A packable rain jacket in your suitcase or backpack makes you prepared for anything – if you don’t need it, great! It is light, packs up small, and easy to carry around for when the heavens open. When they do, you can be dry and comfortable because you are ready for rain. You pull out your lightweight, waterproof and breathable rain jacket from your backpack, purse, or laptop bag. When the sun returns, you roll it back up again, and neatly store it ready for its next use. If you spend a lot, you expect a high-performance rain jacket, so is there a packable rain jacket for less than $100 that offers excellent features?
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What Is A Packable Rain Jacket?
A packable rain jacket is a jacket made from polyester or nylon, or in more high performance jackets, specialized fabrics created by a brand, that are designed to be lightweight, breathable, waterproof, windproof, and most importantly for the purposes of this article, packable. Packable means that it can be rolled up and fit into one of its own pockets, or a small pouch. You can then easily store it in a backpack, day bag, briefcase, or anything that you normally carry around during the day.
When we visited Ireland, I vividly remember how important my packable rain jacket was. I can’t tell you how many times we left on our day’s adventure with a stunning warm blue sky, only to have to whip out my rain jacket from my day bag to break the cool wind that had suddenly picked up, or to shield myself from a light shower.
For 10 days, we hiked and explored some spectacular cities, villages, and sites, such as Slieve League Cliffs, the tallest cliffs in Europe, or the Aran Islands, and was very grateful that I included my lightweight jacket in my travel gear.
Difference Between Water-Resistant And Waterproof
A jacket that is water-resistant means that the jacket will provide some protection from short light rain. However, it would not leave you dry in the event of heavy rainfall, or a light rain shower that lasts for a long time. Eventually, the water would seep through the fabric to your clothes or skin. It would be best for running errands around town where you might be in and out of your car, stores, or shelter.
On the other hand, a waterproof jacket keeps you dry from sustained heavy rainfall. If you think that you will go for a long hike with the likelihood of severe showers, you will want a waterproof jacket to keep you comfortable and dry.
How To Size A Rain Jacket?
The key to purchasing the right size for any rain jacket is to try and determine the temperature in which you intend to normally wear it, and the activities for which it was purchased. In addition, you need to pay attention to the cut and style of the jacket.
If you live in a warm environment where it rains, you will likely not want many layers underneath the jacket. Accordingly, you should purchase a rain jacket that fits true to size. If you are going to be active, then you may want to make sure it offers manoeuvrability around the shoulders, but other than that, it should be relatively straightforward.
On the other hand, if you intend to hike with it in damp cool weather, then you will most likely want to put layers on underneath the jacket. You may want to go up one size in the jacket and double check that there is still flexibility in the shoulders after the extra layers. You may wish to avoid styles that hug the shape of your body.
I have found a fantastic selection of packable rain jackets from many different manufacturers. However, if you prefer to explore more traditional rain jackets (in other words, not packable), from some of the best manufacturers in the industry, then I would recommend the following.
Columbia offers exceptional rain jackets with high performance features for reasonable prices. Please take a look at 13 Best Columbia Rain Jackets: Budget Friendly And Stylish.
If you plan to be very active, you should look at Marmot rain jackets. A Marmot rain jacket either has angel wings or articulated elbows to allow a full range of arm movements – necessary if you want to boulder, climb, or have lots of use from your upper body.
You should also review the highly technical Helly Hansen brand. For a selection of the best available rain jackets, take a look at 16 Best Helly Hansen Rain Jackets.
In this article, I discuss why North Face raincoats are also a great choice for people who love the outdoors.
How The Reviews Are Organized
I’ve looked for the best packable rain jackets for under $100 that are compact and light to carry but give you a range of performance from a casual rain jacket to a practical outdoor accessory for hiking or other similar type of activity.
I have found three jackets that are unisex, five that are designed for men and five for women. They are discussed in detail below. Afterwards, I supply a Buyer’s Guide which highlights all of the critical features that the best rain jackets offer and which you should be aware before you purchase any rain jacket, packable or otherwise.
