Winter has come and gone and, finally, spring has sprung. That means, for many, a lot more outdoor activity and adventure — while responsibly adhering to social distancing guidelines, of course. Of course, just because the weather is getting warmer, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be blue skies and sunshine all the time. After all, spring is prime time for downpours around the world. So, how does one manage to get out and about while still being prepared for sometimes unpredictable inclement weather?
Well, one of the best all-around solutions can be found in procuring yourself a lightweight, packable rain jacket — one you can stash in your backpack or pocket when you’re not using it but will remain at the ready in the case that a drizzle or full-on downpour catches you unaware. And that’s exactly what we have for you today: a collection of 12 of the absolute best packable rain jackets for men that you can buy right now.
Picking The Perfect Packable Rain Jacket
Factors To Consider
It needs to be said that not all packable jackets are necessarily going to be waterproof enough to qualify as rain-ready and not all rain-ready jackets are going to be conducive to packing down smaller for transportation. As this guide is dedicated to proving, however, there is a middle ground where you can get both features out of a single jacket; you just need to know where to look. It’s with that in mind that we’ve outlined the factors we took into consideration when putting this list together. That way, even if you don’t find the perfect jacket here (however unlikely that may be), you’ll still know what to seek out.
Waterproof Rating: this metric can be a tricky one, as there’s a bit of gray area as to what qualifies. For instance, tightly-woven nylon is naturally “water-resistant” but it probably won’t serve you very well in a full-blown downpour. As such, we’ve made sure that all of the jackets on our list are “waterproof” and, at a bare minimum, have a waterproof membrane (like GORE-TEX) on top of the weatherproof properties of the fabrics. That way, when you find yourself in a deluge, you can still depend on your jacket to keep you dry.
Packability: Obviously, you can take any jacket and smash it into a ball or fold it up a few times — but that doesn’t make a jacket packable. Rather, we’ve focused on jackets whose design was specifically built around packing down. That means most of these raincoats come with integrated stuff sacks and/or pockets into which they collapse. These jackets also tend to trend toward as little bulk as possible to aid in this endeavor — which might seem obvious but still needs to be stated.
Weight: While this final factor goes hand-in-hand with the metric above, it still necessitates explanation. The lighter a jacket, the easier it will be to haul it around — packed or unpacked. As such, we’ve tried to keep the jackets on our list to the ones that are the most reasonable in their overall weight. After all, you wouldn’t call a brick — even a small one — packable, would you?
Columbia Inner Limits II Jacket
Apart from the obvious low price of this packable rain jacket, this option has some other pretty great things going for it. For starters, it draws stylistic inspiration from the 1990s without sacrificing modern features — like seam-sealed Omni-Tech waterproof-yet-breathable fabric, an adjustable hood, hidden security pockets, and (of course) the ability to pack down into its own pocket. Better still, it’s available in five stand-out color combinations.
Black Diamond StormLine Stretch Rain Shell
If you consider yourself an outdoorsman and you’ve never heard of Black Diamond, you might be overstating your involvement in the industry. This brand has earned a sterling reputation by offering things like the StormLine Stretch Rain Shell you see before you. Weighing in at just 11.3 ounces, this jacket is made from a DWR-coated and laminated combination of nylon and elastane for superior waterproofing without sacrificing the wearer’s comfort and range of motion. It also has a helmet-compatible hood, making it ideal for rock climbing, bike riding, and other more extreme sports. Lastly, if you’re worried about the zipper, don’t be — the YKK zip is also PU-coated for exceptional water resistance.
REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Jacket
One of the best outdoor stores in the world, REI, also happens to offer a superb range of house-branded gear — including the XeroDry GTX packable rain jacket you see before you here. This jacket will keep you protected from the elements thanks to a DWR-coated, 2-layer GORE-TEX Paclite fabric that’s designed specifically to save as much weight as possible without sacrificing waterproofing. Better still, the fabrics are bluesign-approved — meaning they’re less impactful on the environment. And you can have all of that (and more) in a jacket that weighs a grand total of just 12.5 ounces. If you thought REI was just a retailer, think again.
Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket
Another brand that’s made great strides in the outdoor space, OR (short for Outdoor Research) has built its Helium Rain Jacket to be its most durable and lightweight waterproof jacket with the brand’s Diamond Fuse technology — meaning the fabric is constructed from diamond-shaped filaments for increased toughness and abrasion resistance. For reference, Diamond Fuse technology is 5x more tear-resistant than the brand’s award-winning Helium II tech, and it is even lighter. That means — for anyone seeking the perfect blend of weatherproofing, toughness, and weight-saving — this jacket might be your ideal garment.
Salomon Bonatti Waterproof Jacket
Salomon has always been a pioneer brand in the meeting place between outdoor adventure and speed-focused athleticism. The brand’s Bonatti is no exception; rather, it might be the ideal example of those two concepts working in perfect synergy. You see, at just 7.1 ounces in total, this is an incredibly lightweight garment — the kind that’s so light, you just might forget you are wearing it. It was also designed to assure wearers have access to a full range of motion, and it’s both waterproof and windproof for superior weather resistance. Finally, its fabrics are protective while remaining breathable, ensuring — in conjunction with its integrated vents — that you’ll stay cool and dry no matter how hard you push your limits. And yes, it does pack down into its own chest pocket for transport and storage.
