If you hike during certain times of the year, there’s a good chance you will encounter rain on your trip. Hiking in the rain can be fun and refreshing, but the bad thing about getting soaked while hiking is your gear gets wet. You also may find it uncomfortable to hike in wet clothes.
Light-weight rain gear for hiking is a staple for anyone who hits the trails regularly. You don’t want to just throw any old rain jacket in your bag either. It can end up taking up too much space in your hiking pack and may be on the heavy side. Plus, you need to ensure your rain gear covers all aspects and you get something to cover your gear. I’ve hiked with people who brought those thick yellow heavy-duty slicker suits and regretted it because it took up most of their space and was heavy. Then they had to lug it back once the rain stopped.
You can easily find light-weight rain gear that’s designed for hiking and backpacking. They’re lightweight and provide ample coverage so you won’t get drenched. We’ve tested a lot of backpacking rain gear and have found these to be some of the best you can find.
Don’t do like you did on your first hike in the rain and use one of those ponchos you got for $1.
Here are the 10 Best Lightweight Hiking Rain Jackets
Columbia Men’s Watertight II Waterproof Breathable Rain Jacket
If you want a jacket that can withstand more than just a drizzle – Columbia knows what they’re doing when it comes to hiking rain gear. The shell of this breathable rain jacket is 100% nylon that will keep the water at bay and the lining is 100% polyester that allows you to breath. Nothing worse than getting a rain jacket that doesn’t breathe – you’ll end up wet from the rain and sweating on the inside of your jacket. Not a good look, especially for a long hike. You want lightweight hiking rain gear that repels water and won’t make you sweat to death. Columbia employs advanced technology to make sure this hiking rain jacket won’t fail you on the trail. It also comes with an abrasion resistant chin guard, elastic hem, elastic cuffs and two side pockets with zippers. The elastic comes in handy when you need to cinch up your sleeves to keep your forearms from getting drenched. The Omni-Shield keeps you clean by absorbing any liquids you may come into contact with. It actually repels moisture instead of absorbing, which helps it dry quickly and repel stains. Hiking gear will inevitably get dirty, but this jacket does a great job at preventing the buildup of stains. The Columbia Watertight II is one of the best lightweight rain jackets for hiking.
Marmot Minimalist Lightweight Waterproof Hiking Rain Jacket
Explore in questionable weather with the Marmot Minimalist Hiking Rain Jacket. Not only is it super lightweight, but it holds up to the Marmot name by providing reliable performance no matter the situation. The seam taping and double layer construction on this hiking rain jacket keeps out rain and snow. The heat releasing pit zips allow ventilation and help regulate your body temperature. It also employs Gore TEX technology to repel water and keeps you from sweating. The treated outer shell adequately protects the inner layers of the jacket from dampness. You would have a tough time finding a better lightweight hiking rain jacket than the Marmot Minimalist.
Swisswell Lightweight Rain Suit for Hiking
Made by Swisswell, this rain suit is ideal for hiking. The 100% polyester shell is waterproof and serves as a windbreaker. It uses the latest waterproof technology that not only repels water, but wicks away moisture so you don’t sweat inside. This hiking rain suit is lightweight and packable which is exactly what you want in hiking rain gear. Whatever you pack can’t take up too much room, especially for longer excursions. We’ve been told this particular hiking rain suit runs a little larger than most so you can comfortably wear over your clothes. Be sure to check out the sizing chart before ordering. This Swisswell Rain Suit is also great for travel because you can easily pack it in a suitcase.
Columbia EvaPOURation Rain Jacket
Any list of the best hiking rain jackets will inevitably have Columbia products multiple times. There’s a good reason – Columbia makes great hiking apparel! The Columbia EvaPOURation Jacket is made from 100% nylon with zipper closure and is lightweight enough for you to stash in your hiking bag, suitcase or gym bag for when you need it. Perfect for not only light drizzles, but heavy rain as well. It repels water efficiently, leaving you bone dry and warm. You only get soaked on the trail once, then you learn to get the best hiking rain gear you can find. You also get underarm venting, an adjustable storm hood, drawcord adjustable hem. You get a lot for your money with this lightweight hiking rain jacket and have roughly 23 colors and styles to choose from. The Columbia EvaPOURation is on our list of the best lightweight rain jackets you can buy.
