Camping Gear: Best Rain Jackets

There are so many options out there for rain jackets, ranging in price from $100 to $800 – it’s hard to know what’s what. Blogger Michael Lanza has tested dozens of rain jackets on hikes all over the world for years and has come up with his top 5 choices.

His criteria for selection:

  • Don’t spend more than necessary for what you’re doing. Think about how often you’ll actually wear the jacket.
  • A three-season shell should not weigh much more than a pound, period.
  • In the very least, the shell should fit you, shed steady rain, have a protective hood, and breathe well enough that you’re not just as sweaty from being too hot underneath – no matter how much it costs.
  • If you’re spending $300 or more, don’t settle for anything less than exactly what you want as far as features & fit.

Arc’teryx Zeta LT Jacket

Cost: $425

Weight: 12 oz

Perfect for hard-core users, a high-performance rain shell for ultimate comfort and functionality in consistently wet and challenging conditions. Its superior weather protection, breathability, and C-KNIT technology from Gore-Tex make the jacket more supple and quieter than traditional hard shells.

Photo credit: thebigoutside.com

Marmot Crux Jacket

Cost: $275

Weight: 7.5 oz

If your first priority is keeping the weight down, closely followed by protection from the elements, this jacket is a great choice. It is extremely light in weight, and a great option if you tend to carry a shell as a precaution. The only quality it lacks is breathablility.

Photo credit: thebigoutside.com

 Montane Featherlite Shell Jacket

Cost: $399

Weight: 11 oz

This jacket makes the list because of its eVent DV Storm membrane. Breathable, comfortable, light and keeps the water out. It’s pricey but worth it if you’re looking to invest in a good rain jacket.

Photo credit: thebigoutside.com

Outdoor Research Realm Jacket

Cost: $279

Weight: 10.5 oz

With four-season versatility – proves itself under the sun as well as ripping winds, excellent breathability, and technical features in a shell weighing 10 ounces at a reasonable price, the Outdoor Research Realm Jacket is a great value.

Photo credit: thebigoutside.com

Patagonia Pluma Jacket

Cost: $549

Weight: 14 oz

A legitimate, four-season shell made with Gore-Tex Pro fabric, the Pluma has it all: superior weather protection, good breathability and ventilation, and a fully adjustable, helmet-compatible hood, while still weighing in under a pound.

Photo credit: thebigoutside.com

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