Not-so-newsflash: Being unprepared for rain can ruin any hunting trip. If you've ever trudged around elk country in a rainstorm with 40-degree temperatures and 30-mile-per-hour winds, you know that not only does rain make hunting harder, but it can also make you feel downright miserable just being out there.
Poor-quality rain gear can be almost as bad as not bringing any at all. The wrong materials get saturated with water, poorly sealed zippers let the rain seep in, and stiff, heavy fabrics make it harder for you to move.
When on the hunt for great rain gear specifically for hunting, you want to look for products that keep out both water and wind, have sealed seams and waterproof zippers, are packable, and are made out of breathable materials to keep you from overheating. Sure, that oilskin slicker looks awesome, but is it the right choice while hunting in the backcountry? Probably not.
As a hunting and fishing guide in western Colorado, I often help my clients find the right gear for their upcoming adventures, and I take my own advice when I'm shopping for new hunting clothes. The following picks won't weigh down your pack and will keep you dry when you're on the hunt.
Best Rain Gear for Hunting
- Best Gore-Tex Rain Jacket for Hunting: Sitka Gear Men's Thunderhead and Women's Cloudburst
- Best Camo Rain Jacket for Hunting: Kuiu Kutana Storm Shell and Women's Chugach TR
- Best Insulated Men's Rain Jacket for Hunting: Kuiu HD Flex Storm Shell
- Best Insulated Women's Rain Jacket for Hunting: Sitka Gear Women's Hudson
- Best Budget Rain Jacket for Hunting: Cabela's Space Rain Full-Zip for men and She Outdoor Performance for women
- Best Gore-Tex Rain Pants for Hunting: Sitka Gear Men's Thunderhead and Women's Cloudburst
- Best Waterproof Hunting Pants: Kuiu Men's Northridge and Women's Chugach TR
- Best Budget Rain Pants for Hunting: Frogg Toggs Pro Action for men and for women
- Best Waterproof Rain Suit for Hunting: Sitka Gear Men's Thunderhead jacket and pants and Women's Cloudburst jacket and pants
- Best Heavy-Duty Rain Suit for Hunting: RedHead Silent Stalker Elite Coveralls for Men
- Best Budget Rain Suit for Hunting: Frogg Toggs All-Sport Rain Suit and Women's All-Purpose Rain Suit
Best Rain Jackets for Hunting
A hunting rain jacket is non-negotiable if foul weather is on the horizon. Even if you're sitting in blind to hunt, you'll want the weatherproofing for when you walk to and from your truck and, most likely, if wind blows rain in through your blind window. Here are the best rain jackets for hunting, many of which I've tested myself.
Winner: Sitka Gear Men's Thunderhead and Women's Cloudburst
The best hunting rain jacket I've ever used, featuring Gore-Tex, is the Sitka Gear Women's Cloudburst; the Men's Thunderhead Jacket is nearly identical. They are utterly, completely waterproof. Not water-resistant—proof. I bring my Cloudburst with me during every hunting season; I even wore it for 10 days straight while fly fishing in Alaska earlier this summer. This jacket has never failed me.
Its three-layer Gore-Tex fabric is stretchy and breathable, allowing me to move and keeping me from overheating whether hunting, fishing, or just being out in the rain. If I need to dump some heat (which, let's be honest, rarely happens for me), I can unzip the pit zips increase air circulation and cool off.
Every seam is micro-taped so water can't seep through, and every zipper somehow magically prevents leaks. At 21.6 ounces for a women's size large and 25.5 ounces for a men's, Sitka's rain jackets are lightweight, packable, and very durable to bring along on every adventure. I've found that mine is not so tight that I can't layer up underneath it; however, reviewers generally say the women's version runs small, so size up if you intend to wear it over, say, a fleece or down puffer.
My only wish is for Sitka Gear to make this product in more colors. The camo print is nice and functional, but if I could get this rain jacket in black, blaze orange, sage green, or even just a simple tan, I wouldn't have a single critique. This amazing hunting rain jacket is worth every penny. Honestly, you may not need to buy another hunting raincoat again.
Winner: Kuiu Men's Kutana Storm Shell and Women's Chugach TR
While our top pick comes in only one camo option, Kuiu's Kutana Storm Shell Jacket is touted as one of the best camouflage rain jackets for hunting—and the brand's Women's Chugach TR Rain Jacket is comparable. Both of these jackets are offered in three camo patterns: Valo, which is predominantly tan; Verde, which is green and gray; and Vias, a mossy-stone look. All you have to do is pick the option that matches your hunting grounds best; men can choose from two solid-gray shades as well.