Best Budget Packable Rain Jackets For Men And Women
Here are three exceptional packable rain jackets for men and women that offer superb technical features that will keep you warm and dry at very reasonable prices.
Charles River Water-Resistant Jacket
- Budget friendly
- Pulls over the head with a small zipper at the neck for ease of fit.
- Packs into a zippered pouch on the front of the jacket in under a minute.
- Made from Softex polyester and lightweight.
- Wind and water-resistant.
- Adjustable drawstring for the hood, hem and elasticated cuffs.
- Lots of color choices with some two-toned options.
- Unisex fit – available in men’s and women’s sizes.
- Some grommets provide underarm ventilation.
- Waterproofing – this is water-resistant, not waterproof.
- Pockets – only a zippered one in front.
- Breathability – armhole grommets provide minimal airflow.
- Style runs big and is oversized for women. They recommend sizing down one size for an oversized women’s fit or sizing down 2 times for a more “true to size” fit.
The Charles River Pullover jacket has many features that would make this an excellent rain jacket for everyday use. It fits easily over the head and is lightweight. In addition, it is wind and water-resistant.
However, this packable rain jacket would not be the best choice for prolonged time spent in heavy rain or intense exercise. The jacket is water-resistant, not waterproof, and there is limited breathability and no lining, so there isn’t anything to wick sweat away for comfort.
Marmot PreCip Rain Jacket For Men
Marmot PreCip Rain Jacket For Women
- 2.5 layer Nanopro fabric
- Waterproof, windproof, and breathable.
- Full-length zipper with storm flap.
- Attached hood stows away in the collar when not in use.
- Zippered ventilation panels under arms with angel wing movement.
- Packs conveniently into one of the side pockets.
- Chin guard to prevent scratching from the hood and water penetration.
- Under one pound in weight (11.22 oz)
- Velcro cuff adjustment.
- Excellent range of colors.
- A reinforced front flap on the hood for additional rain protection while allowing you to see where you are going.
- No secure inside pocket.
- More expensive – expect to pay at the top end of the $100 budget.
You will pay more for this packable rain jacket, but you get most of the technical features for your money.
The Nanopro fabric of the MARMOT Precip Waterproof Rain Jacket gives you the benefits of waterproofing, breathability, and wind resistance, which are the critical requirements of the best packable rain jackets. The addition of a zipped panel in an angel wing design provides unrestricted movement, an excellent feature for outdoor activities.
All the other details, such as the storm flap, adjustable cuffs, and taped seams are present, and you get a range of colors.
The lightweight rain jacket is easy to pack, and you can be confident it will perform when you need it.
Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket For Men
Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket For Women
The Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket is a newer model of the Marmot PreCip Jacket. Everything is the same except that the Eco Jacket offers recycled material in the outer shell.
Best Men’s Packable Rain Jackets
In addition to the five men’s jackets discussed here, consider the Baleaf Waterproof jacket highlighted in the women’s section below- as it is also available in large sizes and is suitable for all outdoor activities.
Demozu Packable Rain Jacket
- Budget friendly.
- Lightweight, quick-drying, durable water repellant rip-stop nylon fabric.
- Sealed seams and waterproof.
- Packs neatly into an integral zipped back pocket when not in use.
- Adjustable hood and hem with elastic cuffs to keep the rain out.
- Two zipped side pockets for secure storage of pocket items.
- Pulls on like a sweater with a half zip for ease.
- Waterproof zippers.
- Weighs under one pound.
- The loose fit gives plenty of room for other layers.
- Breathability- there are no ventilation panels or moisture-wicking membranes.
- Limited color range – one fluorescent and other plainer colors.
- No cuff adjustment.
- No inside pocket.
For under $30, the Demozu Waterproof jacket is a surprisingly functional packable rain jacket. In particular, the water-repellent coating helps the rain bead and run off quickly so it doesn’t have time to sink into the fabric.
However, there are key features missing that would not be ideal if you think you would be outside in heavy rain for prolonged periods of time – especially if you are doing intense exercise. For example, you get some adjustments with the drawcords, but you don’t get the handy Velcro tags on the cuffs to customize your fit and keep the water out. In addition, you pull it on and off like a sweater, so you don’t have the option of unzipping the jacket for ventilation – you either wear it or take it off.
