The 4 Best Lightweight Packable Rain Jackets in 2020
When bad weather strikes, being prepared is key to your comfort. That is why every backpacker, hiker, and outdoor enthusiast should invest in a high-quality packable rain jacket that helps keep you dry in wet, rainy conditions. Maximum protection against the elements, yet minimum packing weight and packing space: an ultralight rain jacket is simply essential for any wilderness adventures.
To help you navigate your way towards the top-rated options on the market, our team has comprised a list of the Best Packable Rain Jackets, all available directly via Amazon.
We’ve based this selection on the key buying factors and Amazon reviews, only selecting products that promise to live up to and exceed expectations. These rain jackets are lightweight, made of premium materials, value-for-money highly-rated by other hikers, and durable enough to last you for many trips to come.
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
Note: Great news, the highly-rated Marmot Minimalist Jacket is also available in a Women’s version. Click here to view the product listing on Amazon.
Discover the top-rated, packable waterproof jackets for men in this comprehensive overview*, and upgrade your outdoor gear with this must-have essential!
*Disclaimer: In the product review listings, we’ve chosen to focus solely on packable rain jackets for men. Though at the bottom of each product review, you’ll find a link to the Women’s version of the listed packable rain jacket – with similar design-elements, construction, waterproof-abilities, and high Amazon reviews.
Best Packable Rain Jacket – Overview
Columbia Men’s Watertight II Waterproof Rain Jacket
The Columbia Watertight II packable rain jacket has a 100% ripstop nylon shell, and a soft 100% polyester lining. The jacket features Columbia’s patented Omni-Tech™ waterproofing technology. This means that the shell of the jacket is made of three layers to provide superior protection against the elements. The outer layer of the shell has been treated with a water-resistant Omni-Tech™ coating which helps prevent water from penetrating the other layers. Though waterproof and fully seam-sealed the nylon shell is still breathable, allowing you to keep your cool.
Other great design-elements of the Columbia Watertight II packable rain jacket are an attached, adjustable storm hood; a drawcord adjustable hem, zippered hand pockets, elastic cuffs, and an abrasion-resistant chin guard. The sturdy zipper, adjustable hood, and drawcord hem allow you to block out cold spots and create your perfect slim fit.
Over 50 color options
The Columbia Watertight II packable rain jacket is ready to order via Amazon in over 50+ different colors. That means there’s a match for every preference. Whether you want to blend in with nature wearing a muted green or want to stand out from the crowd in a vivid red jacket: the choice is yours!
The Columbia Watertight II packable rain jacket weighs approximately 13.5 oz according to other Amazon reviews, but this is – of course – also dependent on the size of the jacket. A big perk is that this jacket is packable into its hand pocket. In one of the two hand pockets, you’ll find a tag that reads ‘packable’. Pull this hand pocket inside out and stuff the rest of the jacket into it. The ‘packable’ hand pocket comes with a double-sided zipper. So, once you’ve bundled the jacket into its pocket, zip it closed and voila: you’ve created a compact bundle that takes up minimal space in a backpack.
Tip: Looking for a women’s version of this rain jacket? Then consider the Columbia Women’s Arcadia II Waterproof Breathable Jacket with Packable Hood: a lightweight alternative with similar features and water-resistant properties.
- Omni-Tech™ waterproofing technology
- Quality nylon shell
- Adjustable hood
- Drawcord hem
- Over 50+ colors available
- Packs into own pocket
- 3-layer construction
- Great breathability
- Not the most heavy-duty
- More suited to moderate weather conditions
- Not the most durable
Marmot Men’s Minimalist Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket
The Minimalist Men’s Rain Jacket by Marmot may be called minimalist in its title, but this premium jacket offers maximum performance in heavy downpours and challenging weather conditions. The high-end jacket does cost a bit more, compared to budget-friendly options such as the previously listed Columbia Watertight II. But if you want a first-class quality standard, it’s 100% worth the investment. As its hundreds of 5-star Amazon reviews confirm: this jacket holds its own in wet weather.
The Marmot Minimalist Men’s Rain Jacket is more than equipped to keep you dry and comfortable. This high-quality design features GORE-Tex with PacLite Technology. Similar to Columbia’s Omni-Tech™ (as discussed within the previous product listing), GORE-Tex is a 3-layer polyester fabric construction with special weatherproof perks. The GORE-Tex and PacLite technology in the Marmot Minimalist Men’s Rain Jacket means this 3-layer construction fabric is the ideal balance of weather protection, comfort, and packability.
The outer shell of the jacket features a microporous GORE-TEX membrane, which prevents water from getting in, whilst providing moisture-wicking abilities to draw internal condensation/sweat out. This allows the rain jacket to not just keep you dry, but also aid temperature regulation. Further temperature regulation options include the jackets ‘PitZips’. These zippered underarm vents let you regulate the internal temperature by increasing airflow when desired. This durable water repellent jacket is also windproof, whilst the soft Paclite layer on the interior makes a lightweight alternative to a traditional bulky liner.
