Open main menu

Which lightweight rain shell should I get for the West Coast Trail?

I've looked at a few options. I don't want to spend a massive amount of money, since I've already spent a lot on other gear in preparation for this trip. But I know that a good rain jacket is a necessity, and I would like something that is fairly lightweight.

Based on my price point and desired features, I've narrowed it down to a couple of options. I'm looking for opinions and reviews to help me decide.


Here are the options I'm looking at:

  • Marmot Women's Precip Shell
  • Columbia Women's EvaPOURation 2.5L Shell
  • North Face Women's Talvo Gore-Tec Shell


Look a few posts further down for a couple of lists of rain shells. 2 I mentioned there that are lightweight, cheap (relatively speaking), and work well are the 32° rain jacket (mens and womens styles, several colors) at Costco and Frogg Toggs DriDucks.

I have had a couple of Precip shells, but find them to lack breathability - which makes them very sweaty inside. I also found the plastic liner to peal off fairly quickly. Marmot has other shells that are much better, though expensive. The TNF GoreTex is also pretty expensive (I use mine only in the winter).

Stay away from the PRECIP. They delaminate too easily.

Look at REI's eVent parka and pants. Got mine on sale and have used the parka in 4 seasons from backpacking to skiing to hunting. Still works great with yearly washing and re-applying REVIVEX DWR spray.

CABELA'S Rainy River GTX PacLite parka and pants are a great value and high quality. I have them and 8 years later they are going strong. And the suit is much less than REI's eVent suit but does not breathe as well.

Both of the above parkas weigh 15 oz. (size L) but you get durability with that medium weight.

Eric B.

What do you think of the Luke's Ultralight jackets? They seem around the same price as the ones from the major manufacturers, but possibly better made.  All the different material options are a little confusing as well. 

Are the breathable fabrics really that breathable, or is it better to just have good pit zips and open them up?

I can't find that one in Canada, but a similar women's Mountain Hardwear jacket at Atmosphere here is only "water-resistant" not waterproof.

R.E.I. ships to Canada...or they did? Are you looking to purchase this from a physical store?

Joseph- I would imagine it would be more a cost issue, with the Canadian dollar so low, shipping and import costs an affordable jacket from REI becomes quite more expensive once it lands here. 

Sara- Where are you located? I would go to the nearest MEC and look into their options. Anything with a plastic liner will get really warm, really quick and will just fail under pack straps. I'm sure most people start with these types of shells (I know I did) and just have to buy a new jacket within the year. 

Jake is correct about the shipping & exchange rate. Basically, ordering something from the US right now is ridiculously expensive and just not feasible.

I have looked at MEC, Atmosphere and Patagonia. All are decent stores with good warrenty policies and a lot of the same products.

Good call on the no plastic lining thing haha don't worry, I've already learned that the hard way in the past.

This is what I'd be looking at without knowing your price range...

Pertex Shield is a wonderful waterproof breathable, has pit zips, lightweight and packable. 

All depends on what features your looking for and more importantly the price.

The above jacket might be more in your price-point from MEC and uses the same Pertex membrane as the 3-layer jacket Jake recommended (pit-zips too!). In addition to being more than $100 cheaper it is lighter and less voluminous. I don't know what you plan to get into...but I've used similar jackets in cold and wet conditions with heavier base-layers...short of a lot of mountain stuff the lighter jacket should fit your needs better most of the time.

That looks decent - thanks for the tip off!

It also has a polyurethane lining, again its just going to end up delaminating. Also far less waterproof and far less breathable. 

What is your price range? That would help to steer you in the right direction. 

I'm ideally looking for under $200, but I need fully waterproof and something that isn't going to feel gross and sticky when I'm hot and/or damp. I need it for a trip along the West Coast Trail in August. 


Sara,  nothing really is going to meet your comfort spec while keeping out rain.  People who work outdoors lament it isn't a matter of staying dry while under physical toil; rather it is a choice between wet and warm versus wet and cold.  The only thing you can do is open up your gear to where a balance is struck that places you in the least amount of discomfort.  Some of us bring a sun/rain parasol (mostly for the sun).  I can open my jacket half way and remove the hood.  Makes for much improved comfort but still it gets like a sauna while hauling a pack, no matter what you wear.


November 24, 2020
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply