10 Best Rain Pants Fully Reviewed
Finding great rain gear can keep you running, biking or hiking no matter the forecast. We researched far and wide to see what outdoor enthusiast were using and based off our criteria, we are pretty darn sure we built a great line up of the 10 Best Rain Pants to get you going while keeping you dry.
Keep scrolling to get all the details on what makes these the best and how they compare to the competition or what you may be looking for in a pair of rain pants. Runnerclick did the hard part, now you just need to figure out which one is actually best for you.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 20 hrs of research
Effective for rain and wind
Easy to layer
Adjustable ankle openings
- Columbia Storm Surge
- Helly Hansen Voss (Men's)
- Frogg Toggs
- Columbia Rebel Roamer
- Arc’teryx SL
- White Sierra Trabagon
- Marmot PreCip
- Outdoor Research Foray
- Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic
- Outdoor Research Helium
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Our Top 10 Best Rain Pants
1. Columbia Storm Surge
Effective for rain and wind
Easy to layer
Adjustable ankle openings
Legs are a bit baggy
Lightweight rain coverage that keeps rain out and wicks away sweat from within. These go-to rain pants are ideal for activities that make you sweat like running or hiking.Read more
The Omni-tech design effectively blocks moisture from coming in while allowing warm air to escape when your temperature begins to rise.
A velcro dart at the bottom allows you to cinch and widen the ankle openings. This makes these pants fit well with a variety of shoes and are easy to take on and off. Unfortunately, there are no pockets.
These pants are very lightweight. The elastic waistband with adjustable drawstring fits well when wearing them on your own but can also accommodate a few extra layers.
The Omni-Tech fabric is designed to keep water out while allowing warm air and perspiration through. This shield, combined with a built-in moisture wicking liner will keep you cool and dry from both directions. These are a great option for warmer weather days but can also be layered to keep you warm, even in the snow.
These pants offer good mobility for a variety of activities.
These pants can take a beating. They will not snag on trees and branches.
Price ranges based on size and style but the breathable fabric makes the slightly higher cost worth it if you will be spending some time in these pants.
2. Helly Hansen Voss (Men's)
Rubberized material is very effective at keeping you dry
Easy to layer
Great for occasional outdoor work or activity
These rubberized pants are fairly inexpensive and ideal for keeping you dry on the occasional rainy day. These do not breathe very well and are best suited for leisure sports like golfing or fishing.Read more
The rubbery material of these pants does its job in keeping you dry through rain, snow, and wind.
These pants run large and are intended to be worn over another layer as they do not have a liner. The pants are easy to put on and take off. The elastic waistband and snaps at the ankles make them easy to adjust.
The 76% polyester and 24% PU material gives these pants a heavier feel. They are not as thick as the more durable work pants but they do run a bit heavier than pants designed with athletic activity in mind.
The thicker material does not breathe much at all. There are also no liners in these pants, so they are not ideal for wearing on their own.
These are a bit softer and more flexible than you may expect for a rubberized material.
These pants have great durability for regular outdoor activities. However, they can be ripped and may not stand up to daily use at a worksite.
These pants are fairly inexpensive when compared to the rest of the market.
3. Frogg Toggs
No pockets, just slits for accessing pant pockets underneath
This is a good value priced product that won't break the bank but is still breathable and fully waterproof. They only have one layer of fabric so they're not the most durable, but they do have zippered ankles to fit easily over your boots or shoes and they're a great option at this price.Read more
Effectiveness and Ease of Use
When we came across these in our research we were surprised to find such an inexpensive product that worked so well to keep users dry. Bottom line; they do their job. The zippered ankles make them simple to get on over your shoes or boots, and while they don't have pockets, they do have slits that allow you to access the pockets you have in whatever clothes you're wearing underneath. They're also plenty roomy making it easy to put them on over your other clothes.
Weight and Breathability
They're made with thin material so they won't slow you down. They're not the most ventilated option on the list, but they do let moisture escape so your lower half won't turn into a swamp.
This is the big drawback here, as the single layer of material doesn't offer much in the way of keeping them from ripping should you encounter a wayward tree branch. One reviewer said they had their pair for over a year with consistent use and they were still going strong.
