There’s a difference between a good rain jacket and a great rain jacket, and that often means there’s a difference between both the performance and construction you’re getting from said jacket, in addition to the type of durability — and packability. Yes, that’s right — packability. That’s where our list of the best packable rain jackets comes into play; made to deliver in matters of form and function, plenty of brands are taking major steps to accommodate the new rain jacket that the modern man (like yourself) needs.
These aren’t the sort of rain jackets worn back in the day, the kind that can easily get too bulky, too hard to pack, or too ostentatious — say goodbye to the bright windbreakers you wore in middle school, and say hello to a new crop of lightweight, performance-ready rain gear.
What does that entail? Think of a decidedly more streamlined shape and structure, plus all the features you know, love and expect from your rain jacket. In this instance, that means sturdy zippers, true waterproof capabilities and of course, stylish, engaging colors and a design that’s easy to layer. Does that sound like a long checklist? Well, yes … because it is. But that’s where a quality packable rain jacket delivers. They define grab-and-go adventure, and they’re as ready to fight off the rain as they are to be crammed into your getaway bag on an impromptu road trip. See the best of the best for yourself.
Outdoor Research Helium II Rain Jacket
Although it’s slightly more expensive than other options on this list, you know you can count on Outdoor Research to deliver one heck of a functional rain jacket that’s been, well, thoroughly researched and vetted. The Helium II Rain Jacket is as good as it gets, featuring proprietary Pertex Shield fabric and tough nylon for the ultimate in durability and ease of transport.
REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Jacket
GORE-TEX fabric remains an innovative, tough, outdoor staple fabric that still serves as a marker of quality and functionality — that must be why we love and recommend the REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Jacket so much. Available in a bright colorblocked combo for maximum outdoor readiness, it also features environmentally healthy production and design.
Columbia Men’s Watertight II Rain Jacket
Like many of our other picks when it comes to the best packable rain jackets, Columbia is a brand that stands on its own, especially when it comes to pieces like the Watertight II Jacket, a heck of a dependable jacket that retails for under $60.
But what are you getting when it comes to that wallet-friendly price tag? A heck of a lot, from the Omni-Tech fully seam-sealed design to your choice of an array of dependably stylish colors.
Orvis Ultralight Storm Jacket
Have you ever had a rain jacket that kept you dry everywhere except your zipper? Even with a flap overlay, I’ve had jackets fail to keep my torso dry. That’s why I was particularly happy with Orvis’ Ultralight Storm Jacket — because their attention to detail is so on point, they even use a water-resistant YKK zipper. It’s a snazzy jacket that rolls into its own hood, too, so you never have to look around for a separate pack to stow it away.
Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Packable Waterproof Jacket
Even mild April showers can get cold in a hurry, but most packable rain jackets don’t offer much in the way of insulation. Patagonia’s Torrentshell takes the opposite approach, integrating warm microfleece trim around the neck with a 3-layer shell that really keeps your body heat in.
Once you’re properly warmed up, just open the venting armpit zips to regulate your temperature. Oh, and it’s fair trade certified too, so you can feel great about your purchase.
L.L. Bean Ultralight Packable Wading Jacket
Made with the avid fisherman in mind, L.L. Bean’s Packable Wading Jacket is a slim and trim jacket with a big range of motion. Whereas other rain jackets can be cumbersome when you’re moving your arms anywhere above shoulder level, this jacket is equipped with gussets in the armpits that give you a full range of motion. We like the ripstop nylon here too, as it gives this jacket a rugged durability that’s great for outdoor adventures.
Rab Phantom Waterproof Pull-On Jacket
Take the Rab Phantom Waterproof Pull-On Jacket on your next mountain run, and you’ll have no trouble staying dry no matter how heavy the rain pours. The jacket features a dual-layered construction of polyamide with a waterproof polyurethane coating and ultralight taped seams to prevent water from seeping in.
