When it comes to looking for a high quality rain jacket for hiking your best bet is a lightweight synthetic jacket made of polyester, nylon, vinyl or rayon on its outer layer. These materials excel at being air permeable while deflecting rainwater, with the help of an interior layer membrane, to provide maximum waterproofing and breathability.
What are the Best Rain Jackets for Women for Hiking and Backpacking?
- Columbia Women’s Arcadia II Waterproof Rain Jacket
- Marmot PreCip Women’s Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket
- OutdoorMaster Women’s Hooded Waterproof Shell With Fleece Liner Jacket
- North Face Women’s Venture 2 Waterproof Rain Jacket
- North Face Women’s Carto Tri-Climate Jacket
There are three different types of rain jackets based on their layering: two layer, two and a half layer, and three layer rain jackets.
A rain jacket is designed for blocking rain and wind, not necessarily for keeping you warm. Rain jackets need additional insulation such as a fleece sweater to provide warmth as well as water and wind protection.
The layers of a rain jacket are as follows: an outer layer made of a synthetic material, a middle layer (the inner layer in a two layer jacket) which consists of a one way membrane that allows the ventilation of moisture from the inside toward the outside (think Gore-Tex, eVent, or Dry.Q membranes), and an interior layer of mesh and additional synthetics to increase moisture wicking and protect the mid-layer from sweat accumulation.
Although a wind blocking rain jacket will help you stay more warm since wind blows out the heat you’ve accumulated inside a jacket, with a multi-layered rain jacket you’ll still want to have multiple under layers for warmth, such as a fleece sweatshirt.
While a rain jacket isn’t insulated for warmth, and some might see that as a disadvantage, the enormous advantage of rain jackets is how lightweight they are. Weighing in at only two or three pounds at most, a rain jacket’s strength is its ability to be folded down for pack storage during dry conditions while not weighing you down at all.
Below are our selections of the best women’s rain jackets for hiking and backpacking based on their ability to provide protection from wind, and keep torrential rains at bay. There are different layered jackets listed below, and even one special jacket which doubles as a winter jacket.
If you’re looking for a high quality rain jacket these really are some of the best on the market, and we hope you enjoy our selections!
Starting off the list is a classic for outdoor enthusiasts, and is easily one of the most popular rain jackets on the market, and for good reason.
The Arcadia II rain jacket from Columbia is a double layered jacket with a nylon exterior, and a polyester mesh interior. Both of these synthetic materials are very lightweight and the polyester interior wicks away moisture very well.
With zipping pockets, adjustable wrist straps for a better individual fit, and the ability to fold up the entire jacket into one of the pockets for easy storage, it’s really no surprise that this jacket’s so popular and highly rated.
What we love about this jacket is its versatility in that it’s completely waterproof and windproof, it weighs less than three pounds, and has the ability to fold into a tiny pocket which is amazing for storage.
While you do still need at least one under layer of fleece, or another warm synthetic material to brave more extreme cold, the ability of this rain jacket to cover a wide range of weather and fold down into a pocket makes it a top contender as one of the best rain jackets for women on the market. You really can’t go wrong with the Arcadia II.
The waterproof Marmot PreCip is designed in a similar way to the previous jacket, Columbia’s Arcadia II, but the PreCip has one special feature that makes it better, and that’s zippable armpits.
It may not seem like much, but being able to unzip at the armpits helps tremendously at releasing heat and moisture and will reduce or eliminate the accumulation of sweat over time.
Without armpit zippers eventually the inside of a rain jacket will start to feel wet and you’ll think that water’s coming in from the outside and that the jacket is leaking, but really the moisture is coming from you.
We really can’t stress how nice this feature is when you’re trekking across the countryside, and in fact, we’ve grown so fond of this feature, we personally won’t even purchase jackets without this feature anymore.
The other attributes that the Marmot PreCip boasts is the ability to fold down into a tiny pocket with a weight of less than two pounds, an adjustable waist cord to allow the jacket to fit more snugly around your waist, and an adjustable hood cord as well.
What we love about this rain jacket is the amount of features that it has while still being really affordable. At roughly the same price as the Arcadia II, and with zippable armpits, there’s really only one reason to pick the Arcadia II over the PreCip and that’s material.
