Differences in Rain Jackets Explained

Posted by Backcountry & Beyond on 13th Jun 2022

Differences in Rain Jackets Explained

Don’t let rain stand in your way of outdoor activities this summer. With high temperatures and high humidity, you’ll need rainwear that not only protects you from the elements, but also from sweat that comes with the heat.

Most rain jackets will do a fine job at protecting you from the rain, but not all of them will protect you from the sweat. This is what makes breathable rain jackets so important for those being active outside. You need something that will keep the rain from getting in, yet will still let moisture out.

Our selection of rain jackets are all waterproof breathable, but differ slightly in price, quality, and features. Nehemiah, a team member at Backcountry & Beyond, explains the difference.

On the cheaper end, going for around $100, Nehemiah describes these options as a selection of coating based rain jackets. “With a fully waterproof interior, these jackets seams are sealed and taped off to prevent water from getting in”. He goes on to describe that while providing that expected waterproof interior and exterior for all rainwear, the nature of the coating makes it so that even when you sweat from activity, when that sweat turns to evaporation, it can pass through and ventilate out. This is something you won’t get from your lower end rain jackets.

However, even with higher quality materials, you may be doing enough activity to where you need a little extra ventilation. To aid in this, rain jackets of this quality will have zipper pockets and zippers under the arms to further encourage sweat to get out and rain to stay out.

While Nehemiah states that there isn’t much difference between our $100 and $120 rain jackets, the models closer to $120 will come with a mesh lining to help keep skin from getting sticky against the material of the jacket. The outer material of the garment will also be a bit tougher and durable, making it more abrasion resistant.

Going up in price to around $160, are a selection of more heavy duty rain jackets. One unique model from our Kuhl brand is made out of a material that can stretch. “This happens to be my favorite one and the one that I use the most often,” Nehemiah says of this rain jacket.

“Unlike the coating jackets, which don’t provide as much flexibility, this model is made with technology that allows for the same waterproof quality, but also provides a stretch, a unique feature”. This jacket will be better for those planning to be a bit more active as it will allow for more movement and comfort.

An additional added feature is that instead of those flapped zippers that you’ll see in the cheaper models, these higher priced jackets will have laminated zippers that prevent rain from getting in. This will make for a more compact jacket.

Taking a step up, closer to that $200 range, is when you see shell-style rain jackets. These are going to be your most durable and your most breathable. These rain jackets are meant to last the majority of your life, holding up to some of the roughest conditions. A unique feature to this rain jacket is its ability to pack into itself, forming a pillow shape, making it easier for traveling with and pack up.

So, whether you’re hiking, camping, or running, get a rain jacket that will keep you outside no matter the weather conditions at Backcountry & Beyond.