My rain protection system for lightweight backpacking

The lightweight rain protection system that I have used the last three years consists of the following 3 items totalling 221 grams including rain mittens:

  • Berghaus Hyper Shell Jacket (size L) weight 89 grams
  • Inov8 AT/C Ultrapant waterproof (size L) weight 86 grams
  • Montane minimus mitt weight 46 grams

The Berghaus Hyper Jacket has a low weight of just 89 grams in size large. Despite having a streamlined design, the jacket still features a full-coverage hood and full-length zipper.

Berghaus Hyper Shell Jacket (L) 89 g

It is sold with a small stuff sack but I don’t use that. I just roll the jacket up into the hood for quick and easy deployment.

The Hyper Jacket is constructed of a waterproof & breathable Hydroshell Hyper fabric. It has a waterproof rating of 15,000 mm and a breathability rating of 10,000 g/m2/24hrs. The seam taping is a PU coating and the DWR finish on the jacket has provided me with protection in all types of nasty weather these last few years. It is easy to get the jacket on and off with the full-length zipper. Venting is uncomplicated when the temperatures increase or if I’m working hard on the trail and need some air. The hood tab down is also a nice little feature; it is close-fitting and gives protection without adding much weight in return for good visibility. Other technical features include elastic bindings at the cuffs and hem and some reflective highlights. One downside of this jacket is that it does not feature armpit venting, but because it is so breathable I do not find this to be a disadvantage.

Please note that the above Berghaus Hyper Jacket has been discontinued and is no longer available for purchase. However, Berghaus have also produced a Hyper 100 Shell Jacket made with a fabric called Hydroshell Elite Pro (47g/m2). Hydrostatic head (Waterproof rating): 20,000mm. MVTR (Breathability rating): 50,000g/m2/24hrs. In size large it weighs 108 grams.

Please keep in mind that both of the above jackets are not designed to be used with heavy backpacks. If you do that then I don’t think that they will last very long. If you are carrying a light load then these jackets will cope; I have proven that with my lightweight packs. Berghaus advertise that these products were developed for hiking, trekking and multi-sport activities.

The Inov8 AT/C Ultrapant are manufactured with a waterproof U Pertex Shield 2.5 layer. They have a waterproof rating of 10,000 mm HH and weigh 86 grams. They are very lightweight and breathable yet they keep the rain out. They can be utilised as both wind and rain pants; they breath extremely well.

Inov8 AT/C Ultrapant Waterproof U Pertex Shield 2.5 Layer / waterproof 10,000 mm HH (86 g)

I have used these pants for several years and I see no reason to change them out of my kit as they show no signs of wear and they preform extremely well. One downside of these rain pants is that they have no zipper in the legs so you have to take your shoes off to put them on. I use trail shoes which are easy to take off and on so this hasn’t ever bothered me.

The Montane minimus mitts are made of Pertex Shield and are waterproof. They are not insulated and including the stuff sack the weight amounts to 53 grams. They weigh 46 grams alone without the bag. I combine these mitts with some lightweight liner gloves and in combination they provide a perfect system for hand rain protection even in colder temperatures. I am still able to grasp objects whilst wearing them, like my trekking umbrella, although I have to take them off to use a smart phone. I can however operate a GPS device while wearing these mitts.

Montane Minimus Mitt Pertex Shield / Waterproof / No Insulation in bag 53 g

If I’m not using the Hyper Jacket with the Inov8 Ultrapants then I combine the rain jacket with my trekking umbrella which weighs 225 grams and is my desired choice in the warmer months whilst wearing shorts.

Euroschirm Swing liteflex trekking umbrella

Supplementing it with the ULA Equipment rain kilt which weighs 81 grams in size L also doubles as a small ground sheet to sit on or place gear on when packing camp down etc.

ULA Rain Kilt (L) 81 g

The umbrella is not suitable when trekking in the mountains but for protected forest trails it has been a no brainer for me to pack this item on all my adventures. I have also used the umbrella for protection while taking lunch breaks in downpours. On numerous occasions I have utilised the umbrella whilst preforming early morning toilet visits in southern Swedish forests. I manage to balance it in some tree branches while I dig a cathole and practice leave no trace.

drying gear out after a stormy night – note the fallen tree in the background

Furthermore the trekking umbrella is a handy item to have when packing camp down in rain weather. I’ll place items under the umbrella until I’m ready to store them in my pack. This is of course only possible in calm weather with drizzle rain.

Last year, when I was on my Swedish Lapland trek, I tried a new and heavier rain jacket although I did not take a wind shirt as I normally do. The Haglöfs L.I.M. rain jacket was my wind protection as well as a rain jacket which supported my “2 uses” principles that I practice. The Haglöfs L.I.M. rain jacket has a waterproof rating of 28000 mm and weighs 240 grams.

Haglöfs L.I.M Rain Jacket Men, Storm Blue L, waterproof 28000 mm 240 g

I regretted my decision to pack this rain jacket. I really missed my wind shirt, the Cumulus Windy-Wendy Pertex Quantum GL wind jacket which only weighs 60 grams and is water resistant although not waterproof. I didn’t feel that the Haglöfs L.I.M. rain jacket was any better at keeping the rain out than my much lighter Berghaus hyper shell.

Cumulus Windy-Wendy Pertex Quantum GL wind jacket (water resistant)

I experienced only rain on the first day and some on the last day of my Swedish Lapland hike. On the first day I also had wind and sleet so everything was wet and moist. One thing that really irritated me with this rain jacket was that the hood kept blowing off in wind and side ways rain. I had high expectations of the Haglöfs L.I.M. rain jacket and so I was disappointed when I hanged it up to dry in the emergency hut on the first night and realised that it felt wet not only on the outside but also on the inside. This surprised me as it was not from sweat but had “wetted out”. I reckon that my Berghaus hyper shell does much a better job at keeping the rain out and it weighs 151 grams less than the Haglöfs L.I.M.!

I have recently purchased the Montbell Versalite Jacket. Packing it only a few times since the purchase, I can not tell you how this jacket preforms in my experience because there has been no rain on the hikes.

Montbell Versalite Jacket

My jacket is size (L) / water resistance: 30,000mm / breathability: 43,000g/m2/24hrs and weighs 184 grams. I really like the way that this jacket fits me. I had trouble with the Haglöfs L.I.M. hood blowing off in wind and side ways rain but this jacket seems to be well adjustable. It certainly feels like that the hood won’t move off my head and face.

This jacket is heavier than my Berghaus hyper shell but a bonus with it is that it features armpit venting. So it might work as both a rain and wind jacket. I’m looking forward to testing this jacket in the near future.

Product(s) discussed in this article were purchased by myself from a retailer or manufacturer. I do not accept compensation or donated product in exchange for guaranteed media placement or product review coverage without clearly denoting such coverage as an “ADVERTISEMENT” or “SPONSORED CONTENT.”

2 Replies to “My rain protection system for lightweight backpacking”

  1. Hello! Where did you find the Versalite in this colorway? It doesn’t look like that “Gunmetal” color on the Montbell website.


    1. Hi Per, you are correct. I kept an eye on their site (EU) around December 2019 and January 2020. They had no stock for a little while and then all of a sudden they showed mine in L and the colour is called Bordeaux (style number 2328169) in stock, so I grabbed it. After that there were no sizes in stock again. That was on January 22. Not too long after that they changed the colours to Spectrum Blue, Gunmetal and Navy. I purchased mine for EUR 199. I have noted that the new price is EUR 219.


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