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Rain jackets


I have been looking for a good rain jacket (women) that I can use in a downpour when I am hiking in good ole Pacific Northwest.

My budget is around $100 and what would be nice is something that will keep me dry and warm (dry is more the issue, i can wear layers inside)

Any suggestions would be great

Thanks everyone.

Marmot precip is a good everyday shell for knockabout wear and dayhiking. I've had one for about 4-5 yrs and very happy with it. It is lightweight and NOT the shell you want for more ambitious pursuits. NOT beefy enough to withstand strap abrasion when backpacking. If you're looking for something in that genre, you'll be hard-pressed to find it at your target price unless you catch a fire sale at one of the internet retailers like sierratradingpost,, etc. But it sounds like the precip would accommodate your intended use and meet budget.

I have used a Stearns rain jacket for 2 years now and have had really good results with it. I bought it at walmart for $40. It is light, but not super light, and not the best for warmth but it will keep you bone dry. And its cheap.

Thanks for the input, really helps.

So if I up my budget a bit can you all suggest a better serious rain jacket, something that will help me be outside in pouring rain for around 7 to 8 hours? (more or less)

Stearns, is a good one, another was REI Taku, any others besides these?

I've had a few and they are all watertight when you buy them. Most anything you get, from Red Ledge to ArcTeryx and everthing in between will be absolutely waterproof whether you stand in the rain for 8 hrs or 8 days, or ski, or walk, etc. its when you put them under a pack that differentiation becomes apparent. The price you pay will be directly proportional, for the most part, to the useful life you get from the piece, especially if you use it for backpacking. For example, I have a Marmot Alpinist Lightweight (funny name, nothing lite about it) that i purchased roughly 10 yrs ago that has spent considerable time under pack straps and it is still watertight and in pretty good shape, but it was in the 275-300 range. Also have an ArcTeryx Theta with about 5 yrs on it - again, heavily used and nary a dent in it - but it was almost 400 bucks (wife almost divorced me over that). On the other hand, The Marmot Precip I mentioned in previous post wouldn't have lasted a year under same type of use, but only cost me around $100. Basically, waterproof is cheap, how long you want it to stay waterproof and in one piece is what you pay for. So all of the lower end pieces such as the Precip, MH Epic, TNF Resolve will all be waterproof, but will not stand up to pack straps for long (although the North Face logo will make a splash with your kids teenage friends). Also, be aware that many pieces billed as "ultralite" can carry a higher price tag, but not gain any durability - cost is in more "exotic" laminates to really cut weight (like the MH Typhoon or Marmot minimalist) - they use Gore Paclite, which was never designed to withstand pack straps, rather to make a piece that would pack in a liter bottle. I would recommend spending all you can afford and you'll likely not regret it. (don't ask wife ahead of time, just grovel after the fact) With all due respect to Steven's post, stay away from any type of PVC slicker, unless you plan on standing perfectly still (zero exertion) and in cool weather. That material has zero breathability and all moisture from body condenses on the inside and you'll be soaked from your own sweat (that's why NO outfitters carry that type of product). If you put on a trash bag, hole for your head (but not for your arms) and run in place for about 10 minutes, that's what a slicker will yield. You need a piece with a breathable laminate (Gore-tex, Conduit, MemBrain, etx.) and preferably pit-zips or you'll soak. Hope this helps!

pburse- With all due respect the Stearns is not a PVC jacket (do the research) it is nylon and polyester blend.

pburse- With all due respect the Stearns is not a PVC jacket (do the research) it is nylon and polyester blend.

I did - here are product details for the only Stearns Rain Parka I found on their website:
Product InformationTop of Page
Waterproof, windproof and stretchable, this dual-sized rain parka has an attached hood and reflective piping for added visibility.
Waterproof, windproof and stretchable M/L sizing for chest sizes 38" - 44" Heavy-duty, waterproof PVC outershell with polyester backing Attached hood with barrel lock adjustmentInner storm chin guardCaped front for ventilationReflective piping on front and back Elastic wrist cuff with hook-and-loop adjustmentLarge patch pockets with snap closureZipper front with hook-and-loop outer storm flapDrawcord waist Fabric Care Instructions: Machine Wash Fabric Content: polyester Model No.: 8378 Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.9 Product in Inches (L x W x H): 16.0 x 10.75 x 3.0 Assembled in Country of Origin: Imported Origin of Components: Imported Wal-Mart No.: 000929426

