REI Rainier Rain Jacket Review (2023)

REI Rainier Rain Jacket Review (1)
The REI Rainier Rain Jacket is an inexpensive but well-featured waterproof/breathable rain jacket that can be used year-round for hiking and backpacking. Priced at $89 dollars, but often discounted, the Rainier is virtually identical to the Marmot Precip Eco Rain Jacket and includes pits zips, an adjustable hood, hook and loop wrist cuffs, and zippered side pockets which are all must-haves for rain jackets intended for hikers and backpackers.

REI Rainer Rain Jacket

Water Resistance
Comfort & Mobility
Hood Adjustability
Packed Size

Solid Value

The REI Rainier is a fully-featured four-season capable waterproof/breathable rain jacket. Sizing runs a bit large which can be good for layering, but awkward for warm weather use.

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(Video) REI | Co-op Tested, Co-op Made: Jacket Water Resistance // Ep7

Specs at a Glance

  • Gender:Men’s Fit (13 oz size L), Women’s Fit (11.4 oz size M)
  • Type: 2.5L Waterproof/Breathable
  • Membrane: Peak (REI W/B Proprietary Laminate)
  • Center Back Length: 31″
  • Center, side pocket, and pit zippers: YKK, all one-way and backed with waterproof zipper flaps
  • Hem adjustment: Tes
  • Fit: Runs a full size large


While the Rainier Rain Jacket is made with REI’s proprietary Peak 2.5 layer waterproof/breathable laminate, I wouldn’t get too excited about that aspect of this jacket. Most Gore-tex knock-offs like this have pretty lackluster breathability performance. Companies use them to reduce the cost of jackets and because a waterproof/breathable layer is considered a check-box feature with consumers, regardless of their effectiveness. The important thing is that the jacket is waterproof and all of the seams are seam-taped to prevent leaking. This doesn’t mean that you won’t sweat while wearing the Rainier or experience internal condensation which will make your clothing damp, but the jacket isn’t going to let outside moisture leak in when you wear it in the rain.

REI Rainier Rain Jacket Review (2)

Pit Zips

One of the nice things about the Rainier is that it comes with pit zips to help prevent you from overheating. I prefer buying waterproof/breathable rain jackets and hard shells that include pit zips even when they have a breathable membrane because venting body heat is such an obvious way to reduce perspiration. All of the rain jackets and winter shells I use when I’m not testing gear have pit zips or torso-zips for that reason.

The Rainier’s pit zips have one way-zippers, with storm flaps to prevent water from dripping into them. They’re easy to reach and unzip while wearing the jacket and do a good job at dumping excess heat without letting in additional moisture when it’s raining. I keep my pit zips open all of the time and only close them when I get chilled.

Adjustable Hood

The Rainier Rain Jacket has a large and partially adjustable hood with side neck toggles so you can reduce the size of the face opening and block drafts from entering. The hood comes with a front bill, but it doesn’t have a shapable wire sewn into it like more expensive jackets. There is a velcro tab on the back of the hood that you can adjust to raise or lower the bill to keep it out of your eyes, which is useful, but there isn’t a volume adjuster to shrink the volume of the hood to a more form-fitting size. This isn’t a showstopper, but you’re likely to experience loud flapping in high wind unless your head is the size of a bowling ball and fills out the hood (or you’re wearing a climbing or ski helmet.)

When the hood is not needed, it can be rolled away into a high collar. The interior of the collar is lined around the neck and very comfortable when fastened tight. There isn’t a garage (a small flap) for the front zipper at the top of the collar, so there’s a chance your mustache or hair can get caught in it.

All in all, the Rainier’s hood is quite workable when worn with a billed hat, but lacks some of the features you’d get if you bought a much more expensive jacket.

Hook and Loop Wrist cuffs

The Rainier’s arms have hook and loop wrist cuffs that you can cinch closed to prevent heat loss. You have a lot of blood flowing through the wrist that’s close to the surface of your skin, so preventing cold air from reaching it is an important way to keep your hands warm. They also prevent cold rain from dripping down your arm and wetting your mid-layer.

