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The Best Five Hiking Rain Jackets

Updated on February 8, 2015
Rainy weather calls for rain jacket
Rainy weather calls for rain jacket

Weather can be very moody, especially in the mountains. Because of that it is smart to have a rain jacket in your backpack. Here you fill find the basic information about buying the perfect rain jacket for hiking and review of the best five hiking rain jackets currently available on the market.

Appropriate rain jacket will keep you dry
Appropriate rain jacket will keep you dry

Hiking Rain Jackets – Basic Information

A rain jacket should be waterproof to protect you in very wet conditions. Because we are talking about rain jackets for hiking they should also be breathable to reduce sweating and allow body to maintain its natural temperature. Weight is also important. Rain jackets should be as light as possible. Nobody wants to carry heavy load on a hike. Not just that is uncomfortable but it can also result in rapid fatigue. In these times manufacturers use the most sophisticated materials to produce jackets which are waterproof, breathable and light.

Hiking Rain Jackets Design

Hiking Rain Jackets are designed to offer you maximum comfort and protection against rain, wind and other natural factors. There are 4 components of the hiking rain jackets by which we assess the quality:

  • Fabric:

As we said the fabric of a hiking rain jacket should be waterproof, breathable and light. Synthetic fabrics which have these properties consist of outer layer which is usually made of nylon or polyester and inner membrane which has tiny holes, too small to let liquid water enter but large enough to allow water vapor to escape. Manufacturers have developed many different materials but in general they all met the description above. Breathability at hiking rain jackets is additionally assured by zippers which can be used for venting (pit zips).

  • Hood:

The hood of the hiking rain jacket should fit your head well. The most common problem with the jackets is that the hood doesn’t move with your head. Here reviewed jackets don’t have this problem because of the good design.

  • Pockets:

The below described hiking jackets have enough pockets to store hiking necessities. The necessities which usually go to pockets are gloves, guides, maps, energy gels etc.

  • Zips

The zipper on a hiking rain jacket should run smoothly and be durable. It is also important that the zipper is waterproof.

Above we described the basics. Now it’s time to review the best five hiking rain jackets.

The Best Five Hiking Rain Jackets in 2014

The Best Five Hiking Rain Jackets in 2014
The Best Five Hiking Rain Jackets in 2014
Arc’teryx Beta SL
Arc’teryx Beta SL

Arc’teryx Beta SL - Best Buy Low Price Guarantee

Arc’teryx Beta SL

Fabric: Gore-Tex Paclite

External Pockets: 2

Stowable Hood: No

Weight: 350g

Appropriate for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking

The Arc’teryx Beta SL is a lightweight, packable and waterproof all-round hiking jacket appropriate for hikers and mountaineers who want only the best. The Arc’teryx Beta SL is made of Gore-Tex Paclite. Gore-Tex Paclite is specially designed fabric for hiking, running, cycling and other sports where weight and space are critical. Products made of Gore-Tex Paclite are light and packable. The Gore-Tex Paclite provides breathability and superb water/wind protection. The fabric also has good durability. It is one of the best fabrics for hiking and mountaineering equipment currently available even though some fabrics control condensation better. The Arc’teryx Beta SL also has waterproof zipper. The jacket has two external pockets which are perfectly placed and accessible also when wearing hip belt. The hood has draw cords and fits really well. If you want an ultimate jacket for hiking you should definitely choose the Arc’teryx Beta SL.

Pros:

  • Features
  • Pockets
  • Breathability

Cons:

  • Condensation control

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Marmot Artemis
Marmot Artemis

2. Marmot Artemis

Fabric: NanoPro MemBrain

External Pockets: 2

Stowable Hood: No

Weight: 330g

Appropriate for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking

The Marmot Artemis Jacket is a completely waterproof with a 100% seam-taped construction and good breathability. The jacket is appropriate for hikers, mountaineers and all other outdoor enthusiasts who want to be prepared for difficult weather conditions. The Marmot Artemis is made of NanoPro MemBrain fabric which is one of the most comfortable waterproof/breathable fabric currently available. The NanoPro MemBrain has superb microporous structure which allows air exchange to help excess moisture vapor without compromising the waterproofness. The NanoPro MemBrain also perfectly controls condensation. The front zipper of the Marmot Artemis is also waterproof. The two external pockets have long zips which will allow you to reach the pocket also when wearing hip belt. The pockets also have enough space to store maps, guides and other bigger objects. The hood fits well and moves easily with the head. If you want a multi-purpose outdoor jacket which will withstand wind and water the Marmot Artemis should be your choice.

