As the infamous Dolly Parton once said, “If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” Although she likely meant this figuratively, you can take it literally as well.
In the spring and summer, when showers are more frequent, you sometimes need to deal with the rain to enjoy your favorite outdoor activities like running, hiking, and cycling.
The North Face is famous for its water-resistant rain jackets for men and women (Credit: Oasisamuel / Shutterstock)
With the proper rain gear, dark clouds won’t keep you indoors. A great lightweight rain jacket will keep you warm and dry, taking you from the city streets to the trails.
3 Things To Look For When Buying a Waterproof Jacket
When picking the perfect rain jacket, there are three essential features you should look for:
1. Number of pockets
If you get caught in the rain, you don’t want to be holding your cell phone and keys. You can keep all your valuables dry and secure with zippered pockets – plus, they’ll keep your hands dry!
2. Hood design
I’m pretty sure if it’s raining, you don’t want your head to get wet either. This is why you need a hood.
A hood will also prevent water from going down your collar and help protect you from blowing wind. For increased versatility, look for a hood that’s adjustable and stowable.
3. Waterproof or water-resistant
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to note that not all waterproofing is considered equal. When looking for a rain jacket, there are often various waterproofing degrees – some will protect you in torrential downpours, and others are better suited for a light spring shower.
Columbia’s Omni-Tech technology provides premium, air-permeable waterproof protection (Credit: S_E / Shutterstock)
You can also opt for a drawcord waist, lining, reflectors, and internal pockets in addition to these three features. To help you determine what features you need, you should first consider where and when you will be wearing your rain jacket the most.
The best lightweight rain jackets for men and women will have many, if not all, of these features. If you are looking for a new jacket, keep reading – we’ve compiled a list of the very best!
Best Lightweight Rain Jackets for Women
1. North Face Dryzzle FUTURELIGHT Jacket, $228.95 at Zappos
This North Face rain jacket checks every box! It’s 100% waterproof, windproof and breathable. The brand is notorious for its high-quality fabric, and this jacket is no exception.
The North Face Dryzzle Futurelight jacket is ideal for active adventures no matter the weather
It’s made from seam-sealed FUTURELIGHT material, which is soft, recycled, and stretch-knit.
Equipped with all the essentials, this rain jacket has an attached, fully adjustable hood and secure-zip hand pockets. It will keep your head and valuables dry!
Made from recycled fabric, this lightweight rain jacket provides full coverage with an adjustable hood and hook-and-loop cuff tabs
You’ll have no problem packing this into your bag as it weighs just 10.58 Oz! It also has all the extra features, including an adjustable hook-and-loop cuff tab, a slight drop-tail, and a cinch-cord hem.
2. Columbia Arcadia II Rain Jacket, $30.15 – $128.99 at Zappos
Showers and storms aren’t always predictable, but getting caught in the rain isn’t so bad when you’ve packed your lightweight rain jacket.
Columbia’s ultralightweight Arcadia II rain jacket features a seam-sealed construction with soft mesh lining
Columbia’s Arcadia II rain jacket is ultra-lightweight and easy to pack up into one of its own zip-up pockets so you can keep it in your backpack or purse.
Available in multiple colors, the Arcadia II nylon jacket is waterproof and breathable
This jacket will also keep you dry in the most intense storms. It has seam-seal construction with mesh lining for added comfort. It’s 100% waterproof, windproof and breathable.
You will get it all with this rain jacket, including zippered hand pockets, an adjustable storm hood, a collar, and an adjustable hem. Made from nylon, this jacket also features Columbia’s Omni-tech guarantee.
3. Carhartt Rain Defender Hood Lightweight Coat, $69.99 at Carhartt
If you are looking for a stylish rain jacket to keep you dry on your daily commute, this lightweight jacket is perfect! Made from mesh-lined nylon, it can withstand light showers due to the water-repellent treatment.
Perfect for light showers, the Carhartt Rain Defender jacket comes with a drawcord hood, full two-way zippers, and a long length for full coverage
It is by far the lightest rain jacket on this list, weighing only 2 ounces! It also has a drawcord hood, zippered pockets, and a longer length for full coverage.
This lightweight rain jacket weighs in at only two ounces and can easily be stashed in your bag
This rain jacket from Carhartt has exceptional detailing as well. There is a complete two-way zip front, elastic cuffs, inner hook-and-loop pocket, internal drawcord waist, and side-end snap-button pockets.
4. Patagonia Ultralight Packable Jacket, $249 at REI
For a versatile rain jacket that will protect you from rain and wind, this Patagonia jacket can go everywhere and anywhere. It’s super lightweight and will pack into a stuff sack the size of a tennis ball.
Patagonia’s Ultralight Packable jacket is super lightweight that you can pack it into a tennis-ball-sized stuffsack
It also has plenty of great features, including a brimmed hood, zippered fly-box pocket, and a DWR (durable water-repellent) finish.
This minimalist go-everywhere jacket is breathable and waterproof to keep you dry and comfy
Additionally, this rain jacket has a tool dock and corrosion-resistant zippers and is fair trade certified! This means it is made by workers earning a livable wage, using recycled nylon and polyester, and produced using environmentally-friendly practices.
5. Marmot Bantamweight Jacket, $208.96 – $274.95 on Amazon
This lightweight rain jacket weighs less than five ounces and is the lightest jacket Marmot has ever made. You can pack it all up into an internal pocket to take it on the go.
