Like an umbrella, the best time to buy a rain jacket is yesterday — as anyone whose sat under grey skies on the East Coast all week can attest to. We here at Input are not here to judge, though, and instead are more interested in getting you in the right rain jacket so that the next time you need it you can say you’re prepared.
In the warmer months of spring and summer, you don’t need a rain jacket that’s too hardcore. Something lightweight and packable will do the trick, which just so happens to be the most convenient option as well. If you’re leaving for work with clear skies but no rain is coming later, just pack your jacket into your bag to bust out later.
We’ve put together a short list of some of the best lightweight rain jackets you can buy right now. Many of them are surprisingly affordable, in fact, meaning you don’t need to shell out to find the right shell. With many rainy days still ahead of us, it’s never too late to pick up your go-to rain jacket.
Goldwin Fast Shell ($370)
Goldwin, the Japanese parent company of Nepenthes and The North Face Japan, recently hooked me up with this astonishingly lightweight shell. Water beads atop for satisfying proof of protection, and wrinkles quickly disappear when you unfurl it from the attached storage bag. It’s by no means cheap at $370, but I’ve never been more impressed by a rain jacket before.
Marmot PreCip Eco ($100)
Full waterproofing, vented pits, velcro cuffs, a built-in stash pouch, and plenty of storage options make Marmot’s easily worth its approachable $100 price tag. At just over 10 ounces, you’ll barely notice it while wearing it or carrying around for when you need it.
Patagonia Torrentshell 3L ($149)
Even with three layers, Patagonia’s widely adopted Torrentshell can be packed easily and comes in shockingly cheap. The waterproof shell is made from 100-percent recycled materials, and a microfleece collar provides more comfort than most other rain jackets you’ll see.
Arc’teryx Zeta SL ($299)
Canadian brand Arc’teryx is more than just the hottest logo in outdoor gear right now. The Zeta SL proves its worth with two layers of Gore-Tex waterproof fabric, WaterTight zippers, and adjustable storm hood.
Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell ($199)
Outdoor Research’s jacket has a lot of the same features as others listed here, but what makes it stick out is the stretchable fabric that’ll allow you a fuller range of motion while using it. You don’t have to be more active to wear it, but the possibility is there for you.
Montbell Versalite ($199)
We love more cultish Japanese outdoor brands, but sometimes you just want to go with what works. Montbell is essentially the Japanese Patagonia, making fuss-free and reliable outdoor gear. It comes in at a paltry 6.4 ounces, despite two layers of Gore-Tex Infinium fabric and a robust hood with cinch cords.
Klättermusen Asynja (~$426)
Klättermusen is a Swedish outdoor brand you should absolutely know about. Its hardcore gear is aesthetically superior to most everything out there because of Swedish design principals, and its in-house developments mean it doesn’t need to work with Gore-Tex.