Marmot Minimalist Jacket
“Minimalist” is a word that people like to throw around a lot. So, when a brand uses that word as an official product name, there could be reason to exercise caution. Well, worry not with the Marmot Minimalist Jacket, as this one delivers across the board. For starters, it has a sleek, well-designed exterior that’s available in seven distinct, handsome colors. Then, it boasts a 100% seam-taped construction for abrasion resistance and waterproofing — which pairs beautifully with its GORE-TEX laminate, zipper flaps, adjustable hood, light weight, and packability. If you think that checks off all the right boxes for an excellent packable rain jacket, you’d be exactly right.
Fjallraven High Coast Hydratic Jacket
While Fjallraven’s catalog of gear tends to harken back to traditional Scandinavian design, they’re no strangers to innovation. In fact, it could be said that the Northern European minimalism pairs perfectly with modern sensibilities surrounding packability — as is exemplified by the brand’s High Coast Hydratic Jacket. Not only does it look outstanding and lacks any extraneous detailing, but it’s also waterproof and windproof, weighs just 11.2 ounces, packs down tiny, and is built from a recycled polyamide fabric with a PU coating for extra weatherproofing. Granted, it’s a bit of an investment at $225 — but it’s one worth making, as this could very easily become your go-to inclement weather coat.
Rab Kinetic 2.0 Jacket
If Rab isn’t already on your radar when it comes to outdoor apparel, it’s time to change that. And we can start with the Kinetic 2.0 Jacket you see here. This minimalist packable rain jacket weighs just 11.9 ounces and still offers protection from all the elements — aided by its PU-coated 3-layer Proflex fabric and YKK AquaGuard zippers. It also has an adjustable hood, hem, and cuffs. And the whole thing is Fair Trade Certified, for an added level to be proud of. This jacket, while handsome, isn’t what we’d call flashy. But it doesn’t need to be — not at all.
Patagonia Ultralight Packable Jacket
Patagonia is so confident in their packable rain jacket that they just named it what it is: the Ultralight Packable Jacket. And while that might not be something to put too much of a stake in from any other brand, this is Patagonia we’re talking about — one of the major pioneering brands of the outdoor space. Of course, if you’re still skeptical, you can just look at the specs to settle your mind. They include (but are not limited to) a 3-layer H2No Performance Standard shell with a DWR water-repellent coating, corrosion-resistant weatherproof YKK zippers, the ability to pack down smaller than a water bottle, an integrated cinch-able hood, and so much more. Best of all, you can have all that in a jacket that weighs a fairly astonishing 8.1 ounces in total.
The North Face Apex Flex FUTURELIGHT Jacket
Would this really be a decent collection of packable rain jackets if we didn’t have an offering from The North Face? In this case, we’ve chosen the Apex Flex FUTURELIGHT Jacket — which is both waterproof and breathable while still offering plenty of comfort and all-day wearability. At 1.14 lbs, this is somewhat heavier than the other jackets on the list — but it is still plenty light and packable enough to have a well-earned spot here. Furthermore, while its fabric is exceptionally waterproof and seam-sealed, it’s also stretchy and lightweight enough for all-day wear. It also has additional features like an internal main zipper draft flap, an adjustable hood, an internal chest pocket, and more. It might not be the lightest packable rain jacket on our list, but it makes up for that in numerous ways ranging from styling to capability and everything in-between.
Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket
If you’re surprised to see Arc’teryx on this list, well, you’re probably not paying very much attention. After all, this Canadian technical outdoor brand is one of the few that has consistently set the bar in the space year after year. As such, it’s practically a given that they’d have one of the absolute best packable rain jackets — which they do in the Zeta SL you see here. Billed as an emergency coat — meaning it is light and packable enough to stash in your pocket even just as a contingency plan — this ultra-minimalist Paclite Plus rain jacket is backed by a GORE-TEX membrane, weighs just 10.9 ounces, has an integrated hood and adjustable cuffs, and it comes in six handsome colorways. For a simple and reliable answer to all your packable rain jacket woes, go no further than this offering.
Mission Workshop The Eiger Ultralight Jacket
If money is no object and you’re seeking out the best of the best, you can do no wrong with the Mission Workshop Eiger Ultralight Jacket. Not only does it boast classic styling reminiscent of iconic field coats, but it’s backed up by a modern construction of ultralight 96 g/m2 Polartec NeoShell fabric that’s waterproof enough to stave off even the worst of snowstorms and deluges. Furthermore, while it is definitely waterproof, it’s also breathable and comfortable at any temperature. And it has a wealth of other features, including a comprehensive collection of both internal and external pockets, custom weatherproof YKK zippers, packability, and more. Best of all, this superior packable rain jacket comes with a lifetime warranty.
The 20 Best Rain Jackets For Men
Not everyone has packability at the top of their list of requirements in a weatherproof jacket. If you’re a part of that group, you might find something a bit more formidable on our guide to the best rain jackets for men, which is comprised of coats that aren’t limited by weight and format.
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