But in terms of blending in with the environment, it's not only about the jacket's appearance: Archery and rifle big-game hunters alike praise Kuiu's jacket for being nearly silent with movement. The men's large size weighs just 20 ounces and the women's version is a mere 12.5 ounces, making these Kuius light and packable, too. These jackets are waterproof, windproof, breathable, and constructed of ripstop fabric that, like Sitka's, is stretchy, so you can move comfortably.
With men giving it nearly 800 5-star reviews, this camo hunting rain jacket is hard to beat. However, they also think it tends to run a size small. If you plan to layer up underneath—likely, as it's a relatively thin rain jacket—consider ordering one size up.
Kuiu Men's Kutana Storm Shell Jacket - $359
Kuiu Women's Chugach TR Rain Jacket - $359
Kuiu HD Flex Storm Shell
I always recommend wearing warm layers underneath your hunting rain jacket on late-season hunts, as they make it easier to regulate temperature by removing what you don't need if you tend to heat up with movement. However, for men looking for the ultimate two-in-one deal when it comes to warm and waterproof rain gear, check out Kuiu's HD Flex Storm Shell Jacket.
Designed with waterfowl hunting in mind, this waterproof men's hunting rain jacket is the most durable jacket Kuiu has ever made. It's puncture- and abrasion-resistant, features four-way stretch fabric and sealed zippers, and is intended to be worn in frigid environments. Kuiu even went the extra mile and made this jacket's pockets sherpa-lined.
That said, reviewers say this jacket can feel stiff, especially when new. Plan to give it some time to break in before it moves and bends in the most comfortable way. It's also pretty heavy, at 37.5 ounces—over 2 pounds.
Kuiu HD Flex Storm Shell Jacket for Men - $449
Winner: Sitka Gear Women's Hudson
Like Kuiu's HD Flex Storm jacket, the Sitka Gear Women's Hudson Jacket is also designed for late-season waterfowl hunting. However, it's specifically constructed to fit women's bodies. On its own, this is hands-down the warmest waterproof hunting rain jacket that I own, thanks to the Primaloft insulation. I hunt waterfowl in single-digit temps in western Colorado, and with a few wool layers stacked underneath along with a set of insulated waders, I barely even notice the cold.
The Gore-Tex fabric is breathable, flexible, and totally waterproof. I've never had this jacket become saturated with water. The adjustable gasket wrist cuffs keep water out of my sleeves even if I accidentally dunk them in the reservoir when retrieving my decoys. Plus, the camo pattern blends into my local muddy, rocky, and scrubby environment.
For all those fantastic features, you'll pay up; this jacket retails for $569. It can run a little tight, especially on the shoulders. Consider ordering a size up if you want to layer a bunch of clothing underneath it. It's also quite heavy on its own, at 42 ounces—more than 2.5 pounds—in the women's size large.
Winner: Cabela's Men's Space Rain Full-Zip and Women's SHE Outdoor Performance
If you're hunting on a budget or just want to keep a camo rain jacket on hand just in case, Cabela's Space Rain Full-Zip Jacket for men or Cabela's She Outdoor Performance Rain Jacket for women are budget-friendly options. With retail prices that are a fraction of other jackets and a widely inclusive size range for both genders, these are quite a steal.
Both jackets are water-resistant and breathable, and they pack down quite nicely, so you can easily stuff them in your bag, toolbox, or truck. The 4-inch drop tail on the men's version helps keep water from running down your back, too. On the women's version, the hood is stowable, which helps increase this jacket's packability. Both feature zippered pockets to keep your gear where it needs to be, and both come in an autumn-leaf print (TrueTimber Kanati) and a gray camo print (TrueTimber Strata).
The biggest drawback with these jackets is that they eventually get saturated with water when exposed to sustained rain over a long period. However, this doesn't have to be a deal-breaker, as they'll suit you fine in a surprise downpour or a steady drizzle—which is likely what you want budget rain gear in the first place. The women's jacket also runs a little small, according to reviewers.
Cabela's Space Rain Full-Zip Jacket - $90
Cabela's She Outdoor Performance Rain Jacket for Ladies - $80
Best Rain Pants for Hunting
Reliable rain pants for hunting are most definitely a must if you're still hunting or in a blind on the ground. Even if you're sitting in a raised blind, though, rain pants can help protect you from the moisture and chill of rain coming in through the windows or door.
Winner: Sitka Gear Men's Thunderhead and Women's Cloudburst
If getting to your favorite hunting spots includes wading through tall grass, punching through the brush, and/or standing around in exposed landscapes with little cover, you may want to add a pair of rain pants to your hunting gear. In addition to offering the best Gore-Tex hunting rain jackets, Sitka Gear also sells the best hunting rain pants for both men and women.
