Best Lightweight Rain Jacket for Travel

If you are on the hunt for the best lightweight rain jacket for travel, then you have come to the right place. This guide takes you through everything you need to think about when purchasing the perfect waterproof travel jacket for your next trip.

When it comes to the best men’s and best women’s rain jacket for travel you don’t only want it to keep you dry in case of a downpour while sightseeing, you also want it to be lightweight and packable.  You certainly don’t want to be lugging around a bulky jacket “just in case” it rains, nor do you want a cheap one that doesn’t do its job keeping you dry.

This guide takes you through everything you need to know to purchase the perfect lightweight, packable rain jacket. First, I’ll take you through the various features you need to consider when looking for a travel rain jacket and then take a closer look at some of the best jackets currently on the market.

This post may contain compensated links.  Please refer to my disclaimer here for more information. 

Why should you consider a Lightweight Waterproof Travel Jacket?

You probably already have a rain jacket at home and are so wondering if it’s really necessary to purchase a lightweight rain jacket just for travel.  Well, the main advantage of a travel rain jacket is they are super lightweight – unlike the one you probably have at home, which is perhaps reasonably bulky.

Given a travel rain jacket is so lightweight – it’s usually relatively thin and doesn’t do a lot more than keep you dry in case of a downpour.  A lightweight rain jacket is not designed to keep you warm – it’s just intended to keep you dry.  This may not be ideal in some cold destinations such as Europe or Canada in the middle of winter, but if you’re heading to a tropical destination like somewhere in South East Asia or the pacific – a lightweight rain jacket for travel is perfect.

So sure, you could lug around your heavy rain jacket with you – just in case it rains – but a lightweight rain jacket is so much for more convenience.  It will take up next to no space in your luggage – you’ll be able to throw it in the bottom of your backpack during the day, and you’ll probably forget it’s even there.  However, if you’re out and about and it does start raining – you sure will appreciate the fact that you brought it along with you.

If you like to travel light – having a lightweight rain jacket for travel is the ultimate!

Our Pick for the Best Lightweight Rain Jacket for Travel: Marmot PreCip Jackets

Don’t have time to read my entire men and womens travel raincoat guide? I just love the Marmot PreCip rain jackets.  For the money, these jackets offer exceptional value.

The Marmot PreCip men’s and women’s jackets are not only lightweight, but they are great had keeping you dry in a downpour and pack down nice and compact

Click here to purchase the Marmot women’s jacket or here for the Marmot men’s jacket.  Keep reading below for my detailed review.

Comparison Chart for the Best Men’s and Women’s Travel Raincoat 

Check out the table below for a quick and easy comparison of the travel rain jacket (women’s and men’s) options reviewed in this guide.  For further information, keep reading the reviews below. 

IMAGE PRODUCT Weight Waterproofing Material Price Guide  
1. Columbia Women’s Arcadia Li 14.4 oz 2L Omni-Tech Nylon $60 Check Price
2. Marmot Women’s PreCip 9.6 oz 2.5L Nanoproof Ripstop Nylon $89 Check Price
3. North Face Women’s Venture 2 10.9 oz 2.5L DryVent Ripstop Nylon $100 Check Price
4. Research Women’s Helium Li 5.5 oz 2.5L Pertex Shield+ Nylon $159 Check Price
5. Arc’teryx Zeta SL Women’s 10.9 oz 2L GORE-TEX GORE-TEX fabric with Paclite® Plus $$$$ Check Price
6. Columbia Men’s Watertight li 13 oz 2L Omni-Tech Nylon $50 Check Price
7. Marmot Men’s PreCip 11.4 oz 2.5L Nanoproof Ripstop Nylon $100 Check Price
8. North Face Men’s Venture 2 10.9 oz 2.5L DryVent Ripstop Nylon $90 Check Price
9. Outdoor Research Men’s Helium II 6.4 oz 2.5L Pertex Shield+ Nylon $121 Check Price
10. Arc’teryx Zeta SL 10.9 oz 2L GORE-TEX GORE-TEX fabric with Paclite® Plus $$$$ Check Price

Things to Consider when Purchasing the Best Men’s & Best Women’s Rain Jacket for Travel

What makes the best lightweight rain jacket for travel depends on a few things. To ensure you get the best jacket, I recommend you consider the factors below.