Columbia Watertight II Rain Jacket
- Waterproof 100% nylon shell
- Machine washable.
- Omni shield fabric coating repels water and stains.
- Full-length zip comes with a storm guard flap.
- Lightweight and packs into one of its pockets.
- Chin guard is abrasion-resistant.
- Two zippered side pockets.
- Elastic cuff and hem.
- Adjustment on cuffs with velcro for a secure fit.
- Sealed seams for waterproofing.
- Microporous fabric allows your body to breathe while working out.
- Available in extra large and tall sizes.
- Lots of great colors
- No inside pocket.
Columbia Men’s Watertight II Jacket offers many useful features and details beyond other standard packable rain jackets.
For example, the chin guard protects your face from harsh weather and rubbing from the hood, thereby increasing your comfort level. A simple yet excellent addition.
Also, the rain jacket includes trademarked technical materials giving you those essential features of breathability with waterproofing. In many activities, you get wetter from your own sweat than from the rain as soon as you start to exert yourself.
The stain guard coating is also fantastic as it keeps this packable rain jacket in better condition long term. This would be a useful feature if you like to use your coat more often – for work trips and leisure. Packing into a side pocket also means you don’t have to keep track of an easy to lose packing bag.
Columbia EvaPOURation™ Rain Jacket
- Waterproof nylon shell with microporous Omni-Tech for breathability and waterproofing.
- Omni-Wick-Evap – moisture management system that permits moisture on your skin to be absorbed into the fabric and then evaporate through the microporous coating.
- Adjustable hood, cuffs, and hem.
- Underarm vents.
- Sealed seams to prevent leaks.
- Storage – two zippered side pockets.
- Packable – folds and zips into a pocket.
- Lots of color choices.
- Lots of size options.
The feature technology in this packable Columbia rain jacket is sweat-wicking and evaporation. Microporous coatings and membranes let water vapor to pass through the fabric but not water droplets.
On a challenging hike or other physical activity, you may sweat water droplets instead of water vapor. The 2.5-layer construction draws the internal water droplets into the fabric. It spreads them out over a larger surface area, permitting your body heat to change them into water vapor. They then evaporate away from you and into the air, resulting in a fresher drier experience.
It offers all the other excellent Columbia rain jacket features such as superior waterproofing, taped seams, and ease of packing and storage. You even get arm vents. Moreover, there is a range of colors and sizes at an excellent price.
Eddie Bauer Rainfoil Jacket
- 2-layer Weather edge technology for a waterproof and breathable packable rain jacket.
- Velcro cuff adjustments.
- Storm vent for the zipper.
- Packs into a pocket that serves as a convenient travel pillow.
- High neck collar with adjustable hood.
- Hanger loop to clip onto a pack.
- Two hand pockets and a secure inside pocket.
- Available in taller sizes as well as standard.
- Can machine wash with care.
- Can pack hood into the collar.
- Water repellant finish assisting in water runoff.
- Over a pound in weight – but not by much at 1.15 pounds.
- Packing into the pocket causes wrinkles.
- Only four colors.
You get a few color options, a classic style, and plenty of waterproofing features for an affordable price with the Eddie Bauer Rainfoil jacket.
It is waterproof and breathable, and when you pack it away in one of its side pockets, you gain a handy travel pillow. It’s a bit heavier than a pound in weight but not enough to notice.
All the waterproofing features are present – adjustable cuffs, storm vent, and a water-repellent coating, making this one of the most affordable and best packable rain jackets available.
The secure inside pocket and the hanging loop for easy clipping to a pack are bonus details. In addition, you can wear this jacket anywhere.
HUK CYA Camo Packable Rain Jacket
- Technical material gives exceptional breathability combined with waterproofing and wind resistance.
- Small pack (12 x 2 x 10 inches) and very light at 8 oz (230 g).
- All the adjustments and weatherproofing features – drawstrings, velcro cuffs, and storm flap for the zipper.
- Water repellant and stain-resistant coating.
