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The Best Rain Gear for Hiking

The Best Rain Gear for Hiking

Are you planning a hike but worried about getting caught in the rain? Don't let bad weather ruin your outdoor adventure or keep you from hitting the trail! With premium weather protection, you can stay dry and comfortable no matter the outdoor conditions.

This article explores the best rain gear for hiking, including jackets, pants, ponchos and capes. We'll also discuss essential features to look for in rain gear, along with tips for effective use and maintenance. Additionally, we’ll suggest accessories that can help enhance your hiking experience in the rain. Read on to discover everything you need to know about rain gear for hiking!

Types of Hiking Rain Gear

There are various types of hiking rain gear designed to keep you dry and comfortable when faced with unpredictable weather conditions on the trail. Knowing the different types of rain gear and their features can help you make the best decision when it comes to purchasing the right gear for your hiking adventures.

Waterproof Jackets

Waterproof rain jackets are essential for hikers since they provide protection from rain, wind and cold temperatures. Most are lightweight and easy packable, meaning you can stash them easily for those just-in-case scenarios. These high-performance rain jackets typically have a waterproof membrane and a durable water repellent finish, which will prevent rain from soaking through the material. Look for seam sealing and adjustable hoods and hems for total coverage. Brands like GORE-TEX offer excellent waterproof rain jackets for hikers. Some jackets even have additional features, such as taped seams and waterproof zippers, for added protection.

Rain Pants

Rain pants are designed to be worn over your regular hiking pants, providing an extra layer of protection from wet weather. They usually feature the same waterproof and breathable materials as waterproof jackets, ensuring that you stay dry without feeling clammy. Some rain pants have full-length zippers along the sides. This feature makes it easier to pull them on or off without removing your boots.

Ponchos and Rain Capes

Ponchos and rain capes offer a lightweight and breathable alternative to jackets and pants. These garments drape over your body and gear, creating a barrier against rain and wind. Ponchos typically have a spacious hood and a design that allows for ample ventilation, making them an excellent option for both casual and experienced hikers. They are easy to slip on and off, making them the perfect choice for unpredictable and changing weather. Their lightweight nature makes them easy to pack or stash in a pocket,, making them an essential item for any hiker who wants to stay prepared for all weather conditions.

Features to Look for in Hiking Rain Gear

When selecting rain gear for hiking, it's important to consider certain features that will ensure you stay comfortable, dry and protected throughout your journey. By prioritizing these characteristics, you can make the best decision based on your hiking needs and invest in gear that will last for hike after hike.

Breathability and Ventilation

Breathability is crucial when it comes to hiking. It helps to release heat and moisture from your body, reducing sweat buildup and keeping you comfortable during physical activity. Look for gear with advanced waterproof-breathable technologies, such as GORE-TEX. In addition, consider gear with built-in ventilation features, like pit zips, mesh-lined pockets and adjustable hoods, which can help regulate your body temperature as you hike along.

Lightweight and Packable Design

When hiking, it's essential to minimize the weight and bulk of your gear. Opt for lightweight rain jackets, pants and ponchos that don't sacrifice durability or performance. A packable design also ensures you can easily stow your gear when it's not in use without taking up much space in your backpack. Many hiking rain gear options now come with their own stuff sack or can be packed into one of their pockets for convenient storage.

Stretch and Comfort

Having a good rain jacket for your next hike is a key part of your hiking setup, especially if you're in a location where wet weather is common. A comfortable and stretchy rain jacket is important because it allows you to move freely without feeling restricted. It also helps to keep you dry and warm in wet conditions, as it prevents rainwater from getting through the fabric.

Additionally, a comfortable rain jacket can make hiking in wet weather more enjoyable, as you won't be feeling damp and uncomfortable for the duration of your hike. Investing in a high-quality rain jacket that fits you well enables you to stay prepared and hike as long as you want, no matter what the weather may bring.

