Best 2.5-Layer Rain Jackets for Hiking and Trekking


Outdoor Research Helium II

Outdoor Research Helium II

Hikers and mountaineers regularly face harsh conditions like low temperatures, strong winds and heavy rain. Hiking in these conditions is unpleasant, unless you have the right equipment – including a good rain jacket. A rain jacket will not only keep you dry on a rainy day but it will also protect you against the wind and help you maintain your body’s natural temperature. In this review you will find a selection of the best rain jackets for hiking and trekking. All jackets in this review use 2.5-layer fabrics and are thus very light and relatively inexpensive while providing good weather protection and breathability. For those who need a rain jacket for alpine climbing, very long hiking trips and similar activities where durability is a priority we would recommend 3-layer rain jackets. However, these jackets are also significantly more expensive. You can find more information about materials, fabric layers etc. in the What is important section below.

If you want to protect your lower body against rain and wind as well, we also made a selection of the Best Waterproof Pants.

If you are looking for women’s rain jackets, please check out our Best Rain Jackets for Women review which includes 2.5-layer rain jackets as well as 3-layer rain jackets.

This selection was updated on the 18th of January 2017.

1. Buying a 2.5-Layer Rain Jacket – What is important?

Weight and Size:

Activities such as hiking and trekking require lightweight equipment so that you can reach your goals easier and faster. Rain jackets are relatively light, but you can still eliminate some weight by wearing/carrying a particularly lightweight one. As you will usually only wear a rain jacket in case of rain and wind, it is also important that it can be packed small so that it doesn’t take up too much space in a backpack. In this review we only included well-packable jackets that weigh less than 400 grams.

Fabric Layers:

As described above, we only listed jackets that use 2.5-layer fabrics for this review. These jackets are usually very light and reasonably priced while providing good breathability and weather protection. They use a fabric that consists of a face fabric, coating or a membrane and a non-fabric material on the inside (protective film).

In addition to 2.5-layer rain jacket there are also jackets that use 3-layer and 2-layer fabrics available.

Jackets that use 3-layer fabrics (face fabric, membrane, and liner) offer superb durability and are thus best for alpine climbing and other activities where durability is very important. They are usually heavier than jackets that use 2.5 layer fabrics. However, they also offer slightly better weather protection.

Jackets that use 2-layer fabrics (face fabric, coating or membrane and sometimes a loose liner) are usually heavier than the other two types while performing similarly or worse in bad weather. However, they are also the least expensive and thus suitable for travelling and everyday use.

Waterproof Technology:

In order to achieve waterproof/breathable properties, manufacturers use two different methods; coatings and membranes/laminates.

Laminates offer better breathability than coatings but are also more expensive. They feature a very thin waterproof/breathable membrane (made of polytetrafluoroethylene or polyurethane) that is sandwiched between two other layers for protection.

Coatings on the other hand are made of polyurethane that is spread onto the fabric like butter on bread. Due to this technique of applying it onto the fabric, coating can’t be as thin as the membrane and therefore it limits the breathability of the garment.

Material:

There are many different waterproof/breathable fabrics available which differ by construction, waterproof technology, breathability, water-resistance and durability. Some brands use well-known materials such as eVent, Gore-Tex and Pertex while others develop their own waterproof/breathable materials such as  Mountain Hardwear’s Dry Q, Patagonia’s H2No and Marmot’s NanoPro. For more detailed information about rain jacket materials, please check out the Hard Shell section in our article Comparison of Shell Materials.

2. The Best 2.5-Layer Rain Jackets for Hiking and Trekking Review

Best 2.5-layer Rain Jackets for Hiking and Trekking

Best 2.5-layer Rain Jackets for Hiking and Trekking

  1. Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket
  2. Montane Minimus Jacket
  3. Mountain Hardwear Plasmic Ion Jacket
  4. Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket
  5. Marmot Precip Jacket

Comparison

Feature/Product Outdoor Research Helium IIMontane MinimusMountain Hardwear Plasmic Ion Patagonia TorrentshellMarmot Precip
Weight6.4 oz.8.0 oz.10.9 oz.12.1 oz.13.1 oz.
Weight (Metric)180 g228 g309 g343 g371 g
MaterialPertex Shield+ Pertex Shield+Dry Q EVAPH2NoNanoPro
Fabric Layers2.5-layer2.5-layer2.5-layer2.5-layer2.5-layer
Waterproof TechnologyLaminate/MembraneLaminate/MembraneLaminate/MembraneLaminate/MembraneCoating
Taped SeamsYesYesYesYesYes
External Pockets11222
Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket

Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket

1. Outdoor Research Helium II

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Everyday use

 

The Outdoor Research Helium II jacket is extremely light (it weighs merely 180 grams) and thus perfect for those who prefer lightweight hiking and trekking gear. The jacket is made of a 2.5-layer Pertex Shield+ material (laminate/membrane) which combines good wind and rain protection with excellent breathability. The Pertex Shield+ material has a hydrostatic head of 20000 millimeters and breathability of 20000g/m2/24hrs which is indeed impressive. In comparison the highly popular Marmot Precip jacket (listed below) has a hydrostatic head of 10000 millimeters and breathability of 11500g/m2/24hrs and yet it is widely known for providing great weather protection and breathability. The Outdoor Research Helium II jacket is also equipped with a fully adjustable hood,  taped seams, YKK AquaGuard zippers, elastic cuffs and a drawcord hem. For storing essentials, the jacket has one easy-accessible zippered chest pocket and one internal pocket. For easy storing it can be packed inside the internal pocket. The Outdoor Research Helium II jacket offers great performance while being super lightweight and therefore it is best for those who need ultra-light yet reliable rainwear for their adventures.

