Best Rain Gear
April showers bring May flowers. But how on Earth are you going to survive April without the right rain gear? We have created this list to make your life easier and to introduce you to some waterproof items that you may have never considered for your arsenal of rain gear. Of course, you’ll find your everyday items here, such as an umbrella and a rain jacket, but you’ll also find gaiters, dry bags, and boots. You really never know when Mother Nature is going to change her mood and it's always great to be prepared. As an added bonus, many of our entries are priced affordably and won’t leave you drowning.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 14 hrs of research
Includes a waterproof phone case for your smartphone
Features double closure strip seals for extra protection
Covered by the manufacturer’s 90-day warranty
Top Ten Gear for the Rain
1. Freegrace Dry Bag
Includes a waterproof phone case for your smartphone
Features double closure strip seals for extra protection
Covered by the manufacturer’s 90-day warranty
The waterproof pouch is a little flimsy
Maybe you are looking for an additional bag to fit inside your backpack. If so, then why not make it a dry bag? In specific, the Freegrace Waterproof Dry Bag? Even though the dry bag itself is worthy enough for an investment, the seller also includes a waterproof pouch and waterproof phone case.Read more
Being crafted from 500D Tarpaulin and double zip-lock seals, this bag will protect all its contents from rain and water. Even if you submerge it underwater, for a brief time your contents will still be safe.
In addition to the dry bag, you also receive a waterproof small pouch and phone case. The pouch is ideal for storing your wallet, credit cards, keys, and small accessories. Meanwhile, the phone case can be used to hold your smartphone making it safe to submerge in water. Besides the default, there are other colors such as green, navy blue, orange, sky blue, and yellow.
If you plan on transporting this by itself, it does feature a detachable shoulder strap for an easy carry. Of course, you could also stuff it in the aforementioned Suretex backpack.
The choice is yours for either a dry bag with 5, 10, 20 or 35 liters of volume.
The included waterproof pouch and phone case are nice touches, but this is truly noteworthy for the dry bag. You will take comfort in knowing your contents are safe, even if it is accidentally submerged in water.
2. Overboard Backpack
Has chest straps
Features high-quality water-resistant nylon fabric
Has several additional pockets for storage
Could have had larger size options
When you are planning on partaking in any heavy-duty backpacking, hiking, or camping trip and want to protect your valuables, Overboard provides you with the best option possible. Their hiking backpack holds over 30 liters, features a water-resistant material and comes with a waterproof rain cover.Read more
Indeed, your valuables and contents will be safe inside as the crafted material is resistant to water. For an additional layer of protection, against heavy downpours, there is also an included waterproof rain cover.
As a hiking backpack, this is loaded with convenience and storage compartments. The main spacious interior has two separators to allow for proper organization, two front zipper pockets for small accessories and two mesh pockets on the side for hydration. Plus, there are adjustable straps for comfort, gear straps, and cord loops. There are a few color options including blue, yellow and orange.
To provide your body with the utmost comfort, the suspension system and metal frame keep you sturdy while carrying. In addition, there is an excellent amount of airflow in the back and padded shoulder straps for comfort.
This is built to hold enough gear for multiple days with options for 50 or 60 liters.
It is important to keep everything you have protected from the rain and this backpack will accomplish that better than merely anything else you will find. It also helps that there is enough storage space to pack everything you need for a trip.
3. Marmot Minimalist
Could have better breathability
Keeping your accessories and gear protected is one thing, but what about you? Rain will not kill you, but no one wants their clothes to get soaked. This is where the Marmot Minimalist Jacket comes into play, as it features Gore-Tex technology to repel the heaviest of rain.Read more
There are two types of Gore-Tex integrated into this jacket to make it not only waterproof but also durable. Both the pit zips and center-front zipper are WaterTight, which delivers further protection from the weather.