4. Columbia Rebel Roamer
Easy to take on and off
Run large for easy layering
Perfect for layering
Ankle openings may be too large
Slightly heavy but very breathable nylon pants that effectively keep you dry. These wide leg pants are easy to get on and off and have plenty of room for layering. The drawstring elastic waistband has a nice adjustable fit.Read more
Fully seam-sealed, these waterproof pants will keep you dry and protect against wind.
These pants have an extra large leg opening that makes putting these pants on and taking them off over boots very easy. Unfortunately, some users feel the legs are too wide and the velcro at the bottom intended to bring in the ankle openings is awkwardly placed and does not help to narrow the pant. An elastic waistband with adjustable waistband gives these pants an adjustable fit that is easy to layer thicker pants underneath.
These are slightly heavier than some other options.
Despite the heavier weight, these pants are very breathable. The wide leg openings allow air to circulate and the nylon lining wicks away sweat.
The 100% Nylon shell and lining gives these pants a nice stretch. These are good options for activities that require a bit more range of motion such as biking or rowing.
The heavier build of these pants gives them a bit more durability.
Price may range but these are fairly standard for an effective rain pant.
5. Arc’teryx SL
Great for hiking and biking
Fit Over Gear
A bit heavier than your thin and packable rain pants, these rubbery polyurethane pants offer more water protection and durability. Arc’teryx SL Rain Pants are a simple design that will keep you dry in all sorts of weather. They are made to stay sealed, only offering a zipper up the bottom half of the leg, which is also waterproof.
They pack tight and are ideal for hikers and biking enthusiast that like to be ready without all extra weight. Arc’teryx left out pocket space but it makes them that much more storable when the weather subsides and you want to get back to your dry gear underneath.Read more
Although a bit heavier than some due to the Gore-tex reinforcement throughout the seams and hems, the actual all over Gore-Tex material is a redesigned Paclite technology. This lighter version of the super water-resistant Gore-Tex material makes the Arc’teryx SL Rain Pant easier to pack while offering the best waterproofing there is.
The less aggressive profile of the fabric allows them to not weigh you down when worn over your clothes or get too hot. Furthermore, there isn't one ounce of waterproofing sacrificed in the design, to include the Lower leg WaterTight™ zipper.
Among all the weatherproofing features, Arc’teryx SL Rain Pants played it smart and ensured they made the waistband and legs just adjustable enough to slide over clothes and shoes.
Larger mountain style boots may be a bit of a struggle but once on, they go above and beyond to keep you dry.
Arc’teryx SL Rain Pants are compact and “push the limit” on what a great rain shell can offer in a very simple design. They are known for versatility and roll up super tight for hiking or shoving in a bike pannier without taking up precious space.
Don’t be deceived by the 13 oz these are packed at. Although there are lighter rain pants than the Arc’teryx SL, their performance attributes stand out above the competition.
These have a couple added ounces built into the ruggedness. Making these more durable than most as well.
Back to that Gore-Tex Paclite we were talking about. By Arc’teryx using it as the base fabric for the SL Rain Pants, they made one of the most breathable pair of rain pants to date. Unlike some older designs that can make you sweat underneath because of the plasticky non-airated material.
Gore-Tex Paclite is obviously the answer to this because these rain pants breath exceptionally well. Furthermore, with a little searching, you'll find Arc’teryx isn't known for using cheap material on any of their gear and that is why they rank high across the full spectrum of outdoor active wear.
Arc’teryx SL Rain Pants are designed to give you a range of motion that is contoured to the body. This makes it easier to to get up those boulders or over that larger terrain.
However, flexibility has been proven to be lacking compared to the competition. That doesn't take away from the fact that these are some of the best rain pants currently on the market.
Now, this is definitely where the Arc’teryx SL shine. They built a cuff design that mimics the coveted crampon patch without the added thickness.
These hold up to some of the most strenuous activity as well as take a beating in a fully packed ice climbing bag. Reviewers have made it very clear that even through months of testing and wearing without hesitation on some of the burliest obstacles, they held up fantastic.
These are a bit pricey but they offer so much in durability and rain proofing. They are a true rain pant for the most active of outdoor sportsmen.
They have been motorcycle tested by some and if they can take a beating of rain at 80mph and not let the rain in, then cost is of less concern. Arc’teryx SL Rain Pants are a definite get what you pay for wet weather gear option.
