A packable rain jacket can be a lifesaver if there’s a chance of rain. You can almost guarantee rain given the season or travel destination. As professional travelers, we’ve experienced our fair share of wet weather destinations in Scotland, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. As the saying goes, there’s no bad weather, just poor clothing.
In the outdoors or hiking, a packable rain jacket that slips easily into a backpack is critical. We understand the value of a compact rain jacket, something you can easily stow in a bag or backpack without feeling like you’ve crammed something the size of a sleeping bag with your wallet and phone.
Scouring reviews online is time-consuming and can be a drag—there are so many options! We’ve taken the time out of the equation and hand-picked the best packable rain jackets on the market for travel, hiking, and life.
Lightweight Packable Rain Jackets
|Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket||Reliable Performance, Excellent Price, Durability, Packable||Lackluster Ventilation, A Little Noisy With Movement||$149|
|Arcteryx Zeta SL||Lightweight, Waterproof, Premium, Best Features, Room for Layers, Great Weight to Performance, Sporty Look, Gore-Tex Packable Rain Jacket||Price, No Stuff Sack, No Pit Zips/Ventilation||$299|
|Helly Hansen Odin Worlds Jacket||Exceptional Quality, Durable, Breathable, Waterproof, Value For Quality||Expensive, Heavier||$360|
|Marmot PreCip Eco-Rain Jacket||Lightweight, Affordable, Solid Value, Weatherproof||Lacks Pockets, Clammy Lining, Not Waterproof||$100|
|Outdoor Research Helium Jacket||Ultralight, Packable, Waterproof, Cuffed Sleeves||Doesn’t Breath Well, Warmth||$159|
|Marmot Minimalist||Performance, Great Value, Excellent Design||Heavier, No Stuff Sack or Pocket||$189|
|REI Co-Op Drypoint GTX||Lightweight, Waterproof, High Quality, Great Features||Hood Design||$249|
|Outdoor Research Ascentshell||Lightweight, Waterproof, High Quality, Great Features, 3 Layer Design||Large Hood, Athletic Cut||$249|
|Jack Wolfskin Eagle Peak||Performance, Great Value, Excellent Design, Color Design Choices||Heavier, Roomier Cut||$219|
|Columbia EvaPOURation Jacket||Waterproof, Affordable, Frequently On Sale||Heavier, No Stuff Sack or Pocket, Mixed Quality||$99|
|Patagonia Airshed Pullover||Ultralight, Versatile, Packs in Pocket, Excellent Ventilation||Not For Heavy Rain, Weight Sacrifices Durability||$129|
Patagonia Torrentshell 3L
- Price: $149
- Weight: 13.9 oz.
- Material: Ripstop Nylon 3L H2No
- Waterproofness | Breathability: 15,000 mm | 12,000 g/m2
- Superior 3 Layer Protection
- Adjustable Hood
- Short Hem
- Stiff Shell
- Larger Size When Packed
We love this shell jacket from Patagonia. For a reasonable price, you get a three-layer shell jacket for a tremendous value. For this kind of tech, you can easily spend triple on Gore-Tex jackets. The shell material is a little thick, which can lead to a slight crinkly feeling. However, the stiff feeling is a minor drawback due to the slim cut for a sharp-looking jacket. The attractive look feels at home jumping puddles in the city as well as tackling the trails.
Not only is the rain jacket packable, but so is the visor hood. When it’s not raining hard enough to need a little face awning, roll it up and tuck it into the stowaway compartment. The microfleece lining on the neck keeps you warm and comfortable.
Lined pockets keep your hands toasty when you’re out and about, and velcroed cuffs help keep the cold from sneaking in the back door. Zippered underarms give you the option of airing yourself out when the going gets a little too warm. The jacket comes in several color options (many of them horizontally two-toned), which means you can be a little more selective based on your personal preference.
Shop Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket
Arcteryx Zeta SL Gore-Tex Jacket
- Price: $299
- Weight: 10.9 oz.
