If there’s one piece of gear you most certainly can’t live without in the PNW, it’s a rain jacket! The market is pretty saturated (excuse the pun) with rain jackets so it can be daunting to know what to buy. For me, the trick is finding the perfect balance of price, features, and performance. My Trail’s Storm UL Rain Jacket satisfies all three. It’s waterproof, breathable, comfortable, and a lightweight 9 ounces. Most importantly, it’s on sale for $79, which makes it not only affordable but an unbelievable steal of a deal!Buy one at My Trail
My Trail was founded in 2015 in Boulder, Colorado and if you haven’t heard of them, you might have heard of the founder’s previous company, GoLite. GoLite, launched in 1998, designed and manufactured awesome ultralight clothing, backpacks, tents, and other outdoor gear. My Trail acquired GoLite’s product designs and are working to bring back improved versions of their ultralight products as well as new innovations. My Trail’s focus is strictly on technical apparel and equipment and they’re also a Colorado Public Benefit Corporation, meaning the company is operated in a manner that is sustainable and beneficial to society and the environment.
I’ve been testing some gear from My Trail and they make ultralight products at really reasonable prices. When they asked me if I’d review their Storm UL Rain Jacket I jumped at the chance! That’s my disclaimer that yes, I received a free jacket to review, but my opinion is absolutely my own and I’ve put this jacket through its paces since I received it two months ago. Read on for my full review.
Storm UL construction. And a little rain jacket 101…
The Storm UL rain jacket is a lightweight 9 ounce 2.5-layer jacket made with a waterproof breathable nylon shell, durable water repellant (DWR) coating, and waterproof seam taping. If you’re not familiar with the construction of rain jackets, you may be thinking “how do you have a half layer?” Here’s a quick overview!
All rain jackets generally have the same outer shell fabric, which is coated with a durable water repellant (DWR). The difference is that they’re constructed as either a 2-layer, 2.5-layer, or 3-layer jacket.
A 2-layer rain jacket typically has a mesh lining to protect the membrane or coating layer that has been applied to the inside of the outer shell. They’re less expensive, a bit bulkier, and more suited to urban and travel use. A 2.5-layer jacket is basically the same, but with a protective sheen or print instead of mesh. They’re a little less breathable but much lighter to pack and the most versatile option when it comes to a wide range of activities. 3-layer jackets have a membrane between their outer layer and inner liner. They are the most breathable and durable, built for harsh environments like ski touring and mountaineering, but also demand a premium price.
If you’re looking for a great all-around rain jacket for hiking, running, backpacking, and everyday use, a 2.5-layer is the best option and the Storm UL has an incredible amount of features for its price.
Storm UL hood
The one feature of a rain jacket that either makes it or breaks it for me is the hood. I’ve suffered from ill-fitting hoods that hang way over my eyes, obscure my peripheral version, or are so short the visor leaves water dripping down my nose. I’ve had others that fit well but blow off your head with the slightest breeze. Good hood design is crucial for a rain jacket and the Storm really excels in this department!
The hood comes with a velcro strap on the rear that allows you to customize its fit and an adjustable drawcord that cinches it tight. I put the rain jacket to good use last month during one of the Pacific Northwest’s typical windy, rainy storm patterns and the hood stayed put despite 50+ mph winds. It’s brilliantly designed and doesn’t obscure either forward or peripheral vision.
Not in use, the hood hangs comfortably even with the jacket at full zip. As a bonus, the Storm comes with a hood garage, which is a little loop under the main tag that allows you to roll up the hood and stow it.
Additional Storm features
The Storm comes with a host of other features including adjustable sleeve cuffs with velcro closures, double-zippered armpit vents, an adjustable hem, two exterior pockets with watertight zipper closures and two interior storage pockets. The front of the jacket has a storm flap over the main zipper that secures with velcro.
It also comes with ample zipper pulls. If you have cold hands like me and are always wearing gloves, this is one of those often overlooked features that makes the Storm shine! I’m all about the little things that really make a difference!