sorry, when i cut and pasted it reformated a bit, but look in amongst that pile of text and you'll see that it is a PVC outershell with p'esther backing - and that will not allow vapor to escape, it will condense on inside of jacket. Even if it were nylon/poly blend, it would still require a PTFE-type laminate to provide waterproofing while still allowing it to breath. There are other polymer laminates that have been introduced on the market in last decade that yield less expensive pieces than, say, GoreTex; but nothing you'll find at a Walmart price point.

pburse- My Stearns is not a parka, it is a jacket. It has no snaps, it has a removable hood, and closes with inner zippers and outer velcro. This goes for the jacket and pockets. It has no PVC. I have had it for 2 years now and I think I would know. Don't you think?? I'll send you a pic when I get home. It does have a breathable membrane, I think dry-loc or dry-ware or something like that.

that was the only one on walmart's website - obviously you have something different - must be special jacket to create such emotional attachment

Though I have indeed spent indefensible amounts of money on rainwear, I have come around to the view that anything pretty good is good enough when it comes to rain jackets. The problem these days is that with the fad for tight-fitting ("athletic" fit, or vanity fit) clothing, the jackets are so small that no air can move around under them, and you get wet with evaporating sweat and general rainy-air mist. Get something pretty good, I'd say, and get it BIG.

Just trying to correct an error friend. Don't take it personal.

and get it BIG.

Smart call. Big enough to layer over and long arms to protect your hands from the rain.

Maybe a bit of overkill, but it withstands backpacking and climbing abuse and water.

Mountain Hardware Exposure II. It has been on Craig and EBay - both new and used for under $80. A well taken care of but used parka is a bargain at $80.

Mind the sizing. The large is LARGE.


Just trying to correct an error friend. Don't take it personal.

no problem - it's all good - cheers!

Since this thread is open.....

We are looking at getting some good rain-jackets that will be used for hiking purposes with packs on both of us. We have been looking at the Arcteryx Alpha SL and Theta AR. I was just wondering if these are going to hold up well under the straps of the pack. And if they were to hold up well to branches, scrapes and so on so forth. Any info on these jackets or other recommended jackets would be appreciated. Thanks!


I've had Arc'teryx Theta for 5-6 yrs, bombproof jacket, used hard and shows little signs of wear - expect that for such a premium price, probly more absurd now - but I'd buy it again - reinforced shoulder area so pack abrasion not an issue - they'll take about anything short of a direct hit from a .45


How does the Theta fair in packability? I know the Alpha packs super small, but it is Gore-Tex Paclite, not the Pro-Shell like the Theta.

Packs down pretty small - "A picture is worth a thousand words"- about like an oversized softball - the paclite is going to pack down a little more, but will provide only a fraction of the long-term durability under pack straps - hope this helps.


Just to add, I bought the Montbell Peak. Have got rave reviews on a bunch of forums so I took the plunge on that one. Will post on how it did on my next trip. It is pricey ($189) but many have said it is definitely worth it.

I would like to know how your jacket holds up in the Northwest. I am reading
Walking the Beach to Bellingham, by Harvey Manning. I have been using Wikipedia to research the areas and climate he mentions and have found it interesting that the average annual rainfall in Oylmpia or Seattle is not that much different than the Blue Hills Observatory in Milton, MA ( the Blue Hills are a couple of miles outside of Boston;Great Blue is 635 ft high). Yet, those cities have a reputation for continuous and soaking rainfalls (Olympia avg 51", Seattle avg 37"; Blue Hills avg 48" ).

I'm surprised that no one mentioned the obvious -- you don't need a jacket. A sturdy poncho that will fit over your pack doesn't go under the straps, the ventilation is excellent so you don't worry about condensation, and it makes a good emergency shelter. It is about the only garment that will keep you truly dry and allow hard exertion. Plus, when you sit down, you keep your butt dry.

I used a poncho for years and didn't need to carry a tent (depending on needs, of course).

BTW, when I say poncho I mean oilcloth or rubberized cotton. Like


I have a merrell approach that has worked very well for me up in Marquette,MI. This summer was unusally wet for us and i have taken it out on plenty of hikes/backpacking trips and have never gotten wet while out on the trail.

