A trusty rain jacket is every outdoorsman’s best friend. It’s the kind of item you hope you won’t need, but rely on heavily when enjoying yourself in the outdoors. When you’re trekking in the back country, out on the boat or just going for a day hike, you need something lightweight and highly packable in order to maintain the precious space in your pack.
A highly compressible jacket is far superior to bulkier garments when you need to maximize pack space and there’s plenty of exceptionally compact options available that repel water just as good as any other rain jacket. Check out our top 10 list for a look at the best packable rain jacket options on the market — you’ll be striding through the great outdoors fully equipped for a downpour and your backpack won’t know the difference!
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Orvis Encounter JacketPros:
- Low profile, minimalist design
- Waterproof chest pocket is ideal for a phone, fly box, wallet, ect.
- Wrist cuffs, hood and waist line are all adjustable
- Nylon material is highly breathable
- Only one pocket - if you prefer to have a few spaces to stash gear then you’ll want something different
- Fairly expensive unit, but you get what you pay for with this one
- No color options available
Here’s a truly minimalist rain jacket for those who are searching for a no-frills unit that will keep you bone dry. The Orvis Encounter Jacket is a super compressible, roughly 11 ounce rain jacket that’s specifically designed for use fishing — but it’s a killer option for rain defense in any context.
It’s minimalist in the sense that there’s only one pocket located on the chest. By keeping the pockets down to just one storage space, the jacket employs less material overall and is therefore even more rollable or stuffable.
The good news is that the one chest pocket present is ideal for a phone, fly box, wallet or something of about that size. This unit will stuff into a fly vest or day pack easily, so it’s ideal for any type of excursion. The entire jacket has a regular fit but it’s built to be low profile in order to avoid line snags while fly fishing. If you’re looking for a wading jacket for fishing purposes then definitely check this one out.
The wrist cuffs and hood are fully adjustable, and the waist of course can also cinch tight. The nylon material is totally water repellent and also maintains some solid breathability so this is good option if you’re expecting some heat.
The cut descends exactly down to your waist so if you prefer a little more length you will need to buy a size up. There’s a sage green and a black option, both of which have that classic, bad-ass Orvis look. No doubt a durable, well designed option from a highly accredited outfitter, the Encounter has you covered.
Marmot Men’s Precip JacketPros:
- Has an awesome array of features for a jacket that still packs tight
- Packs down tiny into its own pocket or rolls smaller than a t-shirt
- Tried and true model from Marmot that’s been around for years!
- The material coupled with the incorporated pit vents makes this unit highly breathable
- The hood, pockets and storm flap make this unit a little less stuffable than it could be, but they’re of course awesome features
- No exterior chest pocket
- Some sizing is significantly more expensive than others
The Precip Jacket by Marmot is a reasonably affordable, all inclusive rain jacket option that also packs super tight. This unit is only 13 ounces and conveniently collapses into a built in pocket when you want to stash it. For a unit this packable and lightweight Marmot has included a lot of awesome features.
There’s slanted chest pockets that are accessible when wearing your pack, extended underarm zips for enhanced ventilation and a moisture wicking ‘DriClime’ chin guard around the zipper in order to protect your face. The hood can roll up if you prefer to have full visibility and Marmot has furthermore built the PreCip with “Angel-Wing” movement in order to provide an awesome range of motion. This packable rain jacket won’t restrict your movements when you need to be highly active.
The full length zipper is reinforced with a double storm flap that employs a snap and Velcro closure so this bad boy is truly water tight. Marmot’s 100% seam taped, Precip Dry Touch material is one of the best around for both breathability and water resistance.
This jacket also provides a great fit in addition to its waterproof stats. An elastic draw cord hem can be cinched tight when the weather gets intense and the integrated hood provides great coverage when you want to deploy it. The Precip is designed to fit over an insulating layer, so this unit is compatible with cold weather gear as well as on its own.
The pit zips really come in handy for this reason — when you’re layered up and moving fast in the field it’s nice to be able to offload some extra heat. Marmot has masterfully designed this one to be a great companion through whatever nature throws your way, no doubt an excellent option for any kind of outdoorsmen!