Weighing less than five ounces, the Marmot Bantamweight jacket is the perfect go-to rain jacket for on-the-go women
Despite being so light, nothing was compromised with the design. It is waterproof and windproof, featuring Pertex shield fabric that provides stretch and is treated with DWR for ultimate rain protection.
Although lightweight, it’s packed with technical features to keep you dry and comfortable
Additionally, the seams are fully taped, and there is an attached hood with peripheral cord adjustment. You can also keep all your valuables safe and dry with zippered hand pockets.
Marmot has included additional features, including an elastic drawcord hem, interior mesh pocket, and underarm laser-drilled holes.
Best Lightweight Rain Jackets for Men
6. North Face 1994 Retro Mountain Light FUTURELIGHT Jacket, $350 at The North Face
North Face has also jumped on the nostalgia bandwagon with this nod to the ‘90s. Their 1994 Retro Mountain Light rain jacket has all the style of the mid-90s but with modern-day rain technology.
Considered a streetwear icon, the 1994 Retro Mountain Light rain jacket has been updated with FutureLight fabric technology, offering top-level breathability and waterproofing
The lightweight shell is treated with DWR, making it 100% waterproof and windproof. It is lined with taffeta, with heavier, abrasion-resistant fabric in high-stress areas.
It’s equipped with features, including an adjustable two-piece hood, reverse-entry pockets, an internal pocket, and an adjustable bungee waist
Of course, it’s got all the essentials, including an adjustable two-piece hood that stows with a Velcro tab and reverse-entry alpine-style pockets.
It’s equipped with additional features as well, including an internal chest pocket, adjustable bungee waist, and cord locking hem. This rain jacket is very versatile as well. It’s lightweight, weighing just 27.65 oz, and is compatible with North Face’s ’95 Retro Denali jacket.
7. Columbia Watertight II Jacket, $90 at Columbia
Columbia is notorious for its superior outerwear, so of course, they’d make our list of the best lightweight rain jackets! The Watertight II is ultralight, waterproof, windproof, and breathable.
Incorporated with OmniTech shell, the Columbia Watertight II will keep you dry even in the heaviest of rains
This rain jacket will keep you dry, even when caught in the most severe storms. It is fully seam-sealed and has all the features of a great jacket; adjustable storm hood, zippered hand pockets, and a high zippered collar.
Ultralight and packable, the Watertight II comes in an array of colorways
Columbia’s Watertight II jacket is made from 100% nylon with mesh lining. It has a drawcord adjustable hem and an abrasion-resistant chin guard.
As one of the most popular rain jackets in Columbia’s rainwear collection, this beauty is available in an impressive 13 colors and is also one of the most budget-friendly options on this list!
8. Carhartt Lightweight Waterproof Rainstorm Jacket, $59.50 – $59.99 on Amazon
This is the perfect waterproof shell that provides heavy-duty coverage while remaining lightweight. It is made from polyester with polyethylene and vinyl acetate coating.
Designed for heavy rains, this Carhartt jacket guarantees full coverage and lightweight comfort with its waterproof shell comprised of 0.35 mm 92% polyethylene and 8% vinyl acetate
The major seams are reinforced, so they will keep you dry in a torrential storm, working on a boat, or hosing down equipment.
It’s got all the goods needed for great rain gear, including a drawcord-adjustable hood, two bellowed pockets with snap closure and a double-front storm placket with inner and outer snap closure.
The Carhartt Lightweight Waterproof rain jacket features an adjustable hood, double-front storm placket, and hook-and-loop adjustable cuffs
For extra style, you’ll find the Carhartt logo on the left sleeve, which is available in canopy green or yellow. If you need additional protection against the elements, you can pick up a pair of matching lightweight rainstorm overalls.
9. Patagonia Ultralight Packable Jacket, $249 at Patagonia
Sometimes the most intense storms are the ones that roll in unannounced. Never get caught in the rain again with this Patagonia ultralight packable jacket.
The Patagonia Ultralight Packable jacket is a lightweight jacket that’s also waterproof, windproof, and breathable
This jacket is so lightweight that it will pack up into a tennis-ball-sized sack, so it’s easy to keep in your bag for unexpected showers.
You can keep this feature-packed jacket in your bag in case of sudden rain
This rain jacket has everything you need to protect yourself from the elements. It has a fly-box pocket, brimmed hood, tool dock, and corrosion-resistant zips.
This rain jacket is, of course, also waterproof, windproof, and breathable. Patagonia is notorious for its environmental and ethical values, so you can feel good about purchasing this rain jacket.
10. Marmot Minimalist Jacket, $188.95 at Zappos
GORE-TEX is the ultimate material for rainwear, which is what the Minimalist jacket is made from. It is lightweight, packable, waterproof, windproof, and breathable.
The Marmot Minimalist jacket is made from Gore-Tex with PacLite Technology, making it lightweight, waterproof, and windproof
Further, all the seams are taped to keep water out. With functionality in mind, Marmot has added PitZips that provide greater ventilation that will regulate body temperature as well as articulated elbows for increased mobility.
Offering minimum bulk and maximum performance, the Marmot Minimalist is lightweight, durable, and packable
This jacket is perfect for rainy adventures! It also has an attached adjustable hood and bonded flap over the front zipper. It is also an outstanding outer shell that you can wear over an insulated jacket when temperatures drop.