Reviews You Can Rely On

The 4 Best Rain Pants for Women of 2024

We tested women's rain pants from Arc'teryx, Patagonia, Outdoor Research, and more to find the best for our next adventure
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Best Rain Pants Women Review (Tromping around in the soggy PNW temperate rainforest, one of our favorite activities, wearing the Patagonia...)
Tromping around in the soggy PNW temperate rainforest, one of our favorite activities, wearing the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L rain pants.
Credit: Caitlin Ames
By Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor
Thursday March 28, 2024

For this update, our soggy weather testers researched over 30 pairs of the best rain pants for women. We then purchased the top 10 you see here. We love wet weather and brought each pair on a variety of adventures. We compared each model's performance using our extensive side-by-side testing process. With professional guides on our testing team, our ladies embarked on backcountry ski backpacking adventures in the Pacific Northwest. When the weather warranted, we took a stroll to our local farmer's market to test their around-the-town usability. While our field testing is thorough, we evaluate each pair objectively, wearing it in the shower and evaluating relative construction and durability. You've come to the right place if you're looking for a solid recommendation.

We've taken the best women's rain jackets for a spin, choosing our favorites, as well as our favorite umbrellas for keeping dry. Our reviews also cover our favorite women's rain boots and the best rain boots for men so you can stay dry head to toe.

Editor's Note: Our women's rain pants review was updated on March 28, 2024, to include alternative recommendations to our award winners and to share information on how we test.

Related: Best Rain Pants for Men

Top 10 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 10
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Awards  Best Buy Award    
Price $97.46 at Backcountry$78.75 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$69.96 at Backcountry$31.50 at Amazon$122.49 at Backcountry
Overall Score
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66
Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, affordableLightweight, breathable, comfortable, inexpensiveInexpensive, lightweight, compactAffordable and light weightComfortable, durable, stretchy material
Cons Less durable, clammy feelingLess versatile, fewer featuresClammy feel inside, less versatileLess comfortable, clammy, difficult to put on due to mesh interiorHeavier than pants with similar fabric, less breathable
Bottom Line A lightweight pair of rain pants for warmer weatherThese pants are an excellent value, comfortable to wear, and light enough to carry as an emergency rain layerAn excellent update to a longtime favorite for the priceThese pants are affordable and lightweight. They're good if you plan to carry them around in your backpackThese rain pants are a great option for comfort, durability, and versatility; edged out narrowly by more competitive models, but still a great option for many rainy needs
Rating Categories Outdoor Research He... Rab Downpour Eco Pa... Marmot PreCip Eco P... Columbia Storm Surg... Mountain Hardwear S...
Water Resistance (30%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Breathability (25%)
8.0
7.5
6.0
3.0
8.0
Comfort and Mobility (20%)
4.0
8.0
5.0
3.0
7.0
Weight (15%) Sort Icon
8.0
7.1
6.5
6.2
6.0
Durability (10%)
4.0
6.0
5.0
3.0
5.0
Specs Outdoor Research He... Rab Downpour Eco Pa... Marmot PreCip Eco P... Columbia Storm Surg... Mountain Hardwear S...
Measured Weight 6.0 oz 7.3 oz 8.0 oz 8.5 oz 8.7 oz
Waterproof Material Pertex Shield membrane Pertex Shield membrane NanoPro Eco Omni-Tech Dry.Q 50D Stretch Ripstop 2.5L
Face Fabric and Layer Construction 30D nylon ripstop, 2.5 layer 50D recycled polyester, DWR coating 100% Recycled Nylon Ripstop 100% nylon; Lining - 100% Polyester 100% Recycled Polyester
Pockets 1 rear stow None 2 zippered hand 1 inner 1 front zippered
Side Zip Length Ankle 1/3 zip Ankle Velcro ankle 2/3 zip
Compatible with Hiking or Mountaineering Boots? Low top hiking/casual Hiking Hiking Light footwear only Hiking
Inseam Length (size Small) 30 30 30 31 30
Stows Into Pocket? Yes No No No Yes
Clippable Loop? Yes No No No No
Waist Band Style Elastic waist + internal drawcord Elastic waist + internal drawcord Elastic waist + internal drawcord Elastic waist + internal drawcord Elastic waist with snap front closure and zippered fly with drawchord


