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Ultralight rain jacket suggestions

I have read several articles and watched many videos. I also have used my share of equipment. But I have yet to find a great ultralight rain jacket. Any suggestions? Yes I have used frog toggs, Cabela’s UL, even North face impervious. Haven’t held up well.

18 Replies

@MainehardcoreI'm wondering in what context are you looking for a UL jacket?  Backpacking or just day hiking or around town.  Makes a bit of a dif IMO.

REI Member Since 1979

backpacking, my wife and I just finished the Presidential traverse in the whites and I’m looking to save some weight for our pemi loop hike. 


@Mainehardcore I have a Marmot rain jacket that works well, but can get saturated during hard rains.   The driving factor for me was trying to stay away from PFAS/Forever chemical related coatings.     Here is a list from another website : .   Also a related article : .  There is a balance between performance and chemicals used to manufacture the jackets.    

I tried to order the one for my wife, but the Marmot sizing for females is off.  She is petite and the large size was still too small. Hope this helps. 

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one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

So, I know I already gave my agreement to liking the OR Helium.  And I'm not deviating from that.  I do, however, want to throw in a little bit of wisdom that I picked up from Andrew Skurka.  He was actually referring to shoes/boots, but the same principle applies.

There is no such thing as a truly waterproof jacket (just like shoes/boots) that will keep you 100% dry, 100% of the time.  Most breathable fabrics will eventually wet-out.  And, if it's not breathable, regardless of any venting, you will end up getting wet internally, from sweat.  There's always a trade-off of some sort.

I'm not saying this to discourage anyone from getting quality raingear that meets their individual needs and preferences. I'm just trying to set realistic expectations so there's no (or reduced) disappointment.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

That’s why I have used the frogg togg UL2, at only 5.5 oz and packable it’s a durable option and the 25.00 price tag is hard to beat when only using it a few times a year. The North Face resolve 2 is another good option only a steeper $


I had to come up with a new strategy after hiking that traverse - in an ADR (all day rain), in July, many years ago.

My new phil-osphy (get it?)'re going to get soaked, with or without a jacket, therefore, the problem becomes rain management vs staying dry, to me that means avoiding hypothermia, and that's the only time I'll use my WATERPROOF jacket, to keep from becoming too chilled, not to stay dry, but in this case, only when the temps are cool enough to balance out the heat I'm putting out and the jacket I'm wearing. 

If it's pouring while backpacking, then I let myself get soaked, If I'm getting chilled, but the jacket will heat me up too much, I may have to switch out my top (sacrificial) layer.

Switch to dry set in camp (or AMC hut), then put back on the wet set and walk dry.  Rinse and repeat.

Unfortunately, the alternative is to put on a rain jacket and get soaked from the inside, this leads to potential overheating and strength sapping.

so I guess the bottom line is, I recommend just getting the lightest waterproof jacket and using that.

REI Member Since 1979

in my 30+ years of hiking I am no stranger to being wet. I also hammock camp so wet is a fact of life. I am more interested in a lightweight option for those days when the rain is light and the hiking easy, such as across the traverse. Rain moderation.. 


I used an REI rain jacket for years, but I always thought it was a little heavy and bulky, especially since I am in California and rarely use it. This is my new baby, comfy, effective and really light:


I too love my OR Helium.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.