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Rab Downpour Eco Pant - Women's Review

These pants are an excellent value, comfortable to wear, and light enough to carry as an emergency rain layer
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Rab Downpour Eco Pant - Women's Review
Credit: Rab
Price:  $105 List
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Manufacturer:   Rab
By Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 25, 2023
72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 10
  • Water Resistance - 30% 7.0
  • Breathability - 25% 7.5
  • Comfort and Mobility - 20% 8.0
  • Weight - 15% 7.1
  • Durability - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

The Rab Downpour Eco rain pants are highly functional and useful. They are extremely lightweight and breathable, making them comfortable to wear and easy to layer on over your hiking pants without suffering from more body heat retention. The material is very light, but it is also light on features, which may not be ideal for some users, but keep them very light and packable. That makes these rain pants very well suited to an “emergency” use layer that you may spend more time carrying around in your pack than wearing. If you're planning to travel in wetter environments, you might want a pair of rain pants with more features. But the Rab Downpour Eco is one of our favorites for the way they balance lightweight with usability. Get the scoop on how it stands up to the competition in our review of the best women's rain pants.
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight
Breathable
Comfortable
Inexpensive
REASONS TO AVOID
Less versatile
Fewer features

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   
Price $105 List
$78.75 at Backcountry
$129.00 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$101.20 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$100 List
$69.89 at REI
$69.96 at Backcountry
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Bottom Line These ultralight rain pants offer excellent comfort at a reasonable priceAn affordable option that will stand up to moderate activityA go-to for wet weather cycling and commutingThese rain pants are highly versatile and affordable, a great option for emergency shell pantsAn excellent update to a longtime favorite for the price
Rating Categories Rab Downpour Eco Pa... Patagonia Torrentsh... Showers Pass Transi... REI Co-op Rainier F... Marmot PreCip Eco P...
Water Resistance (30%)
7.0
9.5
9.0
6.0
7.0
Breathability (25%)
7.5
7.0
5.0
7.0
6.0
Comfort and Mobility (20%)
8.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
5.0
Weight (15%)
7.1
4.7
4.4
4.0
6.5
Durability (10%)
6.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
Specs Rab Downpour Eco Pa... Patagonia Torrentsh... Showers Pass Transi... REI Co-op Rainier F... Marmot PreCip Eco P...
Measured Weight 7.3 oz 10.5 oz 11.0 oz 11.5 oz 8.0 oz
Waterproof Material Pertex Shield membrane 100% recycled nylon Nylon Peak 2.5-layer recycled ripstop nylon NanoPro Eco
Face Fabric and Layer Construction 50D recycled polyester, DWR coating H2No Performance standard shell Artex 3-Layer Recycled ripstop nylon 100% Recycled Nylon Ripstop
Pockets None 2 zippered hand None 2 zippered hand 2 zippered hand
Side Zip Length 1/3 zip 1/2 zip Ankle Full length Ankle
Compatible with Hiking or Mountaineering Boots? Hiking Mountaineering Low top hiking/casual Both Hiking
Inseam Length (size Small) 30 32 32 31.5 30
Stows Into Pocket? No Yes No No No
Clippable Loop? No Yes No No No
Waist Band Style Elastic waist + internal drawcord Elastic waist + internal drawcord Elastic waist + internal drawcord Elastic waist + internal drawcord Elastic waist + internal drawcord

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Rab Downpour Eco rain pants are a remarkably simple and highly functional weatherproof layer.

Performance Comparison


rab downpour eco pant for women - the rab downpour eco rain pants were up for much more than rain, so...
The Rab Downpour Eco rain pants were up for much more than rain, so long as we were a little careful with them--no sharps like crampons around these lightweight pants!
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

Water Resistance


The Rab Downpour Eco boasts a very impressive waterproof rating. The Pertex Shield fabric used in these pants has a measured 20,000mm hydrostatic head (HH). This means that a column of water held on the material will not break the seal until there is 20,000mm of water in that column. The funny thing about hydrostatic head, however, is that it makes very little sense to the realities of inclement weather in the outdoors. It's a useful measurement and gives consumers something to start with, however. And looking at this number, we know the material in the Downpour Eco is going to be excellent in a storm.


The next thing we consider in the water resistance or rain pants is how many holes there are in the layer. What do we mean? All those zippers! Those are functionally holes that have been patched with a waterproof zipper or storm flap over them. Zippers give us excellent functionalities, like pockets and side zippers that allow us to don the pants faster and with more ease over our other clothing and footwear–but in truly wicked weather, these are notable weak points. These pants have no pockets and only a knee-high side zipper, thus minimizing possible leaky areas.

rab downpour eco pant for women - the cinches on the rab downpour eco pants were all easy to operate...
The cinches on the Rab Downpour Eco pants were all easy to operate with a single pull from one hand making it super easy to seal out the elements.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

Breathability


On the flip side of water resistance in rain pants is breathability. A fabric needs holes in it in order to “breathe,” which is what we say when we mean that we want a fabric to release water vapor from the inside (our sweat) but keep liquid water droplets on the outside (rain and wet snow). That's not a small task to demand from a fabric, and if you pause to really think about it, it's pretty absurd, in fact.