 

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Breathability
  • Freedom of movement
  • Packs into pocket

Cons:

  • /

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

Video

Montane Minimus Jacket

Montane Minimus Jacket

2. Montane Minimus Jacket

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Everyday use

 

The Montane Minimus is another very light jacket that offers superb functionality. The jacket is like the Outdoor Research Helium II jacket made of 2.5-layer Pertex Shield+ material and thus it offers similar breathability and weather protection. The jacket is equipped with articulated arms, helmet-compatible hood, adjustable cuffs, and one zippered chest pocket. The hood can also be rolled and locked away in the internal tab if you only need protection against the wind. In addition to that, the jacket features a high-quality full length YKK AquaGuard front zipper and an adjustable (drawcord) hem which allows you to tighten the jacket at the bottom in order to reduce the heat loss. The jacket comes with a stuff sac for easy packing and carrying. The Montane Minimus jacket shares many qualities with the Outdoor Research Helium II jacket above but is slightly heavier. Nevertheless, it is a great choice for basically everybody who likes to spend time in the outdoors.

 

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Breathability
  • Freedom of movement

Cons:

  • /

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

 

Mountain Hardwear Plasmic Ion Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Plasmic Ion Jacket

3. Mountain Hardwear Plasmic Ion Jacket

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Everyday use

 

The Mountain Hardwear Plasmic Ion jacket is a little more robust than the above listed jackets from Montane and Outdoor Research but on the other hand it is also slightly heavier. The jacket is made of Mountain Hardwear’s 2.5-layer Dry Q EVAP fabric (laminate/membrane) which offers great breathability. As the fabric features an outer layer made of 70-denier nylon, it also provides great abrasion-resistance and durability. The Dry Q EVAP material has a structure that forces the moisture on the inside to disperse so that it can evaporate faster, making the material very breathable. In addition to a high-performance material, the jacket is also equipped with a AquaGuard Vislon zipper, two zippered hand pockets, adjustable hood and pit zips. Pit zips come in very handy as they allow you to easily regulate the temperature. The Mountain Hardwear Plasmic Ion jacket is best for those who want a durable and reasonably priced rain jacket that offers great breathability.

 

Pros:

  • Durability
  • Breathability
  • Pockets

Cons:

  • /

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

 

 

Patagonia Torrentshell

Patagonia Torrentshell

4. Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Everyday use

 

The Patagonia Torrentshell jacket offers a great performance for a reasonable price. The jacket is made of the 2.5-layer H2No material (laminate/membrane) which features a 50-denier nylon outer layer. Therefore, the jacket provides fairly good abrasion-resistance and durability. The jacket is also equipped with an adjustable hood and fleece-lined collar for maximum comfort. Additionally it has two zippered hand pockets, pit zips, an adjustable (drawcord) hem and Velcro cuffs. Unlike the jackets listed above, the Patagonia Torrentshell jacket doesn’t use a (waterproof) AquaGuard zipper but instead has a storm flap that helps keeping the rain off the zipper and thus from penetrating through it. The Patagonia Torrentshell jacket is best for those who just need some basic weather protection for travelling or hiking/trekking trips.

 

Pros:

  • Price
  • Durability
  • Fleece-lined Collar

Cons:

  • Zipper (not waterproof)

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

Video

Marmot Precip Jacket

Marmot Precip Jacket

5. Marmot Precip Jacket

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Everyday use

 

The Marmot Precip jacket differs from jackets listed above by using a coating instead of a laminate to achieve waterproof/breathable properties. Therefore, the jacket is slightly heavier (it weighs 371 grams) but on the other hand it also offers great durability. Furthermore, it is one of the least expensive jackets in this review. The jacket is made of NanoPro material which has a hydrostatic head of 10000 millimeters and a breathability of 11500g/m2/24hrs. Such numbers are very impressive for a coating technology. Additionally the jacket has an elastic (drawcord) hem, pit zips, Velcro cuffs and a hood. Like the Patagonia Torrentshell jacket, the jacket doesn’t have AquaGuard zipper but uses a storm flap instead. All in all, the Marmot Precip jacket is a great choice for those who just need some basic weather protection for travelling and hiking/trekking trips.

 

Pros:

  • Durability
  • Price

Cons:

  • Zipper (not waterproof)

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

Video

 

3. The most attractive product in the review

Which product do you prefer?
Cast your vote to see the results of this poll!

 

You may also like…




Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One thought on “Best 2.5-Layer Rain Jackets for Hiking and Trekking