Sep 2, 2020 at 9:12 pm #3674543Scott SmithBPL Member
@mrmuddyLocale: Idaho Panhandle
In the market..anxious to read suggestions
ScottSep 2, 2020 at 11:22 pm #3674550Andrew IBPL Member
@akivisualsSep 3, 2020 at 6:49 am #3674563Mike MBPL Member
You’ll have to check to see if it’s still made, but my Rab Flashpoint has been excellent. It’s a full on three layer rain jacket, yet weighs a svelte 6 oz. It blows away the 2 and 2.5 layer rain jackets in performance, but is at light (or lighter)Sep 3, 2020 at 7:15 am #3674566ArthurBPL Member
My OR Helium is the perfect rain jacket if it doesn’t rain more than 5 minutes.Sep 3, 2020 at 7:19 am #3674567dirtbagBPL Member
Love my Arc’Teryx..
But honestly.. there is no “best” rain jacket. Im considering a poncho..Sep 3, 2020 at 7:43 am #3674569Greg MihalikBPL Member
Be aware that many uberlight jackets will “die in the pack” from the abrasion of trail bounce.
It’s painful to toss a two-year-old $$$ full of pinholes.Sep 3, 2020 at 7:44 am #3674570
“Best” for you will depend on how you plan on using it. The best rain shell for a summer hiker in the Sierra will likely be different than a summer hiker in South-Central Alaska. Also some people run warmer than others and sweat more, making venting even more important.
If it mostly sits in your pack, a 2-layer shell like the OR Helium or Mont-Bell Versalite would be a good choice. They are light and pack small, though they will wet out in an all day rain.
If your going to wear your shell a lot in all day rain, I like 3-layer Gore Tex with pit zips. It’s heavier and doesn’t pack down as small, but it seems to do better and is more comfortable in all day rain. I have a Montane Spine GTX shell, but I’m not sure if it’s made anymore. The Mont-Bell Storm Cruiser looks like a worthy alternative.
Lastly, all shells that require DWR will wet out but there are a couple of new technologies that don’t require DWR, Colombia’s OutDry and Gore’s Shake-Dry. Columbia used to offer a couple of light Outdry; the Featherweight and Colorado, but they have been discontinued. Gore’s Shakedry is generally for running or cycling and may not be durable enough for use backpacking. The one jacket they said was durable enough, the Gore H5 Shakedry, has been discontinued. I might look at the Mont-Bell Peak Shell as an alternative, if your pack is light and you’re relatively easy on gear.Sep 3, 2020 at 9:38 am #3674578Brad WBPL Member
Best for who? Lightest real waterproof with pit zips? Skylight Gear custom. Under 3oz.Sep 3, 2020 at 10:58 am #3674584jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
My ancient Rab Demand smock is still going strong. But Mike’s Flashpoint is a still lighter jacket. I agree that the 3 ply that Rab uses makes a real difference. So I’d go with that based on my experience with the Demand.Sep 3, 2020 at 11:16 am #3674585Scott SmithBPL Member
@mrmuddyLocale: Idaho Panhandle
Thanks for all of the great input !
anyone had any experience with Marmots stuff ?
Marmot MemBrain fabrics utilize a polyurethane laminate that perfectly balances performance for anything nature can throw at you. Waterproof, breathable and durable, the external protection coupled with minimal internal condensation adds up to pure comfort.Sep 3, 2020 at 12:15 pm #3674597Adrian GriffinBPL Member
The zPacks Vertice is a well-made 3-layer and very light. But also take a look at its head-to-head competitor, the Enlightened Equipment Visp. Both are reviewed and compared here at BPL.
The less-expensive OR Helium is a 2.5 layer, so will have a shorter life because of delamination. Its predecessor, the Helium II, has been discontinued and may still be available in some sizes and colors at heavily discounted prices.Sep 3, 2020 at 12:20 pm #3674599
Marmot Membrain like pretty much all 2.5 laminates (particularly the “proprietary” self branded ones) will eventually delaminate in my experience. I used a Marmot Essence for a while back eight or ten years ago and while it was a decent jacket it did delaminate eventually and Marmot does not warranty this.
OR has the best warranty in the business. It too bad they don’t make any rain shells that appeal to me. I’m not a fan of OR’s hoods (though admittedly I haven’t tried any of their current shells except for the Helium)
Mont-Bell has better fitting hoods for me, but I’m not sure about their warranty.
I generally like the hoods on European brands such as Haglofs (the best hood), Rab, and Montane.Sep 3, 2020 at 12:37 pm #3674603JCHBPL Member
My 3 cents (adjusted for inflation):
As others have noted:
- OR Helium II if warrantee is your primary concern…it has not shown itself able to survive long duration events.
- Montbell Versalite if max performance at the lightest weight is the goal. While it should do well in extended events, the Versalite’s performance in such has not, to my knowledge, been reported on this site.
- A 3L Goretex shell, with pit-zips, if you want to be certain that rain does not get in. The heaviest, likely most expensive, but “safest” option.
