When you’re hiking, it is inevitable that the weather will turn on you at some point. To help keep you good, your pack should always have your rain gear in it. As mentioned, the downpour and / or rain shower will catch you out at some point so it's important to be prepared. With that in mind a rain jacket for the trail is essential.
Here in this article, I want to lay out 10 of the best hiking rain jackets for women of 2018 that are currently available on the market today. They all, more or less, have all the functionality and features that you, as a day hiker or shorter term backpacker, should be looking for in a rain shell jacket.
They all also score well across multiple review sites and multiple user review,s so if you’re in the market for a new waterproof jacket, they’ll give you plenty of ideas and options to consider.
#1 Patagonia Torrentshell Rain Jacket For Women
Patagonia Torrentshell Rain Jacket for Women Features Summary:
Best Uses: Day hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, general outdoor use, day-to-day use
The Torrentshell is another jacket on this list that also features in the men's list of top 10 rain jackets. It is a very popular option from Patagonia with many great reviews all over the web. It features a 2.5 layer construction that is probably one of the toughest on this list, using 50D nylon ripstop.
With that in mind, it performs very well in tougher conditions and so is a good option for the trail. It is very water resistant with a rating of 20,000 mm which is high scoring, and most user reviews I have read for both the men and women's version of this jacket, fully support this. The waterproofness of the jacket is further enhanced with DWR treated zippers, a storm flap as well as waterproof pockets.
Again, user accounts indicate that the Torrentshell is very breathable and the pit zips it features give an extra quick venting option which works well. One of my favorite features of the Torrentshell is the stiffened brim hood. It looks strong and all the reports I read indicated that it holds up very well under tough conditions.
The Patagonia Torrentshell Rain Jacket for women has two hand warmer pockets and overall the fit of the jacket generally comes in as true to size. In terms of weight, the Torrentshell is about average in relation to its peers. It is packable in its own pocket with a handy clip in loop to attach to a pack, and overall construction can be classed as tough and durable. The Patagonia torrentshell is a very fitting option for all kinds of hiking!
Where to Start When Choosing a Rain Jacket
It can get confusing when you start to look into this area. There are so many options to choose from when trying to find the right rain jacket for you for the trail, and the prices vary so widely, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Overall, a basic but functional and durable rain shell jacket should meet most people's hiking needs. I'm talking about average hiking here so not trekking off into remote arctic regions or anything like that.
I do think that this is good news in terms of hiking gear. As you have probably noticed, it can cost a fair bit of money to get brand made hiking kit. However, for most average hikers, a rain shell jacket made using 2 or 2.5 Layer construction used in line with sensible layering, should easily meet their needs for decent protection from the rain and wind.
Getting a more expensive and tougher hard shell jacket is certainly an option, but I honestly think that, unless you're spending a serious amount of time in the outdoors, it shouldn't be necessary for most.
I mentioned ‘good news’ above, what I mean by that is that, in terms of basic waterproof protection, rain shells are the most accessible in terms of cost and you can get kitted out with a pretty decent one from anywhere between $50.00 at the lower end to $300.00 at the higher end.
I always say this when talking about hiking gear, but to say it again, be sure you're clear on what you need your rain jacket for. As alluded to above, if you spend a lot of time outdoors in tough conditions (3 to 5 hours a day more than twice a week), investing in a more expensive hard shell jacket could be a better option. To learn more about what to be thinking about when buying a rain jacket, check out the post on how to buy a waterproof hiking jacket.
Please note, that all the prices I may refer to here are the retail guide prices and so, are therefore subject to change. Prices for gear chop and change all the time, so any reference is only meant to give you a ballpark idea of the actual cost.
So, that's the introductory blurb bit done, let’s crack on and take a closer look at some more top women’s Rain Shell Jackets.
#2 Marmot PreCip Rain Jacket For Women
Marmot Precip Rain Jacket for Women Features Summary:
Best Uses: Day hiking, general outdoor use, day-to-day use
The Marmot Precip rain jacket for women is a really popular rain jacket. You don’t have to look too hard to find a slew of excellent user reviews. It’s a top performer and generally scores consistently well in terms of functional capability. As with the men’s option, its sleek look works well in the ladies version of this jacket too, providing a comfortable fit that allows angel wing movement i.e. it doesn’t ride up your back movement when you swing your arms.
The PreCip is waterproof and breathable and from the many tests and reviews I have seen in these areas, it performs well. The Precip is also lightweight and durable, so ideal for carrying in a day or back pack. It packs away in its own pocket so it can be easily stowed away.
