A lightweight rain jacket is the perfect piece of rain gear to take with you wherever you go. Most lightweight rain jackets have a good balance of waterproofing and breathability, while others even have an extra level of durability to them. The best lightweight rain jacket is one that is versatile — the kind of rain jacket that can hold up during wet outdoor activities and still be worn for regular rainy days out in the city.
What To Consider In A Good Lightweight Rain Jacket
Seeing as it’s a garment meant to protect you from the rain, it’s crucial to figure out just how waterproof a rain jacket is. Waterproofing isn’t limited to the rain jacket’s fabric, either. A jacket’s zipper can be waterproofed as well. In doing so, water leakage between zipper teeth is reduced.
Another factor to consider when looking at a jacket’s waterproof capabilities is its seaming. Fewer seam lines help prevent leaking. In general, seams should be sealed in order to minimize water leakage through stitches.
Most rain jackets, particularly when it comes to waterproof ones, feature either a 2, 2.5, or 3-layer construction. The number of layers your rain jacket’s fabric will pertain to how weatherproof it can be while remaining fairly breathable. 3-layer rain jackets offer the best waterproofing, but it’s also worth noting that many of them might not be as breathable as 2-layer jackets. Naturally, 3-layer rain jackets can be heavier than their 2-layer counterparts.
A jacket’s breathability can be the biggest deciding factor for some people. You can protect yourself all you want from the rain, but when it gets too hot, sporting a rain jacket can become unbearable. This is especially so for hikers who get caught in humid environments.
Pit zips can add great breathability to a rain jacket. In case you don’t know what they are, pit zips are basically zippers located in the underarms of a rain jacket. Unzipping them provides more ventilation and helps release excess heat trapped inside the jacket. Not all rain jackets have them, but they’re definitely an added bonus that can make a jacket all the more appealing.
Weight and Portability
Good lightweight rain jackets are easy to take with you wherever you go. Many of them can be stored in their own pockets, which makes them very compact and easy to put away. How light a rain jacket is can determine whether or not it’s the right one for you and your needs.
What Are Some of the Best Lightweight Rain Jacket Options?
1 . Outdoor Research Men’s Helium II Jacket
The Outdoor Research Helium II is the go-to option if you want a lightweight rain jacket that serves its purpose without any fuss. It can be easily packed down into its pocket, so it’s perfect for travel. While it might lean on the simple side, it effectively protects wearers from the rain despite weighing only 6.4 ounces. It’s a great pick for guys who want a more minimal rain jacket that packs a punch with maximum protection.
2. Patagonia Men’s Torrentshell Jacket
The Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket is the best rain jacket for versatility. It is functional for the outdoors yet still stylish enough for casual everyday wear. Made from 100% recycled nylon face fabric, this Patagonia rain jacket offers weather resistance and a two-way adjustable hood that protects your face from the rain. It’s a waterproof jacket that’s breathable and facilitates additional ventilation through zippered underarms.
Coming in at a weight of 12.1 ounces, it’s not as light as the Outdoor Research men’s jacket, but the Patagonia Torrentshell is still a great packable rain jacket and can be easily stuffed into one of its hand pockets for ease of portability. Make every outing a stylish affair with this versatile and stylish rain jacket.
3. Endura MTR Emergency Shell
As its name might suggest, the Endura MTR Emergency Shell is exactly what you need for sudden changes in the weather. This ultralight rain jacket is easy to store. Despite not being the most breathable lightweight rain jacket, the Endura MTR Emergency Shell does its job well when it comes to repelling moisture. You can forego an umbrella in lieu of this rainjacket without fear of getting drenched.
4. The North Face Men’s Venture 2 Jacket
When it comes to The North Face, you can be assured of some high-quality gear. The Venture 2 is easily a great value for money. Complete with an adjustable hood that gives you more room for extra layers, the jacket itself features waterproof construction and windproof fabric. This lightweight rain jacket is durable and comes in a relaxed fit, with zippable pit vents that add to its breathability. Tuck it away into its pocket and you’ll be good to go.
5. Marmot PreCip Jacket
For a more affordable option, the Marmot PreCip is the best rain jacket for people on a budget. While it may lean on the lower end in terms of price, it’s anything but cheap when it comes to quality. Pit zips give it better ventilation and its ability to be packed into its pocket makes it portable. Zipping up the high collar gives you additional protection and warmth from the elements as well. Additionally, its front pockets are roomy and its hood can be easily adjusted with its elastic drawcord hem.
Clearly, there’s a reason why the Marmot PreCip is a classic rain jacket that remains popular amongst backpackers and hikers alike. It’s even got an updated eco version made from 100% recycled nylon ripstop.
6. Black Diamond StormLine Stretch Rain Shell
One of the first things you’ll probably notice about the Black Diamond StormLine Stretch rain jacket is how elastic it is. It’s got the word “stretch” in its name, after all, so it only makes sense for this lightweight rain jacket to have some give to it. Great for mobility, its soft interior makes it comfortable while its pit zips give it more breathability. With its competitive price point and weight of 9.9 ounces, the Black Diamond StormLine Stretch Rain Shell is an ultralight rain jacket that stands out with good reason.
