Best Lightweight Waterproof Jackets For Hiking

Best Lightweight Waterproof Jackets For Hiking (Budget & Quality)

You won’t have a good time hiking in the rain unless you have the proper gear and apparel. When it’s raining, you need a good rain jacket to keep you dry and warm. As a bonus, it also shields you from the elements and lessens the effects of wind chill.

To assist you with your purchase, we’ve compiled this list of the top hiking rain jackets. To provide maximum breathability and weather protection, we exclusively included raincoats constructed from the highest quality waterproof/breathable materials. Because of this, they are ideal for outdoor activities such as backpacking and mountaineering.

When shopping for a lightweight and packable waterproof jacket, it’s important to think about how much you’re willing to compromise on features. Before purchasing a lightweight jacket, think about what features are most important to you, such as adjustable hoods, cuffs, hems, and zippered pockets.

This review’s jackets aren’t cheap, but they’re worth the money because of their outstanding quality. Here are our top 8 picks:

1. BALEAF Men’s Running Lightweight Jacket Waterproof

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A 100% polyester sports vest made with the addition of detachable sleeves. Wind and water resistant. If you prefer a more relaxed fit, we recommend ordering one size larger than your typical size.

You may transform this jacket into an extra-exhausting vest by simply unzipping the sleeves and the shoulder-yoke. In the summer, it can be worn as a running vest or sleeveless jacket.

Windproof and lightweight, The men’s running jacket is made of a wind-resistant, ultra-lightweight fabric. The back’s ventilation system keeps you dry and cool. Packable Utility Pockets.

The 5.5-inch mobile phone can be safely stored in the two hand pockets with zippers on the convertible hiking windbreaker’s two spacious back pockets. You may even put it in your back pocket to make it even more convenient to transport.

Fluorescent colors are highly visible because they are so bright. Low-light visibility is ensured by reflective features on both the front and rear of the garment multi-purpose. Detachable sleeves make this windproof, water-resistant, and packable BALEAF jacket ideal for a variety of outdoor activities like running, golfing, and motorcycling.


  • Highly resistant to water
  • 3-layer jacket
  • Windproofing traits
  • Suitable for longer excursions


  • Not the finest ventilation
  • Sizing runs small and snug

Where To Purchase BALEAF Men’s Running Lightweight Jacket Waterproof?

You can purchase BALEAF Men’s Running Lightweight Jacket Waterproof here on Amazon

2. Montane Minimus

Montane’s Minimus is a lightweight, water-resistant jacket that excels in terms of utility. Due to its 2.5-layer Pertex Shield+ construction, this jacket is comparable to the Outdoor Research Helium in terms of breathability and weather protection.

The flexible arms, helmet-compatible hood, adjustable cuffs, and one zippered chest pocket come standard on the Montane rain jacket. To keep the hood safe, simply roll it up and store it in the interior tab.

The YKK AquaGuard front zipper and adjustable hem (drawcord) are also included in this waterproof jacket, which can be tightened at the bottom to keep out the cold. A stuff sack is included with the jacket to make storage and transportation a breeze.

Despite being thicker, the Montane Minimus trekking rain jacket has many of the same features as the Outdoor Research jacket. However, this is one of the best rain jackets for trekking now on the market.


  • Breathability
  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Folds into pocket


  • The cloth does not repel water well

Where to purchase Montane Minimus?

You can get Montane Minimus here on Amazon

3. Black Diamond StormLine Stretch

Black Diamond jumped into the rain shell industry with their StormLine product. This 2.5-layer rain jacket is more comfortable to wear because of its elasticity. Most classic designs have a plasticky interior, but this one has a soft interior and a considerable degree of give in the shell cloth. Among its other features, the jacket has two hand pockets and a covered front zipper, making it both functional and lightweight. Finally, the StormLine is a bargain at $159.

The StormLine has a distinct performance bent thanks to its helmet-compatible hood, stuff pocket, and pit zips, but the oversize fit isn’t great for the wilderness. Although we could have worn it over a thin base layer by adding a puffy, the jacket was far too long and wide for us to comfortably do so.


  • Highly durable.
  • Lightweight for a rain jacket with full features.
  • Stretch enhances movement and convenience.


  • Compared to more expensive 3-layer hardshells, the breathability is inferior.

Where to Purchase Black Diamond StormLine Stretch From?

You can get Black Diamond StormLine Stretch here on Amazon

4. Outdoor Research Helium Rain

It’s been a few years since Outdoor Research’s Helium Rain Jacket received an overhaul, but it’s still one of our favorites. The incorporation of Pertex’s Diamond Fuse fabric, which improves durability and tear resistance without adding bulk, was the most noteworthy change to the garment (in fact, weight went down by 0.1 oz.).