Lightweight 

Given the point of a lightweight rain jacket is to be lightweight, one of the most important factors to consider is the weight of the jacket.

Ensure your jackets weighs no more than 10 -11 ounces.  In fact, some of the very best outdoor brands make jackets close to half that weight.  This means that not only will your jacket not take up much space in your luggage; it won’t be an issue in terms of strict weight restrictions that many airlines are now stringently enforcing.

With a lightweight jacket, you’ll be able to pop it in the bottom of your backpack and go about your day to day sightseeing without even realizing its there.  But in case of a downpour, you’ll be well protected. 

Packability

As well as jackets being lightweight, a good travel rain jacket needs to be packable.  In other words, this means that the jacket packs down nice and small, so it’s not only lightweight but also takes up barely any space in your bag either.

Some of the best lightweight rain jackets come with their own little stuff sacks or even have built-in pockets, so when not in use, you can easily store them away. 

Fabric: Number of Layers and Quality 

When it comes to considering the fabrics used to make rain jackets, its helpful to understand the makeup of a rain jacket.  Generally, a rain jacket will have up to three layers – an outer layer, a middle waterproof membrane and a lining.  The more layers a jacket has, the better it is at not only keeping you dry but also in letting out hot air and sweat.  However, the more layers, the bulkier the jacket is.

Top-quality jackets will have the number of layers clearly identified.  Look for mention of either 2L, 2.5L or 3L.

To ensure your rain jacket keeps you well protected, you want to look for a jacket made from high-quality, durable fabrics.  While rain jackets from the top outdoor brands may seem expensive, these brands use high-quality materials to ensure your jackets not only keep you well protected, but last for years.

Breathability

One of the biggest downsides of a rain jacket is its inability to be breathable – that is not adequately letting out perspiration or hot air.  This means that if you’re in a warm climate – you will most likely get hot and sweaty while wearing your rain jacket.

However technology has come along away, and top quality brand jackets are likely to perform better in terms of breathability than the cheaper jackets.

If you’re the sort of person that gets hot quickly – look for jackets that mention increased breathability.  Rain jackets made with three layers tend to perform best in terms of breathability.

Price 

When it comes to lightweight rain jackets, there is a huge range of prices.  You can pick one up for $20 as well as spend well over a few hundred dollars.

You’ll note that I haven’t included any $20 rain jackets in this guide.  That’s because although cheap, these jackets are really not worth the money.  If you’re going to buy a rain jacket, then you might as well make an investment in a good quality one, that you know will perform well when you need it to, as well as last you years to come. 

Pockets and other Features 

Ok so we’ve covered all the essential features to consider when it comes to a lightweight rain jacket – let’s talk about the nice to have.

Some jackets come with exterior or interior pockets, removable hoods, or hoods with a drawstring (I recommend this to ensure the hood stays well secured on your head), jackets with drawstring waists and cuffs, double-ended zippers – the list goes on.

As to what features are important – that really depends on your personal preferences and also perhaps how much money you’re willing to spend.  Just note that usually the more features, the heavier and bulkier the jacket becomes.

The Best Travel Rain Jacket (Women’s) Reviews 2020 

Below I’ve listed five great options for the best women’s raincoat for travel. 

1.

Columbia Women’s Arcadia II Waterproof Jacket 

The cheapest rain jacket in these reviews, the Columbia Arcadia jacket comes in a stack of great colours and is perfect for keeping you dry.

Made with Omni-Tech material, this lightweight travel women’s raincoat will keep you dry, while also being breathable.  This jacket features two layers of fabric with a soft mesh lining inside the jacket.

For a low-priced jacket, the Arcadia comes with loads of features.  This jacket has an adjustable hood, drawcord adjustable hem, and dual zippered hand pockets.  Plus it’s also easy to carry, folding up into a built-in pocket.

While not the lightest of lightweight jackets, for the price and what it offers, it’s a great jacket for keeping dry on your travels.

Click here to check the current price or to read more reviews.

2.