Pros:

  • Fabric
  • Breathability
  • Pockets

Cons:

  • Pit zips could be longer

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Outdoor Research Helium HD
Outdoor Research Helium HD

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3. Outdoor Research Helium HD

Fabric: Pertex Shield

External Pockets: 3

Stowable Hood: No

Weight: 270g

Appropriate for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking

The Outdoor Research Helium HD provides all the features that serious hikers, mountaineers, climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts demand. The jacket is completely waterproof and breathable. It is made of Pertex Shield. The Pertex Shield is an advanced fabric with a breathable microporous waterproof coating and superb durability. The Pertex Shield is also good at reducing condensation build-up within the jacket. The front zipper is water resistant but doesn’t perform as good as zippers at Marmot Artemis or Arc’teryx Beta SL. The Outdoor Research Helium HD has three pockets. The side pockets are also accessible when wearing a hip belt and they have enough space to store big items. The jacket also has pit zips which additionally improve ventilation. The hood is well-fitting. If you are looking for a lightweight jacket for reasonable price you should definitely buy the Outdoor Research Helium HD. This jacket is also the lightest jacket reviewed here.

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Packable
  • Breathable

Cons:

  • Sleeves could be more comfortable

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Mountain Equipment Aeon
Mountain Equipment Aeon

4. Mountain Equipment Aeon

Fabric: Drilite

External Pockets: 3

Stowable Hood: Yes

Weight: 350g

Appropriate for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking

The Moutnain Equipment Aeon is a general-purpose mountain jacket which assures protection in the demanding conditions. The jacket offers good water and wind resistance and is a perfect choice for regular use in the hills and mountains. The Mountain Equipment Aeon is made of the Drilite fabric. Drilite is constructed of monolithic polyurethane membrane which is waterproof, breathable and durable. The membrane also has inside coating to aid moisture absorption and create its dry-touch feel. The front zipper of the Mountain Equipment Aeon is waterproof making the wearer completely protected against water and wind. The side pockets are big enough and accessible while wearing the backpack belt. The third chest pocket is smaller, but still big enough for necessities. The Moutnain Equipment Aeon also has pit zips for better ventilation. The hood has draw cords with which you can adjust the hood to fit good and follow your movements. The Moutnain Equipment Aeon is appropriate for all hikers and mountaineers who want a budget, all purpose rain jacket.

Pros:

  • Breathable
  • Price

Cons:

  • Too narrow cuff adjusters

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Patagonia Torrentshell Plus
Patagonia Torrentshell Plus

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5. Patagonia Torrentshell Plus

Fabric: H2NO Performance Shell

External Pockets: 2

Stowable Hood: Yes

Weight: 350g

Appropriate for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking

The Patagonia Torrentshell Plus is a good hiking/mountaineering jacket for wet and windy conditions. The Patagonia Torrentshell Plus is made of 2.5 layer H2NO performance shell fabric. The 2.5 layer H2NO is completely waterproof, windproof, breathable and highly packable. The fabric combines water-repellent shell fabric with a waterproof, breathable membrane and protective top coat. The Patagonia Torrentshell Plus also has pit zips for additional ventilation. The front zipper has quite good water resistance. The side pockets are a little too small but accessible when wearing a backpack and hip belt. You will have problems to store a map into the pockets on this jacket. The hood is also not the best available. It does the job but other here reviewed jackets have better hoods. The Patagonia Torrentshell plus is in general a good jacket for the price. It is the cheapest jacket of all reviewed here.

Pros:

  • Waterproofing
  • Price
  • Packable
  • Price

Cons:

  • Could be more comfortable
  • Pockets are too small

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© 2014 BobbySD

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