The Thunderhead Pant for men and Women's Cloudburst Pant are comparable products—and the matching bottoms to our top-pick rain jackets—and are constructed of three-layer Gore-Tex fabric for waterproofness, breathability, and stretch. The exterior of the fabric is brushed, which helps decrease that swishing sound as you hike around your hunting grounds. Both pants feature full-length side zippers that allow you to dump heat and increase airflow to your legs. They're also micro-taped at the seams so water won't leak in. Finally, they're lightweight to add as an outer layer: The men's version weighs 22.45 ounces and the women's weighs 14.5 ounces, both in their respective size larges.
The main difference between the men's and women's versions, apart from sizing and fit, is disappointing: The women's pants don't have any pockets. The men's pants also come in an inclusive size range of medium to 3XL, while the women's range is more limited: XS to XL.
Winner: Kuiu Men's Northridge and Women's Chugach TR
Simple, lightweight, and highly effective, Kuiu's Men's Northridge Rain Pant and the Women's Chugach TR Rain Pant are excellent options for hunters looking for waterproof hunting pants.
A featherweight rain gear option that clocks in at just 11.2 ounces, Kuiu's Northridge is made of proprietary polyester with a waterproof membrane that creates a hard-shell outer layer, and the two zippers and every seam are taped. As a result, these pants are fully waterproof and windproof. If you get too hot while wearing them or need to increase their breathability, each pant leg features a full-length zipper to let air in.
Unfortunately, Kuiu doesn't make a women's version of its Northridge Rain Pant, but the Women's Chugach TR Rain Pant is close. Just like its women's Chugach TR Rain Jacket, these pants are waterproof and windproof. The exterior is treated with a durable water-repellent coating. The four-way stretch fabric and gusseted crotch keep you comfortable while you hike, glass, and pack out wild game meat in the rain, too.
The only downside to these nearly perfect hunting rain pants is that they can be a bit noisy because they're a hard-shell layer. These pants can also run a little tight in the waist, so be sure to check your measurements and match them up with the best-sized pants for you.
Kuiu Men's Northridge Rain Pant - $199
Kuiu Women's Chugach TR Rain Pant - $269
Winner: Frogg Toggs Classic Pro Action Rain Pants
The brand Frogg Toggs is known for its affordable, reliable waterproof outdoor gear. Although it isn't specifically a hunting brand, its offerings are functional for any outdoor purpose. The Classic Pro Action Rain Pants are no exception, and they come in both a men's and women's version.
These rain pants keep it simple; they may not have pockets or a slim, athletic fit, but they get the job done for an excellent price. Made of durable, non-woven polypropylene, they're waterproof, windproof, and breathable. Adjustable elastic waistbands offer fit flexibility, and elastic ankle cuffs with hook-and-loop closures help protect your socks against raindrops and splashes.
Given the boxy fit, these pants tend to run large. Order a size down if you plan to wear only one layer underneath them on your outdoor adventures.
Frogg Toggs Men's Pro Action Rain Pants - $20
Frogg Toggs Women's Pro Action Rain Pants - $20
Best Rain Suits for Hunting
Generally speaking, a rain suit is simply a set of matching clothing, usually a pair of pants and a jacket. One-piece coveralls are also available, which offer seamless protection but aren't as versatile in allowing you to wear a top or bottom separately. All hunting rain suits are a great option if your area frequently experiences heavy rain during hunting season.
Winner: Sitka Gear Men's Thunderhead Jacket and Pants and Women's Cloudburst Jacket and Pants
There are a lot of solid rain sets for hunting, but our top picks from Sitka Gear for the best rain jacket and best rain pants for hunting, when paired together, take the cake for the ultimate protection when hunting in wet conditions. These stretchy, durable rain suits are packable, heavy-duty, and relied on by hunting guides across the U.S. Waterproof fabric combined with water-sealed zippers keep you warm and dry no matter what animal you're chasing.
The Sitka Gear rain separates are pricey together but are still more affordable than other sets. If you don't regularly hunt in areas where rainy conditions are the norm, you probably don't need to invest in such a costly combo. However, if you enjoy hunting at least a few weeks out of the year in hunting grounds that regularly get soaked, it's worth investing in such a high-quality set of rain gear.
Winner: RedHead Silent Stalker Elite Coveralls for Men
For seamless waterproofing in the form of coveralls, look to RedHead's Silent Stalker Elite Coveralls, a heavy-duty, full-coverage, camouflage rain suit for hunting sold exclusively at Cabela's.