Durable Materials and Construction

Investing in rain gear made from high-quality materials and well-constructed designs can save you money in the long run by preventing the need for frequent replacements. Look for gear made with abrasion-resistant fabrics, such as nylon and polyester, and featuring reinforced areas prone to wear like the knees, elbows and shoulders. Additionally, keep an eye out for brands that use a durable water repellent finish, as these coatings significantly improve the gear's performance and longevity.

When selecting rain gear for hiking, make sure to choose the type of gear that best suits your needs and prioritize features like breathability, ventilation, lightweight design, packability and durability. By doing so, you can ensure a comfortable and dry hiking experience, even in the most variable weather conditions.


When searching for rain gear, it's important to consider sustainability features such as recycled materials, PFC-free DWR coating and more. Recycled materials help reduce waste and minimize the industry's impact on the environment. PFC-free DWR is a safer alternative used in place of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). PFCs are potentially harmful to humans, wildlife and the environment and take years to degrade. Using more eco-friendly materials will help ensure you don't leave behind chemicals that could harm your beautiful surroundings.

Choosing products from companies with a commitment to sustainability is also important. By selecting rain gear with sustainability features, hikers can reduce their environmental impact while enjoying the great outdoors.

Stio believes in being good stewards of the environment we love exploring in, which is why we are mindful of the products we make and the business we operate. Doing the right thing is the framework for our operational foundation. Through our business practices we are committing to driving positive change for people and the planet.


Investing in a high-performance rain jacket is certainly worth the cost for hikers, but you still want to consider your budget. Keep in mind that of all the rain gear, your jacket should offer the most protection and premium weather protection will likely come at the highest price. Well-made rain gear will also last longer, meaning that you end up spending less money over the life of the rain jacket. Find a good balance between quality and cost. If you're looking for a budget rain jacket for hiking, consider searching for popular rain jackets on sale.

Waterproof vs. Water Resistant

Waterproof and water-resistant are two terms that are frequently used when it comes to describing rain gear materials, but they do not mean the same thing. Waterproof gear is designed to keep water out completely. This type of gear is made with durable, breathable materials that are coated with a waterproofing agent. The seams and zippers in waterproof gear are usually sealed to prevent any water from seeping through.

On the other hand, water-resistant gear is designed to repel water up to a certain extent, but not entirely. This gear is typically constructed from tightly woven or treated fabrics. Water-resistant gear can withstand light rain or occasional splashes of water without becoming soaked. However, during heavy rainfall, water-resistant gear will eventually become wet. The key takeaway is that waterproof gear is intended for prolonged exposure to heavy rain or submersion in water, while water-resistant gear is built for light rain or brief water exposure.

Tips for Using Hiking Rain Gear Effectively

The unpredictability of weather during a hike calls for preparedness, especially when it comes to rain. Navigating through wet and slippery terrain requires not only the knowledge of how to use your rain gear effectively but also the experience to stay safe and dry. In this section, we will cover the essential aspects of using rain gear, adjusting it for changing conditions and choosing appropriate accessories for a comfortable and enjoyable hike.

Layering and adjusting clothing for changing conditions

Layering is crucial when hiking in wet weather. It allows you to adjust your clothing according to the temperature and rain intensity. The three-layer system is popular among experienced hikers and consists of a moisture-wicking base layer, an insulating middle layer and a waterproof outer layer.

Your base layer should be made from moisture-wicking materials, like merino wool or synthetic fabrics, to keep sweat away from your skin. Avoid cotton as it retains moisture and provides minimal insulation when wet.

For your middle layer, choose materials like fleece or down that provide warmth and insulation without adding extra weight. Avoid overly bulky options, as they can reduce your mobility.

The outer layer should be waterproof or water-resistant, protecting you from rain, snow and wind while allowing moisture to escape. Look for features like breathable fabrics, sealed seams, and adjustable cuffs and hoods.

