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Up to date Sep 27, 2022 12:47 PM

As an all-weather bike commuter, mountain lover, and frequent traveler who hardly ever permits the weather to discourage me from my plans, I all the time carry round a packable rain jacket. Whether or not I’m on the highway for work or off on an outside journey, it by no means hurts to have rain gear that’s efficient, breathable, and light-weight sufficient to hold round all day. The most effective packable rain jackets compress right down to concerning the measurement of a big pockets, folding right into a pocket or the nook of your bag.

Although I see it ideally as a really dynamic piece of clothes, there are completely sure rain jackets higher suited particularly for varied actions. Relying in your finances, you will discover costly, high-tech jackets loaded with options, and primary, moderately priced ones. A full record of nice packable rain jackets can be very lengthy, so I’ve narrowed and chosen the very best packable rain jackets.

How we picked the very best packable rain jackets

As an individual who rides a bicycle all over the place, I’ve been on a perpetual quest for the proper packable rain jacket for years now. Whereas I believe I’ve just about discovered it, there’s all the time new expertise and up to date options to check out. You solely know in the event that they do what they are saying they’ll do after you’ve weathered a storm or three sporting them. Because it occurs, I work in movie and tv manufacturing, so I spend plenty of time understanding within the components, placing my jackets to the take a look at.

The jackets that made our record offered sustained rain and wind safety, whereas being light-weight sufficient to pack simply right into a pocket or bag. I additionally thought of match and luxury, particularly within the chin guard and hood. Lastly, I seemed for particular options like a fold-down tail and zippered pockets, which frequently make a specific jacket stand out from related designs from different firms.

Issues to think about when shopping for a rain jacket

There’s a shocking quantity of technical jargon you need to know earlier than selecting out a rain jacket. Whereas purchasing for one, you’ve probably seen phrases like “hardshell,” “softshell,” “taped seams,” and “packable” thrown round a bit, together with claims about how waterproof and breathable a specific garment could also be. This isn’t simply marketing-driven jargon added to impress. They do actually influence how effectively your jacket can shield you.

In the event you’re uncertain precisely what a few of these imply, you’re not alone. Right here’s a breakdown of what to search for when rain jackets:

Hardshell or softshell

As with many issues within the attire and kit industries, there isn’t a common, absolute definition of “softshell” and “hardshell” jackets, however there are widespread tips that the majority firms comply with. Historically, softshell jackets are extra breathable, whereas hardshells provide extra extended water safety, pack down smaller, and weigh much less. 

Hardshell jackets have a stiffer, extra inflexible really feel than softshells, and have a thicker, 3-layer cloth with a water-proof, breathable membrane sandwiched between its inside lining and a “laborious” exterior layer. 

Softshell jackets are created from softer, extra pliable materials. They’re normally stretchier and extra breathable than a normal hardshell, which makes them higher for transferring round.

At this level, many firms have developed new materials that blur these strains, offering the very best properties of each in a single jacket. For instance, Rab’s Proflex cloth presents the climate safety of a hardshell, with the consolation, stretchiness, and really feel of a softshell. 

Almost the entire jackets on this record are hardshell jackets, as they have an inclination to weigh much less and pack into smaller sizes.

Waterproof/breathable materials

Most fashionable rain jackets are constructed with cloth created from two or three completely different layers of fabric which can be fused collectively, maximizing safety whereas conserving them gentle and breathable. For example, the 3-layer Elite cloth utilized by Showers Cross consists of an outward-facing cloth with a sturdy water repellent (DWR) end, backed with a waterproof-breathable membrane laminate. This membrane is roofed with microscopic pores that forestall rain-sized water droplets to cross, whereas permitting moisture out of your physique by means of. On the bottom of that membrane, a laminate tricot liner to ensure the jacket feels dry towards your pores and skin whereas including safety for the membrane layer.

Most 2-layer (or 2.5-layer) supplies use a charcoal or cellulose raised print instantly on the membrane as a substitute of a liner layer which permits for a extra compact and light-weight jacket (by eliminating one layer.) 

Taped seams, together with zippers

Stitching clothes collectively creates a whole lot of tiny needle holes within the seams—there’s no approach round this when stitching. A well-made rain jacket requires the seams to be taped with the intention to hold water from getting by means of these minuscule holes. After stitching, producers fuse thermoplastic tape with warmth and strain over the seams to forestall this. These are referred to as taped seams. With out them, water can simply penetrate the seams.