Outdoor Research also made a few tweaks to the cut of the jacket, making it more compact and easier to store in the jacket’s breast pocket on the outside. Helium Rain’s 2.5-layer construction and DWR coating keep it dry in light to moderate rain, and its adjustable hood provides good all-around coverage. Its tiny packed size makes it suitable for a wide range of outdoor pursuits, including hiking, backpacking, and rock climbing.

What are the trade-offs of using Helium Rain over other options? Heavy rain might cause the fabric to absorb moisture and feel wet on your skin, making it uncomfortable to wear. In addition, there are no hand pockets, leaving you with only a single chest pocket for storage.

The lining is prone to turning slick and damp, and there are no pit zips to let heat out when you’re working out. The Helium Rain has some drawbacks, but they are to be expected in a sub-7-ounce shell, so its low weight and great packability make it our top ultralight selection. It’s also reasonably priced and unexpectedly robust.


  • Ultralight
  • Fairly Durable


  • Too sleek for urban use; does not breathe well

Where to purchase Outdoor Research Helium Rain?

You can get Outdoor Research Helium Rain here on Amazon

5. Marmot Minimalist

The Marmot Minimalist is an excellent rain jacket for the money. In terms of appearance and feel, the shell is a cut above the competition. You won’t feel as clammy if you start to overheat while walking or hiking thanks to its lining, which is less plasticky.

The hood is made of thick material and has a large bill that can withstand rain and strong winds. All of the features, from the sturdy zippers to the thick cinch cord and the simple toggles on the hem and hood, inspire confidence and trust in the wearer.

The Gore-Tex Paclite waterproof laminate, a proven winner in this category of jackets, has recently been updated with a 100 percent recycled face fabric.

Certainly, the Minimalist isn’t a flawless design in every way. On the heavier side of things, the fabric is thick, and there is no stuff sack to make it easier to pack.

There are several drawbacks to this combination for backpacking and hiking, especially in clear skies when you only need a thin emergency layer. These minor gripes aside, the Minimalist is a tough, weather-resistant jacket that can be worn every day of the week.


  • Durable
  • Superior fabric
  • Excellent design


  • No storage bag/pocket

Where to purchase Outdoor Research Helium Rain?

You can get Outdoor Research Helium Rain here on Amazon

6. Arc’teryx Beta LT

The mid-range Beta LT from Arc’teryx blurs the borders between hardshell and rain jackets. Gore-3-layer Tex’s design and a variety of technical features (including a helmet-compatible hood and pit zips) make the LT a reliable option for four-season hiking and backcountry exploration.

While the 40-denier face fabric is strong and lightweight, the tricot backer gives the jacket a luxury look and feel that you won’t find in most 2-layer rain shells. We have come to expect excellent seam tape, smooth seams and a trim but spacious fit from Beta LT as we’ve grown to expect from the brand over the years.

With the Beta LT, what’s not to like? However, its price of nearly $400 makes it the most costly rain jacket on our list, making it a bit much for summer camping or city errands alike. Using the Beta above will save you almost 3 ounces and $50, which many users will enjoy.

With that said, the LT’s pit zips are an evident benefit for individuals who are working hard when out on their bikes or in their ski gear. Beta LT’s versatility in rain and snow protection is hard to top if you aren’t willing to fork out for a Gore-Tex Pro hardshell.


  • A well-balanced blend of weight, breathability, and comfort.


  • The most expensive jacket on our shortlist at $399

Where to purchase Arc’teryx Beta LT?

You can get Arc’teryx Beta LT here on Amazon

7. Columbia Men’s Watertight Ii Jacket

Many low-cost rain jackets are available, but Columbia’s Watertight II is one of the most popular. In terms of rain protection, you’ll need to shell out a lot more money—but the jacket’s reasonable price, sturdy construction, and wide range of sizes make it an excellent choice for casual trips, commutes, and rainy-day hikes.


  • An excellent deal for a rain jacket for city use.
  • Wide range of sizing options
  • Very economical


  • The performance in wet conditions falls short when compared to premium shells.

Where to purchase Columbia Men’s Watertight Ii Jacket?

You can get Columbia Men’s Watertight Ii Jacket here on Amazon

8. Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0

Due to its roots in the climbing industry, Rab is renowned mostly for their technical hardshell and insulating jackets, but they’ve made steady progress in the rain jacket market in recent years as well. It’s the Kinetic Alpine 2.0, with its elastic knit face fabric combined with a waterproof membrane and extensive seam taping, that we like best.

While climbing and scrambling in Patagonia, we found that the jacket’s softshell-like construction provided exceptional comfort, movement, and breathability. Rab has nailed the style as well, with a clean and simple aesthetic complemented with technological features like a two-way main zipper and a hood that can be worn with or without a helmet.

