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How To Choose Rain Jackets – Expert Advice

Montem Outdoor Gear's Hydro Packable Rain Jacket. Maximum storm protection for the minimalist.

Shop our brand new Hydro Rain Jacket. Backpacker approved, hydrostatically tested, and masterfully packable.

Need help deciding if our Hydro Packable Rain Jacket is right for you? Contact us to speak with an expert today!Logos Montem

Rain Jackets Buyer's Guide The Montem Hydro Rain Jacket is the culmination of over 2,000 hours of testing, designing, and revamping. With over 2 years of development put into this piece of gear, we promise it will be the best rain jacket you'll ever own. Creating the best packable and technical rain jacket was our primary goal, but not the only one. We also placed heavy emphasis on top of the line breathability and packability. Featuring pit zips and proprietary Drach-Tech fabric you'll be able to easily cool down when the temperatures rise.


Every Montem Hydro Rain Jacket is handcrafted, tested, and designed for the most comfortable fit, easy packability, and most importantly 100% waterproof protection.


Montem has been featured in Backpacker Magazine, GQ, and The NYT for our ability to design high quality gear that functions like it costs twice as much, and fits like a fashion house designed it.


The ability to both unpack and pack within seconds is unparalleled. Rapid storm protection in the most unsuspecting of circumstances. Easily carried in its 5" x 5" pouch.

Technical Features of the Montem Hydro Packable Rain Jacket 

Rain Jackets Buyer's Guide  
  • One of the lightest technical rain jackets available! Weighing in at only 9 oz for a large, not only is the Hydro portable and packable, but it's extremely light.
  • Breathable and waterproof, the Hydro is capable of repelling water during the most extreme rainfalls.
  • With a waterproof rating of 9,000mm based on an intense Hydrostatic Head Test, we can guarantee your Hydro will keep you dry in any circumstances.
  • Featuring heat-sealed zips on the pockets, chest, and body, water won't be able to penetrate the material OR your pockets, keeping not only you dry but your valuables as well.
  • Comfort was extremely important during the testing process. Not only is the material thin and breathable, but the jacket also features pit zips for increased breathability and comfort.

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Additional Features of the Hydro Rain Jacket

Rain Jackets Buyer's GuideRain Jackets Buyer's GuideRain Jackets Buyer's GuideRain Jackets Buyer's Guide

The Hydro Rain Jacket is a breathable waterproof jacket that fits perfectly, going from sizes small up to 3XL. A poor quality rain jacket will allow water to seep through, soaking your clothes. While technical rain jackets like The Hydro last longer and offer more helpful features compared to their low-quality counterparts. Effective Waterproofing A technical rain jacket's value is derived from its ability help you stay dry, so it's imperative that you select one that has been made from high-quality fabric and treated with an effective water repellent. Most of the best rain jackets are made from nylon, and those that are also covered in a sufficiently thick layer of a waterproofing outer fabric such as Drac-Tech, our own proprietary material – will usually keep you dry as a bone. Leak-Proof Seams The Hydro features water-tight seams on the pocket and pit zips as well as the front zipper which prevents water from seeping in through places in which two pieces of fabric meet. Manufacturers attempt to protect the seams in several different ways, but the most effective way to do so is through the use of waterproof tape. Taped seams are generally as waterproof as any other portion of a rain jacket. Adjustable Hood and Hem Aside from the seams, there are several other places in which water can enter a raincoat – most notably the hood and the bottom portion of the jacket (an area called the hem). If these portions of the jacket don’t fit snuggly, they can allow you to become sopping wet in a short time. To avoid these problems, the Hydro Rain Jacket features drawcords so that the hood and hem can be cinched tightly, while also featuring a full chin zip to protect your neck. Tight-Fitting Wrists Water can also enter a rain jacket near the wrists, especially if you are working in a downpour. The Hydro features elastic bunching around the wrists as well as a velcro strap to help prevent water from sneaking up the sleeves. High-Quality Zippers Avoid poor-quality jackets that feature sub-standard zippers, as these will likely become damaged or jammed, thereby exposing you to rain (or, if they become stuck in the “closed” position, you may have difficulty taking the jacket off). Our rain jacket features YKK zippers for both hand pockets as well as the front zip. Pit Zips Equipped with pit zips, the Hydro will not only keep you dry, but also keep you cool. Pit zips are a necessity on any technical rain jacket. They also provide much needed breathability and help maintain a comfortable body temperature. Rubber Zipper Pulls Featuring rubberized and textured pulls on the front zipper as well as on the chest pocket and pit zips, your life will never be easier. Adjust your Hydro with ease, no matter how numb and slippery your fingers are. Lightweight Whether you are hiking, camping or making a living outside, you won’t want to lug around a heavy raincoat while doing so. Instead, opt for a lightweight rain jacket, like the Montem Hydro Packable Rain Jacket. Weighing in at only 9 oz and packing down to a 5" x 5" pouch it redefines technical ultralight gear.  Easy to Pack and Store A rain jacket won’t do you much good if it is hanging up in your closet when it starts raining. But this is surely where your jacket will be if you don’t select a model that is easy to fold up and store in your pack. The very best rain jackets for outdoor enthusiasts often collapse into a self-contained stuff sack. This not only makes it easy to fit the rain jacket in your pack, but it also ensures that it’ll be protected when not in use.

