The AntiGravityGear Ultralight Rain Jacket is a silnylon rain jacket with 17″ pits zips, an adjustable hood, velcro wrist cuffs, and waterproof zippers. Weighing 7.1 oz in a size XL, the sizing is generous, making it easy to layer with other garments. I’ve worn this jacket for hiking and backpacking in heavy rain and it’s quite comfortable and waterproof.
Specs at a Glance
- Fabric: 40d silnylon, coated with PU inside and out
- Hydrostatic head: 3,000 mm
- Weight: 7.1 oz in size XL
- Gender: Unisex
- Available colors: Blaze orange, pewter, blue steel, black
- Price: $99
The nice thing about silnylon rain jackets is that they’re permanently waterproof and very low maintenance, compared to waterproof/breathable jackets that have an external DWR coating which needs to be restored periodically with a product like Nikwax or Grangers. Silnylon is not “breathable” however, so silnylon raincoats typically come with pits zips to vent perspiration and internal condensation, something that many people would argue is far more effective than so-called breathable laminates. Silnylon rain jacks are also substantially less expensive because they’re so much simpler to sew and manufacture.
Still, there’s actually more to the AntiGravityGear UL Rain Jacket than meets the eye. The silnylon has a PU coating on the inside and outside, giving it a hydrostatic head of 3,000 mm, which is *really* waterproof. While the seams of the jacket are not taped, they are stitched, folded and stitched again for reinforcement, then stitched a third time with a 40d silnylon tape trim, which encapsulates the seams and makes them effectively waterproof (for maximum assurance, we still recommend seam sealing the seams like a tent.)
When it comes to breathability, the AntiGravityGear UL rain jacket relies on its pit zips to vent moisture. A full 17″ in length, the pit zips are quite long, making them more like the torso-zips that Outdoor Research offers on their high-end mountaineering shells. This helps vent the front and back of your torso in addition to your armpits, making them even more effective when you’re working hard and perspiring heavily.
If you’re a day hiker or backpacker, temperature regulation features are more important than breathability, because the purpose of a rain jacket is to keep you warm across a wide range of weather conditions. Staying dry is a nice-to-have, in terms of importance, since most rain jackets are quickly overwhelmed by perspiration and internal condensation when it’s raining, no matter how “breathable” or expensive they are.
A good backpacking rain jacket should provide a range of features to help you vent excess heat or protect sensitive areas of your body from getting chilled, particularly those near major veins and arteries near the surface of your skin. For example, the AntiGravityGear rain jacket has velcro and elastic cuffs at the wrists that you can tighten if you want to prevent heat loss or release if you want to vent excess heat. It has elastic hem adjusters to prevent cold wind from blowing up the bottom of your jacket and elastic neck toggles so you can adjust the size of the hood opening to prevent warm air heated by your torso from escaping through the hood.
There are a few things missing from the jacket however, that make it less than perfect. There isn’t a brim on the hood or a volume adjuster to reduce its size for people with smaller heads. It’d also be nice to have an internal pocket or two for storing snacks, gloves, hats, or electronics that you want access to even if it’s raining.
Comparison with the Lightheart Gear Rain Jacket
LightHeart Gear also makes a silnylon rain jacket which I’m quite familiar with because I’ve been using it for the past few years (see the SectionHiker Review). Both it and the AntiGravityGear are good rain jackets but there are some differences between the two. For example, the LightHeart Gear rain jacket has a fabric brim built into its hood. It also has 2 internal and 2 external pockets for storing gloves, snacks, and keeping your hands warm. These are very handy for hiking in all-day rain because they eliminate the need to stop and dig around in your pack for food or fresh gloves. The LightHeart Gear rain jacket is also more fitted than the AntiGravityGear rain jacket, which runs broader across the chest.
Both jackets have long pit zips and appear to use the same seam construction technique, but the waterproof zippers on the AntiGravityGear jacket are sturdier and easier to use than the regular zippers on the LightHeart Gear rain jacket. The silnylon on the AntiGravityGear rain jacket also has a substantially higher hydrostatic head, although it’s debatable whether the difference makes that much of a difference in your ability to stay warm or regulate your body temperature, even in all-day rain.
Disclosure: AntiGravityGear provided the author with a rain jacket for this review.