May 28

10 Best Rain Pants for Backpacking

A good pair of waterproof pants should be in every hiker adventurer gear stowage, Hiking rain pants are designed to protect you from the chilling effects of rain or wind.

In this blog post we will be giving you our top recommendation for the best rain pants in the market to help you choose the best rain pants for your Backpacking & hiking trips.

Let's get started!

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Quick answer:

THE BEST RAIN PANTS FOR  backpacking

Check out this quick list of our top 3 favorite rain pants if you’re in a hurry, or continue scrolling to see our full list with in-depth reviews 

1-Marmot PreCip Eco

2-Outdoor Research Helium

3-Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic

 Ozoni

hiker on trail

Why You Should Trust Us

We fully understand how tough it is to find trustworthy gear advice, and that’s one of the main reasons we built hikersneeds. We spent countless hours of searching and combing the Web for reviews of men’s and women’s rain pants, reading 11 other guides in all. We considered articles from The Adventure JunkiesBackpackercleverhikerREI’s and Outside Online, and many other blog posts.

Do You Need Rain Pants?

Many hikers don't bother with rain pants, especially if they hike when it’s warm, they leave their rain pants at home because they want to keep their base weight as low as possible.

but you can’t always predict when the Mother Nature will throw a downpour in your way, In this case a packable rain pants can really help provide protection in harsh environments, without compromising your pack weight much.

Things to consider when buying

10 Best Rain Pants for Backpacking

When it comes to outdoor gears there is always a lot of options, and choosing the item you need isn't always easy, however when you go for buying rain pants there's a few things you need to consider:

Price: According to the reviews we read, some rain pants that cost more than $150 didn’t add extra features or provide extended durability, so we eliminated those, we found that pants priced below $80 lacked preferred features like ankle zippers. But pants that cost more than $100 tended to be made of softer and yet more durable fabrics.

WATERPROOF: A good pair of rain pants should keep water out. However, your required levels of waterproofing or water-resistance will depend on your planned activities.

Rain Pants for Backpacking

Layers: Waterproof and breathable rain pants have two basic components an outer shell and an inner waterproof membrane layer, The gear is generally broken down into 2, 2.5, 3-layer

2-layer: A waterproof, breathable liner hangs inside one piece of outer fabric to protect the outer coating. This type of construction is less expensive and quieter.

2.5-Layer: 2.5-layer pants, just like 2-layer pants, have a waterproof membrane that’s bonded to an outer shell fabric. But, instead of a liner, they have a thin coating to cover the waterproof membrane. This half layer only provides minimal protection.

3-layer: 3-layer fabric is geared toward more intense usage and rugged environments like mountaineering. It consists of a waterproof membrane, These are your premium pants that have the best fabrics, all the extra features like articulated knees, and a rugged construction.

MOBILITY: You’ll probably be moving around a lot in your rain pants, so it’s important that the pants move with your body. Some rain pants are made from stretchy fabrics that allow for greater mobility; these may be more expensive,

rain pants mobility

but We tend to be willing to spend a bit more on high-quality clothing that we plan to wear a lot. Comfort, durability, and a well-designed fit usually trump cost in our books, but we recommend quality options at a variety of price points in our top picks below.

PACKABIL: Most rain pants are very packable. You can roll them up and shove them into the nooks and crannies of your backpack. If you want the smallest packed size, opt for the minimal pants as they have less extra like zippers or belt buckles that add some girth.

packable rain pants

SUSTAINABILITY: A growing number of companies are starting to make their rain pants with sustainability in mind. Some pants are made with a milder waterproofing that doesn't use harsh chemicals harmful to the environment.

hiking on trail

Best Rain Pants for Backpacking


1-Marmot PreCip Eco

MARMOT PreCip Eco Full Zip Pant

Best for the price, these are available in short and long versions as well.

The Marmot PreCip Eco stands out for its sustainability. The pants is made from a 100% recycled nylon fabric. If you like pockets, you're going to love the PreCip Eco. The pants have front hand pockets and a back pocket. All the pockets have zippers to keep the contents inside safe and dry. We strongly recommend the full-zip version.

Pros:

  • Compact
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Limited breathability 
  •  average weight 

BOTTOM LINE: For the price this is tough to beat; they are breathable, wallet-friendly, and feature full-length zippers, 

2-Outdoor Research Helium Pants

Outdoor Research Helium Pants

If you looking what are lightweight pants, Then the Outdoor Research Helium Pants are ideal choice for you to keep weight to an absolute minimum.

Though not stretch pants, the generous cut and elastic waistband make this pant one of the most comfortable on our list. It falls short in durability especially when scaling rock is a daily occurrence.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • ultralight
  • packable
  • Breathable

Cons:

  • Too fragile
  • No pockets
  • difficult to put on/take off without removing shoes

BOTTOM LINE: For the price this is tough to beat; they are breathable, wallet-friendly, and feature full-length zippers, 

3-Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic

Mountain-Hardwear stretch ozonic s

Mountain hardware stretch ozonic is the best for mobility & flexibility. As the name suggests, Mountain Hardwear designed them with four-ways stretch to provide greater mobility and freedom of movement, which makes them perfect for more arduous hiking, mountaineering, and climbing adventures.

