When you have the right gear, hiking in the rain can be a lot of fun. But if your jacket isn’t fully waterproof, you’ll be miserable before you hit the first switchback. The problem is, waterproof jackets are often thick and bulky which can make them uncomfortable to hike in — not to mention too hot when you start working up a sweat. The best lightweight rain jackets for hiking should feel breezy and super comfy.
In order to achieve this, the first thing to look for is breathability. Hiking is hard work, and you don't want all your sweat to get trapped in your base layer. That said, the more waterproof a fabric is, the less breathable it becomes, so this can be a challenge. The key is to look for fabric blends, special weaves, and added coatings that help keep you dry.
The other main consideration is warmth. The ideal level of warmth will depend on what type of hiking you’ll be doing and in what climate. If you’re going to be trekking straight uphill for 8 miles, you won’t want thick fleece or warm liners. In those scenarios, you’ll want something extremely lightweight that's no more than a thin shell to block water. If you’re taking a casual stroll through the woods, on the other hand, you might want more insulation. Think about the type of hiking you’ll be doing before making a decision.
Other considerations include packability (can you stuff it into a pocket or backpack?), hood style (do you prefer a hood that tucks away into the collar or one that detaches completely?), length, pockets, zippers, and the specific style or cut. Whatever your needs may be, the best lightweight rain jackets for hiking will help get you ready for your next wet-weather adventure.
1. The Best Overall Lightweight Rain Jacket
This fully waterproof hiking jacket from Columbia Sportswear is an incredible combination of quality and value for the price. With over 2,800 Amazon reviews, the popular coat blends nylon and polyester to provide waterproofing and stain-resistance in one fabric. It has zippered hand pockets on the sides and adjustable cuffs with a venting system that keeps you from overheating. Behind the neck, there's a hood that can be rolled into the collar when you're not using it, and the whole jacket can be packed into one of the pockets. Best of all: this machine-washable jacket comes in 17 different colors, including hot coral, stone blue, fuchsia, wild geranium, lychee, purple lotus, and spring yellow.
- Available sizes: X-Small - XXX-Large
2. The Top Quality Rain Jacket For A Mid-Range Price
For hiking enthusiasts who are willing to invest a little more money, this Marmot rain jacket offers super high-quality materials at an impressive mid-range price. On top of the warm, double velour fleece liner, it has a rugged waterproof membrane outside that's constructed with 100 percent polyester. The NanoPro fabric shuts out moisture while the taped seams help prevent leaks. The mid-section features a row of buttons down the center which go over the zipper to add an extra layer of waterproofing. The neck has a stowaway hood at the collar, and the bottom showcases a drawstring hem. Adjustable velcro cuffs help stop water from leaking in and also let you regulate your body temperature. The less tapered cut allows more room for layering, and the jacket comes in eleven colors.
- Available sizes: X-Small - XX-Large
3. The Most Lightweight Rain Jacket For Hiking
If you want something that will keep you dry no matter what — and you don't mind splurging a little bit — this Outdoor Research rain jacket is one of the best on the market. Not only is it among the most waterproof jackets you can find, but it's also by far the most lightweight. Weighing just 5.5 ounces, the paper-thin shell can be stuffed into a small inner pocket, making it the perfect selection to toss in your bag just in case. It's built with high-tech Pertex Shield that's ultra-breathable and 100 percent waterproof. The seams are fully taped, and it has a zippered chest pocket, adjustable hood, and drawcord hem. A couple of cons: there are no front pockets, and it's not super warm. But if your number one goal is an incredibly lightweight and waterproof jacket that's small enough to throw in your backpack, this is among the best options out there.
- Available sizes: X-Small - X-Large
4. The Warmest Rain Jacket That Won't Weigh You Down
If you want something that's a bit warmer without being too bulky, this Diamond Candy rain jacket is a great choice, with soft fleece lining the inside. It has a fully-sealed seam with a breathable, waterproof exterior and a high-cut, weather-proof collar. The hand pockets are waterproof with zippers on the sides, plus there's a bonus inside pocket that's perfect for stashing your phone or keys. With this jacket, the hood detaches completely, which has pros and cons. It can be nice to remove the hood if you find that stowaway styles feel too bunchy, but you might think it's a hassle to stop to put it in your backpack or try to keep track of it; this detail really comes down to personal preference. The popular jacket, which has more than 800 reviews on Amazon, comes in five colors: blue, green, hot pink, black, and red.
- Available sizes: X-Small - X-Large
5. A Stylish Rain Jacket You Can Still Hike In
If you're someone who loves spending time outdoors but doesn't love the puffy marshmallow look that lots of hiking clothes have, this lightweight waterproof coat is a great selection. It boasts a sleeker lifestyle cut that brings more of an urban look to your hiking adventures with a cinched waist and decorative buttons. It isn’t intended for heavy rain, so if you’re anticipating a major downpour, it's not a good choice. But for lighter drizzles or hiking in misty, wet climates, it's a fantastic option. It comes in an assortment of colors, as well as your choice of mid-length or a longer trench coat style. Just one note: some reviewers found that it runs small — especially in the sleeves — so you may want to order a size up.
- Available sizes: Small - XX-Large
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