- Hood packs into the collar when not in use.
- No solid colors – it is only available in camouflage versions for anglers, and the HUK fishing logo is highly visible on the back.
- Expect to pay closer to $100.
- No secure inside pocket.
- No ventilation panels, but the fabric is breathable.
If you are more interested in performance than appearance, then the HUK CYA Camo jacket is one of the best packable rain jackets.
This jacket gives you the best breathability combined with waterproofing for under $100. It meets the needs of anglers who fish in atrocious weather conditions and accordingly, will meet the needs of most other outdoor enthusiasts.
You pay more than other packable rain jackets because of the technical benefits offered by the specialist material. In addition, at around 8 oz, it is exceptionally lightweight for any rain jacket, much less one that offers as much as this one does.
Best Women’s Packable Rain Jackets
There are many budget packable rain jackets for women between $20 to $30, but these tend to be fashion items with minimal rain protection. They do the job of keeping you dry while running into a shop or coffee bar, but you don’t want to walk long distances in the rain in any of them.
On the plus side, many of the better performance women’s packable rain jackets are priced competitively in the middle of the budget range, so around $50 to $60.
As an alternative, consider smaller sizes in some of the men’s rain jackets discussed earlier in this article.
Hount Lightweight Hooded Raincoat
- Very inexpensive at under $25.
- Nice range of colors.
- Single-layer (polyester/rayon material) which is light and quick to dry.
- Waterproof for short showers.
- Offers sun protection.
- Carrying pouch provided.
- Drawstrings at the hood and bottom of the jacket.
- Two front pockets.
- Packs to a small size (12.63 x 9.43 x 1.43 inches).
- Weighs less than 10 oz or 300 g.
- No storm vent to protect the front zip from water penetration.
- Seams are not taped.
- Not breathable.
- No lining.
- Close fit – you need to buy a larger size if you are curvy or want thicker layers underneath.
The Hount Lightweight Hooded raincoat is nicely made in a range of colors. It is a fuss-free packable rain jacket that packs up small, is super light, and easy to carry. It is brilliant for casual walks and sightseeing.
This packable rain jacket is very inexpensive for portable rain protection. However, as a budget raincoat, you can expect heavy rain to work its way through the seams after about half an hour to an hour. It is close-fitting, so if you would like to add a sweater for warmth, you will need to pick a larger size for comfort.
If you are looking for the best packable rain jacket that you can take anywhere at an affordable price, then look no further. It is quick to dry, which is a plus, and a welcome addition for any of your travels.
Baleaf Waterproof Packable Jacket
- Waterproof and windproof.
- Sealed seams.
- Zip is waterproof.
- Packs into a self-contained zip-up pocket on the back of the jacket – no pouch to lose.
- Hood packs into collar if not needed.
- Ventilation panel on the back with rainproofing.
- Breathable material.
- Machine washable and hang dry.
- Five pockets, including two secure, zipped inside pockets.
- Useful adjustments – velcro cuffs, elastic cords in the hood, and high zipped collar.
- Antislip stripe on lining keeps the jacket in position on your body.
- Packs into a compact package (13.31 x 10.87 x 1.61 inches) and weighs 12.1 oz or 340 g.
- Available in large sizes
The fluorescent packable rain jacket is bright and just what you need for high visibility in wet, dark conditions. You pay a few dollars more for this jacket. Still, you get full waterproofing and all the other small details (adjustable cuffs, high collar, waterproof zip, taped seams, ventilation panels) that make this a high-quality jacket for the money.
There are plenty of pockets, including a couple of secure inside ones for phones and money, and it packs away in an integral pouch to a compact size for your hikes or travels. More material and features usually add weight, but it is still under a pound and worth it for the comfort of knowing it is going to keep you dry in most wet weather conditions.
Columbia Pouration Jacket
- High tech air-permeable fabric that is waterproof and breathable.
- Omnitech fabric guarantees waterproofing.
- Protective flap for the zipper.
- Ventilation panels at underarm space.
- Fully seam-sealed.
- Durable rip-stop nylon fabric.
- Velcro adjustments on cuffs, drawstring in the hood.
