The Best Backpacking Rain Jacket

backpacking rain jacket

When you’re out there on the trail, you will inevitably encounter some not-so-optimal weather. Whether it’s wind, rain, snow, sleet, or hail, you need a rain jacket to protect you from the elements. If you haven’t splurged on your other gear, start here. A quality backpacking rain jacket can turn a miserable hiking day into something manageable, which is something you can’t put a price tag on. Here we’ll review some jackets ranging from low-budget to best-on-the-market.

Columbia Doctor Downpour Rain Jacket

colubmia dr downpour rain jacket

On the budget-conscious side of the spectrum, you can’t go wrong with the Columbia Doctor Downpour Rain Jacket. While this jacket doesn’t do much to shield you from the cold, it does a remarkable job at keeping you and your things dry for a low cost.

  • Fabric is waterproof, but breathable for hot and rainy days.
  • Can easily slide over other layers for added warmth.
  • Disperses the moisture over an even surface to aid in evaporation.
  • Adjustable draw cords.
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Mountain Hardwear Alpen

mountain hardwear alpen rain jacket

To move a little further up in price, you’ll find the Alpen. If you have ever used any gear from Mountain Hardware you can probably attest to the quality of their products. There aren’t too many jackets out there that can promise high-end quality for a reasonable price, and the Alpen is one of them.

  • Ventilation zippers give you airflow when it gets muggy.
  • Pockets are completely water resistant to protect your matches or phone.
  • Full range of motion without compromising effectiveness.
  • Three-way adjustable hood.
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The North Face El Misti Trench Coat

north face el mistri trench coat

There’s something to be said for a product that can provide both style and quality. Under a legendary brand like The North Face, the El Misti is a perfect fit to keep you warm and dry even in the harshest conditions.

  • Hand pockets and interior pocket for protecting your valuables.
  • Elongated design keeps your pants pockets dry even if you don’t have waterproof pants.
  • Features a back vent to combat the stickiness felt with sweat.
  • Taffeta lining allows the coat to go over any clothing fabric.
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Marmot Minimalist Women’s Jacket

marmot minimalist womens jacket

For those female hikers hitting the trails, there are a plethora of jackets suited for smaller frames. Marmot specializes in outdoor wear and doesn’t drop the ball with the Minimalist. If maximizing the features while keeping the price manageable is what you’re looking for, look no further.

  • Gore-Tex laminate makes sure that you don’t feel a drop even in the worst rainstorm.
  • Pit zippers give you ventilation to avoid the sauna traditionally worked up in a rain jacket.
  • Angel-Wing Movement design allows for uninhibited motion without compromise.
  • Fully adjustable hood with breathable fabric.
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Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket

arcteryx beta ar jacket

The Arc’teryx Beta AR jacket, while being one of the most expensive models out there, is hands-down one of the highest-quality jackets you can find. Whether you’re in four feet of snow or caught in a torrential downpour, this jacket will keep you warm and dry.

  • Lined with a three-layer Gore-Tex shell that protects you from all manner of harsh weather.
  • Lightweight and compresses to reduce pack volume.
  • Anatomically shaped for a comfortable fit.
  • Watertight zippers with multiple large pockets.
  • Fully protected and reinforced hood.
  • Extremely durable fabric will last you for years to come.
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