- Material: GORE-TEX fabric with Paclite® Plus
- Waterproofness | Breathability: 28,000mm | 20,000 g/m2
- Best Features
- Room for Layers
- Great Weight to Performance
- Sporty Look
- No Pit Zips/Ventilation
- No Stuff Sack
- No Breast Pocket
Arcteryx’s reputation precedes it. With the features and mindful construction for which the brand is well-known, it’s no wonder that one of its jackets ends up on our list. The Zeta is my summer jacket in the Canadian Rockies, and unless you’re into winter mountaineering, it’s a solid year-round choice.
Not only is this jacket waterproof and windproof, but it’s also snow-proof to a point, making it one of the best rain jackets. If you plan to see a lot of snow, you’ll want a lower waist cut, thicker shell, and more full sleeves. With snow in mind, check out the Zeta AR series, but those are high-priced shell jackets. Two layers of Gore-Tex finished with a durable, water repellent finish mean you stay toasty and dry.
The packable waterproof jacket is full of technology and specialty fabrics that make it a top-of-the-line investment. It’s the top-rated jacket for weatherproofing, so it will stand up to any harsh elements you may throw at it. More subtle details like the underarm gussets and the lightweight velcro cuff tighteners make it easier to stay comfortable and keep the moisture locked out. Thanks to careful attention to fit (streamlined and flattering) and construction, this jacket is in equal parts practical and current – two things that will never go out of style.
It’s the best packable rain jacket on this list, but it also happens to be the most expensive by a good bit. I find it difficult to access the pockets with a backpack. The implementation of a breast pocket would have been great. The Zeta is a solid choice if you have the money to spend and need a lightweight shell jacket to hold up to the elements. One last bit of advice, bear in mind the Zeta SL is the lightweight version. It may be worth the investment in a thicker shell at this price point.
Shop For Arc’teryx Zeta SL
Helly Hansen Odin Worlds Jacket
- Price: $360
- Weight: 16 oz.
- Material: Helly Tech Professional Fabric
- Waterproofness | Breathability: 20,000 mm | 20,000 g/m2
- Helmet Compatible
- Pocket Layout
The Helly Hansen Odin is an excellent shell and the best rain jacket. This packable rain jacket has a thick shell that provides plenty of protection and ventilation pit-zips for temperature management. It proves itself to be versatile. While you may use it for hiking in the summer and the winter, it’s great for backcountry skiing. It’s a robust shell that impressed us with the supple yet durable rubbery finish.
With solid material and a quality build, the jacket is exceptional at protecting you from the elements. The feature set provides deep front pockets, an adjustable storm hood, wrist adjustment, waist cinch, and a breast pocket. It’s a well-rounded jacket that feels ready to tackle the most inclement weather. We put it through the wringer in the Canadian Rockies and have yet to find shortcomings.
Its only downside is that it is slightly heavier than other jackets on this list, mainly due to its 3-layer, 100% polyamide 70D X 70D face & 100% polyurethane back.
Shop For Helly Hansen Odin Worlds
Marmot PreCip Eco Rain Jacket
- Price: $100
- Weight: 11.4 oz.
- Material: 2.5L Nanoproof
- Waterproofness/Breathability: >10,000 mm | 17,000 g/m2
- No Exterior Pockets
- Not Waterproof
- Not For Rough Conditions
This lightweight jacket provides some solid performance. To make it only better is the tremendous value you get with this jacket as for the price. It also comes in some nice color options.
It boasts excellent features like a hood drawstring, fully waterproof coated nylon fabric, and armpit zips for ventilation. A slight hi-lo silhouette covers your back and allows for protection below a backpack on your waist.
There are no exterior pockets on the jacket. However, there are two interior pockets with snap buttons perfect for holding more than your average pockets. It’s not a top-tier jacket, but neither is the price.