Best Overall Rain Pants for Women


Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Pant - Women's


74
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Water Resistance 9.5
  • Breathability 7.0
  • Comfort and Mobility 7.0
  • Weight 4.7
  • Durability 7.0
Pockets: 0 | Side Zips: 1/2, to above-knee
REASONS TO BUY
Durable
Comfortable
Easy to move in
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavier
Fewer features

The Patagonia Torrentshell 3L has been a mainstay of the company's product lineup – and of this review – for several years. Patagonia keeps these pants simple but stacks useful features without a penalty to weight or bulk. The two-way side zippers make donning the pants easier and double as side vents if you unzip them from the top. These pants are soft inside, and the stiffer fabric helps keep the pants from clinging when it's humid out.

The biggest downside to the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L is that they are slightly bulkier and heavier than other contenders. Additionally, this particular model is lacking in terms of bells and whistles. However, the durability and simplicity of the design make them suitable for a wide variety of climates, tasks, and adventures. If you're looking for a lighter pair, you can shed off some ounces with the lightweight Rab Downpour Eco.

Read more: Patagonia Torrentshell 3L review

rain pants womens - the patagonia torrentshell was comfortable, easy to use, and an...
The Patagonia Torrentshell was comfortable, easy to use, and an overall crowd pleaser.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

Best Bang for the Buck


Rab Downpour Eco Pant - Women's


72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Water Resistance 7.0
  • Breathability 7.5
  • Comfort and Mobility 8.0
  • Weight 7.1
  • Durability 6.0
Pockets: none| Side Zips: 1/3 zip
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight
Affordable
Comfortable
REASONS TO AVOID
Fewer features
Not full side zips

The Rab Downpour Eco rain pants are an impressive value. The pants are simple and very lightweight, making throwing them in any pack as an emergency layer easy. But these pants are also very comfortable, unlike many rain pants that are optimized for a lighter weight to make carrying them around more palatable. They are very breathable and soft to the touch.

The simple features and lighter fabric that keep the ounces low on the Rab Downpour Eco also mean they might be less useful for folks who plan to do lots of hiking in wet weather. They also lack pockets, which may be limiting. And the lighter fabric might be less durable with heavy use. Regardless of these minimal critiques, these pants are a great choice for those who desire a budget-friendly and cozy pair that won't add much weight to a pack. Those who require more versatility should check out the adaptable Outdoor Research Aspire Pant, which is compatible with hot and cold climates.

Read more: Rab Downpour Eco review

rain pants womens - we pushed the limits of the rab downpour eco, and it held up! we...
We pushed the limits of the Rab Downpour Eco, and it held up! We recommend sticking to rain with these pants, but we were impressed at the versatility of these pants in rugged mountain environments.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

Best for Cycling


Showers Pass Transit - Women's


67
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Water Resistance 9.0
  • Breathability 5.0
  • Comfort and Mobility 6.0
  • Weight 4.4
  • Durability 9.0
Pockets: None | Side Zips: 1/3 length, unzips to below the knee
REASONS TO BUY
Velcro strips to secure lower leg material
Durable
Reflective strips for cycling
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited versatility
Only 1/3 length side zippers

Showers Pass is a cycling clothing company based in Portland, Oregon—in the heart of the Pacific Northwet. As such, the Transit Pant is impeccably optimized for bike commuting in cool, wet climates. It features a Velcro cinching system that quickly and easily gathers your pant material at the lower leg so it doesn't get caught as you're pedaling. This design allows you to don the pants easily and quickly by expanding and then unzipping 1/3 of the leg length; this also ensures the pants easily pull over your casual or cycling shoes.

