Don't let the threat of wet weather dampen your adventures. Bad weather requires good gear, and we have what you need from outdoor icons like The North Face, Helly Hansen and Marmot. We have for rain gear for hiking, fishing, sailing and running.
For general hiking and backpacking use look for waterproof and breathable materials like:
These materials utilize waterproof membranes that maintain their breathability. Taped seams further improve a garment's ability to keep the water out. A waterproof over pant without taped seams will eventually allow water to enter through the stitched seams. There are three primary types of waterproof fabrics:
Three-layer construction means the waterproof membrane is laminated between two layers of fabric, yet the garment has a single fabric layer feel. Three-layer is the highest quality and one of the lighter constructions.
Two-layer construction means the waterproof membrane is laminated to the inside of the main material and typically has a secondary liner material on the inside of the garment. Two-layer construction is less expensive than three-layer and results in a slightly heavier, bulkier product.
Finally, the most basic waterproof technology features waterproof fabrics or coatings that do not breathe, but are reliably waterproof. The most basic style is a simple coating on the inside of otherwise non-waterproof fabric - basic nylon coated with a water barrier on the inside of the pant. This style is light and inexpensive, but does break down over time with heavy use. When you need serious weather protection and are not concerned about breathability, a fabric coated on the outside with polyurethane or PVC is your best bet - the thicker the coating, the better the protection. This style is like the rubber rain gear we all had as kids - bomber waterproofing, zero breathability. Helly Hansen and Carhartt are leaders in straight up waterproof apparel.
When it comes to rain protection for backpacking, walking and active wear, you are best served by a waterproof and breathable style. These garments allow your body to breathe while still protecting you from the rain. GORE-TEX®, the pioneer of the waterproof and breathable membrane, definitely set the bar for others to follow, but there are now many viable alternatives available. Most brands offer a GORE-TEX® and a house brand material such as The North Face HyVent and Marmot's PreCip®.
Another feature to consider is side zippers. Side zips allow you to put rain pants on without removing shoes or hiking boots. Many styles offer full length side zips that zip clear up to the waist. These are the best choice for use over boots or when putting the pants on quickly over existing clothing is important. Full side zippers also allow you drop the seat without removing the pants - a key feature for women and men when nature calls. Other styles offer ankle- or calf-height zippers. These will accommodate some shoes, but most boots will not pass through. Ankle zip styles are good choice when you are not concerned with putting on over your footwear or when simply need a rain pant for travel use.
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