Pros:

  • Good breathability
  • Comfortable
  • easy on/off
  • full-length zippers

Cons:

  • A bit heavier than other options
  • limited uses for pocket

BOTTOM LINE: f you’re all about comfort, you’ll love the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic.

The Ozonics are super comfy and are hands down some of the best rain pants we’ve ever worn.

4-Patagonia Torrentshell 3L

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Rain Pants

These pants are nothing special; that is a good thing. They are an affordable and durable option with solid construction.

If weight isn’t your chief concern, the thicker fabric used in the Torrentshell Pants offers better protection from brush and heavy rain than ultralight pants.

Plus, they have convenient pockets for your hands.

Pros:

  • environmentally-friendly recycled nylon
  • vented ankle zippers
  • Adjustable Waist For Easy Fit

Cons:

  • Heavier 3 layer material

BOTTOM LINE: An affordable option that will stand up to moderate activity

5-REI XeroDry GTX

REI-Co-op-XeroDry-GTX-Pants-removebg-preview

The REI XeroDry GTX are a high-quality option for a moderate price. They will keep you warm and dry when a cold rain threatens to cancel your hike.

The Paclite material is known for its water-resistance and its packable size.

No more swish-swish sound either. The pants are remarkably quiet when you walk.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • quiet
  • pockets

Cons:

  • difficult to put on/take off without removing shoes
  • Limited ventilation

BOTTOM LINE:  With that said, if you want high-quality pants that are lightweight but still durable, the XeroDry are one of the best options we’ve found, especially at this price point.

6-REI Co-op Rainier Full-Zip Rain Pants

Co-op Rainier Full-Zip Rain Pants

The Rainier rain pants from REI pack a ton of features into a rain pant that costs under $100.If you’re on a budget and weight isn’t your chief concern, they’re well-designed and have all the adjustments one could want.

The Rainier Pants have great hand pockets, full-length zippers, and an adjustable draw cord at the waist to keep them from slipping down.

Because they’re heavier and bulkier than some, the Rainier Pants are best suited for times when weight doesn’t matter as much. Overall, the Rainier are well-designed and are some of the best affordable rain pants on the market.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Side pockets 
  • full-length zippers

Cons:

  • Heavier than other options
  • less skin comfort then other option

BOTTOM LINE: If you’re on a budget and weight isn’t your chief concern, the REI Rainier Full-Zip are a great option for all-around use. They’re well-designed and have all the adjustments one could want. The Rainier Pants have great hand pockets.

7-Outdoor Research Foray

Outdoor Research Foray

These pants do everything a rain pant is supposed to do, and they do it all well. Made with 50D polyester with a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane.

the Outdoor Research Foray is ideal for hikers and mountaineers looking for extreme protection against the elements. They are small and light enough to take that “just in case” place in your pack and durable enough for everyday wear.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • good breathability
  • effective elastic cuffs
  • stormworthy

Cons:

  • Short on pockets
  • slightly heavier then another option

BOTTOM LINE: Waterproof and breathable rain pants that protect well and go largely unnoticed in your backpack

8-MARMOT MINIMALIST

Marmot Men's Minimalist Pant

Marmot’s Minimalist Pants are one of the toughest, most packable, most waterproof, and most affordable high-performing wet-weather pants in the market.

The Marmot Minimalist lives up to its name.

There are no bells and whistles here, no full zippers or fancy features, just a well-cut, well-designed pair of very waterproof hiking pants. Nice style with good/simple design (more features than other minimalist pants but still without fancy features)

Pros:

  • Fully waterproof
  • Lightweight and compact
  • windproof
  • Side pockets

Cons:

  • No belt loops
  • Quarter-length leg zippers

BOTTOM LINE: low-cost, and relatively high-performing pant that’s ideal for all hikers who don’t plan on moving at higher speeds.

9-Columbia Rebel Roamer

Columbia Men's Rebel Roamer Pant

Simple, offer great protection from wind and water even if there’s a downpour or it rains for hours while you’re outside, Columbia’s Rebel Roamer pants are the ideal pick for occasional hikers looking for a pair of reliable, heavy-duty rain pants that won’t deal too big a blow to the old bank balance.

A technical soft-shell pant built for foul-weather protection from town to wilderness, delivers fully seam-sealed, waterproof performance in the elements while simultaneously breathing to disperse excess heat and moisture.

Pros:

  • Fully seam-sealed
  • Cheap!
  • Simple

Cons:

  • Less waterproof than other options
  • Poor breathability
  • No pockets
  • no side zippers

BOTTOM LINE: repellent pants that are ideal for occasional hikers or buyers on a tighter budget.

10-Arc’teryx Zeta SL

The Arc’teryx Zeta SL is one of the most pants expensive in our list, but when it comes to rain gear, the company's products are worth the investment. the rain pants have outstanding breathability because of its 2L GORE-TEX Paclite® Plus fabric and its 3/4-length side zips for ventilation.

