If you don't want to spend a lot of money but want a fully featured, reliable and highly functional rain pant for trekking, backpacking, and mountaineering, we'd recommend the Marmot PreCip full zip; we believe it's the best option with full zips in its price range. The PreCip strikes a nice balance of storm worthiness, weight, and functional features - all while featuring a $100 price tag. We also like the REI Co-Op Rain Pant which doesn't feature full-length side zippers but is three ounces lighter and only costs $60.
The Marmot PreCip Full Zip Pant offered very good weather resistance, especially considering its price. After extensive testing we actually found that the PreCip Pants offered better overall weather resistance than some more expensive models in both real world use and our shower and garden hose comparisons.
The PreCip offers excellent weather resistance, especially considering its $100 price tag and comparable weather resistance to several more expensive models.
After extensive use in both real world and side-by-side tests, our entire testing team was impressed with the storm worthiness, securing an 8 out of 10 in this metric. Our testing revealed that the PreCip Pant trailed closely behind the award-winning Marmot Minimalist Pant, Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic, and Arc Teryx Alpha SL. However, the Minimalist, Stretch Ozonic, and Alpha all earned higher scores and had a much higher price tag. We thought this model performed similar to the REI Co-Op Rain Pant.
The DWR on the PreCip proved to be more long-lasting than many pants in its price range. It kept these pants from feeling damp or clammy, meaning they weren't as heavy (or wet) when the sky cleared. We were quickly ready to put them back in our packs.
Comfort and Mobility
The PreCip offers a slightly looser than average fit, which increased mobility.
The articulation was above average, especially compared to other pants in its price range, in which case the PreCip offered a superior range of motion. When it came to stepping over high logs or jumping over creeks, the PreCip Pant offered better mobility than the Columbia Rebel Roamer or The North Face Venture Half Zip. It didn't perform as well as the Arc Teryx Alpha SL, the stretchy REI Talusphere Full Zip, or Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic.
Our testers did appreciate the very classically located hand-warmer style pockets on the PreCip. While most of our testers preferred to carry most small items in our jacket pockets, these pockets were comfortable enough to store items and were a convenient place to put your hands when it was cold.
Breathability & Ventilation
This competitor's breathability is above average among contenders in our fleet and features the best breathability of any pant we've tried in the $100 or less price range - including many pants not featured in this review.
While we think Marmot NanoPro fabric performed well, it wasn't quite as breathable as the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic, which uses its own Dry Q Active Stretch proprietary material. The Marmot Minimalist Pant and Arc Teryx Alpha SL which both feature Gore-Tex also outperformed the PreCip. We thought the PreCip Pant was comparable to the REI Talusphere Full Zip and was offered a higher level of breathability than The North Face Venture Half-Zip.
The PreCip Full Zip feature two full-length side zippers that allow as much ventilation as you can ask for from a rain pant. If venting from the top, the only downside is that the Velcro flaps can occasionally come undone, particularly if wearing a pack with a more robust hip belt.
The PreCip Pant offers top-notch ventilation, which performs as well as you could hope for. As the name PreCip Full Zip Pant would imply, this contender features two full-length zippers which allow for plenty of ventilation from the top and bottom. We mention more in our in-depth in our buying advice article; side zips are nice for venting - however, if it's pouring, or you're hiking on a wet overgrown trail, using the side zips for ventilation isn't truly an option, as they will likely funnel water down the insides of your pants and your boots (try it sometime…). It's worth noting that the PreCip's mesh-lined pockets can pull double duty by offering some (though obviously limited) ventilation.
This contender is packed full of features that most backpackers and hikers commonly look for. It uses a higher gauge YKK zipper than most models, making the side zippers more durable and less prone to getting jammed when dirt or mud works its way into the zipper.
Velcro closures at tops of the zippers (on the waist of the pant) help keep the pants from sliding down, though these would occasionally come undone when wearing a heavier pack; the waist belt would also slowly open the zippers, causing the pants to start to slip down. This was a minor annoyance but certainly wasn't a dealbreaker. Several day-hikers on our review team liked the two hand pockets featured on the front of the pant and thought it was nice to have an additional zippered pocket on the back. The PreCip features an elastic shock cord with a toggle that helps cinch pant cuffs, keeping debris out of the wearer's shoes. We felt this design worked okay; however, when used on snow, we'd recommend bringing gaiters, though these pants were highly functional when used for some off-trail travel.