Marmot makes many great rain jackets and when it comes to packability, value, and function. Not everyone needs a rain jacket that will hold up to an ocean wave or downpour. It scratches that itch between wanting a cheap packable nylon rain jacket and getting a quality piece of gear.
Shop For Marmot Precip
Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket
- Price: $159
- Weight: 6.3 oz.
- Material: 2.5L Pertex Shield+
- Waterproofness/Breathability 20,000 mm | 20,000 g/m2
- Lacks Features
- Lightweight Nature Sacrifices Durability
- Doesn’t Breath Well
When it comes to ultralight rain jackets, it’s tough to beat the Helium II from Outdoor Research. It weighs only 6.4 ounces, is super comfortable, and offers excellent protection for such a light package. The Pertex waterproof material is beneficial for waterproofing and can easily save you from a rainstorm. Helium II is one of the smallest packable rain jackets that still delivers some high performance.
Do not expect a lot of features as there is only one chest pocket and no hand pockets. The main zipper is minimal, and the hood adjustment is a single drawcord. The Helium is the most packable rain jacket on this list, but it’s not well suited to city use, given its style. However, if you need an emergency rain jacket in your pack, this is a great choice.
Shop For Outdoor Research Helium II
Marmot Minimalist Jacket
- Price: $189
- Weight: 14.9 oz
- Material: 2.5L Gore-Tex Paclite
- Waterproofness/Breathability: 28,000 mm | 15,000 g/m2
- Great Value
- Excellent Design
- No Stuff Sack or Pocket
This packable rain jacket hits the mark right between entry-level rain jacket and top of the line to deliver a versatile rain jacket sure to keep you dry. When we first got our hands on this jacket, the quality difference from the Marmot Precip was vast. It’s close to a proper shell jacket, and the 2.5L Gore-Tex material feels durable and waterproof. It’s a great material that holds up the elements with the benefits of breathability.
A jacket like this is for adventurers who will benefit from a waterproof and windproof jacket. Coverage is good, too, as the jacket features a robust zipper, thick wrist straps, adjustable waist, and hood cinch. For the eco-conscious, the material Paclite Gore-Tex material is a recycled fabric.
To make the matter better, if you order the jacket when publishing this article, it’s on sale—making it an incredible value if you’re in the market for a quality piece of rain gear that will be great in the mountains, rainforests, or just around home.
The negatives of this jacket include the lack of a stuff sack and heavier material, which makes it not very packable despite its lightweight nature.
Shop For Marmot Minimalist
REI Co-op Drypoint GTX
- Price: $249
- Weight: 10.5 oz.
- Material: 3L GORE-TEX
- Waterproofness/Breathability: 28,000 mm | 17,000 g/m2
- High Quality
- Great Features
- No Pit Zips or Ventilation
We recommend many REI products because they have yet to let us down and are excellent hiking jackets for women and men. Their Drypoint GTX is a fantastic offering for those seeking a top-of-the-line technical coat that doesn’t break the bank, disclosure it’s still expensive. However, with this jacket, you’re getting a tremendous value of a waterproof/weatherproof shell jacket.
The jacket shell is durable and holds up well against the elements while the interior remains soft and dry. We like the features such as hand pockets, waist cinches, vents, a comfortable hood, and cuff adjustments.
If you’re not an avid outdoor enthusiast, don’t fret, as this is a hybrid hiking jacket that blends elements for an everyday and technical hiking jacket. You’ll notice it mainly in the cut of the jacket. Most importantly, this jacket is lightweight and can easily roll up into the hood for travel days riding in your daypack.
Shop For REI Drypont GTX
Outdoor Research MicroGravity Ascentshell
- Price: $249
- Weight: 11.6 oz.
- Material: 3L Ascentshell™
- Waterproofness/Breathability: 15,000 mm | 30,000 g/m2
- High Quality
- Great Features
- Mountaineering Features
- 3 Layer Design
- Large Hood
- Athletic Cut
We love Outdoor Research and use a lot of their products in the mountains. The Ascentshell is their latest shell jacket that uses proprietary technology known as AscentShell membrane flexible, breathable, and waterproof. It sports a 20-denier exterior fabric that is lightweight and packable.