Maximum comfort and range of motion
Other clever design-elements of the Marmot Minimalist Men’s Rain Jacket include fully-taped seams to keep water out and prevent leaks, plus an attached, adjustable hood. The design also comes with a water-resistant ‘storm flap’ zipper, a chest pocket, and zippered hand pockets, and a drawstring hem for a snug, secure fit. Another perk is that the Marmot Minimalist Men’s Rain Jacket offers an excellent range of motion, due to its built-in ‘Angel-Wing Movement’ technology, which enables you to retain full mobility at all times
The lightweight Minimalist Men’s Rain Jacket by Marmot is ideal for hikers that want to minimize their packing weight, yet still enjoy maximum protection. It may come with a slightly hefty price-tag, but this super light design does come packed with perks. If you want a breathable and lightweight rain jacket with multiple venting options and premium water repellent construction: this could be your perfect fit.
Tip: Great news, the highly-rated Marmot Minimalist Jacket is also available in a Women’s version. Click here to view the product listing on Amazon.
- GORE-Tex with PacLite Technology
- Premium materials
- Moisture-wicking abilities
- 3-Layer fabric construction
- Adjustable hood
- Drawcord hem
- Angel-Wing Movement technology
- Pitzips underarm venting system
- Outstanding comfort
- Simple yet sleek design
- Highly-rated hiker favorite on Amazon
- Superb quality standard
- Quite pricey
- Does not pack into its own pocket
- Not the lightest jacket
Arc’teryx Zeta SL Men’s Rain Jacket
The Zeta SL Jacket by Arc’teryx was designed with a strong emphasis on comfort. The brand has incorporated various top-grade design elements to achieve the most comfortable fit. Examples are the design’s articulated patterning and gusseted underarms for mobility and comfort. Enabling a full range of movement at all times. The rain jacket also comes with a chin guard with brushed microsuede facing for extra softness.
The Arc’teryx Zeta SL jacket features a 2-layer construction of GORE-TEX fabric with Paclite Plus product technology. The 40-denier GORE-TEX Paclite outer shell is windproof and waterproof, and fully capable of keeping bad weather out. The minimalist design is super packable and makes an ideal GORE-TEX emergency shell for hiking. Do note that this rain jacket by Zeta only features a 2-layer fabric construction, not 3-layers, which makes it compromise slightly on breathability. That said, when it comes to waterproofing and keeping you dry, the Zeta is hard to beat.
The design features various special design-elements to help keep you dry and comfortable, even in heavy rain and downpours. These include WaterTight™ front zipper and two hand pockets with RS™ sliders, plus a StormHood™ that secures with a halo adjuster. Unfortunately, this is not a helmet-compatible hood, so if you’re looking for a mountaineering rain jacket, this isn’t recommended. However, for hiking, backpacking, and other non-helmet activities, the Arc’teryx Zeta SL jacket is a top-notch choice. It offers further protection against the elements with its adjustable cuffs, sealed seams, and adjustable hem drawcord, which you can cinch for a perfect fit – eliminating cold spots and rain from creeping in.
As its glowing 5-star Amazon reviews confirm, this is one of the best rain jackets on the market. That said, you do have to ask yourself whether it’s worth the extra investment, as this raincoat is quite a pricey indulgence. For leisurely hikers that are merely looking for a basic, waterproof rain shell, it may just be a bit too heavy-duty. But for those outdoor enthusiasts that want maximum comfort and protection during bad weather backcountry adventures, it could be worth the splurge!
Tip: This premium durable water repellent raincoat is also available in a female version. The Arc’teryx Zeta SLWomen’s Jacket has the same high-quality construction, water-repellent abilities, and high-end perks as the male version, and is available on Amazon in 8 trendy colors.
- GORE-Tex with PacLite Plus Technology
- Top-grade materials with excellent durability
- 40-denier outer shell
- More equipped for extreme weather conditions
- Adjustable StormHood™
- Drawcord hem
- Adjustable cuffs
- WaterTight™ front zipper
- Hand pockets with RS™ sliders
- Gusseted underarms for full mobility
- Does not pack into its own pocket
- Can be too heavy-duty for leisurely hikes
- Only 2-layer fabric construction instead of 3
- Slightly less breathable
EZRUN Men’s Waterproof Hooded Rain Jacket
We also wanted to include a budget-friendly rain jacket in this overview, as we realize not every hiker has hundreds of dollars to spend of a premium rain jacket. That is exactly why the EZRUN Men’s Waterproof Hooded Rain Jacket would be our recommended choice for those on a stricter budget. Granted, it’s not the most durable or high-quality, but in light rain and moderate downpours, it still gets the job done: keep you dry and comfortable.
The EZRUN Men’s Waterproof Hooded Jacket works great as either a windbreaker or an emergency rain jacket, due to its water-resistant materials. A downside is that the jacket’s waterproof material is not great on breathability, but we think for its low pricing, that’s a fair trade-off.
The affordable Waterproof Hooded Rain Jacket by EZRUN comes with a funnel hood with drawcord adjusters, allowing you to secure it tightly around the head area. The raincoat also comes with elasticated cuffs and an elastic hem, which can be cinched as desired.