The Precip Pants are average as far as their packed volume goes, scoring a 7 out of 10. They are almost twice the size as the Outdoor Research Helium, and a quarter larger than the Arc Teryx Alpha SL or the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic Pants. They are roughly the same size as the Columbia Rebel Roamer ($50) and are smaller than the REI Talusphere Full Zip ($109) or The North Face Venture Half-Zip ($80).
Just under 14 ounces (OutdoorGearLab weight), the PreCip Pants are lighter than many rain pants on the market, especially ones with full-length zippers; they are somewhat heavier than average among options we tested. They are five ounces lighter than the REI Talusphere Full Zip (which feature full side zips) and weigh slightly less than the The North Face Venture Half-Zip. They aren't nearly as light as the Arc Teryx Alpha SL (13 ounces) or the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic (10 ounces) - though both of these pants are at least $50 more expensive. If you are truly prioritizing weight, make sure to consider the less featured Outdoor Research Helium which weigh in at 6.5 ounces. Or if you want a light rain pant that's still pretty functional but doesn't have all the bells-and-whistles of this pant check out the REI Co-Op Rain Pant
The PreCip Pants are tougher than we first expected; we found them to be average among other contenders in our fleet. The DWR held up longer than most of the other options in a similar price range, and we found that the PreCip did not need to be re-treated as frequently. As far as puncture and abrasion resistance go, the PreCip Pants feature a 100% nylon rip-stop exterior that was more durable than some. They were was not quite as tough as The North Face Venture Pants, which were similar to the Columbia Rebel Roamer and more durable than the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic.
Ease of Use
With their full-length zippers and slick internal fabric, the PreCip Pants were among the easiest to quickly don and remove. This feature allowed for quick deployment or removal over any boots; it also enabled the user to completely unzip the pant into two pieces, which helped with pulling over crampons, snowshoes, or skis (though the boot cuffs are a little on the narrow side for skis).
The PreCip pant's full-length zippers made donning these pants over any footwear (or skis, snowshoes, Nodric skis, crampons, etc.) a breeze. This was something our testing team appreciated, particularly when surprise thunder storms arrived, instantly soaking the ground.
The PreCip Pant is a great all-around option for those who want a fully featured rain pant, but don't want to throw down $150-$200 on something that lives in their pack 95% of the time. The PreCip's weight, weather resistance, and packed size make it a perfect choice for backpacking or day hiking, as well as at home mountaineering, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing. It is durable enough for occasional downhill skiing, but its slimmer pant cuffs (an advantage for most hikers and backpackers) don't fit that well over most ski boots.
At $100, this contender isn't the cheapest pair of rain pants, but we think its the best rain pant you can buy with full-length side zippers for $100 or less. We think it offers the best balance of functionality, packability, weight, and weather resistance for the price. Our testing revealed that the PreCip is lighter, more packable, and offers a slightly better fit than The North Face Venture Half-Zip ($80), but isn't as small or light as the REI Co-Op Rain Pant but they are pretty equally storm proof. If you're in search of a competitor that offers the Best Buy on a Budget, consider the REI Co-Op Rain Pant.
Overall, the PreCip Pant was our Best Buy for the Best Value. For $100, it's hard to find a rain pant with a better combination of features, weather resistance, breathability, and weight.
The Marmot PreCip Full Zip is formerly our OutdoorGearLab Best Buy winner and remained a strong competitor for this award. We found it offered an excellent blend of features, functionally, and storm worthiness - for the price. While it wasn't as breathable as Gore-Tex models in the review, it likely presented the best breathability in its price range. It also comes loaded with features and offers comparable (or better) rain protection (the most important attribute of a rain pant) to several more expensive models. If money isn't an issue, we'd recommend the Arc Teryx Alpha SL.