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Looking for light, packable rain jacket that does double duty

I'm looking for a ladies' rain jacket. It should have a removable lining for colder weather, stop just below the hips/around the thighs, be dressy enough to wear to work (I am in a business-casual environment), and hopefully, be lightweight and able to fold up and be placed in a backpack or stuff sack. It doesn't have to be 100% waterproof, as I know that can be very expensive. (I guess I should add "moderately priced".) Any suggestions?

I do have a Columbia rainjacket with Gore-Tex that's supposed to be breathable. I still find it sort of hot and sticky in warmer weather, but maybe that is par for the course. It's also 15+ years old and while it's good for informal situations, I would not wear it to work.

Posted by
1994 posts

If you want something business casual that can also be put in a stuff sack, I would suggest checking some of the specialized vendors of travel clothes – like TravelSmith. They tend to be expensive, but at this time of year, there maybe end of the season sales.

Posted by
14244 posts

If you are going to buy something new, I would get waterproof. Do you have an Eddie Bauer near you? They have some nice fingertip length jackets but the one I have does not have a lining. I got mine on sale for about $99 or maybe $89. It does roll up but is not small enough to go in my purse which is my criteria. It would go in a back pack. I default to my Marmot Precip with will go in my purse but is more casual than you want.

Waterproof fabrics have changed a great deal in 15 years. I also have a Columbia goretex from 15+ years ago and the Marmot is light years ahead of that. The Marmot is 2 years old (got it after I went on my first RS tour in 2013 and the guide had one which worked really great) and fabrics are better now than then. Mine is slightly crinkly but does not feel clammy like the Goretex does.

By the way, I wore the Marmot all winter to shovel snow with just a fleece vest or jacket on under it.

Good luck with your search!

Posted by
692 posts

Yes, clammy--that's a good way to describe the Gore-Tex!
I didn't realize that fabrics had changed so much. I think I need to get out more!

Posted by
14244 posts

Laughing, yes, I need to get out too! If you have an REI in your area, that is also a good place to just go and look to see what's around. Many of their jackets may be too casual for you but their staff is often well-informed and can fill you in on the new fabrics. Of course they will have been in kindergarten when you and I bought our GoreTex, lol.

Posted by
5837 posts

...hot and sticky in warmer weather....

Trade off with Goretex or any "breathable" laminate considered to be "waterproof" is getting wet from the inside or outside. "Breathable" is a matter of degree. "Water-resistant" jackets with multiple vents are better in high intensity activities (run/hikje, bike, ski).

My new Columbia with Omnitech feels lighter than Goretex and is suppose to be breathable, but in 25+ C and high humidity (off and on drizzle) it doesn't breath enough. I would have stayed almost as dry without the coat but needed to keep camera dry. At least the Omnitech jacket is lighter, more flexible and packs tighter than Goretex.

http://www.columbia.com/technology-omnitech/#prefv3=Dry%7CWarm&prefn1=genderGroup&prefn2=productClass&prefn3=technologyInitiative&prefv2=Jackets&prefv1=Women%27s

Posted by
16864 posts

My sister has this rain jacket by Patagonia and loves it.

http://www.patagonia.com/us/product/womens-stormdreams-raincoat?p=27115-0

She wears it for work and for hiking as well. She took it on our last trip to the UK and it served her well for hiking in wet Wales and wearing around the cities in the evening.

It does to have a removable liner, however. They do have some like that in the "web specials" area, however. The removable liners look to be down so they would be super-warm.

Posted by
1469 posts

Check out London Fog...they have quite a variety of styles and weights...they are usually at the outlet malls or you can get them online. I like the longer length to wear over a skirt or dress. If you are out on a hike sometimes a fleece pullover will work as a rain resistant layer without weight. Unless you are backpacking or climbing mountains I wouldn't worry about super duper rain gear; even in rainy places you can spend the day in a museum or palace or pub.

Posted by
559 posts

Check out the Columbia Pardon My Trench rain jacket. I ordered one from Dick's online, returned it to the store and am now ordering a different color from Amazon. I like it because it is a little longer and tunics worn underneath will not hang below.

Posted by
4174 posts

I can recommend Travel Smith's Packable Reversible Accordion-Hood Coat. I used the navy/peacock blue one constantly on our trip last fall. It was plenty breathable and kept the rain off quite well. I got mine on sale and I love it. Even at full price, it's cheaper than much of the sportier rain gear. In fact, it fits your description of what you want quite well. It's washable and comes with a pouch for packing.

I also have, but haven't yet used, the Eddie Bauer Women's MacKenzie Jacket. It's breathable, washable and currently on a great sale. It also fits your description.