The hood is fully adjustable and the stiff brim performs well and helps maintain visibility in bad weather. Some other nice features in the PreCip are the DriClime® chin guard, the Velcro cuffs and the storm flap. If you secure all of those, you should be able to keep some of the most uninviting weather at bay! In terms of pockets, the PreCip features two zippered hand pockets.
#3 Columbia Arcadia II Rain Jacket For Women
Columbia Arcadia II Rain Jacket for Women Features Summary:
Best Uses: Light day hiking, general day-to-day use
The Columbia Arcadia II jacket is definitely at the lower end of the scale when it comes to price. A basic rain shell jacket retailing in at about $59.95 (depending on size etc.), it is very accessible. It's make-up is 2 layer construction featuring Columbia's waterproof Omni-Tech technology and a mesh lining.
The breathability is limited as it’s a two layer construction and there are no pit zips featured, so no quick ventilation option. The two hand pockets are mesh so when left open, they do offer some level of ventilation. Overall, the user reviews indicate that the Arcadia II is a comfortable fit. Although not brimmed, the hood can be cinched down so you can get a snug fit for tougher conditions.
In terms of weight, the Arcadia is probably in the middle to top end range when compared to its peers listed on this page. The Arcadia II has two hand pockets and the jacket does stuff into one of them by design.
Overall, I feel the Arcadia II is perfect for someone who wants to give hiking a go. If they don't take to it, it will work great as a day-to-day rain jacket. In summary, it’s a basic but functional enough 3 season entry level rain shell hiking jacket but not much more than that. At sixty bucks, you could do a lot worse!
#4 Outdoor Research Helium II Rain Jacket For Women
Outdoor Research Helium II Rain Jacket for Women Features Summary:
Best Uses: Running, hiking, climbing, emergency rain protection on the trail
The obvious starting point with this jacket from Outdoor Research is it's weight. With a name like Helium II, this jacket zeroes in on being lightweight and easy to carry while not sacrificing protection from the elements.
The Outdoor Research Helium II is a standard 2.5 layer construction and utilizes its Pertex Shield+ technology to offer breathability and rain protection. From many of the reviews I checked on the Helium II in this area, it performs very well. There are no other venting features on the jacket though except for the cuffs.
Protection from the rain comes in the form of a DWR coating on the outside of the jacket which as alluded to above, performs well. The Helium II comes with a stiffened hood that was noted by many users to perform well and it is also easy to adjust.
The Helium features only two pockets, one inside stuff pocket and one on the chest, with the internal pocket being where the jacket can be packed away, so no standard hand warmer pockets. Overall, I feel the Helium II is probably more suited to a runner than a hiker, but if weight is a big issue for your hikes, it could be a great option for emergency rain protection in a heavy pack.
#5 The North Face Resolve 2 Rain Jacket For Women
The North Face Resolve 2 Rain Jacket for Women Features Summary:
Best Uses: Day hiking, general outdoor and day-to-day use
Similar to the men's top 10 rain jacket list, the Resolve is the first of two jackets from the North Face to feature on the list. It sit's at the lower end of the price range for a rain shell and offers a two layered construction as opposed to 2.5.
The Resolve offers pretty good waterproof protection but not as much as some of its peers. This jacket is at the lower end of the price range though so you can naturally expect a bit less.
In terms of breathability, the Resolves 2 layer construction with mesh drop liner, utilizes The North Face Dry-vent technology. This offers a basic enough solution and so again isn’t as functional as some of its peers.
There are no extra venting options like pit zips. The jacket is one of the heavier options listed here and isn’t stowable in its pocket by design. The hood is adjustable and performs well and the hand cuffs are elastic. Now, this may sound a bit so-so, but it really isn’t the case.
The Resolve 2 jacket is very accessible in terms of price and it will offer a sturdy enough option for day hiking and general day-to-day use. For someone just testing the waters with hiking or who just enjoys a good hike in the hills with their dog at the weekend, the Resolve should suit them just fine without breaking the bank!
#6 Arc'teryx Beta SL Rain Jacket For Women
Arc'teryx Beta SL Rain Jacket for Women Features Summary:
Best Uses: All types of hiking, climbing, backpacking, trail running
The first thing to highlight about the Arc'teryx Beta SL jacket is it's weight. It comes in and around 10 ounces (0.28 kg) so definitely in the lightweight department. However, don't let that fool you into thinking that less weight equates to not being as tough as you'd like, certainly not the case.
The Beta SL is constructed using lightweight 40D nylon ripstop, so we are talking tough here but without having additional unnecessary weight from the construction.
