M Rain Pants State of the Market Report

by Brad Groves

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Article Summary:

You might think that reviewing a stack of rain pants would be easy, straightforward, and generally delightful… “cake.” I’m here to tell you that reviewing rain pants is a whole lot harder than reviewing a tent. Seems strange, right? But you have a lot less to work with, a lot fewer possibilities to critique, and fewer things to readily objectify. Testing rain pants for review is surprisingly difficult! Nevertheless, we selected the lightest rain pants on the market-all under 8 ounces (227 grams)-and started work. What I found surprising, even given my years as a buyer in this market, was how differently some of the pants were constructed given our tight weight constraints. If you’re skimming to find “the single best ultralight rain pant,” sorry, you’ll have to keep reading. It just isn’t that simple.

The major questions on rain pants are few: Do they keep you dry? How do they fit? How do they hold up, how’s the quality? All of the pants will keep you dry. The finish quality and materials of all the pants are equivalent (with one exception). Fit is easy enough to describe… so what else is there? Field testing is not great for combing the finest hairs of breathability. But there is hope for ye gear hounds and your wayward reading habits… there are tiny details that come alive.

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