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Match, together with hood

When making an attempt on a rain jacket, search for a Goldilocks match—not too free, however not too tight. If it’s cosy, the jacket received’t make for an efficient high layer over different outerwear like a hoodie or one other, not-so-waterproof jacket. If it’s too free and hulking, the jacket may hinder your mobility. 

For many of us, a just-right match is barely bigger than that of a mean jacket. It received’t trip up over your waist whenever you elevate your arms. You additionally need the sleeves to be lengthy sufficient to come back effectively over your wrists in order that they don’t pull up too excessive whenever you attain to seize one thing.

We choose a rain jacket with a hood as a result of in chilly, inclement climate, conserving your head heat and dry goes a great distance in conserving you from feeling like a drowned rat. And a hood retains the water from getting underneath your neck and trickling down your again. A well-designed hood has a small visor in-built to maintain rain out of your eyes and a technique to cinch it in order that it matches carefully to your head. You don’t need to simply see the facet of the hood each time you flip your head (plus it may be harmful). In the event you repeatedly partake in an exercise like climbing or biking the place a helmet is a good suggestion, be sure that the hood will match over it.


By definition, a packable rain jacket ought to fold or roll up into a really small measurement that makes it simple to hold round. Lots of the jackets on this record stuff into their very own chest or hand pocket, although that isn’t a requirement. So long as you possibly can shove it into the final, small, out there house in your backpack, that counts as packable. In case your jacket doesn’t crumple into its personal pocket, you should purchase a light-weight “stuff sack” only for that objective.

The most effective packable rain jackets: Evaluations & Suggestions

I’ve a number of favourite packable rain jackets that I exploit repeatedly relying on what I’m doing and the place I’m going. I discovered them by means of working and touring, utilizing them in all types of conditions. A lot of these jackets made their approach onto this record, together with some specialty shells for touring, biking, climbing, and different adventures.

Greatest total: Showers Cross Refuge Jacket – (Males’s Model)

Purchase it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the reduce: The Showers Cross Refuge jacket possesses all of the options we would like for nearly any journey we dream up.


  • Weight: 19 oz (measurement M)
  • Materials: 3-layer Elite waterproof hardshell
  • Worth: $295


  • Absolutely seam taped
  • Detachable hood that matches over a helmet
  • A number of zippered pockets
  • All outward-facing zippers are waterproof


The Showers Cross Refuge jacket is my go-to for stormy bike commutes, long-distance climbing journeys, and wandering round cities within the rain. I appear to search out myself caught in unpredictable hostile climate on a reasonably common foundation, so I search for rain jackets with particular options that make strolling round in a storm virtually really feel pleasing. 

Most rain jackets, it doesn’t matter what they’re created from, will finally enable water by means of if submitted to a relentless heavy rain that lasts for quite a lot of hours. The Refuge jacket is efficient for all-day gentle or average rain or about three hours of a heavy downpour. After I say downpour, I imply the sort of rain that makes it troublesome to see what is true in entrance of you; the sort that if doable you would possibly need to take shelter from till it’s handed. 

Its huge zippered facet pockets simply accommodate my Galaxy S21, the bolstered shoulder space is fitted to backpack straps, and the hood matches comfortably over a helmet—and stays there whereas biking due to a drawstring cincher. The Refuge additionally has a dropdown tail, which is useful whereas biking, or scoping a spot to sit down throughout or after a storm. Add in reflective particulars, core vents, and safe wrist cinchers to maintain the wind out and it’s just about the proper all-around packable rain jacket. 

The acquisition of a Showers Cross Refuge jacket even helps their “take pleasure in all the weather” marketing campaign, an initiative devoted to offering applications and schooling to get extra folks exterior. 

Greatest for climbing: Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 Jacket – (Ladies’s Model)

Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 Jacket is the best packable rain jacket for hiking.

Purchase it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the reduce: Rab’s Kinetic Alpine 2.0 is the one totally waterproof jacket we’ve discovered that, due to the stretchiness within the cloth, doesn’t hinder your motion in any respect, it doesn’t matter what it’s possible you’ll be climbing.