I agree that the humble poncho is not to be overlooked. It allows plenty of ventilation, can cover your pack, and is multi-use. People DID hike in the rain before GoreTex.

I bought a stearns jacket at wallyworld for 30 dollars recently and i really like it, It is waterproof and windproof and yes my backpack has not done any damage with the straps carrying 25-35lbs yet. For the price it is worth having. It is red and black. I will get either the Stearns tractel parka or the mountain hardwear exsposure 2 soon. thanks.

Hey [pburse] thank you very much for the pictures....they are worth a thousand words! Way better seeing it than reading a thousand reviews. Yeah, I know they are pricey, but there is a reason they get rated well and people continue to buy them! I have decided to go with the Theta since I was/am concerned with the durability of the Alpha under a pack. Thanks tons! Thanks to those with the poncho suggestions too, but I find them to be a bit uncomfortable (I guess maybe I am a bit weird!).


good choice - i think you'll be very pleased with performance - cheers!

I, too, forgo rain jackets or silicone pack covers for a trusty Campmor inexpensive poncho which covers backpack & me from head to midcalf. Campmor does have a $40 lightwt version but mine works fine. I hike in the east on the AT or on NC, GA, AL trails in the summer. If poncho gets stuffy, I let my head get wet. Hike On! ATHikerGal

I, too, forgo rain jackets or silicone pack covers for a trusty Campmor inexpensive poncho which covers backpack & me from head to midcalf. Campmor does have a $40 lightwt version but mine works fine. I hike in the east on the AT or on NC, GA, AL trails in the summer. If poncho gets stuffy, I let my head get wet. Hike On! ATHikerGal

Can you name the model or provide a link please? We've tried their ultralight model and it wets out immediately in a hard rain.


What is the diefference between the ArcTeryx Theta AR and the Theta SV?

One thing I've learned, the hard way, either hiking or tools . . . "Quality over Quantity!" I always regret waiting just a little longer, pay the extra $ and get something that really does what you need.

Jackets for hiking, running, etc. need to meet your needs, and hiking in something that does not reduce or relieve the sweat, becomes misery.

I use the NF Circadian Paclite jacket & pants (with hood) for hikes with "likely" rain. This is Gore-Tex

And REI Oxt Airflight FLL for running, hikes, walks that "threat of" weather. This is eVent.


Sounds like you bought a nice jacket, I like Marmot products and their guarantee is sterling. However its more what you wear under that jacket that matters, breathable fabrics that wick the water away from your body are required up here in PNW. In a long stint in a down pour you have to be able to vent out the steam. Oh and a pet peeve of mine - people worry about jackets too much and pants too little. Like the obvious problem with a poncho - soaking wet legs are just as bad being wet on top. Whatever you do get pants that can vent, like side zippers that can be unzipped from the top a bit to let out steam, and wear wicking long underwear on the bottom. Wool holds moisture sorry to say.


I tried to figure out where you live but failed. In the PNW a poncho is simply not adequate unless you are a hard core ultralight camper who would rather suffer a bit from beng wet than carrying more capable of gear. Here the rain shells are also part of a survival system in case the tempeature drops.

Jim S

Thanks Jim, though I turned traitor and gave up the MontBell and got the REI eVent. I am happier now.

gore tex pro-shell costs a lot; in my experience, it's worth the price difference if you plan to abuse the jacket. it's very lightweight, breathes well, and stands up to abuse as well as any outer shell i have owned. i have no experience with eVent, but a company i trust, Wild Things in New Hampshire, swears by it. probably worth considering.

if you are looking to save $$ and a poncho won't work (that is indeed the least expensive option to avoid getting drenched, though it's by no means the most comfortable or most likely to keep you completely dry), try to find a rain jacket has armpit zippers. in my experience, these work a lot better to move water vapor than the zip-open mesh pockets on the front of many rain jackets or any waterproof/breathable membrane.

I'm going to be testing this perspective out in a few days... for Christmas I bought an OR Mentor Jacket, which was on sale at REI. It's Gore-Tex Pro Shell with full-length pit zips, which almost turns it into a poncho.

November 30, 2020
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