Remember to adjust your layers based on changes in the weather and your activity level. You can unzip or remove layers to prevent overheating on uphill climbs or add layers when stopping to rest.

Staying dry while hiking without sacrificing comfort

Staying dry is essential for a comfortable hike, but excessive sweating can be as problematic as rain. When selecting rain gear, look for materials that can wick away moisture while keeping you protected. GORE-TEX and other breathable fabrics strike a balance between protection and comfort. Choosing a stretchy rain jacket can also help prevent overheating.

Ventilated jackets and pants also come in handy on rainy hikes. They provide adequate air circulation, preventing you from overheating. Choose jackets with pit zips and pants with side zippers for better ventilation.

Don't forget to optimize your head protection. Opt for brimmed hats or hoods to keep rain out of your face. For better clarity and visibility, consider using a waterproof hat with a clear brim.

Proper care and maintenance of rain gear

Proper care and maintenance can extend the lifespan of your rain gear and ensure optimal performance. Follow these guidelines to maintain the effectiveness of your gear:

  1. Read and follow the manufacturer's care instructions for cleaning and storage.
  2. Avoid machine washing or drying, as it can damage the waterproof coating. Hand wash in cold water, using a mild detergent and air dry.
  3. Regularly reapply durable water repellent treatments to your gear following the manufacturer's instructions. This will maintain its water repellency.
  4. Inspect for damage, such as tears or loose seams, before and after every hike. Make repairs promptly to prevent further deterioration.

Accessories to Enhance Your Rainy Hiking Experience

Maximize your comfort and protection on a rainy hike with these essential accessories that complement your rain gear:

Waterproof backpack covers

Keeping your gear dry is crucial, especially during extended hikes. Waterproof backpack covers are lightweight, packable and provide an extra barrier against rain. They can be adjusted to fit over the backpack and are easily attached using straps or clips.

Gaiters and waterproof footwear

Gaiters and waterproof footwear work together to keep your feet dry and warm. Gaiters prevent water, mud and debris from entering your boots, while waterproof footwear repels external moisture. Opt for breathable, waterproof shoes or boots, such as those with GORE-TEX lining, to prevent your feet from overheating.

Trekking umbrellas

Trekking umbrellas have become increasingly popular due to their versatility and convenience. They can be attached to a backpack or trekking pole, providing hands-free rain protection. They also double as sun protection on hot days. Choose a lightweight, compact and wind-resistant model for the best performance.

Choosing the right gear for a successful and enjoyable hike

The key to a successful and enjoyable rainy hike lies in your preparation and the quality of your gear. Pay attention to the following factors when choosing your rain gear:

  • Material: Opt for breathable, moisture-wicking and waterproof fabrics like GORE-TEX.
  • Fit: Ensure a comfortable fit that allows for layering and easy movement.
  • Ventilation: Look for gear with additional vents or zippers that can be opened for better air circulation.
  • Weight and packability: This is crucial for long hikes or backpacking trips. Select lightweight and packable gear that doesn't add unnecessary bulk.

Equipping yourself with the knowledge and gear needed to brave the elements will make hiking in the rain not only manageable but also an enjoyable experience. So the next time the forecast calls for rain, don't worry — just arm yourself with proper rain gear and embrace the adventure!

Be Prepared for Hikes in any Weather With Stio Rainwear

If you're an avid hiker, you know that being caught in the rain without proper gear can quickly turn even the most enjoyable trail into a soggy and miserable experience. That's why it's important to invest in a reliable rain jacket. You can get quality waterproof rain jackets, pants and other gear from Stio.

Designed for outdoor enthusiasts, Stio rain jackets feature advanced waterproof and breathable technologies to keep you dry and comfortable no matter how hard it's raining. They're also made with durable materials that can withstand tough outdoor conditions, making them a great investment for any adventurer.

From the lightweight Exploit and dependable Ender PACLITE® to the stylish and comfortable Lupine rain jackets, Stio has the gear to suit your comfort and hiking conditions. With Stio rain gear, you can hike with confidence knowing that you're fully prepared for whatever the weather may bring.