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  • Weight: 13.8 oz (Measurement L)
  • Materials: Recycled polyester with 3-layer membrane
  • Worth: $280


  • 2-way entrance zipper
  • Zippered inside chest pocket
  • Stretch woven Proflex panels in hips, arms, shoulders, & hood


True to its title, the Rab Kinetic Alpine jacket has been designed thoughtfully and particularly for climbing mountains. Described by the corporate as a “breakthrough in expertise,” the softshell jacket is created from a proprietary materials referred to as “Proflex”—a stretchy and breathable waterproof cloth that’s excellent for propelling your self up the facet of a rocky and/or snowy cliff. It’s additionally engineered to deal with scrapes towards tough surfaces, like stone or bark, with out ripping. I’m somewhat clumsy and routinely make the most of sturdy bushes and rock faces to regular myself on each inclines and descents. Regardless of this, my Kinetic Alpine 2 has but to undergo any important injury. 

On the similar time, it’s additionally one of many few rain jackets I’ve worn the place I’ve truly forgotten that I had it on. There’s no restriction to motion, even when stretching to succeed in the following tree root on the way in which up a muddy embankment. Its hood can also be among the many most snug I’ve ever worn, with a large chin guard.

All of the pockets are outfitted with waterproof zippers; the inside chest one being the proper place to stash small valuables like a bank card, ID, and lip balm (Chapstick undoubtedly classifies as helpful in dry mountain environments). Final, however not least, it comes with a stuff sack for simple stowing in your pack.  

Greatest for journey: Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket – (Males’s model)

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket is the best packable rain jacket for travel.

Purchase it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the reduce: The Patagonia Torrentshell 3L packs neatly into its personal pocket and might stand up to all kinds of hostile climate conditions.


  • Weight: 12.5 oz. (Measurement M)
  • Materials: Ripstop nylon with 3-layer H2No Efficiency shell
  • Worth: $149


  • Pit zip air flow
  • Self-stuffs into hand hotter pocket
  • Truthful Commerce Licensed
  • Comprises recyclable supplies


  • The recycled nylon cloth will get noisy
  • Small hood might not match over helmets

For journey, particularly throughout a number of locations, Patagonia’s Torrentshell 3L rain jacket has every thing you want. It packs into one of many two hand hotter pockets, has pit zips and a cushty roomy chin guard, and stands up effectively to rain, wind, and snow. It is available in a wide range of trendy colours if you wish to deviate from primary black, gray, or white. 

The Torrentshell 3L can also be each Truthful Commerce Licensed and created from recycled supplies that meet the bluesign standards. Bluesign applied sciences, based mostly in Switzerland, focuses on sustainability in your complete textile manufacturing chain to information manufacturers in creating merchandise with as little adverse environmental influence as doable.

One factor to bear in mind: The recyclable nylon cloth of this jacket could be weirdly noisy. It isn’t extreme, however it’s possible you’ll not be capable to quietly slip in your rain gear to slide out for an early morning hike. 

Greatest for biking: Gore Put on C5 Gore-Tex Shakedry 1985

Gore Wear C5 Gore-Tex Shakedry 1985 is the best packable rain jacket for cycling.

Purchase it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the reduce: The Gore Put on C5 Gore-Tex Shakedry 1985 jacket is the lightest and most packable jacket we discovered, making it excellent for weight and watt-obsessed cyclists (whereas additionally leaving room for extra snacks in your again pockets).


  • Weight: 3.4 oz. (Measurement L)
  • Materials: Gore-Tex
  • Worth: $250 – $300



  • Costly
  • Actually only for biking

Whereas I don’t take into account myself a full-on “roadie” on the subject of biking, I do my fair proportion of biking membership highway rides round New York Metropolis. There are tons of cyclists within the metropolis, a lot of whom embark on prolonged rides across the New York Tri-State space on weekends. When the rain comes out, so does the Gore-Tex Shakedry.

At a mere 3.4 ounces, its ultralight weight and form-fitting, which is essential for aggressive cyclists trying who don’t need drag from their garments. The Gore-Tex “Shakedry” materials is so skinny that it’s virtually clear, however can also be in some way waterproof and windproof. The Shakedry cloth repels water beads that land on the material floor with out letting any moisture by means of. When the rain stops, you possibly can merely shake it dry with a pointy flap and put it again in your biking jersey pocket.