Columbia Men’s Glennaker Lake Rain Jacket with Hideaway HoodPros:
- Hideaway hood tucks into the collar effectively without creating much bulk
- Side pockets are nice and spacious
- The entire jacket packs into an incorporated pocket - this unit is no doubt a winner when it comes to being compact
- Loose, but still sporty fit that allows you to layer up underneath if necessary
- Machine washable
- There’s a fair amount of users that claim this jacket is more water resistant than water proof and that it won’t necessarily keep you bone dry during longer periods of heavy rain
- Doesn’t ventilate as well as some of the other options listed here — if you need a rain jacket for warmer weather conditions then you might want to look else where
- Large sizing, consider ordering a size small
Here’s a crowd favorite from Columbia that won’t break the bank. The Men’s Glennaker Lake Rain Jacket is a killer budget option for a packable waterproof garment that is still crafted with quality. This unit is a 100% nylon, machine washable packable rain jacket that’s built with in my opinion just the right amount of features to make it both highly functionable in nasty weather and packable.
Remember that in most cases, the more pockets, zippers, storm flaps, vents, drawcords, etc. present on a jacket, the more difficult it will be to stuff into a pack or roll tight. It’s not a hard rule — of course some outfitters know how to craft a fully inclusive rain jacket that’s still exceptionally packable, but typically less features means less space in your pack. That being said, Columbia has built this unit to be a nice balance between minimalist and fully equipped.
There’s a hideaway hood built into this jacket for when the wind turns to rain and you need full coverage, as well as adjustable wrist cuffs and a drawcord hem. The nylon material is very highly reviewed for breaking wind and light rain, but there’s some customer complaints that this material won’t remain totally water repellent in a heavy rain.
If you need something for back country expeditions that will keep you and your layers absolutely bone dry, you probably want to look towards some of the other options listed here. The Glennaker Lake is absolutely a solid option for lighter rains and heavy winds, so don’t rule it out just because it’s not capable of withstanding extended downpours — there’s plenty of outdoorsmen who praise this jacket as the best unit they’ve ever owned.
It’s under 13 ounces, so in terms of weight, this unit contends with the lightest options available. The fit is a little large, so this jacket pairs with some under layers nicely. The material inherently insulates better than it ventilates so if you need something for HOT weather maybe consider something with pit zips or something designed specifically to be highly breathable.
Make sure to check out Columbia’s size chart for this product, they have some really precise sizing information so you can get exactly the fit you want. There’s even 14 different color options to customize your look. For a highly affordable, quality rain garment that can fit in just about any day pack, definitely consider the Glennaker Lake.
Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading JacketPros:
- Super lightweight and packable despite the awesome array of pockets, gear attachment points and non collapsible hood
- The material employed here is exceptionally water and wind proof and also highly breathable - when you buy Orvis you can be sure the elements won’t get to you
- Provides a sporty fit ideal for active wear
- One of the best wading jacket options on the market for fishermen
- No doubt a high price to pay for a rain jacket, but the quality and potential lifespan of this unit is almost unmatched
- All the clips and zips means this jacket doesn't roll quite as tight as some others
- Hood does not collapse/hide
Here’s another top notch option from Orvis for persisting through the rain. The Men’s Ultralight Wading Jacket is designed for use wade fishing, but will make a great packable rain jacket under any circumstances. This is definitely a pricey option, but the quality and craftsmenship you get with Orvis is almost unmatched.
This jacket is designed to be the perfect companion for a fly fishermen while on the water, if you’re someone who fishes through inclement weather you’ll absolutely want to check this one out. There’s a nice array of both external and internal pockets, all of which are mesh lined for enhanced ventilation and in order to reduce bulk.
The exterior pockets employ YKK ‘AquaGuard’ water resistant zippers, so your phone and other water sensitive gear are safe when things get wet. There’s not much space within the upper chest pockets for gear, but the lower hand pockets are ideal for warming your hands or for stuffing some slightly larger gear.
The highly adjustable storm hood is not removable nor collapsible, but it’s built exceptionally ultra-light and features a laminated brim for effectively shedding water away from your face. “Dolphin Skin’ cuffs around the wrists are a super cool added feature for reducing wetness in your sleeves when the rain’s really coming down or when you’re handling fish while on the water. The waist cinches tight effectively and the front zip extends nice and high above the neck — Orvis has really hit all the bases in order to keep any and all wetness out no matter the conditions.
The material is 100% nylon with a PU lamination and fully taped seams. This unit is not letting any water in. Orvis has built this bad boy to be supremely repellent to both wind and rain so you’re covered under any conditions. Customer reviews, including my own, praise this jacket’s ability to remain breathable despite its absolute resilience to wind and water.
