Rain jackets and protection for hiking is very important. Sure, you watch the weather and keep an eye on the radar. But, a pop-up shower isn’t always predicted. If it is warm or cold out, for that matter, a raincoat is not a heavy item. For this reason alone you should always have one packed.
But, when you are hiking, be sure that the raincoat can cover your backpack as well. There is nothing heavier than a backpack full of water. So, be sure that you can protect it as well.
There are all kinds of options to choose from, heck, even a trash bag would work in a pinch. Just try to stay dry as much as you can. This will allow you to stay warm as well. There are of course rain jackets that are made for hiking as well. When you go to pick one up, you will need to read the labels. Ensure that you are getting the protection that you expect.
Waterproof or Water-Resistant?
Rain gear comes in waterproof/breathable, water-resistant, and waterproof non-breathable. Waterproof/breathable allows you to be protected and not have the water reach your skin but also allows your body to breathe and all sweat to evaporate as you need it to. This is the best option but it is the most expensive option most of the time.
If you are going to be on terrain that gets your heart going and you might sweat a lot, then this is the option you should choose. However, there is a water-resistant option that is not as good at protecting you but will help with a quick sprinkle in the morning. This option is usually super lightweight too.
However, it is not good for those that are planning to get dumped on. This is a great option for days that have high humidity or fog though. And, it is lightweight as well.
The last option is one that basically is like a trash bag. This option will not allow you to breathe and those will trap any sweat you might have. This is one that many carry with them as an emergency option though. It usually is pretty cheap and easy to throw in the pack. These options usually are something that doesn’t take a lot of wear and tear though, so it will be effective, you just need to be careful.
When you are on the search for a jacket that is waterproof, you might want to consider the windproof of it as well. There are jackets with windproof technology that are very effective at blocking both wind and rain. These are the better of the jackets and typically come with a higher price tag. However, if you are serious about hiking, this might be something worth investing in.
Some jackets are only rated for wind-resistant. This means that it will block out the majority of the wind. However, these are not meant to go hiking in high winds. These are typically lighter weight and again, easy to throw in the pack as a just in case.