The 7D Pertex Shield 2.5L fabric is tough and wind-resistant, but has stretch enough that it’ll flex and move with you as you run. The low-volume elasticated hood offers excellent head protection but won’t add bulk to the jacket. When packed down, it fits into the palm of your hand or any pocket in your coat, backpack, or running pouch.
On Weather Jacket
Weighing in at well below three hundred grams, this is one of the lightest yet toughest packable rain jackets on our list. Thanks to the triple-layered construction, the jacket shrugs off water like a boss, keeps the wind from slicing through, but still is breathable enough to keep you from overheating.
The hood features a “cap” design that shields your face from rain as you run, but still folds down very small when not in use. All of your important EDC items will stay fully dry when tucked in the zippered waterproof pockets, so you can run for hours in the rain without worry about your wallet, keys, or phone.
Mont-Bell Versalite Jacket
Built with hikers and backpackers in mind, the Mont-Bell Versalite Jacket is made for high winds and cold temperatures as well as heavy rains. The GORE-TEX INFINIUM WINDSTOPPER membrane adds wind-resistance to the natural waterproofing of the 10-denier Ballistic Airlight ripstop nylon fabric, and the Aqua-Tect Zippers double down on the protection to ensure that the jacket is waterproof up to 30,000 nm.
You’ll love the integrated zippers that let you ventilate the jacket when the weather warms up, and the adjustable alpine cuffs that help to shield you from any wind and cold. Plus, the articulated arm will flex and move with you, making it a more comfortable jacket to wear when long-distance trekking and scrambling up mountains.
Patagonia Houdini Jacket
If you want a jacket that makes a difference for the environment as well as your comfort, the Patagonia Houdini Jacket is a good choice to consider. It’s made using 100% recycled nylon and Fair Trade Certified sewn, and even the Durable Water Repellent coating is made without the use of PFCs so it’s just that much more eco-friendly.
Notable features of this jacket include a drop-tail drawcord hem for better lower back protection, one-pull adjustable hood, half-elastic cuffs, reflective logo for safety in low-light environments, and a zippered chest pocket that doubles as a stuff sack, complete with reinforced carabiner clip-in loop so you can store it hands-free when not in use.
Merrell Alpine Packable Rain Shell
Merrell delivers a waterproofed outer layer you can wear day after day without ever sacrificing function for form. The jacket is crafted using a blend of nylon, recycled nylon, recycled polyester, and spandex, meaning it’s tough, resistant to rips and abrasions, and has just enough stretch to move easily with your upper body as you run, climb, or cycle. The DWR finish is PFC-free and adds both water- and wind-resistance.
Thanks to the back vents, you can let off excess body heat and stay cool even when the day gets hot. The stowable hood is available when you need to shield your head from rain, but easily tucked out of the way when not in use. When you’re done running, just roll it up and stuff it into its internal mesh pocket, where it will still air out and dry out to prevent mold and odor build-up.
Fjallraven High Coast Hydratic Jacket
For both spring showers and hot summer days, you’ll want the Fjallraven High Coast Hydratic Jacket close at hand. The 2.5-layered polyamide fabric is tough, waterproof, yet surprisingly breathable, so it can be used in any wet and rainy weather.
When the day gets hot, just unzip the pit vents to keep your underarms cool, but the hip-length tail will ensure you stay warm and shielded from wind and water on cold, rainy days. The jacket weighs just over eleven ounces, lightweight enough you’ll hardly feel it as you climb, hike, run, or stroll through the countryside.
Ketl Mountain Escapade Lightweight Active Jacket
Pack this lightweight jacket on your next adventure where rain threatens, and you’ll stay dry and cool all day long. Built from a stretchy blend of nylon, polyester, and Spandex, it’s ideal for an active athlete who wants to run, rock climb, or trek long distances without being weighed down or overheating.
The DWR-coated fabric will shrug off water and wind, and it’ll hold up to hardcore activity like a boss. All the freedom of movement and protection from the element you could want, but with none of the weight of a heavy rain coat. What’s not to love?