Marmot Women’s PreCip Lightweight Rain Jacket 

The ladies Marmot PreCip rain jacket is among one of the most highly rated rain jackets currently on the market and my pick for the best lightweight rain jacket for travel.  Coming with some great features and all at a great price, it’s not surprisingly this is such a popular jacket

This 2.5L jacket is made with comfortable and breathable NanoPro fabric which is completely waterproof.  With the NanoPro’s microporous structure, water won’t soak into your jacket, and the taped seams ensure that all points are sealed to prevent any leaks.

To aid in ventilation, this Marmot jacket also has PitZips (side zippers) which allow you to let out hot air quickly, and get some cool air in.  Other features of this jacket include a drawstring hood and hem as well as Velcro cuffs to help prevent leaks and to improve temperature control.  The jacket also has two deep front pockets.

Weighing in at 9.6 oz, this Marmot jacket is a great lightweight rain jacket for travel and also comes in a range of great colours to choose from. 

Click here to check the current price or to read more reviews.

3.

North Face Women’s Venture 2 Rain Jacket 

Yet another highly popular rain jacket, North Face’s Venture 2 is an excellent choice for anyone after a great priced jacket to keep them dry in wet weather conditions.

This 2.5L jacket is made with a durable 100% windproof and waterproof exterior fabric.  It also has cuff and hem drawcords for a better fit and to keep out wet weather.  For those who need the extra ventilation, you’ll appreciate that the jacket has zippers under the armpits.

The jacket also has an adjustable hood and zipper hand pockets.  Plus for easy storage the jacket stuffs away into its own pocket, making it perfect for throwing in the bottom of your day pack.

The North Face Venture 2 rain jacket is the perfect companion to keep you well protected from poor weather conditions.

Click here to check the current price or to read more reviews. 

4.Outdoor Research Women’s Helium II Jacket

At just 5.5 ounces – the women’s Outdoor Research Helium II jacket is by far the lightest rain jacket in these reviews.  You can keep this jacket at the bottom of your backpack or even in your handbag – just in case you encounter wet weather during a day of sightseeing.

Not only is this jacket lightweight, but it’s also ridiculously packable.  This little jacket packs down to about the size of a mobile phone!  Plus you can clip it on the outside of your bag if you need to with the carabiner loop.

But don’t let its size fool you, this is a great performer too.  The Pertex waterproof fabric is great at keeping you dry, and all seams are fully sealed as well as the zipper being protected with YKK® AquaGuard® waterproofing technology.

Given how lightweight this jacket is, it doesn’t feature any extras like the heavier rain jackets in this review, but it does come with a hood as well as one chest pocket.

For those just after a no-frills lightweight rain jacket that they can pop into the smallest of small day packs or their handbag, you really can’t beat the Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket.

Click here to check the current price or to read more reviews.

5. Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket

If you’ve booked that dream trip and have just discovered that heavy rain is predicted – then you’re going to want to ensure you have the best protection – which is where the Arc’teryx Zeta SL jacket comes in.  This rain jacket is a top of the line product which will keep well protected in poor weather conditions.

Made with high-quality 2L Gore-Tex fabric with Paclite Plus technology, not only is this jacket waterproof and windproof, but it also performs well in the snow too.  The jacket has a watertight front zipper, taped seams, and an adjustable hood, cuffs, and hem to seal out the weather.  Other features of this jacket include two hand pockets, chin guard with soft brushed microsuede.

This is by no means a cheap rain jacket, but if you want to make the investment upfront for a top-quality rain jacket to keep you well protected for years and years to come, the Arc’teryx Zeta SL jacket is one to consider. 

Click here to check the current price or to read more reviews.

The Best Travel Rain Jacket (Men’s) Reviews 2020 

Below I’ve listed five great options for the best men’s raincoat for travel. 

6.

Columbia Men’s Watertight lI Waterproof Rain Jacket 

For men after a good quality but a cheap option, Columbia’s Watertight II rain jacket is well worth considering.  It’s rated highly by many people and is among one of the best-selling lightweight rain jackets for travel.

Made with Omni-Tech material, this jacket will keep you dry, while also being breathable.  This jacket features two layers of fabric with a soft mesh lining inside the jacket.