The Transit pant, complete with reflective trim, is designed for cycling and has some features that may not be useful for other wet weather activities. It does not have any pockets or vents, which could be a pro or a con; however, the sturdy three-layer waterproof fabric and simple design ensure it will be useful if cycling is your primary outdoor pursuit, and it'll still be quite handy if you try another wet weather activity. For other outdoor activities, we recommend opting for something more versatile like the Outdoor Research Aspire Pant, which strikes a nice balance between waterproof and breathable fabric.

Read more: Showers Pass Transit Pants review

rain pants womens - no need to dread the gloomy weather in the showers pass transit rain...
No need to dread the gloomy weather in the Showers Pass Transit rain pants, you can cycle through wet weather without worry.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

Best for Variable Climates


Outdoor Research Aspire Pant - Women's


66
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Water Resistance 7.0
  • Breathability 8.0
  • Comfort and Mobility 6.0
  • Weight 5.5
  • Durability 5.0
Pockets: 1 rear stow | Side Zips: 2/3 length, unzips to upper thigh
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight
Versatile
Comfortable
REASONS TO AVOID
Higher price
Partial side zips

Outdoor Research knows rain. Born in the Pacific Northwest, the Aspire Pant is an impeccable blend of waterproof/breathable fabric and is ideal for venting on humid days. As a bonus, it is lightweight and comfortable for all-day wear and carry. It is versatile enough to take on various adventures and durable enough to withstand use. In the Northwest, there is a saying: If you don't like the weather, wait 20 minutes. Here, the weather changes on a whim, and this pant is designed to keep you comfortable when it's hot or cold and windy. Designed with zips, it vents well and can be taken off in a breeze. You can even take it off without pulling your boots off.

While we can't help but gush about these pants, there are a few drawbacks to note. First, it comes at a higher relative price. Second, the partial zips on the sides don't fully unzip the pant leg for full ventilation. Still, if your budget allows you to spend a few more bucks on high-quality and versatile pants, you'll be pleased with this one, and we recommend it for changing weather. Another option we like for varied use and climates is the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L, which offers an even better degree of water resistance.

Read more: Outdoor Research Aspire Pant review

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
74
Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Pant - Women's
Best Overall Rain Pants for Women
$129
Editors' Choice Award
72
Rab Downpour Eco Pant - Women's
Best Bang for the Buck
$105
Best Buy Award
67
Showers Pass Transit - Women's
Best for Cycling
$135
Top Pick Award
66
Outdoor Research Aspire Pant - Women's
Best for Variable Climates
$180
Top Pick Award
66
Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic Pant - Women's
$175
62
REI Co-op Rainier Full-Zip Rain Pants - Women's
$100
62
Outdoor Research Helium Pant - Women's
$130
61
Marmot PreCip Eco Pant - Women's
$100
57
Marmot Minimalist Pant - Women's
$185
44
Columbia Storm Surge Pant - Women's
$60

rain pants womens - we buy all the gear we test, and push its limits in the real world.
We buy all the gear we test, and push its limits in the real world.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

How We Test Rain Pants


This review began with thorough online research, as we scoured the Internet for the best models we could find. We then purchased the most promising models for our rigorous field testing phase. Our team first established key performance metrics to compare and contrast the pants; then, we set out on a progressively structured testing strategy. We tested them in casual settings, hiking, cycling, ice climbing, and mountaineering. We conducted field tests in the notoriously temperamental winters of the Pacific Northwet, a prime location for a broad range of wicked weather.

We use five different metrics:
  • Water Resistance (30% of total score weight)
  • Breathability (25% weight)
  • Comfort and Mobility (20% weight)
  • Weight(15% weight)
  • Durability (10% weight)

For more detailed info on our testing process, see our How We Test article.

Why You Should Trust Us


To test this gear category, we enlisted the help of Rock Guide and Pacific Northwest Guide Lyra Pierotti, who knows the ins and outs of both daily life in wet climates and high-stakes climbing situations like the backs of her hands. Lyra is an AIARE avalanche instructor and AMGA Rock Guide, and her expertise makes this review a valuable resource for finding the right pair for you, whether casual or technical.

