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When it comes to raingear, the latest tech can set you back $400 or more. It’s no surprise that the price of a shell goes up as weight falls and breathability improves, but unless you’re going on an expedition to Patagonia or rainforest trekking in the Pacific Northwest, the cost isn’t always worth it. For backpackers who simply want protection from the elements, there’s the PreCip. For just a Benjamin, you get a workhorse jacket that holds up in nasty weather, doesn’t skimp on features, and breathes well enough. Since its debut in 1999 (it cost $100 then, too), it has been the standard for affordable raingear.
“My favorite design element is the high collar, which reaches to your chin,” says one tester who used the PreCip during spring storms in Washington’s Central Cascades. “Even when rain was blowing sideways, I never got water down my chest or back.” Another tester, who wore the shell on an eight-day ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro’s Lemosho route, praised the beefy main zipper and its hook-and-loop rain placket, which protected him from showers and graupel on the peak’s upper reaches. He also liked the flap at the back of the PreCip’s hood, which both adjusts the crown fit and secures the hood when it’s rolled back.
For all its features (it also boasts a drawcord hem and adjustable cuffs), the PreCip isn’t heavy, and packs down to the size of a grapefruit. And while this 2.5-layer shell (Marmot uses a waterproof coating on the exterior instead of a membrane) isn’t as breathable as more expensive options, it never feels swampy during moderate activity. “It was perfect for a drizzly slog up Kilimanjaro in mid-50°F temps,” our tester says. “I wore it almost every day.” With a durable, 50-denier nylon face fabric, the PreCip wasn’t fazed by grabby brambles and rough granite in the Cascades, and it’s lasted us for years of hard use. Not bad for a bargain price.
$100; 13 oz. (m’s M); m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XXL; Buy Marmot PreCip Now