For a low-priced jacket, the Watertight II comes with loads of features.  This jacket has an adjustable hood, drawcord adjustable hem, dual-zippered hand pockets, a visored hood, and a chin guard to avoid zipper to chin chafing.  Plus it’s also easy to carry, folding up into a built-in pocket.

While not the lightest of lightweight jackets, for the price and what it offers, it’s a great jacket for keeping dry on your travels.

Click here to check the current price or to read more reviews.

7.

Marmot Men’s PreCip Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket 

Yet another highly popular rain jacket, the Marmot men’s PreCip rain jacket is an excellent choice for anyone after a great priced jacket to keep them dry in wet weather conditions.

This 2.5L jacket is made with comfortable and breathable NanoPro fabric which is completely waterproof.  With the NanoPro’s microporous structure, water won’t soak into your jacket, and the taped seams ensure that all points are sealed to prevent any leaks.

To aid in ventilation, this Marmot jacket also has zippers under the armpits which allow you to let out hot air quickly, and get some cool air in.  Other features of this jacket include a drawstring hood and hem as well as Velcro cuffs to help prevent leaks and to improve temperature control.  The jacket also has two deep front pockets, which can be stuffed into when not in use and for easy carrying.

Weighing in at 11 oz, this Marmot jacket is a great lightweight rain jacket for travel and comes in a range of great colours to choose from too. 

Click here to check the current price or to read more reviews.

8.

The North Face Men’s Venture 2 Jacket 

The North Face men’s Venture 2 jacket is among one of the most highly rated rain jackets currently on the market.  It’s not surprising this is such a popular jacket, given it comes with some great features and all at a great price. 

This 2.5L jacket is made with a durable 100% windproof and waterproof exterior fabric.  It also has cuff and hem drawcords for a better fit and to keep out wet weather.  For those who needed the extra ventilation, you’ll appreciate that the jacket has zippers under the armpits.

The jacket also has an adjustable hood and zipper hand pockets.  Plus for easy storage the jacket stuffs away into its own pocket, making it perfect for throwing in the bottom of your day pack.

The North Face Venture 2 rain jacket is the perfect companion to keep you well protected from poor weather conditions.

Click here to check the current price or to read more reviews.

9.

Outdoor Research Men’s Helium II Jacket 

At just 6.4 ounces – the Outdoor Research Helium II jacketis by far the lightest men’s rain jacket in these reviews.  You can keep this jacket at the bottom of your backpack or stuff it into your hiking pants pocket – just in case you encounter wet weather conditions during a day of sightseeing.

Not only is this jacket lightweight, but it’s also ridiculously packable.  This little jacket packs down to about the size of a granola bar!  Plus you can clip it on the outside of your bag, or even your belt loop if you need to with the carabiner loop.

But don’t let its size fool you, the Helium II has impressive waterproofing too.  The 2.5 – layer Pertex waterproof fabric is great at keeping you dry, as is the fully taped seams and the single zipper which is protected with YKK® AquaGuard® waterproofing technology.

Given how lightweight this jacket is, it doesn’t feature any extras like the heavier rain jackets in this review, but it does come with a hood as well as one chest pocket.

For those just after a no-frills lightweight rain jacket that they can pop into the smallest of small day packs or even hiking pants pocket, you really can’t beat the Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket. 

Click here to check the current price or to read more reviews.

10.

Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket 

If you’re ready to invest in a top of the line lightweight rain jacket, then the Arc’teryx Zeta SL jacket is certainly one to consider.  This rain jacket is a top of the line product which will keep well protected in poor weather conditions.

Made with high-quality 2L Gore-Tex fabric with Paclite Plus technology, not only is this jacket waterproof and windproof, but it also performs well in the snow too.  The jacket has a watertight front zipper, taped seams, and an adjustable hood, cuffs, and hem to seal out the weather.  Other features of this jacket include two hand pockets and a chin guard with a soft brushed microsuede.

This is the most expensive lightweight rain jacket in these reviews, but if you want to make the investment upfront for a top-quality jacket to keep you well protected for years and years to come, the Arc’teryx Zeta SL jacket is the perfect one to consider.

Click here to check the current price or to read more reviews.

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