Packs into its back pocket
Further perks are two zippered front pockets, a back pocket, and reflective detailing on the jacket for visibility in low-light conditions. This waterproof hooded raincoat by EZRUN is also very packable. In fact, the whole jacket can be packed in its back pocket – no stuff sack needed. Simply turn the pocket inside out, compress and fold the raincoat into the pocket, and voila: you’ve created a compact little pouch that easily slots in small backpacks. Ideal for day hikers that want to be prepared for bad weather, without having to lug around a bulky rain jacket. Plus, according to Amazon reviews, this budget-friendly jacket is a much better alternative to cheap rain ponchos, as it holds up much better – without actually costing a lot more.
Most Amazon reviews praise the Waterproof Hooded Rain Jacket by EZRUN for its quality and water-resistant properties. Granted, it’s level of durable water repellent finish (DWR) isn’t as outstanding as high-end brands, but according to other hikers, for the price listed, it’s one of the best lightweight jackets for those on a budget. Do note this is not a breathable jacket or rain gear for extreme weather conditions, but for affordable emergency outerwear, it’s an ultralight hikers’ favorite.
Tip: The EZRUN Waterproof Hooded Rain Jacket is also available in a Women’s fit, available on Amazon for similar budget-friendly pricing. The silhouette of the EZRUN Women’s Waterproof Hooded Rain Jacket is just as lightweight, and packable as the male version, and is just as highly-rated by other hikers with dozens of 5-star Amazon reviews.
- Very affordable
- Excellent value-for-money
- Waterproof nylon shell
- Great as windbreaker
- Elasticated cuffs
- Adjustable hem
- Folds into its own pocket
- Not the best quality
- Not the most waterproof in heavy downpours
- Not breathable
Each design in this Best Packable Rain Jacket overview has its pros and cons, and there isn’t a jacket that reigns supreme. That is why ‘the best’ jacket is a very personal choice, and completely depends on your preferences. If you’re on a strict budget, you may find your perfect fit in the very affordable EZRUN Waterproof Hooded Rain Jacket. Though slightly less equipped to deal with extreme weather and heavy downpours, this emergency rain shell should keep you comfy and dry in light rain and moderate conditions.
For those outdoor enthusiasts that have a bit more to spend, a mid-budget option like the Columbia Watertight II packable rain jacket could be the perfect balance between performance and affordability. It’s an upgrade from the EZRUN Waterproof Hooded Rain Jacket, with extra perks such as Omni-Tech™ waterproofing technology and great breathability.
Another step up is the Marmot Men’s Minimalist Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket. Though more expensive than the Columbia jacket, it also comes with a super durable quality standard and offers superb comfort and protection against the elements. Its special GORE-Tex with PacLite Technology makes it equipped to deal with heavy downpours, without adding bulk or weight to the jacket. Its lightweight, comfortable, and breathable 3-layer construction also allows you to keep your cool, thanks to special moisture-wicking abilities to draw internal condensation/sweat out.
And for those hikers and backpackers that want a top-of-the-line rain jacket with outstanding performance, comfort, and durability, the Arc’teryx Zeta SL Rain Jacket could be ‘the best’ match. This premium jacket may cost a pretty penny, but according to its glowing 5-star Amazon reviews, it’s worth the money if premium performance is what you’re after. It is made of first-class materials, and offers superior waterproof properties, making it a luxurious choice to battle the elements in style.
Rest assured: all 4 jackers on this overview are a great choice and excellent value-for-money. All you need to do is determine how much you want to spend, how much performance you need, and which style suits your preferences best.
If we had to pick a winner, we’d save up and spend our money on the Marmot Men’s Minimalist Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket. Yes, it’s slightly expensive for a basic rain jacket, but for its outstanding quality, comfort, and durability, we think it’s worth the investment – as it should last you for many years with proper care.
The Marmot Men’s Minimalist Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket is packed with state-of-the-art technologies, yet the silhouette is simple and streamlined: making it not just protective, but also quite stylish.
We like that this high-quality design features GORE-Tex with PacLite Technology: 3-layer polyester fabric construction with special weatherproof perks. The GORE-Tex and PacLite technology in the Marmot Minimalist Men’s Rain Jacket means this 3-layer construction fabric is the ideal balance of weather protection, comfort, and packability.
A big perk of the construction is that the outer shell of the jacket features a microporous GORE-TEX membrane, which prevents water from getting in, whilst providing moisture-wicking abilities to draw internal condensation/sweat out. This allows the rain jacket to not just keep you dry, but also aid temperature regulation. The jacket also comes with handy ‘PitZips’. These zippered underarm vents let you regulate the internal temperature by increasing airflow when desired. This durable water repellent jacket is also windproof, whilst the soft Paclite layer on the interior makes a lightweight alternative to a traditional bulky liner.
Windproof, watertight, comfortable, and easily packable: it has all the qualities we look for in a rain jacket, plus has the high, 5-star Amazon customer review rating to back up its value and performance. In other words: it’s simply a winner!