Gear Review: Rain Jackets and Pants

Gear Review: Rain Jackets and Pants

When it Rains . . .


Written for Washington Trails magazine


Visit the published article here


Choosing rain gear doesn’t have to be hard. Check out our recommendations below.



Editor’s Choice: Sierra Designs Stretch Rain

You wouldn’t think there was much further to go with rain shell innovation, but Sierra Designs has discovered the way—and it’s so obvious you’ll wonder why it’s never been done before: backpack hipbelt accommodation. The Stretch Rain jacket (1) features zippered sides that allow you to buckle your pack’s hipbelt under the front of the jacket, eliminating that annoying bulking we’re all too familiar with. On top of that, the stretchy fabric—which sheds moisture like nobody’s business—is buttery-soft and flexible. There’s more: add in a lay-flat hood, die-cut vents and large pockets for a practically perfect rain shell.

  • Score: 4.5/5
  • Bonus Points: Attractive tailored design for men and women.
  • $200

Stretch Rain jacket

Economy: Sierra Designs Microlight 2

If you’re after a light rain jacket that’s as effective and packable as it is affordable, look no further than the Microlight 2 (2). This was my go-to jacket for every adventure this summer, from hiking to biking to boating. It probably won’t keep you dry in a full-on cloudburst— look to one of the heavy-duty selections for that—but it is perfect for keeping dry in light rain and as a shoulder season shell layer. It even doubles nicely as a windbreaker.

  • Score: 4/5
  • Bonus Points: Small enough for any backpack or purse.
  • $49!

Microlight 2 jacket

Heavy-Duty: Outdoor Research (OR) Clairvoyant

OR has accomplished what many gear companies are still struggling with: a women’s rain jacket that’s as feminine as it is hard-core. The Clairvoyant (4) offers beautiful colors and a soft-to-the-touch feel—on top of being incredibly good at repelling moisture. I stayed dry even in complete downpours. Other great features: a ponytail-friendly moldable brim and cinchable hood, a roomier fit that makes layering a breeze and non-slip zipper pulls.

  • Score: 4.4/5
  • Bonus Points: So cute it can be worn on trail or around town.
  • $325

Clairvoyant jacket

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