It's mega-insulated and constructed of waterproof, windproof, and breathable polyester fabric. The full-length front zipper makes it easier to take on and off than some one-pieces. These coveralls also have leg zips so you can put on hunting boots without a struggle or get some extra airflow to your legs. The fleece-lined pockets give your hands a place to warm up, and you can fill them with single-use or rechargeable warmers for extra comfort for long sits outside.
The inclusive sizes range from men's small to 3XLT. The biggest drawback with this weatherproof rain suit is that it doesn't come in women's sizes; so while anyone can purchase the suit, the men's small may be too large for petite women and some women may not like the boxy fit. Like other rain gear from Cabela's exclusive lines, these coveralls come in the TrueTimber Kanati (fall trees) and Strata (gray camo) patterns.
RedHead Silent Stalker Elite Coveralls for Men - from $170
Winner: Frogg Toggs Men's All-Sport and Women's All-Purpose
Although Frogg Toggs' gear isn't made specifically for hunting, the brand's fully waterproof, two-piece rain suits—the All-Sport for men and the All-Purpose for women—are both precipitation- and cost-effective for hunters on a budget.
Frogg Toggs rain suits are made of nonwoven polypropylene material, rendering them waterproof, durable, breathable, and lightweight. The front zipper is covered by a gutter flap to keep moisture from leaking in between the zipper's teeth, too. The men's suits come in an array of patterns, colors, and combos—such as a camo jacket and black pants—to, er, suit your needs, but the women's options are more limited.
Where both of these rain suits fall short are when it comes to pockets—there are none—and style, as the shape of each is boxy and not very form-fitting. However, I'd argue that rain suits are meant to be worn as a protective outer layer, so this fit makes room for warm mid-layers.
Frogg Toggs All-Sport Rain Suit for Men - $80
Frogg Toggs Women's All-Sport Rain Suit - $80
What to Look for When Buying Rain Gear for Hunting
If you're in the market for new rain gear for hunting, you'll want to consider a number of factors to make sure you're buying the best items for you.
The most functional rain gear consists of a woven polyester fabric blend that's treated with a waterproof or water-resistant coating.
For example, Sitka's Cloudburst pants are made with three layers of woven Gore-Tex fabric. As a result, the fabric is waterproof yet comfortably stretches in two directions. Gore-Tex fabrics are made out of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene. This patented material was one of the first flexible waterproof fabrics ever invented. Comparatively, Frogg Toggs are made out of non-woven polypropylene, which is a plastic-resin based.
On the flip side, there are plenty of fabrics to avoid when shopping for rain gear. Cotton and nylon fabrics offer little to no protection against wet weather. Wool makes for an incredible insulating or base layer underneath rain gear because it retains its warmth even if it gets wet; however, it can get really heavy if it absorbs a lot of water.
Besides fabric compositions, many features go into rain gear that helps make them waterproof and functional for outdoor use. Taped seams and zippers mean that rain jackets and rain pants can have athletic, tapered fits that follow your body shape and seal out water. Zipper flaps help keep rain from leaking in through the teeth of your zipper. Cinched cuffs help keep water from soaking the cuffs of your base layers, whether you're hunting in the rain or setting out a spread of duck decoys. Hoods, especially hoods that cinch around your face, keep your hat, hair, and neck dry. This is essential on really wet days where you might be glassing or sitting in a treestand for hours on end.
When it comes to rain gear, "reliability" is how well the gear lives up to its purpose. Unreliable rain jackets are made of fabrics that eventually become saturated with water. However, I've owned cheap rain jackets that could hold up to the weather if it was sprinkling; but if it downright poured or rained steadily for an hour or so, they eventually soaked through and no longer repelled water.
Durability relates to how tough your rain gear is. Some rain jacket shells repel water but tear easily if snagged, while others are more rugged. However, that ruggedness generally comes at the cost of added weight.
Depending on where you hunt, you may lean toward a thin, lightweight shell that at most can withstand brushes with tall grasses in an otherwise open landscape. Or you may prefer a thicker, stiffer coat that can get mauled in thick brush by branches, thorns, and even cacti without puncturing.
Ultimately, the habitats you hunt in and how frequently you hunt in the rain will help you determine how durable you prefer your hunting rain jacket to be.
Breathability relates to whether your rain gear allows air to flow through or your sweat to evaporate as opposed to pooling against your skin.
As with durability, your hunting grounds will help you determine how breathable your preferred rain gear should be. If you hunt whitetails out of a treestand, you may not need a very breathable rain jacket, as you aren't hiking around in search of game. On the other end of the spectrum, if you hunt elk on public land, you'll want a very breathable rain jacket that won't make you sweat like crazy while you track your prey.