(Video) Top 5 Rain Jackets For Hiking Of 2021

If you’re overheating, you can undo the wrist cuffs and slide the Rainier’s sleeves all the way up to your elbows before refastening them. The forearms are large enough to permit this and it’s a useful and effective temperature regulation technique.

REI Rainier Rain Jacket Review (3)

Side Pockets/Interior Pockets

The Rainier Jacket has two zippered pockets, both lined with mesh. Both pockets are enormous and can hold lots of gloves, hats, or snacks. They can also be used as a stuff pocket to store the jacket when not in use. The side pockets are not hip belt compatible, however, and will be covered if you’re wearing a backpack. More expensive jackets have hip belt compatible side pockets or an additional chest pocket.

REI Rainier Rain Jacket Review (4)

The mesh pockets liners also form interior pockets, but you have to be VERY careful in how you use them because there are gaps at the bottom where food bars, cell phones, glasses, and small items can fall out. This is easy to forget. If you do use these internal pockets, I’d limit their use to wet hats or bulky insulated gloves. I don’t understand why REI didn’t sew these gaps shut and it’s my least favorite part of this jacket. I doubt these “pockets” were included with this use in mind…but they are a design oversight.

Material/DWR Coating

The Rainier Jacket is made with recycled ripstop nylon. REI is mum about the denier thickness of the fabric that they use in the Rainier, but it feels slightly heavier than the 40 denier recycled ripstop denier used in the Marmot Precip ECO Rain Jacket, which I’m also in the process of reviewing. (The two jackets are virtually identical.)

The Rainier has a standard DWR coating to help bead rainwater when it hits the jacket so it will roll off and not soak the exterior fabric. Many new rain jackets (including the Marmot Precip ECO) are beginning to use PFC-free DWR coatings: PFC is a toxic chemical that bioaccumulates in animals and plants and has health side effects. REI doesn’t provide any information about their DWR-coating, so you should assume it’s old school and not PFC-free. Knowing the Co-op, I’m sure they’ll switch over to PFC-free DWR coatings as soon as they’re more widely available. However, if you feel strongly about wearing a rain jacket with PFC-free DWR, I suggest looking at the Marmot Precip ECO. While the Precip ECO retails for $100, it’s usually on sale for $60-70 dollars.

Be advised, if you’re a hiker and backpacker, all DWR coatings rub off quickly in areas of high abrasion, particularly under shoulder straps and hip belts. That doesn’t make them any less waterproof, but it reduces their breathability, which is already pretty poor in jackets like the Rainier or the Marmot Precip ECO.

Recommended Backpacking Rain Jackets

Make / ModelAdj HoodPit ZipsWP/BRAvg Weight
Patagonia Torrentshell 3LYesYesYes12.1 oz
Black Diamond Stormline StretchYesYesYes11.3 oz
REI Rainier Rain JacketYesYesYes13 oz
Outdoor Research Foray IIYesYesYes11.3 oz
Montbell Versalite JacketYesYesYes6.4 oz
The North Face Venture 2YesYesYes11.5 oz
Marmot Precip EcoYesYesYes13.1 oz
Lightheart Gear Rain JacketYesYesNo6.3 oz
Frogg Toggs Xtreme LiteYesNoNo7.6 oz
Columbia Watertight IIYesNoYes13.0 oz
Note: WP/BR stands for waterproof-breathable.


The REI Rainier Rain Jacket is a comfortable waterproof rain jacket that can serve double duty as a winter shell. It’s less expensive than many comparable jackets because it uses REI’s proprietary waterproof/breathable membrane and isn’t as richly featured as a premium jacket. I do like the fact that it has pit-zips which are good for releasing excess body heat and arm sleeves with velcro cuffs that are large enough that you can push them up your arms for additional temperature regulation. The hood is serviceable as long as you wear a billed cap with it and avoid using the back of the side mesh pockets to store anything small or valuable.

While the REI Rainier Jacket will get the job done, I still prefer the Marmot Precip ECO which is made with slightly lighter weight fabric and is true to size compared to the REI Rainier, which runs almost a full size large.

Disclosure: The author purchased this product.

