Gore-Tex Paclite jacket, this time from Marmot. It has pit zips and a front zipper to keep you well ventilated, though no inner pocket to stuff the jacket in to, which is where it really differs from the Foray above. The two jackets are an identical weight, however, this one also being 16 ounces, or 453 grams. So if you don't want that inner pocket to stuff the jacket in to, this is a better choice. Here's the women's version.
- Marmot Super Mica Jacket - Another rain jacket from Marmot, this one really designed with a small and packable in mind. It uses a waterproof coated nylon for waterproofing, and has the requisite pit zips and full length zipper for ventilation. What it has that the other two don't is, first, reinforced areas on the shoulders and hips, which prevent a backpack from rubbing and damaging the jacket. It also weighs significantly less, at just 9 ounces, or 247 grams, making it a great option for when you want to save on both bulk and weight.