The design of this product is an impressive feat considering its light weight and awesome array of features. The XL is a mere 20 ounces, not much at all for all the included components here. The price tag is certainly high, but it’s the attention to detail and expert design that you’re paying for.
The fit is fairly streamlined like most of Orvis’s products, so if you want to comfortably add some layers underneath this one consider buying a size up. This unit is designed for casting and moving while fishing, so it will perform great on the trail if you need something to actively hike in.
If you’re interested in this packable rain jacket for it’s intended purpose of fishing, then you’ll love the set up and added features meant specifically for angling. The water tight wrist cuffs, water resistant chest and waist pockets and additional internal storage make this unit the ultimate wading jacket.
The rubberized tabs are perfect for attaching forceps, clippers, tippet loops or whatever else you might want to have directly on hand. There’s of course a D-ring on the back of the neck for net attachment so you can throw this jacket right over your vest when things get wet. The sporty, but non-restrictive fit makes it ideal for both spin and fly casting and the laminated hood keeps your vision at its best when the rain tries to cramp your style.
A serious wading jacket for the serious fishermen, or an all around killer rain jacket for outdoorsmen of any kind, the Ultralight Wading Jacket from Orvis is one of the best highly packable options out there.
Carhartt Men’s Rockford Rain Defender JacketPros:
- Highly affordable
- Sharp looking jacket, this is a great unit for your rainy daily commute
- Lots of pocket space for all your essentials
- Machine washable
- The hood on this unit is not built quite big enough
- Certainly a highly water resistant jacket - but not for those who require a jacket for HEAVY rains
- Waistline and wrist cuffs are not adjustable
Here’s a rugged looking yet effective option for all you Carhartt lovers out there. The Rockford Rain Defender is a highly affordable, zippered rain jacket option that has some great features for the cost. If you’re looking for something for use on the trail or for more serious outdoor endeavors, I wouldn’t recommend this unit, but for regular everyday use on your daily commute this is an awesome choice.
Carhartt has built this unit to be super compressible in your pack, but they’ve also included a nice array of pockets so you can effectively take what you need to with you on the go. It’s a sharp looking jacket that’s subtle but classy.
There’s two exterior snap-flap upper chest pockets for securing your more water sensitive and important items, and two regular slit pockets for your hands down at the waist. The upper left chest pocket even has a media port for listening to your tunes through the jacket.
The hood is described as a little small, but it still provides you with some necessary coverage in the rain. The wrist cuffs and waist line are also not adjustable, so for use in heavy downpours this packable rain jacket won’t be able to cinch tight.
It’s 100% nylon with a polyester lining. All customer reviews insist this jacket runs fairly big, so unless you prefer some bagginess definitely buy a size smaller than you’re used to. It’s machine washable (cold water), but don’t dry this unit warm.
Carhartt offers the Rockford Rain Defender in three different colors, so you can customize your look to an extent. Not designed for the ambitious outdoorsmen, this unit is none the less a great affordable option for everyday use battling inclement weather.
Columbia Men’s Dr. Downpour Rain JacketPros:
- The exterior double rip-stop nylon material is very durable, this one can take a heavy beating
- Nice array of water proof exterior and interior pockets
- The collapsible hood, waist line and wrist cuffs are adjustable for when the weather turns really nasty
- This is a fully water tight jacket - you’ll be bone dry yet ventilated with this one
- Five different color options to choose from
- The front zipper is a bit dainty - but Columbia had to trim some weight somewhere and reviews insist it doesn’t snag
- There’s a lot of pockets with this one, if you’re looking for something minimalist then look elsewhere
- Waist runs a bit high so order a size large if you want to ensure it's long enough for you
The Dr. Downpour Rain Jacket — with a name like that your ears must be perked. This is a great quality, affordable unit from Columbia that has both a great look and some awesome waterproof stats. The exterior shell is crafted from double ripstop 100% nylon, so this is a tough as nails jacket. If you’re hard on your gear and go through equipment faster than most then you oughta check this one out.
The interior lining of the Dr. Downpour is embossed 210T taffeta — also 100% nylon. This unit is tough both inside and out, and Columbia’s ‘Omni-TECK’ technology ensures this unit is both water tight and air permeable. Customer reviews praise this jacket for it’s ability to breath even when layered up underneath. The material is thin and highly compressible despite its durable construction.
This is a good unit for all conditions — it will perform well when temps are blazing and also enable you to add some layers comfortably when things turn a bit nippy. Most importantly, this unit is seriously waterproof — if you need something that will keep you dry no matter what this is one of those options.