The North Face Resolve Waterproof Jacket
The North Face has been making quality hiking gear for years and the Resolve Waterproof Jacket is a great addition. Stay dry with this 100% nylon ripstop DryVent fabric that has a water-repellant finish and will keep you dry when bad weather hits. You get an attached hood that you can stash away in the collar when it stops raining. The North Face has the foresight to add elastic to the cuffs so you can fit them over your gloves and a hem cinch-cord makes the fit at the waist much more comfortable. The North Face Resolve Waterproof Jacket has your needs in mind. Here’s a quick recap of all this lightweight hiking rain jacket has to offer: Made from 100% nylon ripstop DryVent fabric, Stow-away hood, Relaxed fit, secure-zip hand pockets, Durable water-repellant finish. This is a great hiking rain jacket to take on your next adventure. If you’re looking for the best lightweight rain jacket for hiking, do yourself a favor and check out this North Face.
Marmot Precip Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket
The Marmot Precip is one of the best-selling hiking rain jackets on the planet. It provides excellent protection against nature’s worst. Waterproof and breathable with its 2.5-layer performance NanoPro fabric. What exactly does that mean? You get an extra layer of protection from moderate rain, wind and snow, as well as a special membrane to protect against sweat. The side zippers are full length and protected with a bonded storm flap to give you even more rain protection at the zipper. The elastic waist gives you a more complete fit. You can store plenty of items in the side and back pockets. It also comes with an attached hood that you can roll up and store when you don’t need it. If you spend a substantial amount of time in the woods, you need the best lightweight rain jackets on the market. This is one of the most complete and durable lightweight backpacking jackets you can buy.
Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Waterproof Rain Jacket
If you’re not too concerned with what’s in style and want to save some money on your hiking rain gear; Frogg Toggs is a wonderful choice. These may not be the coolest look in town, but they get the job done and keep you dry on the trail. That’s what it’s all about anyway, isn’t it? These are made from 100% polyethylene and are extremely light-weight. They feel paper-thin, but will absolutely keep you out of the rain. The material is quite breathable, wind-resistant and waterproof – everything you want in a lightweight hiking rain coat. This rain jacket may feel awkward at first, but trust us, you get used to it. They’re fitted with elastic cuffs to help with fit. Did we mention Frogg Toggs feature an adjustable hood? It comes with cord locks that can help protect your head from dampness and moisture. Frogg Toggs makes reliable raingear that’s worth checking out.
Helly Hanson Seven J Hiking Rain Jacket with Hood
This is a classic rain jacket that’s perfect for outdoor excursions. Completely waterproof and made from 100% polyamide. It comes equipped with a storm flap and quick-dry lining to ensure your clothes stay dry under the jacket. The breathable fabrics make this a perfect choice for a light-weight hiking rain jacket. Not only does it adequately protect you from the elements, but it also has a classy look. Far different from Frogg Toggs. While both designs serve the same function, i.e. keeping you dry, Helly Hansen rain jackets are more stylish and durable. You pay extra for them, but its worth it in the long run to buy the best hiking rain jacket you can afford. Another difference in this rain jacket and others is you can use it as a windbreaker during the cooler months – you don’t want to do that with all rain jackets because some are fragile, while others are heavy and don’t have good ventilation.
The North Face Venture 2 Hiking/Backpacking Rain Jacket
The North Face has done it again with the Venture 2 light-weight hiking rain jacket. Made from 100% nylon as most good hiking rain jackets are and it comes with secure-zip hand pockets to store your essential gear that you need at your fingertips. Not only waterproof, but also breathable and seam sealed to ensure you stay dry on the trail. Even when it’s not raining, this rain jacket is still windproof and has an attached adjustable hood to protect your head and help you retain body heat. This is a versatile hiking rain coat that can double as an everyday jacket for cool mornings on the hiking trail.
Little Donkey Andy Men’s Hiking Rain Jacket
Strange name, amazing results! This light-weight hiking rain jacket features a superior waterproof shell fabric that will keep you dry in a downpour. The outer shell has a DWR finish and full seam taped tech which makes this a great rain jacket and windbreaker for cool mornings on the trail. The mesh lining is lightweight and wicks away sweat to keep you dry inside the jacket. PU coated membrane makes the jacket quite breathable, so you won’t constantly sweat while you wear it. You also get an adjustable tuck-away hood to cover your head when you need it and can stash it away when you don’t. This hiking rain jacket gives you plenty of pockets to store your essentials and keep them close by so you don’t have to dig in your bag. This lightweight hiking rain jacket packs easily and doesn’t take up much space. The Little Donkey Andy Hiking Rain Jacket is perfect for any outdoor excursion where rain may be an issue such as backpacking, hiking, traveling, camping, fishing, boating and anything else.
Jerome is an avid outdoorsman who moonlights as an attorney when he’s not creating the world’s greatest online content.