• Weather Resistance 60% 60%
  • Breathability 60% 60%
  • Packability 90% 90%
  • Features 70% 70%

Price: $160

Waterproofing: 2L Gore-Tex Paclite

Weight: 12.5oz/355g

What We Like: Budget Friendly Gore-Tex and Lightweight

What We Don’t: Waterproofing is Not The Best, Gets Hot

REI is well known for its budget-friendly performance gear. The XeroDry GTX is the least expensive Gore-Tex jacket on our list, and great for anyone looking to get out on the trails without breaking the bank. While the Gore-Tex Paclite is not the highest performing of the Gore-Tex membranes, it still is usually better than proprietary-brand membranes. The XeroDry GTX would benefit from the addition of pit zips to help with breathability. The DWR does wet out fairly quickly and could use an upgrade. For a low-budget Gore-Tex shell, the value is there if you do not rely on your jacket every day or expect monsoon weather.

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A Gore-Tex shell that is lightweight and won’t break the bank? What a combination! It’s not often that you see Gore-Tex and budget-friendly in the same sentence, but with REI’s XeroDry GTX jacket, these words fit together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s built to be an easy-to-pack rain shell that can join you on any journey and come to the rescue when the weather gets moody. REI has made some excellent strides towards creating an affordable but highly functional line of outdoor apparel, and the XeroDry GTX is another great step forward.

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: REI XeroDry GTX - Gear Hacker

Weather-Proofing

Though it’s only a 2-layer jacket, REI has used Gore-Tex Paclite laminate as their waterproofing material. The jacket also has a DWR (durable water repellent) finish and full seam taping to create a capable wet- and windy-weather shell. It’s capable of handling lighter rains and strong winds, but it begins to struggle in heavier downpours. The 2-layer construction is susceptible to wetting out quickly and soaking through as a result. Compared to other jackets using Paclite Plus, the economical REI jacket does falter in more significant rainstorms.

Rain jackets are known to cause the wearer to overheat. This is why they include breathable material as well as pit zips and/or mesh pockets to help dump heat without opening the front zipper and letting in rain. The 2-layer Gore-Tex material does not breathe too well, and the lack of pit zips did not help with the overall heat and sweat management that we look for in a rain jacket.

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: REI XeroDry GTX - Gear Hacker

Weight and Durability

The REI XeroDry GTX is very lightweight at only 12.5 oz (355g), the same weight as a can of tomato soup. The lightweight design usually means no pit zips, in order to reduce the added weight of zippers and seals, so there has been a trade-off. If you want to go even lighter, REI’s Drypoint GTX jacket is only 8.6 oz, and it boasts a 3-layer design and will only cost you an additional $100.

The XeroDry GTX uses a 50-denier fabric throughout most of the body of the garment and a 75-denier fabric along the high-wear areas such as the shoulders, back, and arms. These are areas that would see a lot of friction against a backpack and other nature-found items like trees and rocks. The interior is soft against the skin and uses a faux felt liner along the front that will come in contact with the face. It also was surprisingly silent for a 2-layer jacket, which is normally quite noisy and “crunchy.”

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: REI XeroDry GTX - Gear Hacker

Features

With a reasonable price tag of $160, the XeroDry GTX is not packed with features. Simply put, it is a rain shell and was built to keep you dry. What it does include is a sizeable hood that would fit snugly over a helmet. With two hipbelt-compatible handwarmer pockets and a chest pocket large enough for a cellphone, we still recommend keeping the electronics in a mid-layer or pack during heavy rain.

There is a cinch along the bottom hem to keep it tight around your waist, and there is Velcro on the wrists to tighten the cuffs if the need arises. The fit of the jacket is a bit roomy, allowing plenty of room for layering. It does not move too well and will rise considerably when you lift your arms over your head.
Best Rain Jackets of 2021: REI XeroDry GTX - Gear Hacker

The Bottom Line

Even with a Gore-Tex laminate, this jacket misses a few key areas that we look for when buying a rain jacket. The jacket itself does wet out quicker than other jackets in a heavy downpour, and the breathability is not very good, especially for not having pit zips to help dump heat. As a lightweight reserved rain jacket, it would be fine in areas that do not get massive rainstorms and can be pulled out in a pinch, or as a windbreaker that can handle moderate rain showers.

The XeroDry GTX is a great value (Gore-Tex for only $160!) and very lightweight. However, I would have accepted paying a bit more for some pit zips. The durable face material will hold up well and is reinforced in areas that need it. All in all, this is a capable, budget-friendly rain shell that I might avoid using if I lived or traveled to areas that are known for heavy and sustained rainfalls.

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: REI XeroDry GTX - Gear Hacker

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We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!