The Minimalist's hood has a great design with large size but adjustable to fit most head sizes. Besides the standard black color, you can choose from steel onyx, surf, cilantro, Sienna red and tangelo.
As the jacket is constructed from lightweight fabric (while not sacrificing durability), when you are not wearing it, you can easily pack it in a dry bag or backpack.
A wide range of size options are available including everything from small to XX-large.
Marmot is well-known for its outstanding Gore-Tex garments and this Hybrid Jacket is no exception. In times where it begins to start pouring rain, you will be thanking yourself that this is packed inside your bag.
4. Chill Gorilla Tent Tarp
With its nine anchor points and reinforced corners, it is very durable
It is 100 percent waterproof and will protect you from the elements
It is covered by Chill Gorilla’s hassle-free warranty
Can be heavy to transport
There is a strong likelihood that during your outdoor adventure, you will need to stop and sleep through the night. To do so, it is recommended to pack a rain fly tent tarp to cover either your tent or hammock. Very few, however, offer the quality and superior craftsmanship of Chill Gorilla.Read more
The ripstop nylon, with polyurethane-treatment, provides all-weather protection with its superior water shedding abilities. It is tear and puncture-resistant, long-lasting and built to withstand even the harshest of rainstorms.
The tarp comes with everything you need including nine tie-down loops and grommets for multiple anchoring points. Thus, making it ideal for backpacking, camping, and hiking. Also, the set-up is a breeze and will be completed within minutes. There are two shades of green that you can select from (regular and OD green), in addition to a gray shade.
When you are traveling with it, it conveniently packs into the included rainproof gear sack. Though, it can be a little heavy to carry for extended periods of time.
There is only one size option available. For the specific dimensions, this tarp measures 10’ x 10’ (length by width) with a centerline of 170”. It can conveniently be angled out to provide a larger coverage.
Even though you may have a place to sleep overnight, this is a terrific way to add extra protection from the elements. As this particular tarp is 100 percent waterproof and very easy to set-up at an instance notice, it is almost mandatory for any situation.
5. Outdoor Research Foray Pant
Features an elasticized waist for a custom and secure fit
Stuff into their own pocket for great portability
There is only one pocket
Unfortunately, your torso is not the only aspect of your body that is prone to rain as so are your legs. With this in mind, it is necessary to pack additional waterproof pants. For men, The Outdoor Reseach Foray Pant could not be a better choice.Read more
As a whole, the lining and exterior of these pants are made from Polyester. They feature a Gore-Tex finish, making them waterproof. The seams are fully taped and the zippers are water-resistant. Hearing that the zippers were merely water-resistant, instead of waterproof, we were a bit worried. However, it seems as though this hasn’t been an issue for reviewers. Hopefully, you won’t be full-on swimming in these pants, so you will stay nice and dry underneath.
One of the best features of the Foray pant is how easy they are to put on and take off. No matter the boots or other layers that you are wearing, with the ¾ length side zippers, you’ll be able to slide on these waterproof pants quickly. The side zippers are also great for adding breathability into the pants. For optimal mobility, the crotch is gusseted and the knees are articulated. One thing we would have liked to see is more pockets. There is only one back pocket.
These pants are lightweight and pack into themselves. The lone rear pocket acts as the stuff sack for the pants. They weigh only 10.7-ounces and are easily packed and carried with you everywhere.
Generally, these pants fit true to size. Especially due to the fact that they have an elastic drawcord waist, allowing you to tighten them to your desired fit. They are available in a variety of sizes from Small to XXL.
Have you ever been caught in a rain shower in jeans? They take forever to dry. With the Foray pants from Outdoor Research, you can easily and quickly cover up your pants and carry on, no matter the weather.