So to be breathable, the fabric either needs pores, like our skin, or it needs literal holes in the form of vents. Vents then need to be well positioned so they don't just let in driving rain or dripping streams of water, and you need to be able to close them–such as with those waterproof zippers mentioned in Water Resistance above.


The Downpour pants do not have any vents, instead relying on the breathability of the fabric itself. We love this for many reasons, namely that when we are putting on waterproof pants, it's usually pretty wet out. In lighter precipitation, a jacket may be enough, but in driving rain and truly wet conditions, pants become necessary, and we want them to be awesome. Now, we are completely covered in waterproof gear, and that can wreak havoc on our temperature regulation.

The Downpour pants are so light and breathable that we found them to retain the same temperature regulation as we had without them on. This was truly remarkable. They blocked just enough wind, all of the water, and wet snow, and allowed us to move at the same swift uphill pace without getting sweaty or too warm. Remarkable.

rab downpour eco pant for women - the rab downpour eco pants don't have vents, just zippers that unzip...
The Rab Downpour Eco pants don't have vents, just zippers that unzip to the knee to help get them on/off over your shoes.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

Comfort and Mobility


At first glance, the simplicity of design in the Downpour pants made us question just how comfortable and usable they would be. In particular, we wondered how easy it would be to put them on in a hurry over our boots, given they only have a half-length side zipper and no fly (often, a fly gives you a bit more wiggle room to get big footwear through them).

These pants are so well designed in shape, and have a supple and smooth fabric, that donning them with shoes is a breeze. They are not spacious enough to put on over mountaineering boots, but these pants are on the light side for true mountaineering purposes anyway.


The next thing we look for in rain pants is ease of adjustability. When everything is wet, we want any minor adjustments to our waterproof “seal” to be easy to make with one hand. The waist and cuff are both easily tightened with a one-handed pull on the elastic cord. And beyond that, we found no need for adjustments because these pants kept water and wet snow out effectively and were shaped well to move comfortably.

rab downpour eco pant for women - there are no pockets and no fly on the rab downpour eco rain pants...
There are no pockets and no fly on the Rab Downpour Eco rain pants. Sometimes a fly closure can help get the pants on/off over shoes, and can make them fit a bit better, but these simple pants fit and adjusted well making them comfortable and reliable.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

Weight


The Downpour Eco pants are on the very light side of the rain pant category, which we really appreciate. It takes a lot of wetness to make us put on rain pants because we find that our legs are typically a bit sheltered by our upper body and backpack when we are hiking in light rain. This means that most of the time, our rain pants are going for a ride in our pack, and we likely won't put them on until it gets really grim out.


The Downpour pants are so light they're easy to bring in any pack on any day with a questionable forecast. They are also burly and versatile enough to take them on modest mountain adventures in the spring, summer, and fall when the weather should be good, but you want to be ready for anything. The lack of features such as pockets also reduces the bulk and weight of these pants.

Packability


We appreciate the slight lean toward prioritizing packing efficiency in rain pants rather than utility when wearing (like having pockets or lots of vents) because we typically intend to avoid conditions where we have to wear rain pants… but that could be a matter of personal preference.

Durability


The Downpour pants are made of 50-denier recycled polyester. In our experience, 50D fabric is highly durable for a lightweight material and an excellent choice for rain pants which may require a bit more durability than a rain or hard shell jacket.


We also appreciated the durable design of these pants. With minimal features, simple closure adjustments, and few zippers, there is little to go wrong or break on these pants. And the fit is a nice balance between being spacious enough for layers and comfortable to move in but not so bulky that fabric is flapping about and snagging on little branches along the trail. Additionally, the supple and smooth nature of the fabric, particularly on the inside of the pants, ensures less snagging when putting them on over shoes–and this is a much more rare feature of rain pant fabric than we wish!

rab downpour eco pant for women - these pants were not made for mountaineering, but we had to try...
These pants were not made for mountaineering, but we had to try, just in case. The material is a bit light for a sport with so many sharp objects like crampons and ice axes. We also had to take our boots off in order to put these pants on, so that's not ideal. Confirmed: Great shell pants for everything else but snowsports.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

Should You Buy the Rab Downpour Eco Waterproof Pants?


The Rab Downpour Eco pants are an impressively versatile pair of rain pants for their extreme light weight. The fabric is weatherproof and durable enough for burlier mountain objectives where light weight is critical, and the weather forecast is good, but you need shell pants for safety.

These are not, however, passable as hard shell pants for mountaineering purposes. They are not quite burly and durable enough for extended or intended use in rugged alpine environments. They are excellent for backpacking, hiking, and anywhere where lightweight and performance are a priority.

What Other Rain Pants Should You Consider?


The Rab Downpour Eco pants are an impressive value and highly versatile. They are lighter weight, however, so if you are looking for something to offer a bit more protection from wind, consider the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L.

rab downpour eco pant for women - the rab downpour eco pants are hard to beat for the price!
The Rab Downpour Eco pants are hard to beat for the price!
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

Lyra Pierotti