Outright weather protection is one of the key concessions with the Rab, as it is with many other hybrid soft/hard shell gear. You should expect the face fabric to wet out sooner than a conventional hardshell—especially when compared to a 3-layer Gore-Tex option like the Beta above—which makes it less trustworthy in continuous and heavy downpours.

For a $280 rain jacket, it’s a respectable performer and the stretchy structure allows for better breathability than Gore-Tex. As far as priorities go, the Rab is an excellent choice if all-day comfort is more important than all-out protection.

In terms of sizing, the Rab has a rather slim, technical fit, so if you want to wear the jacket on a regular basis, you may want to size bigger.


  • Stretchy
  • Breathability
  • Comfy


  • Slim proportions
  • Hefty
  • Bulky

Where to purchase Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0?

You can get Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0 here on Amazon

What Is The Best Fabric For A Rain Jacket?

Gore-Tex, Polartec NeoShell, eVent, and Pertex are currently the top fabrics for rain jackets. In addition to being very water-resistant, these materials are also quite breathable.

In-store swing tags may boast that the finest waterproof jackets are both waterproof and breathable, but the truth is that you’ll still feel sweaty ascending a hill in wet circumstances with a backpack. With a base and mid-layer (such as a fleece jacket) in place, you’ll find that wearing a waterproof on top of all of that is just too much, even when it’s raining out. Vents and (arm) pit zips that allow air to flow through the best rain jackets can prevent condensation and make you less sweaty.

Is Gore-Tex Entirely Waterproof?

No, Gore-Tex does not provide 100 percent waterproof protection. One can’t be entirely watertight using a cloth labeled “waterproof/breathable.” When it comes to hiking jackets, there’s always a trade-off between breathability and waterproofness, which is why they can’t be entirely waterproof.

What Is The Best Way To Waterproof A Jacket?

You should apply DWR to the jacket (Durable Water Repellent). Different DWR sprays exist and ensure that the jacket repels water rather than soaks it up. The DWR should be applied to a clean garment at all times, thus keep that in mind (after washing).

Key Considerations For A Good Rain Jacket

This is determined by the amount of layers in the jacket, which determines the jacket’s waterproofing and breathability.

2-layer jackets: With a DWR-coated outer shell and an open-cell lining, two-layer jackets are the most common and affordable options (usually mesh)

2.5-layer jackets: The DWR-coated outer layer is used in 2.5-layer jackets, which are often the lightest. A 2.5-layer jacket’s inner layer is a thin polyurethane laminate or coating designed to keep perspiration and dirt from clogging the jacket’s breathing pores from the inside out.

3-layer jackets: Outer shell is DWR-coated; a breathable and waterproof mid-layer; and an inner layer of polyurethane is the most effective. 3-layer jackets have all of these features combined.

How Do You Select The Most Appropriate Waterproof Jacket?

The first step is to find out if a garment is completely watertight or only water-resistant. When it comes to rain, the greatest waterproof coats keep you totally dry, while water repellent jackets protect you from light rains that come and go. Let that distinction guide your selection of a waterproof jacket.

What are you most likely to do with your waterproof jacket? No, we’re talking about multi-day summer hikes where something light and compact would be helpful. Alternatively, are you planning to mostly use it to walk your dog on rainy days? If this is the case, opt for a thicker, lined coat.

Top manufacturers are now selling waterproof jackets with eco-friendly characteristics. PFCs (PerFluorinated Compounds), a dangerous substance that permeates our environment, are the focus of this new movement. Because of their water and dirt-repellent properties, they have long been used to produce weatherproof apparel. Top brands are making a big deal out of using eco-friendly materials instead of PFCs.

Additionally, these new fabrics are often breathable so that you don’t become too clammy and sweaty while you’re exercising. It’s helpful if you’re out walking in the rain because some are quick-drying.

A well-fitting jacket elongates your torso more vertically. When it comes to waterproofing, this really does make a difference. When water sits on a waterproof cloth for a long time, it causes it to deteriorate.

The water will collect in the folds of an ill-fitting rain jacket, causing it to wet out faster. Trim-fitting jackets, on the other hand, are always better-looking!

To be safe, it’s best to avoid selecting a rain shell that won’t accommodate a thin fleece layer underneath.

The best fleece jackets and base layers are still necessary for staying warm in chilly weather, so make sure you have both on hand when shopping for these selections. So you can stay warm when it’s cold and cool off when it’s hot.

Choosing a bright color may not seem like a big deal, but if you plan on hiking up mountains, it is. The waterproof jacket of your dreams will keep your body dry and visible as you march up a mountain or go for a lengthy trip.

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