How To Select The Best Rain Jacket?

How To Select The Best Rain Jacket?

Expect the unexpected, don’t let wet weather dampen your adventure!

When choosing a rain jacket we often want it all, super lightweight, durable for heavy rain and breathable, but it's important to have the right gear suited for your adventure. Our knowledgeable team is here to answer all your questions and help you find the right raincoat for you.

Here's our top 5 tips for what to consider when choosing your rain jacket:

Durability: From a day hike in Dandenongs to multi day hikes on Tasmanian South Coast Track, context is important. The durability of your raincoat can be determined by a few factors.

Denier: Is the thickness of the individual threads used to make the layers in a garment, it can impact its durability and its lifespan. We recommend 30+ denier if you are carrying a hiking pack, anything lighter has the potential to wear the fabric and waterproofing on the shoulders, or anywhere with weight or rubbing from a backpack.

Layers: All of our rain jackets are 2.5 or 3 layer coats. There can be variation either with the categories of 2.5 and 3 layer jackets based on the construction of layers.

The 2.5 layer construction typically is jackets that have the outer fabric laminated to the waterproof membrane then has a half layer as a raised print so the membrane doesn’t touch your skin. Overall 2.5 jackets are light and can be a little as 115g! (Check out the Montane Minimus Nano Pull-On Waterproof Jacket here)

Whereas jackets with 3 layers, feel like one fabric but are 3 components all laminated together (outer, waterproof membrane and liner). 3 layer jackets are heavier but are more durable and breathable, it's great for multi-day hikes, skiing, and hiking through thick bush. If you spend most of your time outside, 3 layers is for you!

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Waterproofing: What makes a Rain Jacket Waterproof?

The Material
GORE-TEX® is the best known waterproof-breathable membrane on the market. Its waterproof technology is known for its high performance and quality. Hydrostatic Rating* 28,000 - 30,000

Most brands such as Pertex use PU as the waterproof membrane that combines wind and water protection for lightweight raincoat materials. Hydrostatic Rating* 20,000.

*Hydrostatic testing is a way of measuring how waterproof a jacket is. It measures how much water pressure your rain jackets membrane can withstand before it soaks through. (higher the number the more water resistant)

Washing & Care
A very important part of your rain jackets longevity comes down to the care after purchase. What you use to wash and clean your coat matters, there are specialised products for cleaning and enhancing water repellency, revitalising the breathability of wet weather clothing.

>> Is your rain jacket waterproof ? Read our full guide here.

Breathability: When you’re active and working up a sweat you want your body to be able to breathe. We all focus on keeping the moisture from getting in that we often forget about letting water vapour and perspiration out.

The breathability of your coat is measured in MVTR (Moisture vapour transmission rate) the higher the MVTR rating the more breathable your jacket will be.

In addition to this to this selecting the right base and mid layers makes a huge difference to how dry you feel inside your jacket. 

View our collection of Wicking Base Layers here.

Features like 3 layers and ventilation zips can also help especially in humid climates.

  • Weight: We all want the lightest jacket we can get but this means compromising on waterproofness and some features because where you save on weight you lose on features, because every zip, pocket and seam adds weight. We have jackets ranging from 115g to 470g but keep in mind it’s a balance between weight, durability (denier), membrane, features according to your activity needs.
  • Fit & Features: We want our jackets to fit comfortably and have features specific to our needs. When finding the right fit keep in mind the layers you may have on. Underneath you want to allow room in the shoulders and body, so you still have full range of motion without your jacket being too baggy.

There is no perfect jacket but for some of us we have features that are must haves, here are some that our team believe are worth considering.

Different features of rain jackets include:

  • Zips: There are some variations of zips styles like one way and two way zip (two way zips so you can open the top and bottom of your coat). Some heavier coats come with ventilation zips in the armpits, so you can let some airflow in while still staying dry. Different zip styles can help you adapt to the type of rainy day and activity you are doing.
  • Pockets: With each design the style and amount of pockets change, most common pockets are your chest and other external pockets as well as hidden internal pockets.
  • Hoods: A good fitting hood is key in keeping you dry, finding something that is comfortable in the brim that fits around your face (particular good to try if you wear glasses). Another key element is the hoods adjustments most come with a toggle at the back of your hood that you can tighten so your hood stays on in the windy conditions. For those of you who wear helmets it's important to find a hood that is compatible with your helmet.

Got questions? Ready to begin the search? The Backpacking Light team are here to help, call, email or come in instore, let our friendly team assist you in finding a raincoat for your next adventure.

Montane Rain Jacket