The Rab Downpour Eco Rain Jacket is an affordable waterproof/breathable rain jacket with many features that will appeal to environmentally conscious hikers. It has an excellent human-sized (non-helmet compatible) hood, pit zips, hipbelt compatible pockets, and velcro wrist cuffs. The entire jacket is made with recycled materials and constructed in such a way that it is easy to recycle when it’s worn out.
Specs at a Glance
- Gender: Men’s and women’s models are available
- Waterproof/Breathable: Yes
- Construction: 2.5-layer recycled Pertex Shield
- Outer fabric: 50d polyester
- Helmet-compatible hood: No
- Hipbelt compatible pockets: Yes
- Pit-zips: Yes
- Seam-taped: Yes
- Packable: Right-hand pocket
- Weight: 12.7 oz, men’s size L
- Sizing: True to size
Features for Hiking and Backpacking
When I evaluate rain jackets for hiking and backpacking I look to see whether the jacket has an adjustable hood, pit zips and whether the wrists have velcro closures or elastic ones. As a hiker, these are the most important features you need to be able to actively manage your warmth and minimize perspiration by zipping and unzipping openings and covering and uncovering your head and wrists.
The Downpour Eco jacket has a two-way adjustable hood including a rear volume control and neck controls that let you adjust the size of the front opening. The hood is also non-helmet compatible, meaning that it is designed for human heads and not skiing or climbing helmets. This is optimal for a hiking rain jacket because the smaller volume eliminates the heat loss that can occur if you have an oversized hood and loss of peripheral vision. The Downpour hood also has an adjustable. front bill with a bendable wire to help protect your eyes or glasses from rain. It’s a very nice hood.
The Downpour Eco jacket has 13″ pit zips that run down the arms and ribs. The zippers are YKK, they run very smoothly, and are covered by a fabric flap for protection. Pit zips are a great way to help you vent body heat and water vapor to reduce perspiration buildup in your middle and base layers. They have a limited impact in hot and humid weather but are much more effective in colder weather.
Hip Belt Compatible Pockets
The jacket has a pair of handwarmer pockets that are situated high enough on the torso that you can gain access to them while wearing a hip belt. I wear this jacket with both a day pack and a multi-day backpack and have complete access to the pockets. This is a pretty rare feature on US-brand rain jackets, although it’s frequently found on UK-made garments since hill walking has such a strong following there.
The pockets are also long enough to hold a waterproof map, more evidence that this is a jacket tailored for hiker use. The pocket zippers, like the pit zips, are not water-resistant but are covered by an external fabric flap to drain water away from them. The right pocket has an interior and exterior slider, so you can use the pocket to pack away the jacket.
The Downpour eco has velcro wrist cuffs which are important for sealing in wrist heat and mating with waterproof gloves. It has a hem adjuster to prevent drafts from robbing body heat as well.
The Front Zipper
If this jacket has one failing, it’s the front zipper that comes undone from the bottom when it’s been zipped up. It’s super annoying. Rab has addressed it by putting a snap at the bottom of the zipper to prevent this from occurring, but you have to remember to snap it closed when you zip up the jacket. Frankly, this jacket is so superlative, that I can live with it, but I wish it was better designed to prevent it.
We also recommend the following rain jackets for hikers and backpackers.
|Make / Model||Adj Hood||Pit Zips||WP/BR||Avg Weight|
|Patagonia Torrentshell 3L||Yes||Yes||Yes||12.1 oz|
|Black Diamond Stormline Stretch||Yes||Yes||Yes||11.3 oz|
|REI Rainier Rain Jacket||Yes||Yes||Yes||13 oz|
|Outdoor Research Foray II||Yes||Yes||Yes||11.3 oz|
|Montbell Versalite Jacket||Yes||Yes||Yes||6.4 oz|
|The North Face Venture 2||Yes||Yes||Yes||11.5 oz|
|Marmot Precip Eco||Yes||Yes||Yes||13.1 oz|
|Lightheart Gear Rain Jacket||Yes||Yes||No||6.3 oz|
|Frogg Toggs Xtreme Lite||Yes||No||No||7.6 oz|
|Columbia Watertight II||Yes||No||Yes||13.0 oz|
|Note: WP/BR stands for waterproof-breathable.|
The Rab Downpour Eco Jacket is a waterproof/breathable jacket designed for hikers with all of the features that hikers want and require, including a two-way adjustable, non-helmet compatible hood, pit zips, hip belt compatible pockets, velcro wrist cuffs, and hem adjustment. It has one minor flaw, which is its front zipper which separates when worn, although there is a snap at the bottom that will prevent this if you remember to close it. Otherwise, it’s a superlative and quite affordable waterproof/breathable hiking rain jacket.
Of special note is the jacket’s construction. It’s made with Pertex Shield Revolve, which is a mono-material laminate where each layer of the fabric is made with recycled polyester including the face fabric, the waterproof breathable membrane, and backer making it easy to recycle. Conventional waterproof breathable fabrics are constructed from multiple different polymer layers including nylon, polyurethane, polyester, and fluoropolymers before being laminated into a multi-material fabric. This makes them very difficult to recycle because the different layers must be first separated.
Disclosure: The author owns this jacket.Editor's note: If you’re thinking about buying gear that we’ve reviewed or recommend on SectionHiker, you can help support us in the process. Just click on any of the seller links above, and if you make a purchase, we may (but not always) receive a small percentage of the transaction. The cost of the product is the same to you but this helps us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides. Thanks and we appreciate your support!