6. Charles River Apparel Poncho
Have heat-sealed seams for further waterproofness
It conveniently packs into its own storage pouch
Features a hood with a drawstring for a custom and secure fit
Poncho could cover more of your legs
A great piece of rain gear for men and women alike is a poncho. If you did not want to spend extra money on a waterproof jacket, you could simply throw the Pacific Poncho from Charles River on and be ready for Mother Nature’s worst.Read more
The New Englander polyurethane that this material is coated with provides the poncho with its wind and waterproof properties. With heat-sealed seams and knit-backing bonding, the durability and waterproofness are further enhanced.
To create sleeves that allow for ease of movement, there are side snap closures. In addition to this, there is an integrated hood with a drawstring to add further protection to the elements. Every single person should be satisfied with their color as there is a boatload of options including (but not limited to) aquamarine, black, chocolate, navy, jade, maroon, and navy.
Not only is it extremely lightweight and easy to transport, but it will also pack into its own storage pouch. Thus, whenever it starts raining you can simply take it out of its pouch and put it on.
This is a one-size-fits-all design and is specifically tailored to fit the average adult. The dimensions of the poncho are 52” x 80”.
While you may think a poncho is not stylish or can look “dorky”, there are few products in the world that provide better protection against the weather. With the overall quality of this specific poncho, does it really matter if you look perfect?
7. Liteflex Trekking Umbrella
The frame is constructed from high-density fiberglass
Has UV protection of 50+
Integrates a newly developed safety runner
The handle can be uncomfortable to hold after it gets wet
Arguably, the first piece of equipment you thought of when pondering rain gear was an umbrella. It may be the most popular way to repel rain and after all these years, it is still necessary to tag one along. With its tremendous canopy and ease of transport, the Liteflex Trekking Umbrella is as great a choice as any.Read more
The canopy of the umbrella is constructed from 100 percent polyester fabric with Teflon coating for heavy-duty repellency to rain. In addition, it is also tear-proof so you do not need to worry about rain coming through accidental holes.
When it starts raining and you are holding your umbrella, the handle is designed with high-density EVA hard foam with grooves to ensure that your grip remains dry and secure. Besides the black version, you can also choose a silver design. Note, the different colors do have varying prices.
It will not be raining the entire time you are outdoors, so if you are hiking or camping with an umbrella you want an easy way to store it. Thankfully, this umbrella comes with a carrying bag with a shoulder strap for simple transport.
No additional options for sizes here; just one size that measures 25.2” x 39.4” (height by width) when open and 25.5” x 1.75” (length by width) when closed.
Some may find it more of a hassle to carry around an umbrella but, when one repels water as good as this trekking umbrella does, you would be doing yourself a disservice by ignoring the quality here.
8. Outdoor Research Wrapid Gaiters
It includes a super-touch BioThane instep strap for dependability
Includes the manufacturer’s lifetime warranty
The double-pivot design keeps the gaiter in place
Fit can feel tight
Waterproof boots and shoes may not do it alone, you may also want to consider some gaiters. They provide, the Outdoor Research Men’s Wrapid Gaiters in specific, great water protection from ankles to just below your knees.Read more
For these Wrapid Gaiters, its resistance to rain all comes down to its material. Being crafted from nylon, polyester, and spandex, it is not only weatherproof but also tough and extremely lightweight.
Outdoor Research utilizes breathable fabrics that allow the water vapor and any perspiration to escape. For a natural comfort, movement-mirroring stretching is integrated. As an added bonus, the silicone anti-slip prints keep the gaiters from riding up on your boot or shoe. As far as color options, do not be too picky here, as there are no additional color options. Simply, you must be satisfied with black and lemongrass.
No need to worry about portability here as these gaiters are so lightweight and packable that they will easily fit into a dry bag, backpack, or waterproof sack.
There are only two size options to choose from, small/medium and large/extra-large. However, the hook-and-loop front closure allows for an adjustable fit.
As lightweight and portable as these are, even if you do not end up using them they are so easy to pack that you might as well. Even though you may only wear them for really bad rainstorms, it is better to be safe than sorry.