Of course that is rain jackets. A discussion of ponchos/the packa is a completely different discussion.Sep 9, 2020 at 9:19 am #3675360
I’m going to getting one of these when they go on sale: Norrona Bitihorn Active 2.0
Only 160grams! I have lots of Norrona gear and it’s super high quality and durable. I know it’s expensive but I’m happy to spend the cash on gear that’s high quality and multi-use. I’ve looked at all other options in this weight class and they all seem to be costly for what you get and only really good for emergencies or semi disposable.
The other thing I’m thinking of is “does it really matter if I get wet?” I think the important thing is to stay
. I also road bike and in that sport there has been a revolution over the last few years. Cyclist used to agonize over ultra light weight rain jackets that still had ennough breath ability, which is obviously an issue when cycling hard. Then Castelli came out with the ‘Gabba’ jersey which was a neoprene like material. Sure you get soaked but it keeps you really warm at the same time being ~100% breathable. It also dries very fast. I guess the only down side is that it does not keep you as warm if you’re just standing around.Sep 10, 2020 at 5:39 pm #3675600Ross BleakneyBPL Member
I use this: http://ultralightinsights.blogspot.com/2016/04/gear-review-berghaus-vapourlight-hyper.html. It is light and has worked well for the times I’ve used it. Breathes reasonably well and kept me dry. I’ve had one for several years and unlike Propore (O2, DryDucks, etc.) it is reasonably strong. I wouldn’t bushwhack in it, but for trail use, it can resist the occasional snag (in much the way a typical windshirt would).Sep 10, 2020 at 6:05 pm #3675609PedestrianBPL Member
Only minor issue with the Berghaus is that it’s no longer available…….and I don’t see an obvious replacement either.
Maybe we should rename this thread to: Best lightweight-backpacking rain jacket available for purchase.Sep 10, 2020 at 6:57 pm #3675620Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
There is no universal best… depends on how you weight the criteria: cost, weight, compactness, durability, breathability, venting, resistance to wetting out. A lot of good options suggested. I will add froggtogg ultralight (aka the old driducks / dropstoppers), doesn’t wet out, reasonably breathable, fantastically cheap, no very durable… but duct tape easily repairs.Sep 10, 2020 at 7:12 pm #3675627
I like the look of that Norrona Gore Tex Jacket. At 5.65oz it seems almost too good to be true for a 3L Jacket with Gore Tex. My Montaine Spine is 10oz for a 3L GTX jacket but it does have pit zips, a drop tail, and 30d face fabric.Sep 10, 2020 at 7:24 pm #3675631
Just an FYI: the Arcteryx Norvan is on sale direct and on REI (35% off). I’ve ordered one to try.Sep 10, 2020 at 7:36 pm #3675633Mike MBPL Member
^ link to the Norvan sale, REI shows full priceSep 10, 2020 at 7:42 pm #3675634
REI has a labour day 25% off special on all Arcteryx so I guess it’s over. You can find them at 30%off here:
https://outlet.arcteryx.com/us/en/shop/mens/norvan-sl-hoodySep 10, 2020 at 7:55 pm #3675639M BBPL Member
Rain jackets dont keep you dry , they keep you warm.
I’ve been wet under everyone I’ve ever used, in sustained rain. $ or $$$.
It’s when I can feel the cold water start coming in under the pack straps that I get irritated.
An umbrela helps considerably
Get that hot sweaty hood off your head , stay unzipped down to mid torso or lower….and you stay cooler…..drier…..warmer. and no water leaks in under pack straps.Sep 10, 2020 at 8:26 pm #3675643H WBPL Member
I really like my Arcteryx Beta Hybrid. Hated getting wetted out with the lightweight OR and Marmot so decided the extra weight –12.50 oz men medium –was worth it. Great athletic fit though not terribly packable but not an issue as it folds up and lays on top inside my pack. Also $$$ but sales can be found to reduce price as I found to $190.Sep 10, 2020 at 11:20 pm #3675652Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Warning about the Norvan SL… the zipper is not waterproof. It’s great for short duration activities, but in a serious rain it leaks enough that your chest will be seriously wet within 2 hours and chest fully soaked in less than 3 hours. A brief write-up about the Norvan SL. I ebayed mine and replaced it with a Gorewear H7 Trail Running Jacket. It’s zipper seems better, but I haven’t experience a hard rain storm that has lasted more than 1 hour since I got it, so I can’t recommend it yet.Sep 11, 2020 at 12:45 am #3675655PedestrianBPL Member
Most of these rain jacket threads don’t address the temperature issue.
Getting wet in warm weather is not ideal but it won’t kill you and I personally don’t worry too much about getting wet in these conditions. In fact an umbrella might be the best bet for warm conditions.
Getting caught in sustained rain with temperature in the low 50s and below can lead to hypothermia over time; add winds to the mix and you could be in serious trouble.
The latter is the situation I usually face with at least two different variations:
– rain in the high mountains in the summer (windy, dropping temperature, rain turning to hail) but usually lasting a couple of hours though it can turn into a multi day storm. When a big storm moves in and hangs around for 24 hours or more, the best bet is to hunker down!
– winter on the West coast (especially Northern California) – rain accompanied by windy, cold conditions at times sustained for hours.
In both situations I want something that will keep the rain/wind out – I don’t mind getting wet from the inside from sweating. If I find myself overheating, I can always take a breather and then keep moving. I almost always have an inner fleece layer under my rain gear in these conditions.
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