6. White Sierra Trabagon
Pack into a front pocket
Very thin material
These lightweight and packable pants are the perfect option if you are looking for quick and easy rain protection. They are great for travel when you may want something on hand, but the low risk of rain is not worth dedicating too much space and weight in your pack.Read more
Teflon material and taped seams help these pants will keep you dry. Snaps at the ankles give extra protection
These pants are packable and have pockets in the thigh and back for convenience. They do run a bit smaller through the legs than any rain pants. This means they will not balloon at the legs as much as some others but some women find them a bit too constricting around the waist and rear.
Super lightweight, these pants pack down into their own thigh pocket.
These pants do a great job keeping rain out but they also tend to hold sweat in. Most people still love the affordable price and are comfortable wearing moisture wicking leggings underneath in cold weather.
The thin material feels a bit like a poncho or trash bag. These pants provide effective protection but are not the most comfortable for days filled with activity.
These are not the pants for mountaineering but they will hold up well to regular use.
These pants are fairly inexpensive and do their job well. A really great option for travel.
7. Marmot PreCip
Zippered front pockets
Wicks away perspiration from the inside
Convenient Ankle Zips
Lightweight and packable rain pants that are easy to pull on and off over thicker base layers. The microporous fabric works to wick away sweat from the inside and effectively block rain and wind from the outside.Read more
These pants are 100% seam taped and will keep you dry in the rain and snow.
Ankle zips make these pants easy to pull on and off over shoes with an additional snap at the bottom of the ankle to seal out the elements even more effectively. Unlike many rain paints, the Marmot PreCip pants have convenient zippered front pockets and flap back pockets.
These pants are very lightweight and can be packed down to fit inside a standard wide-mouth water bottle.
The microporous urethane fabric is treated with silicon dioxide particles to create a barrier with small pores. These small openings will prevent large liquid molecules from entering while allowing small perspiration vapor to work its way out. This unique design means these pants are very breathable and you will not overheat.
These pants are lightweight and allow for good range of motion. The only downside is that they do make some noise as they swish together which can be annoying for activity.
These pants are built for hiking, biking, and walking and will hold up well to these activities.
You can certainly find cheaper rain pants out there but the breathable protection, zippered pockets, and secure ankle snaps make them worth the extra money. Particularly if you are planning to wear your rain pants regularly.
8. Outdoor Research Foray
Two-way side zippers for ventilation
Packs into its zippered pocket
Breathable and effective Gore-Tex material
Not very flexible
These lightweight rain pants are a bit more expensive but come with all the bells and whistles. Two-way zippers down each leg provide great ventilation and come on and off easily over boots. Additionally, the convenient zippered back pocket doubles as a stuff sack for easy storage.Read more
100% polyester Gore-Tex material effectively keeps out the rain.
With zippered sides, these pants are very easy to take on and off quickly. The zippered back pocket is great for storing small items and doubles as a stuff sack to conveniently tuck in your bag. The drawcord elastic waist and internal loops for instep laces hold these pants in place through any activity.
These pants are very lightweight and great for traveling.
The zippers run from the ankles to mid thigh and have a two-way zip. Unzip from the bottom to easily remove pants over boots or unzip from the top to provide some ventilation.
These pants are not super flexible but they are a bit more fitted through the leg so there is not much extra bagginess to get in your way. There is also a pleat below the knee to allow for a natural bend when riding a bike.
The pants feel thin but it takes quite a bit to actually rip or cause holes.
These pants are more expensive but come with convenient two-way zippers and can pack down into their own back pocket.
9. Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic
4-way stretch for easy movement
Comfortable for all day wear
Waterproof but breathable
One small pocket
These 4-way stretch pants fit and move more like a waterproof hiking pant than a shell. They are lightweight and comfortable for hiking or running but still will keep you dry.Read more
Dry Q waterproof technology provides an effective barrier against moisture while still being breathable to keep you dry from the inside as well.
Unlike most rain pants, these pants are designed to be worn more as a waterproof hiking pant than an overlayer. They do have zippers up the leg to make them easy to pull on. Unfortunately, they only have one small thigh pocket.
The lightweight stretchy material will not weigh you down.
the material is breathable to allow warm air to escape, reducing sweat. Additionally, zippers up the leg can add some ventilation.