9. Scala Classico Rain Hat
Constructed from water-repellent polypropylene
Can be worn inside out
Features an adjustable back so you can tighten it on your head
The brim could have been larger for more protection
You may not want to constantly wear the hood of your poncho or jacket while it is raining, but you do not want your head exposed to the elements. Thus, the answer is a waterproof rain hat. This model, in particular, manages to provide resistance to rain and a bit of style.Read more
Overall, this hat has been designed to repel rain when it touches the surface. But, a three-inch brim also manages to provide enhanced protection from the rain and the wind.
What is special about this rain hat is it can be worn in multiple fashions. One way is on the side that features a solid color background while the other way (turned inside out) features faux leather with contrast stitching. While there are not too many additional colors, there should be enough to adapt for most women. This includes black, charcoal, khaki, navy and wine.
Due to its thin liner, it can easily be packed away and stored when you do not need it. It is not very large, either, so it will not take up much room.
There are no sizing options, instead, this hat will fit most heads up to 22 inches.
Not only is this a tremendous way to protect your head from downpours, but it also has an innovative design that allows it to be worn in multiple ways. Perhaps the brim could have been a little longer to provide more protection, but it is sufficient enough.
10. Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket
H2No and DWR technologies
Great color selections
Not ideal for women with a larger chest
Sleeves tend to be long
Whether it's for wind, water, or a just-in-case jacket, the Torrentshell offers great protection. It is easily packed into its own pocket for optimal portability. It has many built-in features that will keep you dry and comfortable in a downpour. Even better, if you need it, there are also Torrentshell pants available from Patagonia as well.Read more
With a name like Torrentshell, you already know this is a jacket that will keep you dry. It is made with two different waterproof technologies, 2.5-layer H2No and DWR. The zippers are finished with DWR to prevent water from sneaking in and the H2No layer features a nylon face that is ready to take on any weather. The zippers feature storm flaps, garages, and a chin guard.
The Torrentshell is meant to keep you dry, not necessarily warm. There is no insulated lining, but there is a microfleece-lined neck that provides you with a little bit of insulation. Additionally, the two zippered pockets will also help to keep your hands warm. The hood is adjustable two ways and also features a visor. One of our favorite features of this jacket is the wide range of colors that it is available in. There’s surely a combination for everyone.
Chances are that you’re going to be wearing this jacket, making it very portable. However, if the weather doesn’t call for a jacket, yet, you can stuff this jacket into itself. It folds into its own pocket, making it very easy to travel with. It is also very lightweight, weighing only 10.6-ounces.
As you could expect, this jacket is available in sizes Extra Small to Extra Large. Most reviewers agree that it fits true to size. A handful of reviewers have commented that the fit of the jacket is not ideal for larger chest sizes.
If you are looking for a wind and waterproof jacket, this is a great choice. Even though the jacket won’t provide much insulation, there are pit zips that allow you to cool down on those hot and rainy days. With so many great color options available, choosing your style will be the most difficult choice.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The entire purpose of wearing gear designed to combat the rain is to do just that. So, what good would they be without the capability to resist and repel water? The answer, they would turn into everyday items that could be used as long as there is no precipitation outside. Each specific piece of gear that you are searching for should have material or a coating, that will either make it waterproof or water-resistant.
When analyzing gear such as boots, pants, backpacks, and dry bags, it is important to understand if they are just resistant to water or if they can be submerged in water. When it comes to clothing, it is important to note the difference between waterproof and water-resistant. Water-resistant clothing will simply buy you some time before the rain or water soaks through. Waterproof clothing will keep you dry throughout the storm. For other items, such as dry bags or waterproof backpacks, there are some that are so secure that they can be submerged under the water, while still protecting your belongings inside.
Just because the be-all, end-all of rain gear is their water-resistant nature, it does not mean it is the only important factor to analyze. A lot of the time when you are whittling through rain gear, you will find that they not only offer protection against the elements but also additional convenient features. Obviously, from one gear to the next this is going to vary quite a bit. Just remember the word convenience and ask yourself, when you read a product’s description, “is that convenient”?
