Lightweight rain jackets fill multiple needs. First, they keep you dry in those months when you don’t need a lot of, or any, insulation. Second, they’re easy to carry with you so you can be ready if the skies open up. They should be able to be worn both alone or over a layer, and, ideally, keep the wind out as well as the water. Here are some shopping tips, along with some recommendations.

  • Fit: You never want a jacket to restrict your range of motion, but beyond that baseline, what will the jacket need to accommodate? Do you plan to cycle? Kayak? Reach overhead for any reason? Just dash from car to grocery store? Consider what movements you’ll need to make, and what jacket design and size will support them best. (Likewise, if you want to, come fall, wear layers under the jacket, consider that, too.)
  • Packability: This may matter to you greatly or not at all, but you should think through where you’ll be when you need the rain jacket. Many lightweight jackets are designed to be packable in their own pocket-turned-pouch, so you can toss it into your bag and have it at the ready, or take it hiking, camping, etc. (You’ll forgive any wrinkles because you’re staying dry.) If this is a feature you’ll want to use, choose accordingly.
  • Head and Neck: The collar and hood may seem simple, but they need consideration. Collars (with a detachable or packable hood, or no hood at all) protect the neck from the elements, particularly wind, and add a more structured look to the jacket, though some people are sensitive to their potential chafing. Hoods will of course keep the rain off your head…but unless there’s a cord or adjustable elastic to tighten it, the hood can just fly off and create more frustration than protection.

Our Picks for the Best Lightweight Rain Jackets for Women on Amazon

Runner Up: Columbia Womens Arcadia II Jacket

Lightweight and Breathable

Mesh-lined and lightweight, it’ll keep out the rain while still letting air flow in and out for comfortable all-day ventilation. Columbia

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Also Consider: Little Donkey Andy Women’s Rain Cycling Bike Jacket with Hood, Windproof and Waterproof, Ultralight Packable

Sport Performer

Multiple layers of nylon, sealed seams, and elasticized cuffs and hemming stop the breeze and the rain before it can reach your skin, while back air vents work in combination with the material to keep things ventilated and breathable. Little Donkey Andy

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Longer Option: Arthas Women Light Rain Jacket Waterproof Active Outdoor Trench Raincoat with Hood Lightweight Plus Size for Girls

Smart Slicker

Rain doesn’t magically stop at your waist, so if you want coverage for your thighs, look here. A zipper and snaps at the front, and adjustable drawstrings on the waist and (removeable) hood, add style and functionality. Arthas

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