(Video) REI XeroDry GTX review | Budget Gore-Tex Jacket? | TECHWEAR

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Which raincoat is best for heavy rain? ›

  • Arc'teryx Alpha SV.
  • North Face Freedom.
  • Head Kore 93.
  • Rossi Experience 86.
  • Nordica Enforcer 94.
Jan 24, 2023

How much does Rei Rainier weigh? ›

Weight and Packability

The Rainier weighs in at 11.4 ounces, on the slightly higher end of the spectrum of jackets tested. While this is not a dealbreaker if weight is not an issue, it may be on the heavy side for those looking to keep packs as light as possible. The garment stows away in a hand pocket.

Should a rain jacket be tight or loose? ›

Fit The fit should encourage layering underneath, but shouldn't be too loose. Remember that you should be able to cinch your rainwear down so it's snug enough if the weather turns. Move your arms, bend your knees. A full range of motion is essential.

Are expensive rain jackets worth it? ›

It depends on what you're planning to use it for. If you're getting after it outside and don't want to sweat, I'd suggest you spend the money on a jacket with a Gore-Tex or other high-end membrane. A sweaty jacket is uncomfortable, yes, but sweat is also your enemy in the high alpine.

What color of rain jacket is best? ›

You want to be able to wear your raincoat with pride, potentially in rain hail or shine. Bright vibrant colours like red, yellow, green etc. are highly visible, either after dark or against the grey backdrops that accompany wintry weather.

How much does REI Joule weigh? ›

Technical Specs

Weight2 lbs. 5 oz.,2 lbs.

How much does the REI Flash 55 weigh? ›

Weighing in at 2.5 pounds with up to 9 pockets and a 30-pound max load rating, the Flash 55 does everything a fast and light backpack needs to do.

What makes the nylon fabric used in non breathable rain gear waterproof? ›

How Do They Make Fabric Waterproof & Breathable? Waterproof breathable fabrics consist of an outer layer called the “face fabric”, usually made of nylon or polyester, and a laminated membrane or coating, usually made of ePTFE (expanded Polytetrafluoroethylene, also known as Teflon®) or PU (Polyurethane).

Which is the best raincoat fabric? ›

Laminated cotton /poplin

But it is more environment friendly as the fabric side is a natural fabric. Laminated fabric is used to make weather protective clothing like raincoats, windcheaters, ski wear, protective jackets, hats; this fabric keeps the wearer dry and comfortable under all weather conditions.

Should a rain jacket be one size bigger? ›

Due to its waterproof construction, most rain gear has little to no stretch, which means that large steps or reaches can expose wrists and ankles. To prevent this, make sure everything fits a little loose, with more than enough room for added layers underneath.

Why does my rain jacket get wet inside? ›

As temperatures drop outside your jacket, the warm humid air you produce inside the jacket contacts the cooler surface of the jacket and changes from vapour to liquid causing beads of water to form on the inside of your jacket.

Should a rain jacket be a size bigger? ›

Generally the Unisex raincoats are loose-fit and a half size larger than normal clothing while the Womens raincoats matching your normal clothing size. This can vary though, so go after the largest measurement that fit you for the most comfortable fit.

Is Gore-Tex better than waterproof? ›

These provide varying degrees of waterproof reliability but none offer the unique properties of GORE-TEX. You may get 100% protection with a standard vinyl waterproof, but with GORE-TEX you get something that is much more geared towards practicality and an active lifestyle.

What is better than Gore-Tex? ›

The most sustainable GORE-TEX alternative fabric is waxed cotton. Waxed cotton is exactly like it sounds: wax (typically beeswax or linseed) is applied to cotton, giving the cloth a hydrophobic coating.

What is the difference between a rain coat and a rain jacket? ›

A raincoat is a waterproof or water-resistant garment worn on the upper body to shield the wearer from rain. The term rain jacket is sometimes used to refer to raincoats with long sleeves that are waist-length. A rain jacket may be combined with a pair of rain pants to make a rainsuit.

How do you pick a good waterproof jacket? ›

The top 5 things to look for when buying a raincoat
  1. Waterproof fabric. The most obvious first feature one would expect from any decent raincoat is that they have used waterproof fabric - and not just water repellent fabric/treatment. ...
  2. Sealed seams. ...
  3. A good hood. ...
  4. Breathability. ...
  5. Length.
Sep 6, 2018

Is a waterproof jacket the same as a rain jacket? ›

Waterproof is the highest level of rain protection

But there's no agreed-upon industry standard for this value, so you have to trust a brand's claim that a fabric is waterproof.

