Hiking rain gear choices include water-resistance and breathable material with soft or hard shells.

Plus, a variety of factors can influence the decision on how to choose the preferred rain-wear.

Hiking Rain Gear Buying Considerations

Here are five of the main considerations:


A major concern with hiking rain gear is the ability to retain its rain-worthy properties. Many of the fabrics for rain-wear can start to lose its water shedding coating – although proper care can help to prolong this.

Also, the degree of rainfall can cause issues for the lighter gear. For instance, a soft shell jacket is perfect for the light rainfall, but isn’t likely to stand up to a spell of heavy rain.


Any hiking rain gear in water-resistant/breathable materials should still offer comfort in a variety of climate conditions.

In addition to protecting against rainfall, the rain gear should retain comfort on the trails with the proper use of vents and make sure the rain-wear is still pleasant in changeable temperature and humidity.


Rain-wear for the hiking trails must have a certain degree of strength and durability to handle the difficult environment and high chance of snagging on trees and bushes.

Outer fabrics like polyester and nylon come in a variety of denier or weights. A prefer weight for the hiking rain gear can range from the wispy 15-Denier to the burly 450-denier.

A preferred rate is usually in the region of 70-denier, which has at least 3 layers and more than enough strength for wilderness off-trail, scrambling, or climbing.

But, if wishing to travel as light as possible, it might benefit to invest in a lightweight jacket for milder climates, especially in areas that aren’t likely to provide a drenching.


Similar to any other rain-wear the dedicated hiking rain gear can vary significantly in relation to design and style. But, the preferred rain gear is easy to pack, low weight, and doesn’t interfere with a daypack, fanny pack, backpack, etc.

Outwear for the hiking trails is different to the urban kit because these are less concern with weight and pockets.


Hiking rain gear at the top of the line includes exceptional detailing, meticulous seam-taping, breathable and water-resistant laminate, and even awning to protect the zipper heads.

A low-cost hiking jacket is manufactured with a breathable/water-resistant coating with a loose cut. This material is less effective than the laminates at maintaining the watertight protection.

But, the coat hiking rain gear is still a viable option for the low key activities for those who require something easy and light to pack.

Types of hiking rain gear:

  • Waterproof/breathable jacket: versatile and great at protecting against non-stop precipitation)
  • Water-resistant casual jacket: great in light showers, dry snow, or mist and useful when performing the more strenuous activities)
  • Soft shell or hybrid jacket: made in a waterproof/breathable laminate with extra stretch in the material for great flexibility.
  • Waterproof, non-breathable jacket: style of hiking rain gear that is fully coated and prevents the escape of sweat and stops rain getting in. These jackets are preferred when light activity is taking place.