This jacket will not be advisable to be used with a backpack, because the straps may injury the material. In the event you choose your cycle with a motor (and don’t want to fret a lot about weight), check out some rain gear for motorbike riders which is sturdier and heavier.

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Greatest light-weight: Outside Analysis Helium Rain Jacket – (Ladies’s model)

Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket is the best lightweight packable rain jacket.

Purchase it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the reduce: At solely 6.3 ounces, the Outside Analysis jacket is half the load of most all comparable opponents, however nonetheless delivers top-of-the-line wind and rain safety.


  • Weight: 6.3 oz. (Measurement L)
  • Materials: Nylon with 2.5 layer Pertex Defend
  • Worth: $159


  • Very gentle
  • Breathable
  • Present model has up to date cloth that’s 7x extra tear resistant than beforehand


  • Just one pocket (chest)
  • Might not stand up to heavy rain

In the event you very particularly need the lightest on a regular basis rain jacket doable, take into account the Helium by Outside Analysis. It’s a lot lighter than many of the jackets on our record however nonetheless performs effectively towards gentle rain and wind. Due to the low weight, it’s a preferred jacket amongst thru-hikers and long-distance backpackers who rely ounces as fastidiously as fanatic highway cyclists.

Between its weight and the truth that it packs into its chest pocket, the Helium is a superb on a regular basis carry jacket. Alternatively, that chest pocket is its solely pocket, so it presents restricted storage.

Greatest finances: Marmot Precip Eco Jacket – (Males’s model)

Marmot Precip Eco Jacket is the best packed rain jacket on a budget.

Purchase it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the reduce: For round $100, the Marmot Precip Eco is likely one of the hottest (and efficient) jackets we see out on the path.


  • Weight: 9 oz. (Measurement M)
  • Materials: Recycled nylon with 2.5-layer Nanopro
  • Worth: $100


  • Pit zips
  • Stuffs into personal pocket
  • Good high quality for worth


Marmot constantly manufactures high quality out of doors gear and sells it for cheap costs. The Precip Eco jacket might lack among the superior bells and whistles present in our high picks, but it surely performs effectively and prices lower than our high picks. A light-weight jacket that packs simply into one of many pockets, the Precip Eco feels roomy within the shoulders to offer you a full vary of motion whereas hoisting your pack on and off. The hood additionally packs into the collar, which is beneficial for climbers and cyclists.

Whereas it runs a bit small and has a hood with a slender chin guard, you’re getting a garment that feels very near the very best of the very best, with out spending fairly a lot cash.


Q: What does a packable rain jacket imply?

Packable rain jackets are outlined by the power to fold or roll down into a really small measurement and stuffed into both their very own pockets or small carrying sacks. They are typically light-weight jackets made to guard you from wind and rain whenever you plan to exit in less-than-ideal climate.

Q: Are you able to restore rain jackets?

You possibly can restore a rain jacket with tenacious tape, a one-sided vinyl tape made for patching waterproof materials, together with jackets and tents. Out there by the roll, or in pre-cut patches, you merely reduce a bit to cowl the tear plus an inch on all sides. For added power apply a patch on each the within and out of doors of the jacket over the tear. Press down from the middle out and wait 24 hours if doable earlier than sporting.

Many tenting and outdoor-focused jacket producers, together with Patagonia and Showers Cross, additionally provide restore providers for his or her merchandise.

Q: How a lot does a packable rain jacket price?

A superb packable rain jacket can price anyplace from $60 to $800, all relying on what number of options you need. Remember the fact that the costliest gear on the spectrum is made for scaling mountains and different extraordinarily harsh circumstances. A well-made, technically minded jacket ought to suffice for most individuals, and that normally prices between $100-$300

Q: The place do I recycle my rain jacket?

The most effective and best technique to recycle your rain jacket is to offer it away or donate it to a company that resells or donates used clothes. Many waterproof jackets have coatings or have undergone therapies that make them unimaginable to recycle by means of typical means. That mentioned, some producers, comparable to Patagonia, settle for all their merchandise for recycling.

Ultimate ideas on the very best packable rain jackets

All of those jackets are stable, high quality clothes that can hold you dry when the skies open up. Discovering a rain jacket that’s waterproof, snug, light-weight, and breathable makes each sort of out of doors exercise extra enjoyable and cozy in dangerous climate, from biking and climbing to a leisurely stroll across the neighborhood.