Columbia describes this jacket as having a kind of urban look, and most customer reviews agree it’s a pretty sharp jacket. It’s a versatile unit that’s a great match for trekking, fishing, outside work, backpacking Europe or your daily commute!
The pocket schematic on the Dr. Downpour is particularly awesome. There’s two upper chest pockets that snap closed, and two zippered slip pockets for your hands at the waist. On the inside of the jacket there’s two sleeve pockets that are ideal for a wallet or phone, and on the other side there’s an interior zippered pocket for whatever items you want to absolutely ensure are secure.
All the pockets make this jacket a little less packable than some of the others listed here, but it’s very well reviewed for fitting into almost any pack or bag. The adjustable hood collapses nicely into the collar when you want a lower profile, and both the wrists and waist line can be cinched tight when you need to baton down the hatches.
Hikers, travelers and daily commuters alike agree this unit is built with a great fit — there’s plenty of room around the shoulders for great range of motion and for layering up when necessary. There’s five available color options to choose from, some of which are quite unique.
Check out this video for a closer look at the Dr. Downpour’s righteous features!
The North Face Men’s Venture 2 JacketPros:
- Crafted from a rugged nylon ripstop material that’s built to take a beating — this is a great jacket for outdoorsmen
- Suitable for four season use
- Material is highly breathable and also has pit zips for offloading heat when you need to
- 34 different color options! You can find a color scheme that suits you exactly
- Packs into an incorporated pocket - this unit although built somewhat heavy duty is impressively packable
- This unit is closer to two pounds, so although it’s highly compressible it’s a bit heavier than a lot of the other options listed here
- Velcro closure of the chin guard has potential to wear out
- Hood is maybe a bit more spacious than you want if you're looking for something low profile
Of course The North Face was going to appear somewhere on this list. The Men’s Venture 2 is a top quality, packable rain jacket that is crafted absolutely solid. It’s built from The North Face’s 100% ‘DryVent’ nylon ripstop material and designed to last.
It’s a lightweight, unlined shell that’s compatible with whatever you want to wear underneath. There’s a lifetime warranty on this product which speaks volumes about its durability — The North Face is confident in their products craftsmenship. The shell is ideal for outdoor sports, it’s totally waterproof, highly breathable and tough as nails.
All the seams are furthermore sealed so you can be confident you’ll stay dry in this one. There’s built in pit zips so you can offload heat when things get steamy, but the jacket is also compatibly worn on top of warm layers. This is a jacket that’s acceptable for four season use, so even in the cold and snow this unit will keep you shielded from wetness and wind.
I think in terms of functionality and packability, the Venture 2 is an awesome balance. There’s two, low profile zippered hand pockets as well as an interior pocket. Not too much, not too little. It’s already built a bit more heavy duty than a lot of the other jackets here, so the fact that its not laden with all sorts of pockets is better for its packability.
The two main zippered hand pockets are quite large so you can fit everything you need to. The Venture 2 conveniently packs into its own pocket, so you can turn it into a compact little package if you rather not stuff it into your pack. The hood is particularly large and will even fit over a helmet, while the cut on the rest of the jacket has been crafted knowing you’re going to be doing a lot of moving around.
There’s adjustable Velcro cuffs as well as a cinch cord around the waist so this is another jacket that can really be locked down from the elements. It’s machine washable which is always a bonus and cleans up nicely due to the nature of the nylon material.
The North Face offers this jacket in a whopping 34 different color schematics so you can absolutely find one that matches your look, or the rest of your gear. For the cost, the Venture 2 is an awesome value buy that you’ll get a lifetime of use out of.
Check out this video for a look at how the Venture 2 fits as well as for a more detailed introduction to some of its best features.
Columbia Men’s Diablo Creek Rain ShellPros:
- This is a pretty minimalist rain jacket that will pack down real tight (also packs into its hand pocket)
- This unit will keep you bone dry
- 11 different available color options
- Nice quality zippers that are built to last
- Does’t breath terribly well, you might be a bit hot in this one during particularly hot weather
- The Diablo Creek sounds a bit crinkly, but it still looks sharp
- Wrists and waistline are adjustable so you can lock this jacket down during particularly nasty weather
- 11 different color options
Here’s one more unit from Columbia worth checking out. The Diablo Creek Rain Shell is a great jacket for the minimalist hiker or backpacker. This 75% nylon, 25% polyester shell with attached hood and zipper closure is pretty reasonably priced depending on what color and size you select — it’s no doubt one of the better value units listed here.
