Here is my selection of the best rain jackets for 2018 which I would take on my next hiking or backpacking trip.

A rain jacket should always be in your backpack when you are planning to go outdoors. A rain jacket may also protect you from cold winds even if it is not raining.

If you expect the weather to be good but only windy then you may also consider to take a wind jacket with you rather than a rain jacket.

In most cases a lightweight rain jacket which does not need that much space in your backpack may be sufficient. Also have a look on the rain pants which I would consider to pack into my backpack.

Best rain jackets for hiking and backpacking backpacks 2018

The best rain jackets of 2018

Rain JacketWeight
Berghaus Vapourlight Hyper Smock 2.075 grams / 2.6 oz.
Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket180 grams / 6.3 oz.
Rab Flashpoint Jacket185 grams / 6.5 oz.
Montane Minimus Jacket208 grams / 7.3 oz.
Haglofs L.I.M Comp Jacket265 grams / 9.3 oz.
Mountain Hardwear Plasmonic Jacket323 grams / 11.4 oz.
Arcteryx Zeta LT Jacket335 grams / 11.8 oz.
Mammut Meron Light HS Jacket men357 grams / 12.6 oz.
Fjällräven Abisko Eco-Shell Jacket380 grams / 13.4 oz.
Mammut Kento HS Hooded Jacket400 grams / 14.1 oz.
Marmot Minimalist Jacket425 grams / 15 oz.

Arc’teryx Zeta LT

Weight: 335 grams / 11.8 oz. Fabric: N40p-X 3L GORE-TEX

The Zeta LT Jacket would be my favorite choice if I would select a new waterproof jacket.

It comes with the new Gore Tex GORE C-KNIT backer technology which should be super comfortable on the skin and even more breathable.

There is also a lighter jacket out which is called Norvan Jacket and comes with only 215 grams.

However, I would not choose it for packrafting as the fabric N20p 3L is quite thin compared to the Arc’teryx Zeta LT Jacket.

The Norvan jacket is more suitable for runners or if you don’t wear a backpack.


Fjällräven Absiko Eco-Shell Jacket

Weight: 380 grams / 13.4 oz. Fabric: 2.5-layer with four-way stretch

The Fjällräven Absiko Eco-Shell Jacket is a water and windproof 2.5 layer jacket. It’s one of the lightest shell layers in Fjällrävens product range. The fabric of the jacket has also been party recycled and offers four-way stretch movement and a hood with a laminated brim.


Haglofs L.I.M Comp Jacket

Weight: 265 grams / 9.3 oz. Fabric: Gore-Tex Active Shell

The Haglofs L.I.M Comp Jacket is made of Gore-Tex Active Shell which protects you against wind and rain. It comes with elasticated hem and cuffs and mounted hand pockets to store small items. The Haglofs L.I.M Comp Jacket is a minimalistic jacket which packs small into your backpack.


Mammut Kento HS Hooded Jacket

Weight: 400 grams / 14.1 oz. Fabric: DRYtech Premium 2.5-layer

The Mammut Men’s Kento Jacket provides waterproof protection you can easily pack down so you can take it anywhere you roam, whether you’re mountaineering, multi-pitching, or alpine climbing. Its DryTech Premium shell gives this jacket superior waterproof protection that’s surprisingly breathable to keep you comfortable when you’re working hard. Underarm zippers offer a lot of airflow and ventilation, while the pre-shaped sleeves ensure excellent coverage and mobility while you’re climbing.


Mammut Meron Light HS Jacket men

Weight: 357 grams / 12.6 oz. Fabric: 3-layer GORE-TEX Active material / GORE® C-KNIT

The Mammut Merson Light HS Jacket men is a combination of 3-layer GORE-TEX Active and GORE® C-KNIT and comes with a 28,000 mm water column which makes the jacket waterproof. The jacket is also helmet- and harness-compatible and features a reinforced visor which can be adjusted horizontally and vertically with a single pull. The seams and cuffs can also be adjusted. This is a great jacket for the alpine environment.


Marmot Minimalist Jacket

Weight: 425 grams / 15 oz. Fabric: Gore-Tex PacLite

The Marmot Minimalist Jacket has been designed for the dedicated outdoors person who is looking for a lightweight solution.


Montane Minimus Jacket

Montane Minimus Jacket

Weight: 208 grams / 7.3 oz. Fabric: PERTEX Shield +

The Montane Minimus Jacket is similar to the Montane Minimus Smock with the difference that it has an adjustable hoody and a long front zipper to easily put on / off the jacket.

The additional hoody can be an advantage if you are in the mountains and is suddenly starts to rain.

The jacket also features an fully adjustable helmet compatible mountain hood.

I would choose the Montane Minimus Jacket as my go-to jacket if every gram counts and you want to have a full-zip jacket.

If durability is also an important aspect then you should have a look at the new Arc’teryx Zeta LT Jacket which comes next in my list.


Mountain Hardwear Plasmic Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Plasmonic Jacket

Weight: 323 grams / 11.4 oz. Fabric: Dry Q EVAP 70D 2 5L

The Mountain Hardwear Plasmonic Jacket is one of the best selling jackets from Mountain Hardwear and made especially for hiking and backpacking.


Outdoor Research Helium II

Weight: 180 grams / 6.3 oz. Fabric: Pertex Shield, nylon ripstop (30D)

The Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket is also a quite popular rain jacket. It features a single-pull hood drawcord to adjust coverage, zippered Napoleon pocket and elastic cuffs.


Rab Flashpoint Jacket

Rab Flashpoint Jacket

Weight: 185 grams / 6.5 oz. Fabric: 3L Pertex Shield

The Rab Flashpoint Jacket is also a super light rain jacket.

With 185 grams it’s you won’t feel it either in your backpack.

It’s also a great jacket for trail running. Not as durable if you are planning to carry a backpack.


Best fabric for rain jackets

You should look for a rain jacket which is made of light fabrics. In terms of e.g. GORE-TEX, I would opt for GORE-TEX Active Shield or the new GORE C-KNIT backer technology which comes with the new Arc’teryx Zeta LT Jacket.

However, you will sweat in all rain jackets if you are active regardless of the fabric.


How to wash them?

For my hardshell layers like a rain jacket I use Nikwax to clean them.


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