Sorry for the lack of links, but I haven't figured out how to do that using my phone yet.

Posted by
2221 posts

I have an LL Bean with a non-removable hood (this doesn't bother me, as I love my hood!) and a liner. The liner is wool on about the bottom third and has to be dry-cleaned. But I the warmth is great! The jacket is supposed to be "breathable" and is much better in that regard that older jackets I've had. My favorite (now old) jacket is a lightweight 60% cotton/40% nylon one, but I haven't had any luck finding that combination lately.

Posted by
692 posts

Thank you, everyone, for your help and suggestions!

I did not realize there was a tradeoff with Gore-Tex and warmer weather/conditions. That explains a few things!

@Janet--I have a long LL Bean raincoat with a removable wool lining. I thought they made the same model in a shorter coat, but I can't find it on the web site. Maybe it's the wrong time of year for it?

Posted by
2221 posts

Oh no - I hope they haven't discontinued it! I've had mine a couple of years. You might call them and see what you can find out.

Posted by
5837 posts

I did not realize there was a tradeoff with Gore-Tex and warmer weather/conditions.

The REI discussion may be more than what you want to know:
http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/rainwear-how-it-works.html

Rainwear: How It Works

How do waterproof/breathable rain jackets work? Which is best:
Gore-Tex? eVent? A laminate or a coating? Which is more breathable and
comfortable?

The elusive grail of achieving bare-skin breathability in rainwear has
challenged designers and frustrated wearers for decades. A key
obstacle for waterproof, windproof garments is that little or no air
can pass through them—technically, they are not air permeable. (Try
blowing air through a sleeve or body panel of a WP/BR jacket.)

When active, perspiring human bodies stir up a moist microclimate
inside a garment that cries out for dispersion and evaporative
cooling. At very high rates of exertion, moisture from sweat can begin
to collect inside a garment, raising the potential for overheating
when active or chills (due to evaporative cooling) when resting.

Posted by
1259 posts

Goretex is only good if there is lots of venting including underarm zippers which I can open up to get air circulation. Even then, I only use Goretex if it is in colder weather, late Autumn or winter in Canada. Otherwise any physical activity will have me sweating. I actually prefer uncoated nylon (which is lighter and more packable) combined with light fleece for layering. It is much more breathable than Goretex and will shed a light drizzle. If it is pouring rain, i prefer to find shelter. If I cannot avoid a downpour, I don't mind getting wet, as long as the materials are still warm when wet and dries quickly, which they do.

Posted by
64 posts

I love my Travelsmith waterproof raincoats, which have been rated highly by the NY Times. They are available in several styles, lengths & colors. I own a black & a red in the style that zips & has a detachable hood. It does not look waterproof, but truly is. The coat is lined. However, a colder weather lining is sold separately. I don't have the extra lining, as I layer instead. The coat comes in a pouch & can be stuffed into a suitcase or a pack without wrinkling. I have worn the black coat for years & it looks like new. It is machine washable & well priced. I purchased these coats for my frequent travels, but ended up wearing them all the time because they are great. I have heard that the styles with buttons are not as good (cheap buttons, I think), but I highly recommend the zipped version.

Posted by
35 posts

Patrice,
Is this the Travel Smith coat you have? There are several styles but I think this is the one your described.

Posted by
64 posts

The women's Travel Smith coat I recommend is called "Waterproof Double-Collar Raincoat". Regular & petite sizes are style number #60464. The coat also comes in larger sizes.

Posted by
35 posts

Thanks, I'll keep an eye on it, only color available in my size is stone. I'd prefer black.

Posted by
692 posts

Reviving this thread:

LL Bean now has its H2Off rain coat/rain jacket in stock. It comes with an optional PrimaLoft lining, and it's available in several colors (including black).

Posted by
67 posts

I've had my LLBean H2Off mesh-lined raincoat for more than a dozen years and water still beads up and rolls off. It's roomy enough to wear a fleece underneath for cooler weather. I preferred to layer if necessary than to get the primaloft version even though the lining zips out. Mine is knee-length in black. It doesn't pack up as small as some others but it is still lightweight enough for travel. I thought it was expensive at the time but it has more than paid for itself over the years.

Posted by
2145 posts

I love my L.L.Bean too. I got a coral color which is fun to wear with all my dark travel clothes. No liner but it keeps me plenty warm in a Colorado winter with just a light fleece underneath. Is waterproof but not clammy. I always travel with it, in the full-length zippered pocket on the front of my suitcase, so it takes up virtually no room.

If you can, find stores or outlets for all these places (Eddie Bauer, LLBean, etc) and try some jackets on. Be sure to try sitting in them to test comfort on trains or buses.