For the money, this is one of the best rain jackets around for ambitious, highly active outdoorsmen. It packs into its own hand pocket, or can be stuffed real tight if you prefer to load your pack in that manner. The hood, wrist cuffs and waist hem are all adjustable, so this jacket is not really lacking anything that a good rain shell oughta have.
It’s very well reviewed for being totally waterproof in even the nastiest conditions. The hand pockets are zippered which is always nice for keeping your gear safe and secure, and the jacket isn’t loaded up with unnecessary pouches and pockets. Columbia has built the Diablo Creek with their ‘Omni-tech’ waterproof, fully seam sealed technology, but reviews insist that this specific jacket sheds water better than it breaths.
On really hot days you might get a little overheated in this unit, so consider that if where you hike, bike, fish or backpack is particularly warm. that being said, in colder climates this unit will be compatible with some warm layers and keep you both toasty and dry.
It’s conveniently machine washable, and comes in 11 different color options. Hikers and daily commuters agree this jacket has a pretty hip, laid back look while still retaining an outdoorsmen type appearance. Definitely another solid buy from Columbia that you’ll own for many seasons of use.
Burton Men’s Gore-Tex Pacrite JacketPros:
- Sharp and unique looking rain jacket that performs with flying colors
- The adjustable hood and waist line coupled with the elastic wrists makes for a water tight seal when you need it
- Has both hand warming pockets as well as an internal media pocket
- Three different color options
- Fairly expensive rain jacket, but considering its Gore-Tex the price is not unreasonable
- Lack of pocket space
- Hood design is not for everyone - it's a matter of preference
Here’s a slightly different approach to a highly packable rain jacket from Burton. The Gore-Tex Pacrite Jacket is a breathable but seriously waterproof unit. This one will keep you bone dry under any weather conditions — Burton’s ‘Gore-Tex Paclite 2-layer fabric’ is an excellent water repeller, and it’s furthermore fully taped on the inside with ‘Gore-Seam’ to ensure it’s a truly dry garment.
The front zipper is reinforced with an internal stormflap for eliminating any drafts when things get breezy, and the extended chin guard is fleece lined for some added comfort. The wrist cuffs are elasticized and the waistline is of course adjustable. This jacket batons down the hatches really effectively — when the weather turns nasty this is a unit that has you covered.
The price is definitely a bit steep on this one, but it’s a Gore-Tex garment so that’s to be expected. The Pacrite has an awesome look to it that sets it apart from most other rain jackets. It doesn’t come off as a backpacking jacket or as a casual looking rain jacket — it’s got its own sporty yet hip thing going on as a lot of other garments from Burton do.
There’s even eight different unique color choices to choose from. There’s an awesome array of low profile pockets that allow you to effectively pack a few items or some smaller sized gear. Mesh-lined front pockets at the waist are great for warming your hands while the zippered internal pocket is ideal for safely stashing a wallet or phone.
This unit is another nice balance between highly packable and feature-packed — Burton has built the Pacrite to have traits from the best of both worlds. Check out this video for a closer look!
totes Unisex Rain PonchoPros:
- Super inexpensive and very packable - neither your wallet nor your backpack will feel this one
- Can wear a backpack underneath
- Two and tree pack options available
- Tight head hole and a large hood are ideal for eliminating leaks into the poncho
- Susceptible to tearing if your not gentle with it
- Won't last through heavy use
- Doesn't breath well
We wanted to include one super minimalist option for those of you out there that want something REALLY packable and inexpensive. This rain poncho from totes is a super budget option for the outdoorsmen or daily commuter that doesn’t necessarily expect to encounter a lot of wet weather, but still wants to be prepared.
That being said, this is a better quality product than your typical, cheapo rain poncho. It’s built with superior quality than the ponchos you’d expect to see in line at Disney World — so it should hold up fairly well as long as you don’t abuse it too heavily.
Customer reviews insist this is a very large unit and that you can wear a backpack of reasonable size underneath it. The head hole is tight and the hood is large, so this unit will effectively keep you and your pack dry in the event of a sudden downpour. It’s nice to be prepared even if you’re not anticipating rain — especially if you’re traveling or hiking with water sensitive items.
For the cost, you can’t beat what totes has to offer with this one. It’s barely existent in your pack and the price is as low as you can go for actual rain coverage. There’s various colors available as well as two and three pack options. Not a bad move depending on your needs!
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