Black Diamond StormLine Stretch Rain Shell
You’ll find few coats more water-resistant than Black Diamond’s StormLine Stretch Rain Shell. As the rain comes down, you can literally watch the water droplets bead up and slide off the durable water repellent-coated fabric, say you never feel a drop no matter how hard the rain’s coming down. The BD.dry laminated material delivers excellent protection but at such a light weight you’ll barely notice you’re wearing a coat.
Rab Kinetic 2.0 Jacket
Rainy day adventures just got a whole lot more comfortable thanks to this coat. Crafted using an ultra-light fabric, it offers the protection of a hard-shell jacket but barely weighs a thing and can be packed down beautifully small.
Excellent features include an adjustable hood sized to fit under a helmet or cap, waterproof AquaGuard YKK zippers, adjustable hem and cuffs, and a fit that makes it ideal as a top layer both over multiple layers (long-sleeved shirts or hoodie) or just a loose-fitting T-shirt. Roomy and flexible, it’s an amazingly comfy choice for a day in the rain.
Marmot Minimalist Jacket
Though this Marmot jacket is called “minimalist”, you can expect maximum protection from the elements. The GORE-TEX laminate fabric uses multiple layers of recycled polyester to keep water and wind out and body heat in on those cold, blustery days.
However, if you ever start overheating, you can unzip the armpit openings to let in the breeze, cool down, and dry out. Not only is the fabric abrasion-resistant, but the seams have been reinforced to ensure it never leaks.
Ciele Athletics FLRJacket Elite
Weighing in at just over two hundred grams (seven ounces), this is the lightest rain jacket on our list. Ciele Athletics crafts the FLRJacket Elite with three layers of ten-denier recycled and bluesign-certified nylon sourced from Japan, a high-tech and high-durability material that will withstand everything the outdoors can throw at it.
Not only is the fabric itself beautifully breathable, but it features a back vent you can unzip to cool off quickly on those hot, humid days. It’s a luxury product, to say the least, but well worth every penny if you’re looking for long-lasting, high-quality comfort in even the heaviest rains.
Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket
Marmot makes it wonderfully easy—and comfortable—to stay dry when camping, hiking, or fishing in the rain. The PreCip Eco Jacket is environmentally conscious, made using NanoPro recycled ripstop nylon, and weighs just over ten ounces (less than three hundred grams). Between the hood and chin guard, you can keep your head dry and neck warm when the sky’s dumping buckets.
You also get plenty of storage space for your phone, keys, wallet, and other EDC items. Or, just roll the jacket up and stuff it into its own pocket to make it easy to carry everywhere you go.
A packable rain jacket is an essential piece of gear for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities or lives in areas with unpredictable weather conditions. The best packable rain jackets are lightweight, durable, and compact enough to easily fit into a backpack or suitcase, making them ideal for travel and outdoor adventures.
When choosing a packable rain jacket, it is important to consider factors such as breathability, waterproofness, and durability. Look for jackets made from high-quality materials, such as Gore-Tex or eVent, that offer both breathability and waterproofness to keep you dry and comfortable in all weather conditions.
Another important factor when choosing a packable rain jacket is the fit. The jacket should fit snugly but not be too tight, with enough room to comfortably layer underneath if needed. Look for jackets with adjustable cuffs, hoods, and hemlines to ensure a secure fit that keeps out the rain.
There are many great options on the market for packable rain jackets, from budget-friendly options to high-end jackets with advanced features. Some of the top brands in this category include Patagonia, Columbia, The North Face, and Marmot.
Ultimately, the best packable rain jacket for you will depend on your specific needs, as well as your personal preferences. Consider factors such as the activities you will be using it for, the climate of the region you live in or are traveling to, and your budget.
In summary, a good packable rain jacket is a staple for anyone who spends time outdoors or travels frequently. With so many great options available, there is a packable rain jacket out there for everyone, so be sure to do your research and invest in a high-quality jacket that will keep you dry and comfortable in any weather.
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