The "loudness" we're talking about is the swishing sound a lot of rain gear makes when you move your arms and legs. Animals can easily hear the swishing sound of your rain gear from a long way off, and depending on what your rain gear is made out of, it will have varying degrees of loudness.
Loud rain gear can really hinder archery hunters who must get really close to their quarry. Rifle hunters don't necessarily need the quietest rain gear available because they can be several hundred yards away from their targets.
While I'm a firm believer that camo is overrated, if you're shopping for camo rain gear, make sure it matches the environment you'll be hunting in.
Scout your hunting grounds and take note of what colors are around. Then purchase rain gear that matches that environment, whether it's mostly gray, green, light brown, or dark brown. You'll also want to consider the time of year of your hunt. For example, there's little reason for archery hunters to buy rain gear printed with snow camo, because they'll be wearing the gear in September, not January.
Conversely, consider purchasing a plain, earth-toned rain jacket or even a blaze-orange rain jacket for safety and if wearing that color is a requirement on your hunting land. It's annoying to have to put a sopping-wet, blaze-orange vest back on your dry clothes after the rain stops; you can avoid this by simply having a rain jacket that meets your state's blaze-orange requirements.
The heaviness of the articles of clothing is another factor you should consider when looking for rain gear. If you aren't packing your rain gear on your back for several miles, its weight may not matter so much to you. However, if you plan to pack your rain gear into your backpack and carry it into the backcountry, it's worth considering lightweight products, because every ounce counts.
Similar to weight, the packability of your rain gear is most important for hunters who are packing into the backcountry with all of their gear.
If you're just going to be sitting in a ground blind waiting for a big buck to wander into gun range, you probably won't care about how packable your rain gear is.
Alternatively, if you're hiking 10 miles into the wilderness for an archery elk hunt, packability absolutely comes into play. The more packable your rain gear is, the more your legs will thank you.
A lot of rain gear is "unisex," which generally means it will have a boxy, unathletic fit that will cover—if not conform to—pretty much any body (though typically scaled to men's proportions). However, some brands make men's and women's cuts designed to follow the stereotypical shapes of each gender's bodies.
Men's rain gear typically has wider shoulders, narrower hips, and longer sleeves. Women's-fit rain gear tends to have a cinched waist, more room across the chest for breasts, and shorter sleeves and torso lengths.
I recommend trying on unisex, men's gear, and women's gear to see what type you like best. Personally, as a female, I like unisex fits for some products and women's fits for others. In the case of rain gear, I often find it easier to layer underneath a unisex rain jacket, but a women's cut fits my body better when I don't need to wear too many bulky under layers.
In short: The best fit totally depends on the brand and how you're going to use it.
Hunting Rain Gear: Your Questions, Answered
When hunting in the rain, we recommend at least wearing a rain jacket. Some folks like wearing rain pants, too, particularly in really wet weather or when having to walk through tall grasses or dense brush. It's important to be able to stay dry amid sudden weather changes, no matter what you're hunting.
Depending on how you like to hunt, your rain gear can be very breathable or not very breathable. Hunters who expend a lot of energy while hunting, such as bowhunters, prefer breathable rain gear. Sedentary hunters, including treestand hunters, may not care as much about how breathable their rain gear is.
The seams are where the sections of fabric that make up a piece of clothing are sewn together. Not only does a seam create a natural entry point for water, but the action of sewing also punches many tiny holes through the fabric; this becomes an issue with clothing that is supposed to be waterproof. Untaped seams let in water, which gets you wet over time, or in heavy rain. When seams are taped, water cannot seep in, which helps keep you dry.
If you properly care for your Gore-Tex gear—that is, you don't put it in the dryer or wash it on hot—it will stay waterproof for years. Typically, Gore-Tex doesn't begin to wear out for the first five years of use and tends to stay useful for at least a decade.
You might want to consider replacing your Gore-Tex gear if you notice water seeping through the fabric or it's more than a decade old.
In our opinion, Sitka Gear offers the best rain gear for hunting for both men and women. The brand offers a wide variety of jackets and pants that range from lightweight options to heavy-duty, insulated, waterproof layers. Although Sitka Gear's clothing can be pricey, it's worth every dollar and lasts for years to come. Another solid option: Kuiu.
Who We Are
I'm a professional hunting and fishing guide in western Colorado with Uncharted Outdoorswomen. I take clients out hunting and fishing, rain or shine, and teach them how to stay safe and warm in the backcountry, too. On my own outdoor adventures, I don't call it quits when the weather turns south and always packs rain gear just in case, so I can whip it out and keep playing outside even if I get caught in a downpour.
Editor's Note: Products featured on Wide Open Spaces are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
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