Best Rain Jacket for Any Occasion | 9 Rain Jackets from Montbelle, Patagonia, Marmot, & More
Best Rain Jacket for Any Occasion | 9 Rain Jackets from Montbelle, Patagonia, Marmot, & More

Odds are, you’ve been on a trip that got a little wet. Whether it was a light drizzle on your way home from the beach on a summer vacation or a rainy, snowy, sleety mess on the way back down a mountain after a spring hike, being prepared for what Mother Nature might throw at you is essential. There are hundreds of options out there, and we’re here to help you choose the best rain jacket for you.

Not only can one of these keep you dry, but many also have unique features. Grab a packable rain jacket if you’re worried about saving space. Or, go with something ultralight to ensure your pack isn’t overweight. Really worried about staying dry? Go with a model that uses GORE-TEX. No matter your needs, there’s something on this list for you!

When you’re ready to purchase the best rain jacket for you, look no further than REI. Co-op Members get 10% back annually on eligible purchases, free standard shipping on all orders, and receive special offers year-round to make getting to your destination a more effortless experience. Plus, you can sell used gear taking up room in your closet for extra cash before buying something new. If the perfect rain jacket for you comes in and isn’t the right size, you have 90 days to return it without a membership or an entire year for members. When looking for gear for your next trip, REI is the place to find what you need.

Before we get started, we thought we’d talk about the terms waterproof and water resistant. Many jackets will claim to be waterproof, which is a loaded statement. No jacket on this list is completely waterproof. Perhaps some of the materials are, but even the best seams, zippers, and materials will give way at some point. To be prepared, it’s best to start by understanding what you need from your jacket and moving on to find the best rain jacket for you. Let’s dive in!

1. REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Jacket
REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Jacket

Why We Like It: Extraordinarily water-resistant

What You Should Know: The zipper can be hard to zip open and closed

If you’re looking for a jacket that blends into any landscape, from the city to the trail, look no further than the REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Jacket. As the name implies, it utilizes GORE-TEX to ensure water doesn’t permeate the outer shell, leaving you dry. This may be the best rain jacket for you if you’re looking for a model with GORE-TEX that doesn’t break the bank.

This isn’t the smallest jacket we’ve come across, which isn’t ideal for traveling. However, the materials easily fold into a shape that fits wherever you’re stowing it. The zipper can be difficult to zip and unzip, especially if you don’t have the best range of motion. After a few days of use, though, you’ll get used to it!

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2. Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic Jacket

Best for: Sustainable Travelers

Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic Jacket

Why We Like It: Materials are durable and feel softer than most other jackets

What You Should Know: Getting the perfect fit takes some tinkering

If you aren’t a fan of the crunch of many jackets on this list, the Mountain Hardware Stretch Ozonic might be the best travel rain jacket for you. The materials are soft and make less noise than other jackets. Plus, they’re 100% recycled!

The hem, cuffs, and hood are adjustable, which helps create a perfect fit. The bill is thick, ensuring water stays away from your face and eyes. The hood sometimes feels tight, especially when you look from side to side. When you’re active or the sun returns, there are pit zips to keep your underarms from clamming up. When not in use, there’s a flap to make them less noticeable.

This isn’t the most packable rain jacket, but it fits well in most daypacks and travel backpacks. This jacket has a lot to adjust, but if you like tinkering to find a perfect fit, this is the model for you!

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3. Montbell Versalite Jacket
Montbell Versalite Jacket

Why We Like It: Can handle wind and rain

What You Should Know: The materials are a bit crunchy

The materials on the Montbelle Versalite Jacket are a little loud, but if versatility is the name of your game, this might be the best rain jacket for you. If you’re familiar with 90s wind pants, you may already have an appreciation for the noise emanating from the materials when you move.

However, this thing keeps you dry in wet conditions, has adjustable accents to ensure it fits your liking and packs down incredibly small. The stuff sack is separate, which makes it easier to lose, but you can stow it in one of the pockets when not in use.

This packable rain jacket has pit zips to keep your core from overheating when the going gets tough (or hot). Considering the weight of this rain jacket, it’s a decent shout for anyone looking for something small or ultralight.

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4. Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket

Best for: Relaxed Travelers

Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket

Why We Like It: A lightweight jacket for any trip

What You Should Know: No hand pockets

We dig this jacket so much that it’s found a home on some of our Packing Lists over the years. It pairs lightweight materials with a design that trims off the fat, leaving a lightweight jacket with a sleek style for travel. It doesn’t have hand pockets, which may be a deal breaker for some, but due to such design features, it’s one of the smallest and lightest options on this list.

The Helium has waist and hood adjusters to keep you comfortable, and the cuffs are elastic to ensure water doesn’t splash up your sleeves. The only pocket is the stuff sack, which works well for those using a sling or that keep their carry minimalistic. This jacket will keep you dry from the trail to the city market and won’t weigh you down.