The tapered legs on the Helium pants offer greater mobility.
The tapered legs on the Helium pants offer greater mobility.
Our top award winning pair of rain pants, the OR Aspire, are...
Our top award winning pair of rain pants, the OR Aspire, are versatile and easily fit over our mountaineering boots.

Analysis and Test Results


We love to get out and explore throughout the year. When you live in a place where rain loves to trundle from the skies in heaping downpours, a solid rain pant (among other things) is what'll keep you outside, even when the weather deteriorates. To assess each, we look at key metrics to evaluate and compare each product. Here, we outline key differences and similarities to help you find the best rain pants for your needs.


Value


Though we don't include it in our scoring, we understand that value is significant. As such, we highlight the models that present themselves as high value and ensure that you, the reader, know about wallet-friendly deals. We've included various budget or high-value models, such as the Rab Downpour Eco and the Marmot Precip Eco. All are in similar price ranges but have different features and best uses.

rain pants womens - pushing the limits of rain pants in order to find them...
Pushing the limits of rain pants in order to find them...
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

Water Resistance


For obvious reasons, water resistance is the first metric we test and by far the most important. This should mean that all rain pants get a perfect score for water resistance, but this is not the case. The main way pants can fail in this category is through design flaws; when you introduce holes, like pockets, vents, and side zippers, this is an opportunity for water to find its way through the pants.


Different manufacturers tackle this challenge differently: waterproof zippers or flaps over the zippers. Waterproof zippers are great but can sometimes feel sticky or stiff when you zip and unzip them.

rain pants womens - adventuring off trail in wet conditions.
Adventuring off trail in wet conditions.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

Other manufacturers use flaps to cover the zippers. This is not our favorite design because they can fold or flap open, and little droplets or streams of water coursing down your jacket can wend their way into the zipper and leak. This may not be a lot of water, but it could be enough to damage your phone that's hiding inside.

We love the tried and true Patagonia Torrentshell pants, especially in their current three-layer fabric version. These have half-length waterproof zippers and are made of Patagonia's proprietary H2NO shell fabric. They have storm flaps over the pockets and side zippers to keep water out; otherwise, the simple design makes them highly reliable and easy to use in wet weather.

The most ingenious use of a zipper flap was in the Outdoor Research Helium. OR used zipper flaps only on the back pocket; that way, gravity matters. Water falling will just run right over it rather than potentially running into the zipper flap (as it could on side-hand zipper pockets, which are aligned more vertically). There are some differences in the waterproofness of different fabrics. In this review, we tested two-layer Gore-Tex technology, 2.5-layer rain pants, and three-layer fabrics. These distinctions involve how the waterproof material is layered with other fabric technologies, which affect the feel, durability, weight, and breathability. For all practical purposes (and most normal rainstorms), we did not notice a remarkable difference in the abilities of the different materials to keep water out; rather, that difference emerged in other metrics below.

rain pants womens - with the update to 3 layer shell material, the patagonia...
With the update to 3 layer shell material, the Patagonia Torrentshell pants are burlier than ever.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

However, thicker fabrics are generally burlier and more suitable for severe weather and harsher environments. Three-layer shell pants are typically considered “hardshells” for the burl factor and durability. In this review, we liked the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L for its impressive durability and comfort.

Breathability


With water resistance hitting the upper limit of quality and performance among most modern shell fabrics, the materials' peripheral qualities help set some brands and models apart from the rest. In particular, breathability is a critical and valuable assessment that has proven much harder to master than water resistance.


It's relatively easy to keep water molecules out, but if a fabric doesn't breathe, you're liable to get wet from within; this is a terrible irony. And it means that the moment you pick up the pace, especially if you're exercising in a warm, humid climate, you're going to sweat. At that point, you might want to take the jacket off and rinse the sweat off by standing in the rain!