A perfect example is when you are looking for any type of rainproof garments. Do they have other design integrations that provide comfort for you, warmth for you or any adjustable features whatsoever? You may be fond of a particular jacket because it has an adjustable hood, while a different model does not. Even for gear that resembles tarps, backpacks, and dry bags, how quick and easy is it to set-up or how many storage compartments are provided? Truthfully, any design feature can be labeled as convenient so this is viewed in a broad scope. However, this is the brilliance as one person may have more fondness for a particular design feature than another.
Also read about best lightweight waterproof gloves
At any given time while you are camping, hiking, backpacking, etc., you will most likely not want to wear and/or utilize every piece of rain gear that you have packed. When it stops raining, you will no longer need to wear your rain jacket, poncho, rain pants, or gaiters. As such, making these types of items easy to store and transport is essential. You may even see some products come with their own storage sack for transport. But, make no mistake about it, you only have so many hands and can’t individually carry everything.
Ironically, the first two entries on this list (the backpack and dry bag) are key here. It is great when the individual gear can be shrunk and stuffed in a storage bag, but your primary goal should be to fit it all in a backpack and dry bag. Re-glance over the first backpack on this list, as there are enough storage compartments and gear loops to carry just about everything. This also gives you quick access to any garments or items that you need when it starts to downpour. Backpacks and dry bags were made specifically for their portability, so it is a match made in heaven.
No matter what type of rain gear you are after, sizing will always come into play. You may just think it matter for garments, but it is just as essential for backpacks, dry bags, tarps, and umbrellas. Sizing for garments goes without saying, as the piece of clothing needs to adequately fit your body otherwise it will provide you with discomfort. But, some types will be designed as a one-size-fits-all model. Be careful with these as sometimes they fit smaller sizes loosely and larger sizes tightly.
But, even for other gear, it is important. For example, with dry bags and backpacks, the amount of volume it has will be dependent on the amount of gear that you can store inside of them. The higher-end amounts, such as 60 or 70 liters, will be ideal for multiple-day trips, while 20 or 30 liters will suffice for over-night trips. Even with tarps, it needs to be large enough to fit over your tent, hammock, etc.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Another factor to consider, especially with gear such as jackets, umbrellas, and tarps, is the durability and craftsmanship of the fabric. If the fabric is cheap and not of high-quality, abrasions and tears can result. Thus, allowing water to penetrate. So on your next big camping, hiking, or backpacking trip, if you invest in the above high-quality rain gear, you will be able to handle anything Mother Nature throws at you!
Keep in mind if you are planning on using this type of gear on kayaking trips, a water-resistant backpack will not protect your contents inside if submerged underwater. If it is waterproof, you should be able to get away with complete submersion for a short period.
Avoid it. Cotton absorbs moisture like a sponge and doesn't let it go. If you happen to get rained on before you have put on your jacket, there is almost no chance that your cotton shirt, bra, shorts, or socks will dry. If you will be in a cold and rainy environment, this is an especially important rule because having a cold and wet article of clothing against your body could lead to hypothermia.
Other Factors to Consider
Sometimes it is nice to sit back and ponder which color you want in a gear item - even if it seems less important than some of the other factors considered. With items such as umbrellas or tarps, you may not care too much. However, for apparel, this could be a different story. Even if a poncho keeps you dry, do you really want to wear a hot pink one? Most sellers provide you with multiple color options, so this is where you can add your own sense of style.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How do you reproof waterproof clothing?
Even if you invest in garments that are waterproof, over time, they can lose their water repellency. Through no fault of your own, when you are wearing them various oils and dirt can break down the properties that allow the clothing to repel water. When this happens, and you can usually tell if the fabric is absorbing the water and not repelling it, you do not have to replace the garment. Instead, all you need to di is reproof it with either a spray or a wash.