Exploit Hooded Jackets

Stio's Exploit Hooded Jackets feature GORE-TEX's lightest and most breathable 3L active technology, ensuring comfort and flexibility. Made with 100% recycled nylon, this jacket has a durable windproof and waterproof finish that's guaranteed to keep you dry in even the most extreme weather conditions.

The storm-sealing hood with a bonded brim provides premium weather protection for your head, while the elastic cuffs give you a secure and customizable fit. Spacious pockets with YKK® Aquaguard zippers provide ample, dry storage for your essentials. With its functional design, Stio's Exploit Hooded Jacket is perfect for any outdoor activity, providing both protection and style.

Ender PACLITE® Hooded Jackets

Stio's PACLITE Hooded Jackets offer numerous benefits to outdoor enthusiasts seeking high-quality and durable waterproof apparel. The PACLITE fabric is extremely lightweight, breathable and easy to pack, yet tough enough to withstand harsh weather conditions.

Our GORE-TEX PACLITE storm shell offers a completely sealed waterproof barrier, with a 2L liner-less laminate that encourages moisture to slide right off. With a protective carbon coating, the inside remains dry to the touch. The adjustable, storm-sealing hood keeps your head dry while allowing for clear peripheral vision. Additionally, the jacket's eco-conscious design is made with 100% recycled materials, reducing its impact on the environment.

Lupine Hooded Jackets

Our Lupine Hooded Jackets combine comfort and practicality with style. Made from 100% recycled polyester, this jacket features waterproof, breathable,and fully seam-sealed fabric, making them perfect for wet conditions. The soft interior drape liner maximizes comfort.

These jackets feature a fixed, adjustable hood with a storm flap for full coverage against the elements, as well as adjustable cuffs with hook and loop closure and a hem cinch that helps keep out the cold. The Lupine Hooded Jacket has a six-pocket design, so you'll have plenty of storage space. The overall design of these jackets is both functional and stylish, making them a great choice for those who want to stay warm and dry while still looking good.

Make the most of your hike with comfortable, waterproof jackets from Stio. Check out our men's and women's rainwear collections to find the best rain jacket for your needs and style.

FAQs About Rain Gear for Hiking

Why is it essential to have rain gear for hiking?

Rain gear is crucial for hikers because it offers protection from wet, unpredictable weather. Staying dry during a hike not only keeps you comfortable but also prevents potential problems like hypothermia. Quality rain gear can also shield you from wind and retain warmth, making it vital during sudden weather changes. Having the right rain gear on hand ensures a more enjoyable and safer hiking experience.

What are the basic components of an effective rain gear setup?

Effective rain gear for hiking includes three basic components: a waterproof jacket, waterproof pants and waterproof footwear. These items serve as your primary line of defense against wet conditions, shielding your body from rain and puddles. A waterproof backpack cover or dry bag to protect your belongings is also essential, ensuring that electronics, clothing and other essentials remain dry.

What should I consider when choosing waterproof jackets and pants for hiking?

When selecting waterproof jackets and pants, consider the following factors:

  1. Material: Most rain gear is made from either laminate or coated materials. Laminate options, such as GORE-TEX, are typically more breathable and durable but can be more expensive. Coated materials, like polyurethane or PVC, are generally more affordable but may lack the breathability and comfort of laminate counterparts.
  2. Breathability: Choose rain gear with good breathability to prevent sweating and overheating under your protective layers. Look for products with ventilation openings and breathable materials.
  3. Durability: Invest in high-quality, durable rain gear that can withstand the rigors of hiking in harsh conditions. Well-constructed jackets and pants will provide lasting protection and good value for your money.
  4. Fit and adjustability: Comfort and ease of movement are vital when hiking. Opt for rain gear that fits well and offers adjustable cuffs, hoods, and waistbands for a tailored fit.