- Hood packs away when you don’t need it.
- Good selection of colors.
- Weather-resistant zipped pockets
- Weighs less than a pound.
- No pouch or integral pocket to contain the packable rain jacket.
- Cost is at higher price range.
For this jacket, you are paying more than others, but you are getting one of the best packable rain jackets for under $100 with specialist fabrics that guarantee waterproofing and breathability.
If you expect volatile weather while hiking, you want a performance rain jacket with a small, lightweight packing option. You will more than likely be putting it on and taking it off at different times during your hike.
With the Columbia Pouration jacket, you get all the high-end features – cuff adjustments, storm flap, ventilation in a durable rip-stop nylon jacket for which you hope. In addition, secure zipped pockets are included and a nice feature whether you are hiking on a trail or dodging showers on a city break.
North Face Printed Fanorak
- Packs neatly into a zip-up pocket on the front and can then be worn as a fanny pack.
- Plenty of room to fit over baselayers and sweaters.
- Windwall technology in the fabric keeps the wind out.
- Water repellent finish gives water resistance for coping with a light shower.
- Hood has a drawcord.
- Has lining.
- Very lightweight – 8.01 oz or 230 g.
- Printed designs for a stylish anorak.
- Not waterproof – has a durable water-repellant coating but is only water-resistant.
- Elasticated cuff – no cuff adjustment.
- No ventilation.
- No breathable lining.
North Face appeals to the outdoor enthusiast, but when it comes to shopping smartly, you need to weigh up the logo’s extra value compared with the performance.
This packable rain jacket is an excellent windbreaker and provides a degree of water-resistance on top of a fleece base layer. For the money, you would expect velcro cuff adjustments and a breathable lining. However, they are missing.
Nevertheless, the printable outer fabric of the North Face Fanorak makes it a charming packable rain jacket for sightseeing in a city center location. It will provide adequate rain protection for a short rain shower but not for a heavy downpour. It’s an attractively designed raincoat, and it may suit your needs.
Columbia Switchback III Jacket
- Omni-Shield water-repellant coating.
- Hydroplus nylon shell to stay dry.
- Hood stores in collar.
- Adjustable hem and cuffs.
- Packs into pocket for transport or storage.
- Two hand pockets with zippers.
- No chest pocket.
This packable rain jacket has two back darts for a women’s tailored fit. It has a stylish classic appearance, and the hood stores easily into the collar, if you want to avoid it flapping around in the breeze.
The water-repellent coating means the rain beads and rolls off the coat and does not get absorbed into the fabric. This jacket packs neatly into one of the zipped pockets so it fits into your backpack, handbag, suitcase, or briefcase when weather is unpredictable.
It does not have an external storm flap on the center zip, but the inner storm flap should prevent water penetration. A chest pocket would be a great addition but would spoil the classic lines. The budget friendly price is easy on your wallet.
Buyer’s Guide To The Best Packable Rain Jackets
It is relatively easy to find cheap packable rain jackets. However, it isn’t necessarily easy to find one that has all the features that you need or want. In this Buyer’s Guide, I highlight important qualities that you should consider when deciding whether the budget packable rain jacket in your sights is the right one for you.
Different Types of Packable Rain Jackets
You can tell packable rain jackets apart by the number of layers in the design.
Single Layer Packable Rain Jacket
These are the cheaper end of the market with one layer and can cost as little as $10. These raincoats fold up small and are useful windbreakers, and offer some waterproofing for a short time. One advantage is that these packable rain jackets tend to dry quickly.
Two-Layer Packable Rain Jacket
These packable rain jackets are the lightest (and most compact) of the better grade of rain jackets. Only the protective layer and the face fabric bond together. The lining hangs loose. The lining can be mesh (for breathability) or fabric (for skin comfort).
The compromise on lightness and compactness means they are not as durable as others, and they are more suitable for a short outing or an emergency raincoat when sightseeing in a city center. They will get you out of the rain and into a shelter, but they won’t stand up to a couple of hours in a heavy downpour. You can pick up decent 2-layer packable rain jackets in the middle of the budget range.
