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Check out our wide selection of men’s jackets for all seasons and sports. MOREMORE

All Weather Sport Pants

Durable wind, rain, and snow pants work well with our great selection of men’s jackets for wear in all weathers. MOREMORE

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How to Choose Rain Jackets & Pants

Rainwear is grouped into three broad categories: water resistant, waterproof/breathable, and waterproof. Which category is right for you depends on how much time you’re going to be spending in the rain and the intensity of your activity.

Type 1: Water Resistant Rainwear

Designed to keep you dry in a drizzle or light rain, water-resistant outerwear is exceptionally breathable and usually less expensive than waterproof, breathable outerwear. Someone who’s adventure racing or maybe bike racing in the rain might perspire at a greater rate than a waterproof, breathable jacket can handle. At this point, they would be better off with something that’s less waterproof and more breathable.

Soft shells and windbreakers are two examples of water-resistant outerwear.

Type 2: Waterproof Breathable Rainwear

Running, hiking, backpacking, kayaking…the list goes on. If you exercise or play hard in the outdoors and aren't scared off by a little rain, opt for outer garments that are both waterproof and breathable.


There's a test that the outdoor industry conducts to determine the degree that any garment is "waterproof". In this test, an open tube is placed atop a piece of fabric and filled with at least 5000 mm of water. If no leakage occurs, the garment is considered waterproof. But that's just the minimum standard. Some technologies withstand 10,000 mm, or even 20,000. While it'd be easier if "waterproof" were an absolute term, it's not. It's more of a spectrum.


So, a waterproof garment will keep you dry, right? Not so fast. Without breathability, perspiration vapors can't escape. Work hard enough, and you'll get as drenched from your own sweat as you would from any rainstorm. Not to mention the overheating and overall discomfort. Fortunately, a number of technologies both meet the 5000 mm waterproof minimum and are breathable. These include System Three from Eastern Mountain Sports, HyVent from The North Face, PreCip and MemBrain from Marmot, and, of course, Gore-Tex.

Type 3: Waterproof

The classic PVC vinyl rain jacket worn by your local crossing guard is the classic example of a nonbreathable rain jacket. It'll keep you dry in low-impact activities like light walking around town, but if you decide to hike a mountain, it just won't work.

The one type of nonbreathable rainwear that Eastern Mountain Sports does carry is the poncho. Because it's open underneath, a poncho actually has great ventilation, and it's long enough to cover most of your lower torso. As an added bonus, if you're wearing a pack, you can throw the poncho over that as well.

Other Considerations


Any kind of venting feature on rainwear improves breathability, regardless of fabric. Venting allows you to dump heat during activity. In warm, wet climates, it's nice to be able to let sweat escape so you stay cooler and drier. Venting can be typically found under arms (pit zips), on the back, and through mesh-lined pockets.


Adjustable cuff closures, hoods, and cinch cords are ways of better sealing out rain, snow, and wind. Adjustability also helps you customize your rain jacket and rain pant fit.


The fit should encourage layering underneath, but shouldn't be too loose. Remember that you should be able to cinch your rainwear down so it's snug enough if the weather turns. Move your arms, bend your knees. A full range of motion is essential.

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