What are the best types of waterproof footwear for hiking?

There are several styles of waterproof hiking footwear, including hiking shoes, mid-cut boots and high-cut boots. The best option depends on your personal preference and the type of terrain you'll encounter. Here's what you should know about each option:

  1. Hiking shoes: These low-cut shoes offer lightweight, waterproof protection for shorter hikes or well-worn trails. They're a great option for those who prefer a shoe-like feel and don't require ankle support.
  2. Mid-cut boots: Providing more ankle support, mid-cut boots suit hikers traversing moderate to challenging terrain, requiring better grip and stability. Their higher cut helps to guard against water splashes, while still offering a comfortable fit.
  3. High-cut boots: Ideal for challenging, off-trail hikes, high-cut boots give the most stability and ankle support. These boots shield your feet from the elements and ensure a dry hiking experience, regardless of the trail's conditions.

How should I maintain my rain gear for optimal performance?

Proper care and maintenance of your rain gear are vital to extending its lifespan and ensuring optimal performance. Here are some tips for rain gear maintenance:

  1. Cleaning: Gently clean your rain gear with a mild soap and water solution or a specialized cleaner designed for waterproof garments. Avoid using harsh detergents, bleach or fabric softeners, as these may break down the waterproofing properties of the material.
  2. Re-waterproofing: Over time, rain gear may lose its durable water repellent finish. In such cases, reapply a waterproofing treatment (like those by Nikwax or Grangers) to revive the water-repellent properties of your gear.
  3. Drying: Never put your rain gear in a clothes dryer, which may cause damage. Instead, air dry your garments on a clothesline or drying rack, away from direct sunlight or high heat sources.
  4. Storage: Store your rain gear in a cool, dry place away from sunlight, moisture or heat, as these can gradually degrade the waterproof membranes and coatings.

What common mistakes should I avoid with my rain gear?

Avoid these common mistakes to ensure the longevity and performance of your rain gear:

  1. Ignoring the manufacturer's care instructions: Always follow the care instructions on your rain gear's tags to avoid unnecessary damage.
  2. Neglecting regular maintenance: Regular cleaning and re-waterproofing keep your rain gear in top shape and ensure continued protection from the elements.
  3. Using low-quality waterproofing treatments: Invest in high-quality waterproofing sprays and washes to maintain your gear's waterproof properties effectively.
  4. Skimping on quality: While it may be tempting to choose cheaper rain gear options, investing in high-quality, durable materials can save you money in the long run by avoiding frequent replacements.

Are there any tips from experts on selecting the best rain gear?

We recommend the following tips when choosing the best rain gear for hiking:

  1. Prioritize comfort and breathability: Opt for rain gear that allows you to stay active and comfortable without overheating.
  2. Choose versatile, adaptable options: Layering is key when dressing for the outdoors. Choose rain gear that can be easily adapted to various weather conditions, such as jackets with removable layers or vents.
  3. Test before purchasing: Try on different rain gear options before committing to a purchase. Ensure that the fit and size are comfortable and that you can move easily without restriction.
  4. Read reviews and seek recommendations: Take advantage of online resources, like reviews and expert advice, to find the best rain gear for your specific needs.

What additional resources are available to help me choose the right rain gear?

There are several resources available to help you select the best rain gear for your needs:

  1. Online reviews: Look for trustworthy review websites or blogs to get firsthand accounts from other hikers on the best rain gear options for specific hikes.
  2. Expert advice: Speak to knowledgeable staff at outdoor retailers or experienced friends for personalized advice on choosing the best rain gear for your needs.
  3. Forums and social media: Online forums and social media groups focusing on hiking or outdoor gear can be excellent resources for advice and reviews from experienced hikers in similar conditions.

Outdoor gear buying guides: Websites like REI, Backcountry and OutdoorGearLab offer comprehensive buying guides and product comparisons, helping you make an informed decision on the best rain gear for your hikes.

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