May 30, 2019
By David Draper
A sudden spring rainstorm can ruin your hunt, so it’s important to have a waterproof jacket on hand whenever you go afield. The best are lightweight and compact but still tough enough to withstand hard use without tearing. We gathered a variety, put them to the test, and came up with four worth packing along this spring.
When storms blow up, a lightweight rain jacket can save the day. Stuff this one under a seat or in a pack and go forth knowing you’ve got 100 percent waterproof protection when you need it. Two-way stretch Toray fabric is comfortable, and comes in under one pound of total weight. Armpit zips and a visored hood round out the package. MSRP: $249 | kuiu.com
- Hits: Fully Featured
- Misses: A Bit Loud
Not too heavy. Not too light. This packable jacket with three-layer Gore-Tex construction is just right. Seams are micro-taped for protection from seepage without adding excess weight. To dump heat when hiking, the armpit zips are huge, but we wish they were backed with some mesh to eliminate that floppy feeling when they’re open all the way. MSRP: $349 | sitkagear.com
- Hits: Interior Pocket
- Misses: Short Hem
Browning Hell’s Canyon Speed Rain Slayer-FM
Built to take on serious downpours and rough use, this three-layer shell will not you let you down, though it may weigh you down as it’s the heaviest of the four tested here. What you get in return is maximum dependability and a host of features, including extra-large armpit zips, visored hood, articulated fit, and three exterior pockets. MSRP: $350 | browning.com
Hits: Incredibly DurableMisses: Incredibly Stiff
First Lite Vapor Stormlight Ultralight
What this jacket lacks in frills it more than makes up in function. The lightweight layer stuffs into a tiny package, yet protects you from heavy rain with two-layer Cocona fabric and a full-length waterproof zipper. Hem falls below the waist and cinches tight with quick pull tabs in each pocket, but we long for a chest pocket. At 12 ounces, it’s the lightest in the test. MSRP: $250 | firstlite.com
- Hits: Comfortable Hood
- Misses: Bare Bones
The Essentials Gear Box.
Our editors have hand-picked these essential pieces of gear to make you a more successful hunter when you hit the game trails this season.