That's not the full extent of the problems we encounter in this assessment metric. Breathability depends upon pressure differentials. It's an osmosis thing. That means that for water vapor (sweat) to get pushed out of the jacket, it must move to a lower concentration area. In humid, mild climates, this can give even the least sweaty person issues while hiking in the rain.

rain pants womens - we love the venting/zipper design on the or aspire pants. with the...
We love the venting/zipper design on the OR Aspire pants. With the simple addition of another zipper pull at the top of the side zippers, you get an excellent thigh vent.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

The Pacific Northwest is a great place to test the breathability of rainwear because the temperatures are relatively mild, and the air is moderately humid. When it is raining, it's even more humid, making it easy to find the limit of a garment's breathability. This is when venting becomes infinitely valuable. Our testers in the Sierra Nevada won't encounter this problem, and we didn't have any issues in the cold, dry winters in Montana. The dry air helps suck the moisture through the membrane of the pants.

This phenomenon is displayed well by Outdoor Research, born and bred in the Pacific Northwest. The Aspire pants have well-placed vents and use highly breathable two-layer Gore-Tex.

We really liked the Pertex Shield fabric used in the Rab Downpour Eco pants. These were so breathable that we almost didn't know we had put them on--except for the fact that we weren't getting wet.

Similar to the OR Aspire, we loved the clever, dual-purpose side zippers on the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L rain pants. They unzip to the knee, making them easy to put on and take off--but they have another zipper that unzips from the knee so you can ventilate using the same zipper system. Brilliant!

rain pants womens - dual purpose, dual-direction zippers; great for on/off and...
Dual purpose, dual-direction zippers; great for on/off and ventilation. Shown here is the Torrentshell.
Credit: Caitlin Ames

Comfort and Mobility


Our second most important metric is comfort and mobility. In this category, we assess each pair of pants' range of motion and how easy it is to move around in them. Are they comfortable to walk in? All of the models could handle walking and easy hiking, at least. But what about more complex movements, like climbing? We took the pants out and moved over scrambling terrain and even went ice climbing in them.


Some pants are designed for walking, while others have been optimized for complex movement patterns. The Showers Pass Transit rain pants are optimized for cycling, so the articulated knee, relaxed fit, and cinching lower leg feature (using Velcro, brilliant) ensure your pedaling is unencumbered.

rain pants womens - the brilliant lower leg design on the showers pass transit pants...
The brilliant lower leg design on the Showers Pass Transit pants allow you to cinch the material close with Velcro, and you can still unzip them to slip them on or off over your shoes.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

The Rab Downpour Eco pants were impressively comfortable. The soft and supple fabric was easy to move in, soft to the touch, and the cut allowed freedom of movement without feeling too loose.

rain pants womens - the rab downpour eco pants were easy to adjust, cinching around the...
The Rab Downpour Eco pants were easy to adjust, cinching around the ankles with the pull of one hand to keep the elements out.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

We also considered the range of activities the pants would allow you to do. On the one hand, ease of movement is excellent. As such, the Outdoor Research Helium pants were terrific, even when we picked up the pace and started running. However, they were limited in the terrain they could handle (too light for all-mountain use), so they didn't score top marks.

rain pants womens - hauling wood on a rainy day, one of many activities for the or aspire!
Hauling wood on a rainy day, one of many activities for the OR Aspire!
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

Pants that only handle hiking and walking got the lowest scores in this category; however, many have other redeeming attributes. Pants that restrict high-stepping and bigger movements, such as steep hiking or scrambling, did not score as well overall in this metric but may have other comfortable attributes.

Weight


Now we're getting serious in our metrics. With our weight assessments, this is where we start to get nitpicky. The first three metrics are minimum requirements: water resistance, breathability, and comfort and mobility. But now we are getting into the details that can set one pair of rain pants apart from the rest, should weight be a concern to you. The main question we sought to answer in this metric is, Would we want to carry these pants in our backpack if we didn't think we would need them? That, in our experience, is the hardest call to make.