Which is bigger erg or joule? ›

The erg is a unit of energy equal to 107 joules (100 nJ). It originated in the Centimetre–gram–second system of units (CGS).

Is 1 joule a lot? ›

How much is 1 J? It is enough to warm up about one-fourth of a gram of water by 1°C. It takes about 12,000 J to warm a cup of coffee from room temperature to 50°C. So a joule is not a lot of energy.

How heavy is a joule? ›

11.1265×1015 g (by way of mass–energy equivalence)

Does the REI Flash 55 come with a rain cover? ›

The Flash 55 also comes with a Rainshield shoulder strap pocket that's attached to the shoulder pads using the same webbing/toggle system used by the pockets.

What weight is considered ultralight? ›

It is generally agreed upon that “ultralight” is a base weight 10lbs or less. A sub 10lb base weight can be difficult to achieve and potentially expensive which can be a deterrent to some backpackers. However, the benefits of investing in a low base weight can be long-lasting and immediate.

What is a good ultralight base weight? ›

For instance, you're generally considered an ultralight backpacker if your base weight is under 10 pounds and a lightweight backpacker if your base weight is under 20 pounds. Most traditional backpackers will have a base weight under 30 pounds.

Is nylon or polyester better for rain jacket? ›

Nylon or Polyester: which is better for raincoats? Polyester resists water better when compared to Nylon. Therefore Polyester is better for raincoats.

Is nylon or polyester better for waterproof? ›

Both nylon and polyester resist water, but polyester resists it better than nylon. Additionally, polyester's water-resistant properties increase as the thread count rises. However, neither material is fully waterproof unless it's coated with special materials.

Is 100% nylon good for rain? ›

Nylon is a frequently used material for clothing that's been designed for wet, cold weather. It is often used for jackets, tracksuits and hiking clothing, and it is often assumed as being waterproof. In fact, nylon isn't waterproof and can actually absorb water, allowing it to come into contact with the individual.

What should I wear on a heavy rainy day? ›

There are a few outerwear options you could wear in the rain: a raincoat, a regular coat with a hood, or a poncho. If you'll be doing a pastime such as hiking or have several outdoor activities planned, we suggest a lightweight foldable rain jacket that you can put over other layers.

Is GORE-TEX better than waterproof? ›

These provide varying degrees of waterproof reliability but none offer the unique properties of GORE-TEX. You may get 100% protection with a standard vinyl waterproof, but with GORE-TEX you get something that is much more geared towards practicality and an active lifestyle.

How many mm is considered heavy rain? ›

While there is no agreed international definition regarding rainfall intensity, some use the following criteria: Heavy rain is defined as rates in excess of 4 mm per hour while heavy showers are defined as rates in excess of 10 mm per hour.

What volume of rain is considered heavy? ›

Slight rain: Less than 0.5 mm per hour. Moderate rain: Greater than 0.5 mm per hour, but less than 4.0 mm per hour. Heavy rain: Greater than 4 mm per hour, but less than 8 mm per hour. Very heavy rain: Greater than 8 mm per hour.

What should you avoid on a rainy day? ›

These are some monsoon safety precautions that will help keep you and your family safe.
  • Don't touch electric wires. ...
  • Avoid walking in the rain. ...
  • Take precautions against mosquitoes. ...
  • Drive slowly and carefully. ...
  • Unplug electronic appliances. ...
  • Make sure your windows are shut properly. ...
  • Keep an umbrella and raincoat handy.

What do you wear on a 80 degree rainy day? ›

What to Wear on a Hot and Humid Rainy Day
  • Wear a dress or skirt. ...
  • Avoid silk! ...
  • A lightweight trench coat. ...
  • Invest in a good pair of rain boots. ...
  • Bring (or keep) a pair of nice shoes to change into at the office. ...
  • A lightweight scarf to protect jewelry. ...
  • Tote your things in an inexpensive bag.
Jun 9, 2015


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