The REI Co-op Rain Pants are likely the best rain pants you can buy for the price. Our review team was impressed by how well these pants performed when compared to others in our fleet, let alone the fact that the price tag reads $60. REI's offering has a more minimalist design; it focuses on being relatively lightweight and compressible rather than having a lot of bells and whistles. Overall, this is typically what our testers want in a rain pant, as most people end up carrying their rain pants far more than they wear them.
REI Co-op Rain Pants Review
Cons: Legs are wider-than-average which helps mobility but feel bulky, no real ventilation options, size run larger than average
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The REI Rain Pant is a solid all-around model, and one of the best performing model for their price. Our testing found that their quality reflects a $100 or more pant when it comes to how well they protected their wearer from the elements, whether that be during unexpected afternoon storms and soggy backpacking trips. While they don't have much in the way of traditional "extra" features, it's for a good reason, as their simplicity makes them lightweight and compact.
The Rain Pants from REI features a 2.5-layer construction that performed well in the rain, offering similar performance to the $100 models in our fleet.
All of our testers who used these pants both in the field and in our side-by-side garden-hose testing were impressed by how well this model kept the rain out. One advantage of minimal side zippers, no front fly, and only one pocket is there aren't many places for the rain to seep in. We were impressed by the DWR (durable water repellency) on these pants and how well they kept us dry over several days of use). The REI model performed better than The North Face Venture Half Zip or Columbia Rebel Roamer offered up similar performance to the Marmot PreCip Full Zip and the Outdoor Research Helium.
Comfort and Mobility
This model features a wide elastic waistband that is very low profile and among the more comfortable under a backpacking packs' waist belt.
The REI model can be tightened by a low profile string that we never felt even while carrying a heavier pack. They are slightly wider than average which helps with mobility but do feel slightly bulkier than others - which our testers didn't love. They were slightly wider fitting than the Marmot PreCip Full Zip and ran slightly longer as well, though they claim the same inseam length.
The Rain Pants from REI sport nicely articulated knees which help create above average mobility and moved with us nicely. They impressed us while hiking and crawling over downed-logs FAR better than the similarly priced Columbia Rebel Roamer. There is a very slight but noticeable 2-way stretch to these pants, which adds mobility and gives a more comfortable feel. While these pants do have a tiny amount of stretch, it isn't much and is significantly less than models like the REI Talusphere Full Zip or the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic Pants.
Breathability & Ventilation
The Rain Pants from REI provide mediocre breathability, which is average overall when directly compared to other models of similar price in our review.
This model features virtually no ventilation options; REI calls its 1/4 ankle zippers vents, but we found they were more effective for pulling over light hiking shoes rather than for "ventilation". The tiny side pocket is mesh-lined and could be used for a small amount of ventilation but wouldn't do much. These pants breathed better than the Columbia Rebel Roamer and similar to the Marmot PreCip Full Zip but didn't have as much ventilation options.
This model features one zippered pocket on the side of the wearer's upper-thigh, and it doubles as a stuff sack when reversed.
Typical of many models, the pocket has a doubled sided zipper, making it easier to close once the pants are compressed into it. We liked the size of this stuff-sack more than most because it did an excellent job of compressing the pants, even though it took a little more effort to pack them away.
All of our testers felt the effort was well worth it. The Rain Pants feature a 1/4 length ankle height zipper which made it easier to put this pants on without having to take footwear off. These zippers, coupled with the wide cut of the pant, made donning them over trail runners and low profile hiking boots easy. We faced challenges when wearing bulkier footwear, like a pair of mountaineering boots.
The Rain Pants from REI feature Velcro flaps on each leg to help make the pant less bulky feeling next to your ankles. The flaps also help in sealing the pant against your boot, minimizing snow or other debris from entering; this was an excellent feature, and well worth its weight. We appreciated the flaps because of the wider legs, which made wearing the pants more comfortable and less prone to snagging on trees on the side of the trail.
This model packs into its side pocket, which doubles as a stuff sack.
This pocket has a two-way zipper to help lock the pants in once closed. The pocket is slightly on the tighter size to squeeze the pants into, but we wouldn't want it any other way. While the pocket took a little more effort to pack (like 10-15 seconds more effort max), it created a nice compact package. All of our review staff disapproved of pants whose stuff pockets were too large and did a poor job of compressing the pant.
The Rain Pants from REI were exceptionally packable. While the Outdoor Research Helium was a touch more compressible, they were on par with theMountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic and compressed smaller than the Marmot PreCip or The North Face Venture Half-Zip.
These pants weigh 11 ounces, which is average among rain pants in our review and currently on the market. Light is right as far as we're concerned. Many hikers and backpackers will typically carry their rain pants more than they actually wear them, which is why we weigh a model's packed weight rather heavily. The offering from REI isn't feature-rich, and we're okay with that, as we prefer simple, lightweight models.
Despite one of the lowest prices of any contender in our review, this model held up surprisingly well.
It was more tear resistant than the Columbia Rebel Roamer and similar to the Marmot PreCip Full-Zip. Its DWR was average among models in this review, but we feel like this makes the REI pant a better value, as they are the least expensive of the bunch.
Ease of Use
Despite only featuring 1/4 length zippers at the bottom the pant, the legs themselves were wide enough to easily pull over low to medium volume footwear, without having to remove our shoes. We couldn't pull them over mountaineering boots but could pull them over some hiking boots and most trail runners without facing many problems.
The Rain Pant from REI is perfect for anyone who needs a pair of lightweight, functional rain pants. They perform as expected, pack relatively small, are lightweight, and are an all-around solid model. The Velcro flaps on the cuffs helped seal out debris on the trail or limited amounts of snow and allowed our pants remain lower profile with crampons on. For mountaineering, it is nice to have 3/4-length or full-zip pants, which this model from REI does not have. For cycling, the wide pant legs would get pretty wrecked in a chain during regular use. The REI model is a great general purpose model that is great for hiking, backpacking, or just doing whatever in the rain.
The REI model is an awesome value. They are functional and offer high performance - especially when you consider the price tag. They perform as well as many other pants that are $100+.
The REI Rain Pant is one of the best pants you can buy for the price. If you want the best value with a side-zipper, we recommend the Marmot PreCip Full Zip. However, if you don't care about full-length side-zippers or just want a lighter weight rain pant because you'll be carrying it your pack 90% of the time, these are tough to beat. Price aside, we were impressed when using them as a general purpose rain pant for hiking and backpacking. Lead tester Ian Nicholson also uses them for mountaineering, and takes off his boots and crampons during use, as he appreciates the weight savings.
— Ian Nicholson