The Arcadia II is made of nylon which is a softer material that’s slightly more durable and sounds less crunchy as it moves around. The PreCip’s made of polyester which dries faster and is more resistant to scratches but is more loud than its soft nylon counterpart.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. If you can handle the more crunchy sound of the polyester, then the Marmot PreCip is the better option. Either way, both of them are great jackets and you won’t be disappointed at all.
Next on the list is a rain jacket made by OutdoorMaster that comes with a fleece liner. This two layer rain jacket weighs less than three pounds and is made of polyester with a Teflon exterior coating which allows it to deflect water exceptionally well and makes it stain repellent.
Sporting two really convenient zippable front pockets on the chest, the ability to completely remove the hood, and adjustable wrist straps which allow for a better fit, this rain jacket has really nice features for the price.
What we love about this rain jacket is the fact that it comes with a fleece liner that you can zip directly into the interior of the jacket. Fleece is a great material for moisture wicking and will draw the moisture away from your body to be dried really well.
While this jacket doesn’t come with zippable armpits for better air circulation, the affordability of this jacket with its features and the additional fleece liner make it a really great option for even cold winter conditions.
The fact that jacket has a fleece liner that comes with it makes it a really great value for its cost which is why we’re ranking it slightly higher than the other rain jackets.
But, we’re not going to mince words here, we really love jackets with zippable armpits, which is why we think the Arcadia II and the PreCip jackets listed above are higher quality if you already have a fleece sweatshirt.
The North Face is a globally recognized brand and is known for producing some of the highest quality outdoor gear on the market, and their Venture Two rain jacket’s no exception.
The Venture Two is a two and a half layer rain jacket with an exterior constructed of 100% nylon, and has a mesh lining with a polyurethane coated interior that’s designed for maximum moisture wicking and ventilation.
Zippable armpits and pockets, adjustable wrist straps, an adjustable hood, the ability for the entire jacket to be folded down into a tiny hand pocket while only weighing 1.5 lbs, plus coming in 38 different colors, the Venture Two rain jacket by North Face really is the top of the line.
Personally, we like the Pink Salt color which we’ve displayed in the link below, but they’re often out of stock since they’re so popular, so if you see one, grab it quick before it’s gone.
This is our jacket of choice here at Paragon Trails. While the next rain jacket has more versatility and can be used for heavy winter, the Venture Two is the best rain jacket on the market as far as we’re concerned.
Last on the list and the best value, since it’s the most versatile and can be used for four seasons, is the Carto Tri-Climate Jacket by The North Face.
This three in one jacket, a double layer synthetic jacket with a material similar to Gore-Tex in its inner layer called DryVent, is waterproof and windproof and comes with a synthetic inner jacket that can be zipped directly into the exterior.
Designed to withstand cold to extreme cold temperatures with the aid of the inner jacket, the Carto Tri-Climate will protect you really well as long. We know someone that we met out on the trail that owns this jacket and inner liner combo and they swear by it.
There a lot of different jackets on the market, but we really love the Venture Two by The North Face the best. When you’re looking for a hiking jacket you need one that has zippable armpits and can fold down really well and doesn’t weight a lot.
While other synthetics materials such as polyester or polyurethane will work well for a rain jacket and are designed to be waterproof and windproof, we prefer nylon since it’s less crunchy sounding as it moves around, which is another reason we really like the Venture Two.
If you’re looking for a budget jacket, the Arcadia II by Columbia, or the Marmot PreCip are really good choices. However, since the PreCip has zippable armpits we would choose that one over the Arcadia II, but if you can’t stand the crunchy sound of polyester go for the Arcadia II.
When it comes to more versatile and budget jackets then the jacket with a fleece liner by OutdoorMaster or the Carto Tri-Climate by The North Face are the way to go. They both do really well in colder climates and will protect you in below freezing temperatures.
Ultimately, the choice is yours when it comes to deciding on a jacket. We can only try to point you in the right direction. We love the North Face Venture Two jacket because we already own nice fleece sweatshirts that we can wear under the jacket, so the amount of features, plus the ultralight nature of it is extra appealing.
We hope that you enjoyed our review of our Top 5 Best Hiking Rain Jackets for Women, and as always we want to thank you for being here.
If you have any questions, comments, concerns or suggestions, we would love to hear from you in the comments section below.
We hope the trails treat you well, and have a wonderful day!