2.5 Layer Packable Rain Jacket
These packable rain jackets are a stage between the very light 2-layer and the durable 3-layer winter quality. It’s still lightweight, compact, and flexible. However, you get access to more technical materials giving improved breathability and waterproofing in this range. At this point, you will pay a little more towards the top end of the $100 budget.
Three-Layer Packable Rain Jacket
The good news is that with thick fabric and hard-shell outer coating, modern technical materials can give you packable rain jackets that weigh less than the 2.5 layers and provide quality protection from winter-like elements. The bad news is that they aren’t as compact as packable rain jackets with fewer layers and they tend to cost more than $100. Nevertheless, if you want a high specification jacket, it’s worth keeping them on a watch list and waiting for a sale or end of line event.
What Do You Need From The Best Packable Rain Jackets?
The range of desirable features include:
- Breathability – When hiking or camping, it is essential that the layers next to your skin remain dry. Not only do you want to repel rain, but you also need to address sweat. No one wants a packable raincoat that leaves you hot, sticky, and uncomfortable after a few minutes of wear.
- Windproof – Sometimes you need an extra layer to keep warm from the wind. The best packable rain jackets provide that layer at a fraction of the weight and space that an extra sweater would be.
- Sun protection – An overlooked feature of many packable rain jackets, they provide a degree of sun protection by putting an opaque layer between you and the sun’s rays. You can buy lightweight rain jackets for watersports that contain protective materials resistant to UV rays, but these are a different class of sports jackets.
- Durability – The best packable rain jackets need to fold and unfold without tearing or damage. You expect your jacket to be robust and give you plenty of use before it needs replacing.
- Waterproofing – The primary purpose of packable rain jackets is to provide you with protection from water. Accordingly, they need the right waterproofing level for your needs with useful waterproofing features, such as taped seams and water-repellant surfaces.
- Convenience – Packable rain jackets need to pack sensibly into a small package without the need for complicated origami. Conversely, when you take your coat out, you want to wear it (quickly). In other words, they need to be easy to put on and take off.
- Light and compact – You take a packable rain jacket as an emergency measure. Consequently, you want it to be light and occupy a small volume to free up more room in your bag.
- Style – You want your jacket to complement your style. This would be less of an issue if you purchased one for a hiking or camping trip. However, if you expect it to also do the trick for a walk in a city, a job interview, or even an evening out, you will want something that makes you look a little bit more put together.
- Quality materials and features – If you intend to exclusively use this jacket on hikes, camping, or even winter conditions, you may need specialized materials and features that elevate a simple rain jacket into an essential part of your outdoor equipment.
- Affordability – Unlike your best winter coat, your packable rain jacket is a “just in case” measure so you won’t expect to wear it every day. You want a rain jacket that works for your needs but doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Other Useful Features That May Be Found In The Best Packable Rain Jackets
- Removable hood.
- Adjustable hood.
- Odor control.
- Ventilation panels
- Stuff sack or packing bag, although most pack into a pocket on the jacket.
- Storm guards to protect zippers.
- Velcro wrist cuffs to adjust fit and seal against water.
- Drawstrings to stop water seeping into the rain jacket.
- Reflective patches or high visibility panels for safety.
- Hanging loops to attach to backpacks.
What you may need depends on your lifestyle and your recreational habits. – do you need a casual emergency waterproof jacket, or are you hitting the back wood trails every weekend?
Last Word About The Best Packable Rain Jackets
There are plenty of packable rain jackets for under $100 so it is worth being picky about the features that you want or need. Is your main goal to look fashionable with minimum protection to get you to the nearest coffee shop or bar, or do you need to stay dry for hours in the rain? These are very important questions that you need to resolve before you purchase.
As a means to save money, it is always a good idea to look at less famous brands. For the most part, they provide more for your money – you are not paying for the logo.
Beyond that, specialist fabrics that give you breathability combined with waterproofing are the ultimate goal for comfort. When you can combine that with a lightweight product that folds into a compact package, then you have pretty much struck gold. As shown in this article, there are plenty of affordable and packable rain jackets like these from which to choose.