This jacket is excellent for mountain sports as the pocket layout works with harnesses, and the hood fits over a mountaineering helmet. Interstellar is a perfect option for someone who wants their ran jacket to handle anything from city hopping to backpacking to mountain biking and everything in between.
It’s more skewed towards performance as the helmet-compatible hood is a little large, but it does feature hand pockets on the front not found in all technical gear. The Ascentshell is easily one of the best packable rain jackets for rough conditions on the market.
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Jack Wolfskin Eagle Peak
- Price: $199
- Weight: 15 oz
- Material: TEXAPORE O2+
- Waterproofness/Breathability: 20,000 mm | 15,000 g/m2
- Great Value
- Excellent Design
- Color Design Choices
- Roomier Cut
The Eagle Peak was a new introduction for us as it’s the first jacket we tested from Jack Wolfskin. It’s another jacket that manages to stride the line between budget and performance beautifully. Its exterior fabric of Texapor O2+ with DWR treatment handles precipitation exceptionally and has a high rating of waterproofness. We tested it out in a British Columbia downpour and we’re impressed by the performance as we remained dry.
It has a nice feature set that supplies everything we need from a rain jacket for both casual and technical usage. Pockets include a chest pocket, 2 hand pockets, and an inner pocket perfect for valuables like a wallet. The adjustable hood performs well with a brim sturdy enough to deflect rain away from the face and handle moderate winds.
It’s nice to see a jacket with some colorway options instead of the monotonous solid colors options in almost every other rain jacket. Granted Jack Wolfskin does offer a solid color choice if the two-tone is polarizing.
There are a few notable negatives. The cut is a little roomy and feels intended for more casual use versus for the Arc’teryx range of jackets that run very slim. It’s also on the heavier side of jackets but given the waterproofness and value that can easily be overlooked. The Eagle Peak is an excellent rain jacket!
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Columbia EvaPOURation Jacket
- Price: $99
- Weight: 16 oz
- Material: Nylon Omni-Tech™
- Waterproofness/Breathability: 10,000mm | 10,000 g/m2
- Frequently On Sale
- No Stuff Sack or Pocket
- Mixed Quality
The Columbia EvaPOURation is an excellent packable raincoat for absolutely torrential downpours. Whether you use it for everyday travel or mountain trekking, it’s pretty much a promise that you’ll be as dry when you take it off as when you put it on. The interior is lined with mesh for easy circulation and zero overheating, and the visored storm hood means that even in the heaviest rain you’ve ever seen, nothing is getting in. Take that, rain.
The longline silhouette with the drop tail makes for seat coverage (we’ve all sat on wet bus benches before), while the hem drawcord means you can adjust the tightness of the hem around your hips. Added features like a chin guard to resist the zipper-to-chin chafing and zipper paneling add even more resistance to the elements.
When you’re ready to pack it, stuff it into the exterior pocket – it’s its carry-case. Aside from the range of colors, this jacket is available in plus sizing and a “tall” option.
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Patagonia Airshed Pullover
- Price: $129
- Weight: 3.7 oz.
- Material: Nylon/Polyester
- Waterproofness/Breathability: 10,000 | 20,000 g/m2
- Packs in Pocket
- Excellent Ventilation
- Good For Aerobic Sports
- Not For Heavy Rain
- Weight Sacrifices Durability
- Not Great For Cold Weather
The Airshed Pullover is one of the lightest softshell jackets on the market and has a ton of potential. Its super lightweight shell can layer with anything from a t-shirt to a down jacket to match the climate. If you spend more time hiking in warm temperatures like in the American Southwest or Southeast, the Airshed is a superb softshell hiking jacket choice.