Featuring Gore-tex Paclite Technology, the Arc'teryx Beta SL jacket is both very water resistant and breathable. The cuffs are laminated and the hem cord means you can get a snug and secure fit. There are 2 front hand warmer pockets which have watertight zippers so you can securely close them. The Beta SL offers a sleek fit and while being very functional, also looks the part as well.
#7 The North Face Venture 2 Rain Jacket For Women
The North Face Venture 2 Rain Jacket for Women Features Summary:
Best Uses: Day hiking, general outdoor use, day-to-day use
The North Face Venture jacket for women has been around for a long time and the Venture 2 is the latest iteration of it. It’s been a bestselling rain jacket from the North Face for a long time and has even won an award from backpacker magazine in the past. Made from 100% nylon 40D ripstop the Venture 2 ticks most of the boxes you would want it to in terms of a rain shell jacket.
It is waterproof and breathable and has the extra feature of pit zips to help ensure good ventilation in and around the chest and torso area. The hood is fully adjustable and while it is not peaked or stiff brimmed it does close up well.
The Venture is lightweight and stows away in its own pocket, of which there are two hand pockets. The Venture scores well in terms of price at around $100.00, normally, and if you shop around you should get a further discount.
#8 Outdoor Research Aspire Rain Jacket For Women
Outdoor Research Aspire Rain Jacket for Women Features Summary:
Best Uses: Hiking, camping, general day-to-day use
The Aspire rain jacket from Outdoor Research is a Gore-tex 2.5 Layer rain jacket that offers very good protection from the elements. Gore-tex is an industry standard in the rain protection business, so we're off to a good start with the Aspire.
Aside from being very water resistant, Gore-tex is also very breathable so the Aspire offers good performance in that regard. There's an interesting feature with the Aspire which I don't think I've seen in a jacket before.
The Aspire features two way zippers which run from the biceps to the arms. This enables the jacket to be worn as a poncho! An interesting concept I can honestly can say I've not come across before.
There are two zippered hand pockets on the Aspire jacket as well as one pocket on the arm. The jacket weighs in at 13.7 ounces and so pretty good in terms of weight.
The jacket is packable in it's own pocket as well so it can be snugly wrapped up and put into your day pack. The Jacket is at the higher end of the scale in terms of price but I think you get a lot of functionality for your money.
#9 Columbia Switchback II Rain Jacket For Women
Marmot Crystalline Rain Jacket for Women Features Summary:
Best Uses: Light to medium trail hiking, travelling, day-to-day use
Columbia are a well known and respected brand in the rain jacket making business for sure and the Columbia Switchback II jacket is another very functional offering from them. Not only is it a best seller on Amazon, but it is also set at a very wallet friendly price point.
The Crystalline jacket features is constructed using OMNI-SHIELD 100% nylon Hydroplus which features Columbia's Omni-Shield™ advanced water repellency technology, which offers a decent level of protection from the wind and the rain. The seams are fully taped which adds to the water repellent capability of the jacket.
The hood can be stowed away and cuffs are fully adjustable to allow a personalized fit so you can be both snug and comfortable. The jacket can be packed away into its own pocket, which is handy to have if you need to pack it away in a case for travel purposes, or just to stow in safely away in your day pack while out on the trail. There are two hand warmer pockets which come with zippers so they can be closed up.
#10 Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic Rain Jacket For Women
Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic Rain Jacket for Women Features Summary:
Best Uses: Hiking, backpacking, camping
The Mountain Hardwear Ozonic jacket is a super light rain shell jacket. As with the Venture and PreCip, it performs very well in terms of ventilation utilizing its patented Dry.Q membrane in a 2.5 layer construction, which let’s your torso breathe while keeping the nastier elements out. This is further supported by the underarm pit zips which can be opened for venting purposes at your convenience.
The hood and cuffs are fully adjustable so you can create a decent protective shell in the worst of conditions. The Stretch Ozonic also features two standard hand warmer pockets. The jacket also comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer which is always nice to have.
So that's it! I hope you enjoyed this quick preview of 10 of the best hiking rain jackets for women of 2018. As you can see, there is a lot of great choice on offer for sure. Whether you're a weekend day hiker or a multi day backpacker, there should be something here on the list to meet your needs. So if you're on the hunt for a new rain jacket for the trail, definitely check some of these options out.
As mentioned above, always remember to know your requirements before buying a new rain jacket. In the rain jacket area it is easy to get more functionality than you may need and the price difference can be significant. I think for most average hikers, a basic rain shell jacket, like the ones listed here, combined with layering should more than meet their requirements.
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