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5. Patagonia Storm10 Jacket
Patagonia Storm10 Jacket Outdoor

Why We Like It: Handles the cold well when layered

What You Should Know: Can be challenging to pack down

If you’re looking for a jacket that can work in various situations, the Patagonia Storm10 might be the best rain jacket for you. Not only is it an excellent packable rain jacket, fitting into the palm of your hand, but it also layers well as a shell or an external layer in cold weather.

The materials are lightweight and look sleek. The design feels athletic, which might only work for some. In addition to durable and extraordinary water-resistant materials, it breathes reasonably well, even without pit zips. It isn’t the tightest fitting jacket, so you can layer underneath it for cooler adventures when rain is in the forecast.

Whether exploring a new city, commuting to work, or hitting the trail for the day, the Patagonia Storm10 will keep you dry and cool on your journey.

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6. Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 Waterproof Jacket

Best for: Professional Travelers

Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 Waterproof Jacket

Why We Like It: Looks like a standard jacket

What You Should Know: Doesn’t compress well

If staying comfortable is your priority, the Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 may be the best rain jacket for you! It doesn’t pack down as small as others on this list, but the adjustable waist, cuff, and hood ensure you stay cozy, no matter the weather outside. This isn’t the most waterproof jacket on the market, but it excels in most climate situations.

The zipper doesn’t have a PU coating, and there aren’t pit zips, but the jacket is breathable and comfortable all day long. If the temperature rises while it’s still raining, you might get a bit hot, but you’ll stay dry. Once you’re ready to pack it away, the materials are easy to fold into place in your pack.

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7. Rab Phantom Waterproof Pull-On Jacket

Best for: Full-time Travelers

Rab Phantom Waterproof Pull-On Jacket

Why We Like It: Extraordinarily packable

What You Should Know: The pullover design isn’t very quick to get on and off

This is one of the smallest jackets on this list when packed, so if size is important, this may be the best rain jacket for you! The materials are ultralight, making for a light and comfortable fit. They aren’t as water resistant as other options on this list, but they work well for light rain or a morning run.

The stuff sack isn’t attached, so it can be easy to misplace, especially since there aren’t any pockets to stow it away. It’s only a quarter-zip, so you have to slide it over your head, which can take a little longer and wreak havoc on your hair. The cuffs have elastic but no adjusters, so those with smaller wrists may be left looking for something a bit tighter. All that considered, this if you’re looking for an ultralight option, this is the rain jacket for you.

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8. Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket
Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket

Why We Like It: A good middle ground between price and function

What You Should Know: The collar can be annoying with hooded clothing underneath

If you’ve scoured the corners of the internet looking for the best bang for your buck as far as travel and rain jackets go, odds are, you’ve looked at the Matmor PreCip. This jacket has casual styling that won’t break the bank and is an excellent all-rounder. There are a ton of colorways to choose from, so you can get something that has an identity as vibrant or subtle as you are.

The materials are crunchy but not to the point where they will bother you. You can adjust the wrists, waist, and hood quickly and easily. It’s a packable rain jacket, though it isn’t the smallest we’ve seen to date.

Overall, this is an excellent offering for someone looking for their first travel jacket, something that won’t break the bank and comes in many colorways.

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9. frogg toggs Ultra-Lite Jacket

Best for: Frugal Travelers

frogg toggs Ultra-Lite Jacket

Why We Like It: One of the cheapest rain jackets out there

What You Should Know: It won’t last a lifetime

Ah, Frogg Toggs. If you know, you know. And if you don’t know, now you know! It doesn’t really get any cheaper than this. It fits like a garbage bag, doesn’t breathe well, and has no pockets. However, it’s the most affordable option on this list, and the materials are waterproof. The interior fabric is soft but feels almost medical and not very durable.

If you don’t need to use your rain jacket very often or live somewhere where it hardly ever rains, this might be the best rain jacket for you. It will keep you dry when you do need it, but it’ll be warm and won’t handle the bumps and knocks of everyday wear and tear.

The bottom line is that this thing will keep you dry, but it won’t look great, be breathable, or last long. However, the price might make it worth it (for you).

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10. Zpacks Vertice Rain Jacket
Zpacks Vertice Rain Jacket

Why We Like It: Extraordinarily lightweight and waterproof.

What You Should Know: It doesn’t pack into itself.

If you’re looking for something lightweight and aren’t overly concerned with self-compression, the ZPacks Vertice Rain Jacket is a worthy addition to your pack. This jacket is made in the United States of America and is light as a feather. There are four colorways to choose from at the time of writing, so you can go with the model that matches the gear you already have at home.

A waterproof membrane sandwiched between a seven-denier ripstop nylon exterior and a tricot lining makes for a jacket that breathes well and keeps you dry when it matters most. If you’re set on a packable jacket, it’s small enough to fit into a stuff sack you purchased elsewhere.

When the rain starts coming down, the hood is adjustable to stop water from coming in down your neck. There are pit zips to air out after the storm, and the cuffs have an elastic adjustor. If lightweight materials and customizability are the names of your game, this might be the best rain jacket for you!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best rain jacket brand?