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Rain Jackets Buyer's Guide

The Importance of Packing the Hydro Packable Rain Jacket

  1. The Hydro makes the perfect outer shell. With enough room to layer underneath, the Hydro works as a great rain shell. Not only will you be able to keep your other layers dry, but you'll also prevent the wind from blowing away your body heat. A rain jacket is the perfect piece of gear for both applications due to its lightweight and multipurpose nature.
  2. Staying dry is staying safe. Did you know you can become hypothermic in 60-degree weather if you are wet? Our Hydro Rain Jacket is rated over 9,000mm waterproof, meaning it can withstand winds of 75mph with rain and keep you dry. An ultralight packable rain jacket is an essential piece of gear. 
  3. Rain jackets help protect you from bugs. A lightweight rain jacket does wonders at preventing bites due to their sealed material. Long sleeve shirts and traditional coats are often too hot to use during the warm parts of the year, but you’ll usually find that a rain jacket works well – especially if it is a breathable model with pit zips which will allow your sweat to evaporate quickly.
  4. Rain jackets are great windbreakers. Light breezes can often keep you cool, but when winds pick up they can cause rapid drops in temperature. Rain jackets also function as a barrier between you and the wind. On cooler days where the wind is picking up, just zip up all of the zips and you'll have a windbreaker without needing to pack one.

Shop the Montem Hydro Packable Rain Jacket

A good rain jacket will help you stay dry in bad weather – it may even allow you to salvage a trip that would otherwise be ruined by rain. But rain jackets aren’t just good for keeping you dry, they also provide value in a number of other ways.

What is Waterproofing and How Is It Rated?

You'll find most jackets pitch their efficacy using broad claims such as "100% waterproof". Although the claim isn't faulty, there is much more that goes into how a jacket is rated for its water prevention. Most waterproof attire is rated using mm. For example, a jacket rated 9,000mm Waterproof is able to withstand a 9,000mm column of water for up to 1 minute before any liquid will penetrate. 
Waterproof Rating Resistance Weather
0-1,499mm Somewhat Resistant Light Flurries/Sun Showers
1,500mm-4,999mm Water Resistant Light Showers/Average Rain
5,000mm-8,999mm Waterproof Moderate Rain
9,000mm+ Highly Waterproof Heavier Rain

Who Needs A Rain Jacket?

Rain Jackets Buyer's Guide

Just about everyone will benefit from having a rain jacket handy, but some people will clearly have more use for rain-proof outerwear than others. Some of those who should always have a rain jacket at the ready include:
  • Campers – Campers should always have a rain jacket in their pack. Whether you're backpacking in the rain or finding a good camp ground. Having a waterproof jacket will help keep you dry when pitching a tent in the rain or having to answer nature’s call during a downpour.
  • Hikers – It’s usually a good idea to pack lightly when going for a hike, but you should always bring a few items, including a cell phone, trekking poles and a water bottle. But a lightweight rain jacket should also be considered part of your standard hiking kit. You don’t want to get caught unprepared on the trail if it starts to rain.
  • Kayakers – You’ll likely get a little damp while kayaking down your favorite river, so many kayakers don’t see the point in bringing a rain jacket. However, if it starts raining and you find yourself needing to exit the river and wait out the weather, you’ll be glad you brought a rain jacket to keep you dry. Just make sure to store it in your dry bag so it is ready for use when you need it.
  • Bicyclists – It isn’t always fun to ride your bike in the rain – your tires may slip and slide all over the place, and your brakes will usually stop working very well too. But while you may not decide to go for a ride when it is already raining, it is entirely possible that it will start raining while you are already cruising around. The best rain jacket for a bicyclist features a breathable shell fabric with plenty of pockets to protect your keys and phone from the rain. 
  • Anglers – Serious anglers know that fishing in the rain is often very productive, but you have to stay comfortable while on the water, so you can focus on the task at hand. A durable water repellent  jacket will help immensely in this respect. With hand pockets that are useful while out on the water ensuring that you can fish worry-free. Just be sure to look for a tight-fitting rain coat, as bulky coats can make it tricky to cast and reel in your catch.
  • Bird Watchers – Casual bird watchers will often stay home during wet weather, but the most dedicated avian enthusiasts know that you can often observe interesting and unusual behaviors when it rains. But if you want to remain comfortable while checking out the local birds, you’ll need a reliable rain shell with a durable waterproof hood. Just be sure to select a dark or earth-toned model, as bright colors may spook the birds.
  • Walkers – Casual wakers and those who partake in trail running should always have a lightweight jacket at the ready, even if your treks don’t take you far from home. It doesn’t take long to become drenched in heavy rains, which can make walking a mere block or two miserable. The trick is to look for a lightweight rain jacket that is breathable and very easy to pack in your pocket.
  • Students and Professionals – Having a light rain jacket isn't only helpful when you’re in the wilderness, miles from civilization – they’re also helpful during normal, day-to-day life. For example, if your regular trip to work or school includes any outdoor time, you’ll want to bring a rain jacket to help keep you dry during the journey.
  • Outdoor Workers – If your job requires you to spend lots of time outdoors, a high-quality waterproof rain jacket is imperative. Even light rain can become an inconvenience while working. The adjustable hood and hem ensure that you keep your clothes and body dry ensuring that remain comfortable, thereby allowing you to focus on the work at hand.

