My Favorite Rain Layers for Hiking

Outer layers are for rain, wind and snow protection. A waterproof rain jacket is a must for hiking in the Pacific Northwest – add rain pants when the forecast calls for wet or cold weather. There are my favorite rain gear items that I’ve used and recommend.

Rain Layers for Hiking

Even if it’s not raining, rain gear can help to block wind and retain body warmth. Breathability is important in rain gear, otherwise, condensation can build up inside and get your layers wet. The most breathable options tend to be expensive but are often more durable. Look for items with vents such as pit zips, and sealed seams to keep rain out.

Most Waterproof Rain Jacket

Columbia OutDry rain jacket

Columbia OutDry Extreme NanoLite Rain Jacket: Columbia’s OutDry technology puts the waterproof membrane on the outside, eliminating the need for coatings that need to be replenished. The saturation point is zero with this jacket, but it lacks ventilation features so it can build up condensation inside. This jacket is the lightest in the OutDry lineup and features hand pockets and an adjustable hood.

View at Amazon

My Favorite Full-Featured Rain Jacket

rain layers for hiking

Arc’teryx Beta SL Hybrid Jacket: This rain jacket has the best fit, with a close-fitting hood and hand pockets positioned for use when wearing a backpack. It also has pit zips, which are great for shedding heat and ventilating to prevent condensation build-up inside the jacket.

View at REI

My Favorite Ultralight Rain Jacket

rain gear for cold weather hiking

Outdoor Research Helium II Rain Jacket: At just over 5 ounces, this is one of the lightest rain jackets available. The low weight means it has less features and does not include hand pockets or pit zips, but for the weight, this is a great option. This is the rain jacket I use for backpacking trips.

View at REI – Women’s  View at REI – Men’s

Rain Pants

Outdoor Research Helium Rain Pants: Good for more than rain protection, rain pants also provide a barrier from wind, and are great when adventuring in the snow. These rain pants feature 2.5 layer Pertex-Shield+ fabric, have ankle zippers, an elastic waist, and they stuff into the back pocket for storing in your pack.

View at Outdoor Research – Women’s  View at Outdoor Research – Men’s


gaiters for cold weather hiking

Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiters: When hiking in rain or snow, gaiters that are worn over your hiking pants and attach to boots or shoes will keep you drier and provide an extra layer of warmth. These waterproof and breathable gaiters provide coverage up to the knee.

View at Garage Grown Gear

Waterproof Socks

Showers Pass Wool Waterproof Socks: These wool-blend waterproof socks are comfortable to wear while keeping your feet dry in all conditions – even when submerged in water. These are a great option when your hiking boots or shoes are no longer waterproof.

View at Showers Pass

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