Are you interested in the best rain jackets for hiking? Shopping for the perfect rain jacket isn't easy. And if you go looking for a good 3-season jacket it can get downright overwhelming. In general the prices range from one hundred to four hundred dollars; and the weight can go from next to nothing to more than a pound.
And when you start looking at reviews and trying to compare jackets by talking with the experts, your brain is really going to go wacky, haha.
Think of your hiking jacket like you might a pair of underwear; it’s all subjective – and if the store clerk is working on commission they’ll tell you whatever you want to hear just to buy the jacket.
Well, no worries because I’m not being endorsed by any company or brand and I’ve been hiking for more than two decades; which means I’ve put A LOT of jackets through the ringer!
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The Best Rain Jackets for Hiking - Selection Criteria
Seeing is believing for me and in this review you'll get the 5 best rain jackets for hiking based on my specialty criteria.
- Only buy what you need – Consider how often you’re actually going to wear the jacket, how harsh the elements of nature will be, and how sweaty you’re actually going to get.
- Understand that the best rain jackets for hiking should never weigh more than a pound, even if it's a 3 season jacket – If it does then it’s got too much unnecessary junk added just to bulk up the price that you don’t need.
- On the minimum end of the equation you need a jacket the fits, has a hood, is breathable, and keeps you from drowning – I don’t care how cheap the jacket, if it doesn’t have the basics don’t buy it.
- If you decide to buy premium make sure you get exactly what you want; it’s got to fit like a glove and score on every feature – If it doesn’t then I’ll ask you to kindly stop, drop, and roll, without the jacket please, haha.
Using these criteria here are the 5 best rain jackets for hiking I believe are on the market today; and I know at least one of them is perfect for you.
They are all great for climbing, day hikes, backpack trips, camping, and any other great outdoor adventures you decide to jump into.
Arc’tervyx Zeta LT Jacket
The Arc’tervx Zeta LT Jacket is a premium top performance rain shell.
Not only is it extremely comfortable but it's also versatile in soppy and harsh conditions.
It’s breathable and has the new C-KNIT technology design by Gore-Tex.
That's a brand that screams credibility.
Versatile and alive.
And it’s this sleek new technology that makes this rain jack super quiet and less rigid than traditional jackets.
If you are hard-core anything outdoors, this is one of the best rain jackets for hiking!
The Arc’tervx Zeta LT Jacket should be at the top of your list.
Westcomb Shift LT
Here’s another jacket if you’re serious about sweating in your rain gear, the Westcomb Shift LT.
This superior hard-shell jacket is perfect if you’re looking to work up a nice sweat; it’s breathable and doesn’t stick to you when you’re wet like so many of the cheaper knockoffs.
The large size is just over 11 ounces, which makes it ultra-light and easy to maneuver in.
The fact it’s so light makes it easy to mistake it for a windbreaker, but it’s so much more.
Best for sweating up a storm.
It has a waterproof breathable membrane with the Polartec Neoshell air technology. That helps elevate its status as one of the best rain jackets for hiking.
Hands down this is the lightest, most versatile, comfortable, breathable, and “stretchiest” rain jacket I've ever seen.
Even in this elite group the Westcomb is a head above the other four best rain jackets for hiking.
Montane Featherlite Shell Jacket
For those of you looking to do some serious hiking and invest a little in your gear, the Montane Featherlite Shell Jacket just might be your ticket.
What helps make this one of the best rain jackets for hiking is that even in the cold this lightweight, and very comfortable, jacket keeps you dry and warm without the weight.
That combination is hard to find.
Thanks to the eVent DV Storm membrane you get superior quality with the lightweight protection you need to weather the outdoors.
Whether you get this for hiking or just wear it for its style you can't go wrong.
An excellent pick if you like choosing from the cream of the crop!
Outdoor Research Axiom Jacket
The next honorable mention is the Outdoor Research Axiom Jacket.
It's a medium lightweight with a nice hard shell that’s better for climbing than hiking.
The Gore Active Shell enables this jacket to perform top-notch when you’re sweating up a storm.
Although this is one of the best rain jackets for hiking I place it below the others.
Because there are a few minor glitches with this jacket.
For example, the pockets are a little low and the hood may be restrictive when worn over a helmet.
There are better jackets out there but the Axiom makes the list because it’s a great quality for any occasion.
Westcomb Focus LT Hoody
Last but definitely not least we have the Westcomb Focus LT Hoody.
As you know, it’s tough to have it all in a jacket...
You want light weight, protection, and versatility.
But it also needs to be comfortable, durable, and affordable.
If you look around there aren't many hiking jackets that meet that criteria.
Especially at an afforable price.
But fortunately for us the Westcomb Focus LT Hoody solves that problem.
It's under 10 ounces, offers great rain protection, and the price is right.
You simply can not go wrong with this as your jacket of choice.
It's one of the best rain jackets for hiking you can get.