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Different Types of Rain Gear

Once you understand that a waterproof jacket is a vital piece of equipment for outdoor adventurers, it is time to begin selecting the best one for your needs. Rain gear comes in three basic styles, so you’ll want to start by deciding on the right features for your needs. We’ll discuss the three basic styles of rain gear below and point out the relative strengths and weaknesses of each.


Ponchos are loose-fitting garments that typically features a hood and a body-covering “cape” that shields you from the rain. Some have dedicated arm openings, while others fit more like a skirt worn around your neck. Most ponchos are made of relatively thin material and they’re often intended for very short-term or emergency use. However, a few manufacturers market durable ponchos made from thicker fabric. Ponchos can provide value, and they’re certainly better than nothing when it rains. However, they’re rarely the first choice for experienced outdoor adventurers. Ponchos are often bulky, they snag every twig and branch in the forest, and they don’t offer as many pockets most rain jackets do. It isn’t a bad idea to have an emergency poncho in your pack as a back-up, but these types of ponchos generally aren’t very effective for keeping you dry while camping, hiking or otherwise spending time in wilderness areas.

Rubber Coats

Some rain jackets are made from rubber, plastic or rubberized fabric – picture the proverbial yellow raincoat young children often wear. These types of waterproof jackets are often extremely durable, and they’ll keep you dry in a monsoon. In fact, these types of coats are often worn by commercial fishermen and fisherwomen working in rough seas. However, for a variety of reasons, these types of rain coats are rarely a good choice for those trying to enjoy the great outdoors. For starters, these types of jackets are typically quite heavy and not as breathable, which causes problems for weight-conscious hikers and campers. They’re also bulky, which makes it hard to wear them with a pack, and it also makes it difficult to move around while wearing one.
Rain Jackets Buyer's Guide
Like ponchos, rubberized raincoats have their uses, and they are better than nothing when you’re caught in bad weather. But they are a poor choice for most people trying to enjoy their local trail or campground.

Fabric Rain Jackets

Fabric rain jackets are typically made from synthetic fibers and then treated with a water-repelling sealant, which keeps them from absorbing water. These types of rain jackets vary widely in terms of quality. Cheap ones may keep you dry for a half hour, but they’ll eventually begin soaking up water; high-quality rain jackets, on the other hand, will keep you bone-dry and cozy no matter how long the rains last. Fabric rain jackets, when well-made, are very comfortable to wear and they are usually easy to wear with backpacks or day packs. Some are even easy to compress to a small size, which makes them easy to pack and carry with you. These types of jackets usually come with a hood to keep your face and neck dry, and the best also come with multiple pockets, which give you places to store often-needed items. Fabric-based rain jackets are usually the best type of rain gear for hikers, campers, cyclers and others who spend lots of time outdoors. But it is imperative that you select a well-made model to enjoy all of the benefits these garments provide.