7. Columbia Men’s Watertight II Jacket
In the realm of light waterproof jackets, the Columbia Watertight II is a formidable contender worth checking out. It’s a great lightweight rain jacket to brave storms with thanks to its 2-layer Omni-Tech waterproofing. Plus, the mesh lining keeps things breathable, so you don’t have to worry about overheating. You really get your money’s worth with this rain jacket, thanks to its zippered pockets, reliable seam sealing, and its capability to be packed into the hand pocket.
8. Berghaus Men’s Hillwalker Waterproof Jacket
The Berghaus Hillwalker Waterproof Jacket may be light, but there’s no denying how reliable it is in different weather conditions. What makes this 2-layer Gore-Tex jacket unique is its InterActive zip, which allows wearers to zip in a compatible layer for extra warmth. With a rollaway hood for additional protection from the rain, the Berghaus Hillwalker is a versatile jacket that delivers on its promises.
9. Outdoor Research Interstellar
The Outdoor Research Interstellar is an ideal rain jacket for men who want more versatile gear. Perfect for a variety of outdoor activities, this jacket is evidently built for a multitude of sports based on its more performance-oriented features. These include its helmet-compatible hood and above-the-harness pocket placement.
Using Outdoor Research’s proprietary AscentShell technology, the Interstellar rain jacket retains flexibility on top of its waterproof characteristics. Whether you’re mountain biking or catching up on some backcountry skiing, the Outdoor Research Interstellar is a great option for when you need a rain jacket that can handle whatever you throw at it.
10. Gioberti Waterproof Rain Jacket
Offered at a budget-friendly price, the Gioberti Waterproof Rain Jacket is a bargain, especially considering how well it performs in rainy weather. The rain jacket remains breathable and effectively wicks away moisture thanks to its fully meshed lining. Made from 100% polyester, the jacket’s seams are fully sealed to lock out the rain. Be it for everyday use or for traveling, the Gioberti Waterproof Rain Jacket is an impressive and affordable option that you simply can’t go wrong with.
11. Frogg Toggs Men’s Ultra-Lite 2 Jacket
Although the Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite 2 caters more to hikers, that doesn’t take away from its functionality as a lightweight rain jacket that anyone can use. It comes with all the basics: elastic cuffs, an adjustable hood, and a full front zipper with a storm flap. Though it might not be as durable or as breathable as other rain jackets, the Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite 2 is still worth checking out. Besides, its budget-friendly price won’t make a dent in your savings.
12. Paradox Waterproof Breathable Jacket
If all you want is basic functionality, then Paradox’s waterproof jacket is a simple solution to your problem. This is especially ideal for people who aren’t so willing to drop a significant amount of cash on a rain jacket. In any case, just because the Paradox rain jacket is inexpensive doesn’t mean you don’t get a bang for your buck. This jacket meets all basic requirements including – waterproofing, wind resistance, and even UV protection. It’s a 2.5-layer jacket that’s lightweight and holds up as an outer shell. It also comes with a hood, but take note that its adjustability is limited.
13. Marmot Minimalist Jacket
Just like its name suggests, the Marmot Minimalist Jacket is a sleek rain jacket with an understated look to it. Nevertheless, it’s made with Gore-Tex and Paclite Technology. This gives the Marmot Minimalist Jacket better durability and waterproofing. Its pockets come with water-resistant zippers which can minimize any potential leaking during wet weather.
Additionally, it comes with the ever coveted pit zips, so you’re sure to enjoy some extra breathability. Made with 100% recycled polyester, the jacket is fully seam-taped and includes an adjustable hood. Weighing at around 14.9 ounces, it’s probably one of the heaviest rain jackets for men on this list. Even so, the Marmot Minimalist Jacket is a premium jacket that remains simple yet functional.
14. Wealers Lightweight Jacket
Cheap but ultimately practical, this packable rain jacket from Wealers is both thin and waterproof. Not only will it keep you dry, but it will also keep you visible thanks to its reflective decals. Other features include UV protection, an adjustable hood, an adjustable waist, roomy side pockets, and a travel pouch for easy storage.
15. The North Face Men’s Fanorak
The Fanorak from The North Face is a convenient anorak-style rain jacket that brings easy portability to the next level. It can be stored into its kangaroo pocket, turning it into a fanny pack that you can conveniently wear around your waist. Its fabric is wind- and rain-resistant, so while it might not be built for more extreme outdoor adventures, it’s a great hooded rain jacket to have when you’re out in the city. The North Face products are built to last, so you know the Fanorak is of great value for money.
More than just something to protect you from the rain, the best lightweight rain jacket is one that doesn’t get in your way. The portability of lightweight rain jackets make them a travel staple, but it’s clear that they’re not just for outdoor aficionados nor people who live a more active lifestyle. Whether you’re out conquering a mountain or are traveling to and fro work, owning a lightweight rain jacket is something anyone can benefit from.