The pants balance performance with weight. Weighing only 8.8 ounces, they add a negligible amount to your pack, but you get so much for that half-pound.

Pros:

  • packable
  • Superlight
  • durable

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • no pockets

BOTTOM LINE: The Arc’teryx Zeta SL offer a great balance of low weight and solid durability, The price is a bit steep, but the Zetas are worth the investment if you know you’ll be wearing rain pants a lot and want something that looks and feels good.

Other Considerations

POCKETS

Pockets are useful to have on a pair of rant pants, but They are not a necessity. If you plan to wear the pants only when hiking in the rain or wind, then pockets are not useful.

They are usually burning underneath the strap making them inaccessible when hiking. It’s also hard to carry items in your pocket because they often get in the way when you hike.

Best Rain Pants for backpaking

Pockets are useful if you are wearing the pants around town when you are washing your hiking gear. It’s convenient to have a few pockets to carry your wallet or other necessities when you're in town. Pockets do add a small amount of weight though.

Waterproof Ratings

Over the years manufacturers have devised a standardized rating system measured in millimeters that lets consumers know how well products block out moisture. This is known as the hydrostatic head (HH) rating.

The HH rating is measured in millimeters, and the higher the rating, the more waterproof a product will be. Any product crosses the threshold from merely water-resistant to waterproof when it has a hydrostatic head rating of 1,500mm.

What Standard Waterproof Rating Ranges?

any product that measures 1,500mm or slightly below is merely considered water-resistant. But what does this mean in the field? Well, any water-resistant product is likely to help you stay dry in short-lived drizzle, but leave you in for a soaking in anything heavier.

Low-end products have a HH rating of between 1,500mm and 5,000mm. This range is best for protection against light rainfall and is best suited to occasional hikers or campers looking for something to throw on in the event of an unexpected shower.

Mid-range rain pants measure between 5,000mm and 10,000mm hydrostatic head. These are good for hikers expecting moderately heavy and sustained rainfall on their trek. They might not be able to keep out moisture from torrential downpours, but they usually offer the best mix of lightweight construction, breathability, and weather protection.

Products with a HH rating over 10,000mm are designed to keep you dry in heavy, Runners and high-intensity hikers should aim for pants with 20,000 g/m2 or higher rating.

Durability

The density of the cloth chosen is one of the most important aspects in determining durability. Denier (D) is a unit of measurement for fabric thickness, and the greater the denier rating, the more tear-resistant and durable the fabric is.

Fabrics in the 30-to-50D range are used on all of the models in our testing, making them more than durable enough for usage on difficult trails. 

The Mountain Hardwear Ozonic Pants and the Outdoor Research Helium Pants are both durable sufficiently for most hiking and camping trips.

VENTILATION

having more ventilation choices is really helpful to stay dry . If you get too hot while hiking or you're legs start to sweat, zippers in the sides of rain pants are great for breathability and allowing warm air escape. 

Alternative Rain Wear

A lot of people don’t like wearing rain pants because they’re an added layer to hike with if you put them over your hiking shorts/pants, they feel cold clammy against the skin when they get wet, they’re too hot, or don’t fit well, so here some Alternative rain wear.

Rain Kilts: rain kilt is a long waterproof skirt that you can wear on top of shorts or underwear to keep your upper legs dry. The kilt provides excellent airflow to combat perspiration or condensation build-up in your sensitive areas, although your feet and socks are likely to get wet when hiking in rain.

Benefits of Rain Pants

Quick Drying: Hiking pants dry quickly due to their nylon structure. If the pants get wet, they will usually dry in minutes, even while being worn. Nylon hiking pants, unlike blue jeans or other cotton textiles, do not hold or absorb water.

As a result, rain pants are perfect for hikes that require stream crossings or where stormy, wet weather is a possibility. In mountain settings, where rainy weather is frequently accompanied by freezing temperatures, the capacity to keep the "pants dry" is very significant. In chilly weather, hikers and backpackers who wear damp blue jeans will not have a pleasant hiking experience.

Lightweight: Rain pants are made of durable nylon and are very lightweight, weighing less than a pair of cotton shorts. Backpackers  benefit from the weight savings because they are more comfortable and that lead to more enjoyable trip.

Rain Kilts for rain

Rain Chaps: Rain Chaps are essentially long waterproof gaiters that come high up your thighs but leave the area around your crotch and between your butt cheeks uncovered so less perspiration accumulates there.

Rain Chaps for hiking

MORE INFORMATION?

We hope this guide helps you find the perfect pair of rain pants for your needs. If you need more information, feel free to ask, we’d love to hear from you!

If you found this guide helpful, please give it a share on social media!

Thanks for reading and happy trails!

About the Author

Author

Hussain is a passionate hiker and traveler that love the outdoor and enjoys what nature has to give, whenever he can he love to write and give tips & honest reviews to help others get out there and just seek more unforgettable experiences.

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