Packable Waterproof Jackets 101

GAMMA jacket

Last Updated on March 21, 2024 by Nasir Hanif

For people who love the great outdoors, a packable waterproof jacket has become an essential gear to endure any kind of terrain or weather condition. Outerwear is an important element for any kind of outdoor activity since it protects people from extreme medical conditions like hypothermia or even heat stroke. 

Packable waterproof jackets can keep you dry but at the same time allow breathability for optimum performance. Because of how these rain jackets are designed, they can easily be stored in your backpack without taking too much space. 

However, with many choices available in the market today, it can be quite confusing to choose a jacket that fits your lifestyle the most. That’s why in this article, we’re going to discuss the different types of packable waterproof jackets as well as the different materials that most companies use with today’s available technology. 

The 2-Layer

Since packable waterproof jackets are designed to be easily pulled out or stored inside your bag, they are always made lightweight. 2-layer jackets are typically composed of only the face fabric and a high-quality protective layer. 

Some jackets may come with an inner lining which allows for breathability although this can add a little bit of weight. 2-layer jackets do not exactly give you a high level of protection in extreme outdoor excursions but they are perfect for casual activities or running everyday errands.   

The 2.5-Layer

Though these types of packable waterproof jackets tend to provide more protection because of the extra material, they are a bit heavier than the 2-layer but much lighter than the 3-layer. They are, however, more durable and are perfect for additional protection during winter.  

2.5-layer jackets can be made from different kinds of materials that were engineered with modern technology. This gives people the ability to perform physical activities or even go on a hike despite bad weather conditions. 

The 3-Layer

3-layer packable waterproof jackets are more durable and provide more protection than the previous 2 categories on this list. It is also quite heavier given that it is composed of more materials. 

Many companies today, however, incorporate advanced technology to make their 3-layer jackets more lightweight. These types of jackets can give you the added protection you need in heavy winter conditions especially if you intend to do rigorous outdoor activities.

High-Tech Fabric Materials

Since many established outdoor-wear companies pride themselves on technology and innovation, tons of high-quality materials have been engineered and developed to keep up with the demand for better gear. Here are 3 examples of the most common fabric materials used in packable waterproof jackets:

  • Gore-Tex– Developed in 1969, Gore-Tex remains one of the most reliable materials utilized in outdoor gear to this day. Over the years, it has been improved drastically to accommodate more comfort and breathability. 
  • Cordura– Originally designed for military use back in world war II, Cordura is mostly made of nylon blends. Much like Gore-Tex, the concept behind Cordura has been enhanced throughout the years and continues to be a popular choice of material for outdoor gear to this day.
  • Polartec– Packable waterproof jackets made with Polartec have a lining similar to synthetic wool. Because of this, its main feature is comfort without sacrificing breathability. Much like the other two materials in this list, Polartec is continuously being developed and enhanced for optimal performance.