Comfort and Fit
The Storm is lightweight and its brilliant hood design makes it a winner in the comfort and fit department. I’m 5’6”, 120lbs and typically wear an XS in most things. I ordered an XS Storm and the jacket length is perfect, hitting about halfway down my butt, which is good coverage without being excessive. I took it snowshoeing last weekend and my race-style snowshoes are notorious for flipping snow all over my legs and back. The jacket was a perfect length for keeping my rear dry!
I can layer it over a puffy, though it is a big snug. If there’s any fault in the jacket it’s that I found the sleeves to be just a smidge short, but they really haven’t bothered me. I do admit though that I’m also a person who prefers ridiculously long sleeves and is spoiled by all my thumbhole sleeve shirts. I think a small size would have given me a bit more layering room and sleeve length, but I prefer the slimmer fit, especially for running. If you do a lot of layering or like overly long sleeves, I’d recommend ordering a size up. If you think you’ll take it running, consider a more snug fit.
A lot of rain jackets can be a little noisy and when I first unpacked the Storm it did seem a little extra crinkly. As I’ve broken it in though the noise has diminished, so just be aware that you might not be able to sneak up on people the first time you take it out!
I tend to run without rain jackets for the usual PNW drizzle, but for full-on rain, the Storm is a surprisingly good option! Although it’s not branded as a lightweight running shell, I took it out on a few trail runs in the dumping rain and was pleasantly surprised by its comfort.
I assumed it would feel way too bulky but instead was quite light and nimble and the pit zippers were wonderful for ventilation. The hood fits well enough to run in and most importantly, doesn’t bounce around! If you don’t want it, you can even roll it up and stow it.
As rain jackets wear, the interior lining, especially in 2.5-layer jackets, can slowly deteriorate and flake. They can also lose some of their water-resistant coating and wet-out, which means water quits beading on the exterior and instead soaks it up like a towel.
Granted, Seattle is in a strange sunny weather pattern right now and I haven’t owned the Storm long enough to know how it will hold up to long-term use, but I’ve put it through its paces the last two months during more typical Northwest wet and windy weather. It survived a snowshoe bushwhacking adventure last weekend and has kept me dry on some soggy scooter commutes. I’ll certainly make an update on how it holds up through the winter.
Shell: Ripstop Nylon
Interior Coating: Waterproof/breathable polyurethane
Exterior Finish: Durable water repellant (DWR)
Seams: Waterproof taped
Sleeve Cuffs: Adjustable with velcro closures
Hood Garage: in collar
Armpit Vents: Large double-zippered
Hand pockets: Watertight zipper closures
Hem: Adjustable drawcord
Included: Storm flap
I’ve owned a lot of rain jackets in my 17 years in the Pacific Northwest. I’m a huge fan of Outdoor Research and last year I bought their highly touted ultralight 5.5oz Helium II rain jacket thinking I’d never buy another rain jacket again. Unfortunately, it’s the first piece of OR gear I’ve ever owned that I didn’t instantly fall in love with. Sorry, OR! 🙁 The zipper is tall and stiff and awkwardly sticks straight into my face when unzipped. When zipped, it’s even worse. The hood design is a terrible fit and the lack of pockets and ventilation made me crazy.
Sure, the Storm isn’t an ultralight simple design like the Helium and I might be comparing apples to oranges here, but My Trail got everything right with the Storm. Its brilliant hood design alone makes it a solid win and you won’t find another rain jacket on the market with similar features and weight anywhere near the Storm’s $79 price point.
If you’re looking for a versatile lightweight rain jacket packed with features that’ll go anywhere, the Storm is a winner! It’s a killer deal, so get yourself one today and go play in the rain (or the snow)!!
Want to buy one?
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Disclaimer: I received a free Storm jacket from My Trail in exchange for this review but my mission is the same: providing honest feedback to my readers, reviewing gear I actively use and believe in, and making the world a better place by supporting companies who feel the same!