It keeps wind and rain out while providing solid ventilation. The Airshed is greatly appreciated when gaining a hill in a shower while trail running or mountain biking. It also packs down into the pocket for easy storage in a trail running vest or climbing harness. It all depends on which climate you spend more time hiking around or your hiking style with similar feature sets.
I love to carry this jacket in my back pocket or water bottle holder when mountain biking if I’m worried about inclement weather or on colder days. In particular, this is a terrific option for fast hikers, trail runners, or bikers seeking protection without dying of heat.
Shop For Patagonia Airshed Pullover
2 Bonus Rain Jackets For Travel
Columbia Pardon My Trench
- Price: $100
- Weight: 13.6 oz
- Material: Nylon
- Waterproofing: Omni-Shield™
- Long Cut
- Not Technical
- Only For Women
This jacket isn’t much of a packable rain jacket, but I wanted to mention it because it’s super stylish. There’s nothing like a good trench coat, and when you combine that with waterproof fabric, you’re left with a lightweight rain jacket that boasts double the awesome. Plus, with all the added features this jacket can offer, surprise rainfall is no big deal. Some of the features included making this option a no-brainer for our list of best packable rain jackets.
Two-way zip with a panel protects the zipper from the elements. Princess seams run down the front and back of the jacket for a slimming fit that looks as good as it feels. Bonus: for windier, rain-free days where you don’t feel the need to break out the hood, you can easily remove it and stow it away. The jacket comes in a wide variety of colors, like red, plum, and yellow.
Shop For Women’s Pardon My Trench
The North Face Fanorak Jacket
- Price: $85
- Weight: 10.9 oz.
- Material: 50D Polyester
- Waterproofing: DWR
- Weak Features Like Hood and Zippers
This jacket is simple, lightweight, understated, and still does everything you need in an emergency rain jacket. The adjustable hood comes with a drawcord for windier days, and it packs into its front-kangaroo pocket for making it lightweight and packable.
The zippered pocket on the exterior of this kangaroo pocket is helpful for things like transit tickets, your phone, or a little cash – things you don’t want to have to reach into your bag to find. With its pullover style and half-zip, elasticated cuffs, and slightly longer length, you’ll feel comfy and neatly tucked in, leaving wind and rain to stay where they belong – outside.
As it’s water-resistant, it is suitable for the occasional rain shower, but it’s more a windbreaker than a full rain jacket. It’s made a list for just how lightweight and stylish the coat is rather than its superior weatherproof details. This one falls at the bottom of the list because it’s not technically a rain jacket.
Shop For North Face Fanorak
What to Consider When Buying Packable Rain Jackets
When it comes to waterproof packable rain jackets, particularly those made for wetter climates, style is important too. It’s pretty easy to start to dislike a particular coat because while functional, it just doesn’t have any manner or look to it.
We’ve kept this list of jackets narrowed to options that give you a certain versatility but also a sleek and understated look so that you won’t feel clunky, boxy, or out of place. Plus, something you’ll be happy to wear when you’re back home, on your way to work, or just out and about on your day off.
We’ve all been victim to buying high-priced clothing with low-end quality, where the item doesn’t deserve its high price tag. We wouldn’t wish that on anyone, so the following list includes brands known for the quality of their goods, starting with the fabric and construction.
We’re talking double-walled, Gore-Tex, totally waterproof, and ready to withstand pretty much anything you throw at it. Because when you buy something you know you’ll need long term (the weather isn’t likely to get any different over time!), you want to feel like you’ve put your money towards something you don’t need to worry about replacing for years to come.
We know you need several features in packable rain gear: waterproof, wind-resistant (sometimes, that can make you colder than the rain!), durable, pocketed. But there are other features that you might not always consider when mulling over a rain jacket purchase: a drawstring hood, buttons vs. zipper, hanger loops, zipper flaps, and more.
This list of best packable rain jackets has many features to give each option a little extra. For a coat, you’ll feel all that much better about investing in – and that can continue serving its purpose long after you return home.