With a waterproof spray, which can be purchased online or at specific stores, you can simply spray the solution directly on your garment. While standing around 15 centimeters away, spray it on and make sure to evenly distribute the solution. Also, be sure to wash your attire of clothing beforehand. As far as a waterproof washing solution, you can literally pour this product inside your washing machine (using the proper amount the bottle tells you) on a cold cycle and allow the machine to do all the work.
q: Can you wash waterproof gear?
The answer to this question was just hinted it and yes, you can indeed wash waterproof gear. In fact, you would be very wise to do so. Although you may believe that washing something that is waterproof will ruin or “wash” away from its ability to repel water, this is far from the truth. Ironically, not washing this type of gear will negatively affect its ability to do so. If you continually wear and use your waterproof gear without properly caring for it, eventually dirt and mildew will take it over.
Everyone knows that mildew is a terrible bacterium, so avoiding it is crucial. As for dirt, this will start attracting moisture and as such, your waterproof gear will begin to work less efficiently. No matter the product at hand, be sure to reference the care label to be 100 percent sure on how to wash it.
q: How do you repair waterproof gear?
Accidents tend to happen and no matter how careful or cautious you are, they can happen to anybody. There may come a time where one of your rain gear experiences a rip or a tear. In this instance, water will be allowed to penetrate through that hole. Thus, rendering it useless to protect you from the rain. You could always take it to a professional to fix it or if you have a little patience and some spare time, you could repair it yourself.
The highest recommendation is to invest in a Gore repair kit. Gore, who makes Gore-Tex, is one of the leaders in waterproof gear. Their repair kit will provide you with the essentials to fix any small tears or abrasions. Do not worry as the kit should include instructions that walk you through how to properly re-seal the tear in your fabric.
q: Do you need a new rain fly if it succumbs to mildew?
The build-up of mildew is nasty and is mostly caused by excess moisture. If you notice that there is a fungus that appears white on your rainfly, you have mildew. However, it does not necessarily mean that you need a new rain fly or that it will not continue to repel water. But, mildew does have a distinct odor that will drive you out. The proper step to take is to eliminate the odor of the mildew. A great way to do so is to mix a half-ounce of McNett Mirazyme (or similar solution) into a gallon of water.
From there, get a scrubber and scrub the mildew stains with the mixed solution. Though, if the issue is more severe and your entire tent has succumbed to the fungus, place the entire fly in a bathtub filled with water and an ounce of McNett Mirazyme. Then, set the fly up and allow it to dry. Now, for step two, mix around one cup of table salt and lemon juice with a gallon of hot water. Once again, wash the entire tent with this solution and then allow it to dry.
q: Is there an easy way to pack ponchos?
Although ponchos are convenient to have and utilize in torrential downpours, they can be a major hassle to pack. With the way they are designed, it is not very easy to merely fold it and store it away. Thus, keep this guide in mind when packing them. First off, make sure all excess air is removed before you attempt to fold it. In addition, ensure that all the snaps are snapped and ready to go. Finally, make sure that the poncho is completely free of water and moisture. Now, on a flat and even surface, fold the poncho lengthwise a few times and then the other way a few times.
If this method is not sufficient for you, then try folding it twice lengthwise and rolling it up like a sleeping bag. From there, secure it with a rope or Velcro patches to prevent it from unraveling.
q: How often should you reproof rain gear?
This plays off the first question as you now know how to reproof your gear, but how often should you do so? Some people believe that they should do it once or twice a year to ensure it retains its ability to resist water. However, while that is not necessarily inaccurate, it may be overkill and a little unnecessary.
Truthfully, you should only reproof your gear when you notice it starting to have issues. Even though you would think you would want to prevent the gear from ever having issues, you will save money in the long run by waiting. If you are worried that some of your gear will lose its repellency while in use, test it beforehand or pack some waterproof spray.