This category does not tell the full picture but contributes to the big picture very efficiently. An ultralight pair of rain pants might have to make some compromises to its feature set, or it might be less comfortable. All of these things will shake out in our complete assessment. So, for this metric, we stuck strictly to the measured weight of each pair of pants and ordered size smalls. There is often no standard for reporting weights in the garment industry, so sometimes, you can't be sure whether or not the reported weight is for a size small or medium. In this review, you can rest assured that we're comparing apples to apples.

The Helium pants are feather-light and compact.
The Helium pants are feather-light and compact.
The Patagonia Torrentshells are impressively light and compact for 3...
The Patagonia Torrentshells are impressively light and compact for 3 layer rain pants!
The Venture 2 pants are light and packable, an excellent companion...
The Venture 2 pants are light and packable, an excellent companion on your next hiking or backpacking adventure.

For the lightest pants in this review, check out the OR Helium pants. But also consider the Rab Downpour Eco as an excellent option that is slightly more comfortable, durable, and versatile. It is much easier to justify carrying a rain shell or hardshell jacket, but when we start to think about pants, many hikers and climbers rely on the fast-drying properties of their hiking and softshell pants. That makes weight even more critical for rain pants than shell jackets.

rain pants womens - the patagonia torrentshell packs into its left hand pocket, if...
The Patagonia Torrentshell packs into its left hand pocket, if you're into that.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

Packability


Some rain pants pack into their pocket. Typically, we like jackets to stuff into a pocket so we can clip it to something, like a harness, to take on a climb. However, changing pants while on a multi-pitch rock climb is challenging, so we are not as excited about pants packing into their pocket. While it is handy for compressible items like down jackets to stuff into a pocket to keep them compressed, rain pants are not particularly compressible.

rain pants womens - the helium&#039;s packed volume was super compact. the helium tucks away...
The Helium's packed volume was super compact. The Helium tucks away into a reversible pocket that did a good job of compressing the pant without being a pain to stuff away. It is shown here next to a 1L Nalgene for size reference.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

That said, if you're into stowing your rain pants in their pocket, the OR Helium pants are stuffed easily into their back pocket. They made for a small and neat package that we could easily throw into any bag. This stow pocket may also protect the lighter-weight fabric from snagging or catching on the other contents of your backpack when packing or unpacking.

Durability


Realistically, many rain pants go for a ride in our backpacks more often than we wear them. This makes us care a little more about weight and packed size rather than durability, that is unless you plan to regularly hike in a torrential downpour.


But for most of us, since rain pants are less frequently used, we list durability as our last metric. And our primary concern for this metric is safety — are these pants durable enough to do their job when you need them to? Normal wear and tear should show up more gradually, so we scanned each pair of pants for any red flag catastrophic durability issues. We found none.

rain pants womens - the showers pass transit rain pants are built to let you pedal for...
The Showers Pass Transit rain pants are built to let you pedal for days.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

After safety, we wanted to know if we were getting our money's worth. If the pants are mountain-ready, are they really ready? Will they hold up against a brief encounter with a rock? Or a crampon point? Or are they paper-thin fast-and-light pants that tear when you so much as think about snagging them with your crampons? Alternatively, are these pants that could hold up to some serious wet-weather gardening, kneeling on wet grass and mud? There are two pairs of pants in this review that get bonus points for durability due to the use of three-layer fabric, the Showers Pass Transit and the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L, both of which we loved.

rain pants womens - quickly donning rain pants as the rain approaches!
Quickly donning rain pants as the rain approaches!
Credit: Caitlin Ames

Conclusion


While there are many different models to sift through, we hope that our intensive analysis of the best options out there has helped you narrow down or even choose a pair for yourself. Whether you're a professional guiding in the rainy Northwest or a sun-seeking desert wanderer that wants a pair on-hand for the once-a-week downpour, there's a model that's perfect for your needs out there.

Lyra Pierotti