Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Ask Kristin

Choosing the Right Rain Gear

I'm a novice who's weary of spending his cash in the wrong places. Should I go with a softshell jacket or something with a sturdier outer shell?

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.

Question:

What’s the low-down on rain gear? I’m a novice who’s weary of spending his cash in the wrong places. Should I go with a softshell jacket or something with a sturdier outer shell?

Submitted by – Denton, TX

Answer:

My frugal friend, you don’t need to dump loads of cash to get good protection from the rain. In our recent Apparel Guide, we reviewed six great hardshells for under $100. You won’t find loads of features like pit zips (see exception, below) and dozens of pockets, and you might sacrifice a bit in the way of breathability, but protection from the rain…absolutely! The best of the bunch was Marmot’s Precip, which offered the best breathability (and pitzips!) all for 99 bucks. As for softshells, if it’s truly a rainshell you’re looking for, I’d steer clear. Hard shells—with their taped seams and long-lasting DWR treatments—are a better way to go. Plus, you’ll get more protection for the weight and money.