There’s no correct answer to this question. Where you’re going, the time of year, the shape of your body, how easily you get warm, and dozens of other factors will contribute to whether or not a specific jacket or brand will work for you. However, a few brands come to mind when we’re asked about the best rain jacket.

Patagonia: You probably saw this one coming. Patagonia is a certified B Corporation, meaning everything is held to a higher social and environmental standard. Plus, their gear gets the job done. Often some of the lightest and most waterproof offerings in the marketplace, you can count on a Patagonia rain jacket to keep you dry and last a long time.

REI Co-op: REI makes gear with their customers in mind, and an their rain jackets are proof of that. They’re typically tailored for outdoor use; however, most of their gear can be used on the trail, in the city, or in between.

Outdoor Research: An Outdoor Research rain jacket will most likely have two things going for it: it’ll pack down small and keep you dry. What else can you ask for? Many of their rain jacket models utilize bluesign® approved materials, which is a great shout on the sustainability side.

Marmot: As a company, Marmot offers a rain jacket on every peg of the cost spectrum, making them a popular brand for all kinds of travelers. Whether you’re hitting the concrete jungle or the snowy slopes, Marmot can probably get you there and keep you dry.

What is the best packable rain jacket?

Similar to brand, the best packable rain jacket will depend on many factors. However, there are a few things to consider when selecting a model that works for you.

Packability: Packable is a loose term. Just because a rain jacket is packable doesn’t mean it’ll be small once it’s packed. Figuring out how much space you want your coat to take up before looking is a good idea, and finding the model’s measurements when packed down is essential. Some jackets pack into their own pocket while others come with a separate stuff sack. Meanwhile, others don’t have a pouch at all, though they can most likely be rolled up in a ball and secured with a pouch you have a home or even a rubber band. We like dedicated pouches because it makes them easy to pack for one bag travel, but you do you.

Water-resistant vs. Waterproof: To save space and weight, some brands will sacrifice water repellant features like zipper garages and AquaGuard zippers. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; however, if you’re going somewhere that rains all day every day, you shouldn’t sacrifice in that department. Figure out what you want your packable rain jacket to do and ensure any models you look at meet those criteria. To learn more about the difference between water-resistance and waterproof jackets, keep reading!

Breathability: Typically, the more water-resistant a rain jacket is, the less breathable it is. The same can often be said for how small a jacket packs down. A more breathable option is right for you if you get warm easily. If you don’t mind being warm and saying dry is at the top of your list, go with a rain jacket crafted from less permeable materials. Other features like pit zips can also help with airflow, so you can offset less-than-breathable materials by creating a crossbreeze from one armpit to the other.

Is Gore-Tex a good rain jacket material?

Yes and no. Does that answer your question?

Gore-Tex is durable, highly water resistant, and great in windy environments. This makes it an excellent shout for rain jacket construction, which is why it’s a common material to see them crafted from.

On the other side of the coin, Gore-Tex can make a garment heavier, is more expensive, and can have a DWR coating that often contains chemicals that are bad for the environment.

The extra price is worth it in some situations and from some brands. However, Gore-Tex for the sake of Gore-Tex isn’t always the answer.

What is the difference between a waterproof and water-resistant rain jacket?

The difference between waterproof and water-resistant comes down to materials. Water-resistant jackets are more likely to absorb water if you’re caught in heavy rainfall, while waterproof jackets are designed to keep you dry in rough weather conditions. Both are solid options, but if you’re heading somewhere that rains all day every day, you shouldn’t sacrifice in the waterproofing department.

However, a water-resistant rain jacket often breathes better than a waterproof one because there’s more space for air permeation. Again, it comes down to what you will be using the coat for and how rainy the place you’re visiting is!

There’s also no industry standard to measure how a jacket stands up to water (like how submersible items have an IPX rating), you’ll have to take the brand’s word for it. We recommend looking for a reliable company with a great return policy just in case the performance doesn’t deliver.

Hint: When you see something has a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating, that means it’s been treated to repel water. This is on most rain jackets, but you’ll see it on bags and other outdoor gear, too.)

Why should you trust Pack Hacker?

Here at Pack Hacker, we’ve had our hands on thousands of travel items. We put each piece of gear through a rigorous testing phase to provide honest insights about how it performs before you spend your hard-earned money buying it.

In addition to testing gear, we have guides that can help you find the perfect travel daypack or sling bag, packing lists to help ensure you’re prepared for your next trip, and a Pack Hacker Pro Community that enables members to get exclusive deals, ask questions, and interact with other like-minded people from around the world.

It’s Time to Decide!

So there you have it, some of our favorite rain jackets on the market today. Special thanks to REI for sponsoring this post—if you’re looking for travel gear, REI should be your first stop. Members get exclusive perks, including free shipping! Whether you’re an over-preparer or know you’ll be heading into the eye of the storm, hopefully, the best travel jacket for you is en route as we speak. Enjoy the trip, and stay dry!

February 14, 2023

Pack Hacker