These pants are great for movement. With 4-way stretch material, they will move just like your favorite athletic pants. Articulated knees also bend with you for more natural movement.
40D face material is abrasion-resistant and durable.
These pants are significantly more expensive than some of the outerwear alternatives but the price can be justified when you consider them as quality, waterproof hiking pants.
10. Outdoor Research Helium
These pants are very compact and they don’t take too much place
Great for hiking because of the small weight
They could be more durable
Functionality and minimal weight- these words can describe these Outdoor Research Helium. If you haven’t heard about them before, let us show you their features.Read more
The users were really happy with the efficiency of the product. Thanks to the Pertex Shield+ material, it’s totally weather resistant. Rain isn’t a problem while wearing this one.
Whenever it’s winter time, the construction of the pants keeps the snow out.
These pants can be stuffed in a zippered pocket, there’s also a clip so you can attach them to the backpack and etc.
This is one of the biggest advantages of this product. When you first try them on, you have a feeling that material is so lightweight so it may feel cheap at first. However, the quality isn’t sacrificed for the weight in this case.
The breathability and ventilation are at a good level. People testing this product didn’t have any problems with sweaty legs and sticky material attaching to the legs.
The waistband was flexible enough, it didn’t irritate the skin. This means that you can enjoy the full range of motion, the pants don’t restrict your movements. This makes this pants perfect also for sports like climbing.
You may expect that when it’s a very lightweight product, it may also be less durable. In this case, this is true. You need to be careful if you want to use them for more demanding sports. If you want something very durable, this may not be the best product.
Whether you want to try out these, you will need to spend around 120 dollars. This price isn’t a low one, but in general, these pants are worth this money but it’s worth to look them on sale.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
If they don't keep you dry, what's the point?
While compiling our list of the 10 best rain pants, this was the most important factor we looked at because if they're not going to keep you dry, what's the point of buying them? Some of the things that makes a product like this effective is the type of material, as well as whether or not the seams are taped. The seams in a garment are the first place water will be able to get in, so to combat this, manufacturers cover them with waterproof tape which is then melted so that it conforms to the seam and keeps it watertight. Even if the material the garment is made from is high-quality and waterproof if the seams aren't taped and sealed you're going to get wet so we only included products with taped seams on our list.
The other big determining factor in these being waterproof is how many layers of material they are made of. This type of product can usually be found with 2, 2.5, or 3 layers of fabric. The more layers the more waterproof, but this also makes them more expensive and sometimes heavier and bulkier.
Finally, the type of material they're made of obviously makes a difference in how dry a product keeps you. Those made of Gore-Tex are often an excellent option because this material is waterproof AND breathable, but they're also usually quite expensive. Rubber is completely waterproof but it's not breathable and it's heavy. Some other fabrics you'll find in products of this type are Pertex and Polartec, which can be great options as well.
Ease of Use
This is a very important thing to look at before buying, and luckily there's not too much to it. The first thing that makes a pair of pants easy to use is whether or not you can easily get it on over your other clothes. When your hiking and there's a sudden downpour, having a loose fit and zippers at the ankles so you can get them on over your shoes or boots make all the difference in the world.
We mentioned fit above, and that's the other thing you'll want to look for. You don't want these to be form-fitting. If they are they'll be really hard to put on quickly when you need them, and they'll be uncomfortable once you do get them on, so look for a product that has a loose fit. Another thing to look for is something that isn't too bulky so you can easily pack them down to a small size so they'll fit in your backpack or hydration pack and be easily accessible.
Rain pants range in weight based on the material they are made of. For the most part, it is ideal to find a lightweight pant that will still offer adequate protection from the rain. There are some situations, such as yard work or cold weather gear, that you may actually prefer a heavier style.
Before you buy, think about what you'll be using the pants for. If you'll mostly be wearing them while running you'll want them to be lighter and you won't need them to be as durable so this is a pretty easy choice. If you'll be wearing them while doing yard work or while hiking through dense brush however it's important that you get an option that is more durable, but this will also make them heavier so there's a trade-off
Regardless of the temperature, you will want rain pants that allows sweat to move away from your body. For a summer pant, ventilation that allows air to get in is key. For winter pants you will still want a moisture wicking liner or base layer to keep you dry and warm.
