Thinking of hiking in the rain? Get yourself the best lightweight rain jackets for hiking. It’s no fun to hike in the rain, well, unless you have the right clothing and equipment. The essential rain jacket keeps you warm and dry while being lightweight enough to decrease sweating or stuffiness.
The best lightweight rain jackets for hiking block the wind chill effect since it’s made from waterproof and breathable materials. These rain jackets empower you to seize the outdoors despite the weather, hiking through humid and wet destinations.
In this article, we will highlight the best lightweight rain jackets for hiking.
What to Consider When Getting a Rain Jacket
For hikers, lightweight gear allows easier movement while delaying exhaustion. A rain jacket should pack small, fitting into your backpack when the weather is holding dry.
Besides being 100% waterproof, lightweight rain jackets for hiking are made with breathable or WPB (waterproof/breathable) fabric materials.
Well known manufacturers of WPB include textile giants Pertex, Gore-Tex, and eVent. Other innovators on this scene have developed new waterproof and breathable materials, including H2NO by Patagonia and NanoPro by Marmot.
Go for durable construction, such as in two or three-layer membrane instead of single laminate layers.
The Best Lightweight Rain Jackets for Hiking
Whether your choice is an ultra-light waterproof shell or a highly breathable hiking jacket, you’ll find options that take up the least space in your backpack when not in use.
Lightweight rain jackets for hiking that fit the description and will complement your trips include;
Outdoor Research Helium II
This is a highly breathable and lightweight rain jacket that’s popular with hikers and mountain climbers. The Outdoor Research Helium II rain jacket has a 2.5 layer Pertex Shield that acts as a water-repellent shell.
Hiking involves strenuous aerobic movements, and at 6.4 ounces (181.4 grams), the Helium II is one of the lightest rain jackets to wear or carry around.
According to customer reviews, you may not even notice you have it on. This lightweight rain jacket also packs down to fit into your pants front pocket and functions best to combat that emergency downpour.
There’s, however, a lack of manual ventilation pit-zips possibly to leverage its lightweight application. This makes the helium II jacket not suited to hot and humid hiking scenarios.
While the lightweight Outdoor Research Helium II is designed for fast-paced activities, it’s equally a high-performance rain shell that comes in handy when hiking through stormy weather. Packing down to a protein bar’s size, this rain jacket is hardly noticeable when carried in a backpack.
The Helium II features a minimalistic rain shell that doubles as a wind shirt, perfect for warm but rainy weather. What it lacks in maximum breathability, this rain jacket for hiking makes up in lightweight compactness.
The Outdoor Research Helium II is a lightweight rain jacket made from materials achieved by specially formulating a highly waterproof laminate that allows moisture vapor to escape without soaking.
Results are high fabric breathability with MVTR of 25,000g/m2/24hrs WVTR and a hydrostatic head of 20,000mm.
Excellent waterproofing is further promoted by fully taped seams, while top-notch impermeability is ensured with YKK AquaGuard zippers. An elastic drawcord along the hem, an adjustable hood, and elasticated cuffs help keep out the cold drafts.
The Outdoor Research Helium II has side pockets and a chest pocket that doubles as the stuff sack.
- Lightweight at 6.4 ounces (181.4 grams)
- Made with 2.5-layer Pertex Shield for waterproof and high breathability
- Packs small into stuff sack cum pocket
- Not suited to hot, humid conditions hiking
Also checkout, How to Clean Your Hiking Boots.
Arc’Teryx Norvan SL Hoodie Jacket
At 4.2 ounces (119.06 grams), this is the most lightweight rain jacket on the list for putting down serious mileage on the hiking trail when it’s raining.
With its minimalistic design, the Arc’Teryx Norvan SL Hoodie Jacket is lightweight and truly waterproof. The material doesn’t absorb water, and so this rain jacket for hiking will not increase in weight the wetter it gets.
Weight shedding is improved by the Gore-Tex Active material featuring Shakedry technology that allows the rain jacket to shed water without absorption.
This is a high-performance hiker’s rain jacket that’s comfortable to the skin and has a permanent beading surface that’s laminated for waterproofing.
The Norvan SL Hoodie Jacket is more waterproof than you’ll ever need, but less wind chill padding for rainy day hikes. Packing light and with Venturi style vents, this rain jacket will keep you cool without the buildup of sweat after finishing a steep incline.
Featuring an extremely breathable construction, the Arc’Teryx Norvan SL Hoodie Jacket helps hikers maintain cool temperatures within high exertion and performance levels.
Made with a Gore-Tex Active membrane, this rain jacket eliminates an outer barrier to reduce weight and increase breathability. The elasticized hood brim preserves wet conditions visibility while the elastic cuffs improve secure coverage.
This lightweight rain jacket’s front zip is water-resistant and has a chin guard to keep moisture out. A bottom hem and elastic seals at the cuffs help to keep wind chill and moisture out.
The slim-fitting Arc’teryx Norvan SL Hoodie features reflective blazes on sleeves and back for visibility when hiking in low light conditions.
- Incredibly compressible and lightweight
- Waterproof and does not absorb water
- Highly breathable material
- Easily washable
- Freestanding stuff sack not attached to the rain jacket
- Only available in a black color
- Standard YKK zippers
Lightweight rain jackets for hiking appeal in weight and compactness where shaving off is of importance. A rain jacket that can pack small for carrying around or stuff into your pants pocket won’t have many tradeoffs when it rains on your hike.
However, you shouldn’t expect many features as low weight bears on minimalistic designs and less tough fabrics. The lightweight rain jacket will keep you dry and protected from biting winds but may not hold out long against serious backwoods trekking.
Planning to hike and climb? Here’s an article you shouldn’t miss; The Best Micro Carabiner for Climbing.