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3 of the Best Sustainable Rain Jackets for Hiking this Spring and Summer 2024

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You know what they say about April showers (don’t make me repeat the rhyme…)! But if you love the outdoors, you can’t let a little precipitation ruin your plans. Heck no! Just don a rugged rain jacket and get out there to play (whether that involves walking your dog around the park or summiting the nearest fourteener). But not all rain jackets are created equal. When it comes to performance, but also sustainability. So if it’s time to replace your tattered old jacket, avoid rain gear with PFAS (read about why here) and choose one of these more sustainable rain jackets instead.

Montane Solution Jacket

It’s only available in one color for men and one for women, but we don’t mind a classic black rain jacket–it just means it functions just as well in town as on the trail. It’s the most expensive rain jacket here at $320, but it promises to last you for a good long time and, honestly, thanks to features like heavy-duty materials, a high chin guard, nice long drop hem, and extra-tall zippered pockets that are still functional if you’re wearing a harness (and function as vents), it’s just as well suited as a lightweight winter shell when ski touring or snow shoeing, making it an excellent multi-functional piece of gear.

It has a nice long hem and is roomy enough for layering with a light puffy when ordered in your usual size. The cuffs are adjustable via hook-and-loop, and of course there are roomy zippered hand pockets. The hood isn’t as high volume as we might like, but the bill is moldable thanks to a bit of wire in the brim, so it can be shaped to conform to your face or hat. It’s ultra waterproof, but not quite as breathable as other options. Thank goodness for the hand pockets that double as vents!

How it’s sustainable: The Solution Jacket is PFAS-free, made of recycled materials (100% of the outer and backer fabric, 75% of the membrane), and is solution dyed, which saves water and energy.

Waterproof Rating/Breathability: 20,000/12,000

Sizes available: XS-XL in women’s, S-XXL in men’s.

Jack Wolfskin Highest Peak 3L Jacket

In the U.S., an astounding 85% of textiles thrown away are dumped into a landfill or burned. But not many brands have figured out how to recycle those textiles into new ones (to create truly circular products). Fortunately, European brand Jack Wolfskin has! They take used polyester textiles and factory scraps from the manufacturing process, chemically process them, turn them into new yarn, and create a whole new product! The result: The Highest Peak 3L Jacket. Revolutionary! It’s made with Texapore Ecosphere Pro Stretch, which is waterproof while still being pretty dang breathable. It’s not the cheapest jacket on this list at $239.95, but it might be the most revolutionary!

It has an adjustable hood (via bungees on the front) and hem, hook-and-loop cuffs, pit vents and zippered hand pockets. It’s a solid, sturdy rain jacket, but I did find the hood a bit on the low volume side (the bill doesn’t extend very far over the face) and the hand pockets are positioned farther back than on most jackets, which can make them tricky to get into quickly and easily at first. Also note: the women’s version is significantly shorter than the men’s (which may be intentional to accommodate wider hips), so if you like your jackets longer, order the men’s.

How it’s sustainable: The Highest Peak 3L is PFAS-free, Bluesign approved, and the outer material and membrane are made entirely of recycled textiles.

Waterproof Rating/Breathability: 20,000/15,000

Sizes available: XS-XXL in women’s, S-XXXL in men’s.

A woman stands in the rain in The Mammut Alto Light Jacket.
The Mammut Alto Light Jacket

Mammut Alto Light Jacket

If you’re looking for a stupendously lightweight jacket that won’t weigh you down but also don’t compromise on features, this is the jacket you need. It weighs in at just 315g, but still has all the stuff you want in a rain jacket: zippered hand pockets, bungee in the hood and hem, hook-and-loop-adjustable cuffs, even pit vents! The 2.5-layer Mammut DRY Tour laminate is made with recycled polyester is PFC-free and waterproof, plus has underarm ventilation and adjustable hood, hem and cuffs. It can even stow in its own pocket!

The jacket fits impeccably, probably the best of any of the jackets on this list. The hood had enough volume to easily wear with a warm hat, the bill was just the right size and kept my face perfectly dry, and the lightweight material was flexible and easy to move in without feeling stiff or crinkly. Pockets were perfectly placed, the hem was just the right length to provide hip and tush coverage, and the addition of pit zips was certainly welcome. It didn’t feel oversized but still offered enough room for a lightweight hybrid jacket or fleece underneath when ordered in my regular size (XS). Honestly, this is a Goldilocks jacket–just right for most adventures, and one I’m likely to grab most often for rainy backpacking trip or soggy hikes. I am an ultralight backpacker, after all… It’s not the most waterproof on this list, but it does offer a lovely balance between form and function.

How it’s sustainable: The Alto Light is PFAS-free, Bluesign approved, Fair Wear, and made of recycled materials.

Waterproof Rating/Breathability: 15,000/15,000

Sizes available: XS-XL in women’s, S-XXL in men’s.

Bottom Line

A solid, sustainable rain jacket is a beautiful thing, and also a very personal decision based on what you need for your specific type of adventures. So choose wisely, make your gear last, and learn how to wash and re-waterproof your jackets so they’ll keep shedding rain for years to come. Just don’t let a little precipitation stop you from enjoying the outdoors! Wander on.

Looking for waterproof hiking boots for wet adventures? Check out this post.