Sizing Tips: Making Sure Your Rain Jacket Fits Like a Glove

Poorly fitting rain jackets may keep you dry, but you’ll likely grow frustrated as you fight to keep it on your body properly. For that matter, if you select a rain jacket that is too small, you may not be able to use it at all. Accordingly, you’ll want to be very careful to select the proper size – particularly if you are ordering your rain jacket from an online vendor. This can be quite difficult when buying from some outlets, as they only classify their garments vaguely, and don’t provide specific measurements. Instead, try to stick to vendors who provide specific measurements for their apparel. Minimally, you’ll want to look for jackets that include the following measurements:
  • Chest Circumference
  • Waist Circumference
  • Sleeve Length
  • Wrist Circumference
It’s also important to measure your body carefully to ensure you obtain a good fit. The best way to do so is with the help of a friend and a tape measure. However, if you don’t have a tape measure, just take your measurements by marking the various lengths and circumferences with a shoelace or string, and then measure the string length with a ruler. Be sure to record your measurements in the appropriate units. Many U.S.-based manufacturers use imperial units, but rain jackets made in Europe or Asia typically feature metric measurements. You can always convert imperial units to metric units or vice versa, but most globally minded manufacturers provide the measurements in both types of units.

Men's Rain Jacket Size Guide

Chest Hip Sleeve Length
S 34-36 in / 91-96 cm 35-37 in / 88-93 cm 33.5 in / 85 cm
M 37-40 in / 91-104 cm 38-40 in / 96-101 cm 34.0 in / 86 cm
L 41-44 in / 106-111 cm 41-43 in / 104-109 cm 34.8 in / 88 cm
XL 45-48 in / 114-121 cm 44-46 in / 111-116 cm 35.5 in / 90 cm
2XL 49-52 in / 124-132 cm 47-49 in / 119-124 cm 36.3 in / 92 cm
3XL 53-56 in / 134-142 cm 50-52 in / 127-132 cm 37.0 in / 94 cm

Women's Rain Jacket Size Guide

Chest Hip Waist Sleeve Length
XS 31-32 in / 78-81 cm 24-25 in / 60-63 cm 33-35 in / 83-88 cm 31.5 in / 85 cm
S 33-35 in / 83-88 cm 26-28 in / 66-71 cm 36-37 in / 91-93 cm 32.0 in / 86 cm
M 36-38 in / 91-96 cm 29-31 in / 73-78 cm 38-40 in / 96-101 cm 32.5 in / 88 cm
L 39-41 in / 96-104 cm 32-34 in / 81-86 cm 41-43 in / 104-109 cm 33.3 in / 90 cm
XL 42-44 in / 106-111 cm 35-38 in / 88-96 cm 44-47 in / 111-119cm 34.0 in / 92 cm
2XL 45-48 in / 114-121 cm 39-42 in / 99-106 cm 48-51 in / 121-129 cm 34.8 in / 94 cm

Caring for Your New Rain Jacket

Rain Jackets Buyer's Guide Once you’ve spent your hard-earned money on a rain jacket, you’ll want to be sure that it lasts as long as possible. In fact, if you start with a quality jacket and take good care of it, it’ll likely outlast most of your other gear. Just follow the tips explained below to ensure that your jacket lasts for years.
  • Follow all care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Most jackets will feature a tag near the hood that includes the care instructions for the garment. Some jackets must be hand-washed, while others are safe to throw in the washer and dryer. In either case, just be sure to follow the instructions to the letter and you’ll be well on your way to ensuring your jacket holds up to years of use.
  • Dry your jacket thoroughly before storing it. Once the rains have passed (or you’ve ventured indoors) it is important to dry your jacket before folding it back up and stuffing it into one of your pockets. Waterproof jackets can develop issues if not dried properly. Start by removing all items from your pockets and zipping all the zippers. Then, shake the jacket vigorously and hang it in a warm, dry place.
  • Use care to avoid causing punctures or rips in the jacket. A ripped waterproof jacket ceases being very effective at keeping you dry, so it is important to avoid creating holes in the garment. Do so by moving carefully through dense vegetation and trying to avoid thorns. It’s also wise to avoid storing sharp items in the pockets of the jacket.
  • Wash and dry the waterproof jacket after each use. One of the best ways to ensure the longevity of your rain jacket, is to wash and dry after each use. Because rain jackets often become wet, they can provide a great place for molds and bacteria to grow. Drying the jacket after it gets wet will help, but you’ll have better success ridding it of these organisms by washing it in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Mend any rips or tears immediately. Some of the best lightweight jackets use extremely durable fabric. However, even the best-cared-for rain jacket will suffer damage. If left untended, these types of damage will grow and reduce the performance of the garment. So it's best to patch or mend any fabric rips, and replace any broken closures or hardware promptly, to keep the jacket in the best condition possible.

A rain jacket is a vital component of your outdoor gear, but you must be sure to find a model that is effective, comfortable and easy-to-use. But if you choose one that satisfies the criteria discussed earlier and you’re careful to order the correct size, you’ll certainly end up with a rain jacket that keeps you dry and comfortable during your next outdoor adventure.