Products made from Gore-Tex are a great option because this fabric is both waterproof AND breathable, however it's also expensive. A lot of outdoor apparel makers have developed their own waterproof and breathable fabrics, the most popular and common of which are: eVent, MemBrain, PolarTec, DryVent, and Pertex, which is probably the most popular of these and can be found in many different clothing lines.
Don't buy something that will tear and rip after just a few uses.
The durability will range with the material and price. To provide continuous protection, any good rain pant should be able to withstand a walk through the brush without developing rips or tears. The better the quality of material the more durable it will be, and this also goes in hand with how effective the pants are at keeping water out and keeping you dry because products with multiple layers of material will be thicker and more waterproof which will also make them more durable. If you're just looking for a pair to keep in your car for emergency situations or something like that you can get away with a cheap pair, but keep in mind that one snag on a tree branch or similar event and they'll rip and you'll have to throw them out and get a new pair.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
You may want to keep washing to a minimum if you can help it, as eventually, the waterproofing will wear out.
Make sure you adjust your sizing to make room for dynamic movement required while running.
Other Factors to Consider
There is a range of fabrics and treatments that companies use to make their clothing waterproof. So, on top of having a well-fitting pant that will keep you dry, we considered the pros and cons of each fabric and design choice. Each option has something to offer in terms of effective protection, durability, weight, breathability, and cost-effectiveness. We looked for pants that have a good combination by evaluating them on the following metrics:
Low quality rain gear can feel rubbery and creates a swishing noise and friction as you walk. We looked for pants that will not distract from the activity at hand and keep you dry without limiting your range of motion.
Price on rain pants can range widely. Consider what kind of activity you will be doing and how often you will be relying on your rain pants to determine what is worth investing in. There’s no use spending a ton of money if you just need something to stow away for the occasional rain. However, if you are relying on these pants for long days and rigorous activity, comfort, durability and extra features may be worth the extra money.
One of the most important considerations when purchasing rain pants is what you are planning to do in them. Rain pants can range from a thin, garbage bag consistency to thick, rubbery work pants. If you are looking for something to keep in your bag or pocket in case of rain, the less expensive and lighter weight options will be ideal. Whereas people who spend their days outside and encounter rain or wind on a regular basis may consider a more heavy duty option. If you are planning to do activities that will make you sweat, like trail running or hiking, you probably want to pay a bit extra to make sure you have some breathability and moisture wicking properties.
Consider what you already have or may need to layer under your new rain pants. If you are planning to wear jeans or hiking pants, you may want to opt for rain pants with more leg room. Or, maybe you are not planning to layer anything under, in that case, you want to look for pants with a moisture-wicking liner.
The climate you are in will also affect which pants are best for you. When do you encounter the most perspiration and when do you care about staying dry? If you are in a humid climate, prioritize a breathable pant that will wick away moisture from the inside. Otherwise, you will be more uncomfortable and wet than if you had left the pants at home. Consider a lightweight and compressible pant, if you are outdoors in the cold often.
You may not end up needing them, but if you are caught unprepared and far from home, being wet can put you in danger of hypothermia. If you are planning on snow, you may consider a thicker pant or a good shell that you can add layers too. For pants that can be worn all year round, consider options that have good ventilation and can also accommodate multiple layers underneath.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How do I care for my rain pants?
To improve the longevity of your rain pants, avoid washing them too regularly. When possible, hand wash with cold water and air dry. If you do use your washing machine, use a detergent designed for tech gear. Try to avoid regular liquid detergents as these contain chemicals that attract water and will reduce the efficacy of your rain gear.
q: Why did my rain pas stop keeping me dry?
Most rain gear is treated with a durable water repellent coating that helps water collect in larger droplets and roll right off your clothing. Over time and washing, this coating wears off. However, you may not need to score the web for new clothes just yet. Try treating your rain gear with a DWR treatment to give it a second life.
q: Are these machine washable?
Yes. They are all washer friendly! However, it is recommended that when drying, you ‘air dry’ these specific type of pants.
q: What else do I need to know for running or hiking in the rain?
The best tips for staying safe in the rain are to wear smart layers and be prepared. Having moisture-wicking layers as your base for any activity is ideal as it will keep you cool and dry by moving sweat away from your body. Being prepared with extra protection such as rain gear, gloves, and a hat is also a smart move when you are far from home. Additionally having reflective gear or a light is a good idea for when visibility is low.