Ultralight Rain Jacket
Mammut Kento Light HS Hooded Jacket
$219, 5.5 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s S-XL
When the sky darkened with foreboding, black and gray clouds that suddenly obliterated the sharply angled peaks flanking the John Muir Trail in the Evolution Basin of Kings Canyon National Park, I pulled on the ultralight Mammut Kento Light HS Hooded Jacket thinking: This thunderstorm will put it to a real test. Minutes later, the wind-whipped rain began hammering us. For an hour or more, my two companions and I continued uphill until deciding to quickly pitch our tents and hunker down until it passed. When it did, we packed up and continued over Muir Pass in cool wind before finding a campsite. Through it all, this remarkably light and packable rain shell kept me dry and comfortable.Read more
I wore the Kento Light HS Hooded Jacket at times on that nine-day hike of nearly 130 miles through the High Sierra in August, much of it on the John Muir Trail, in temps ranging from the 40s to high 60s Fahrenheit, strong wind at times, and that one intense rainstorm. I also wore it on a nearly 10-mile, 4,700-foot dayhike up 5,774-foot Mount Adams in New Hampshire’s northern Presidential Range on a sunny October day with temps ranging from the mid-30s to around 60° F with a cool breeze at times; and on a multi-hour, 29-mile mountain bike ride on Utah’s Wasatch Crest Trail, with 1,500 feet of uphill and more than 4,000 feet of downhill, on a sunny day with temps ranging from the low 40s to the high 50s.
Mammut’s proprietary DRYtechnology Performance waterproof-breathable fabric kept me dry and blocked wind when I needed that much protection, including over an hour in a pounding thunderstorm. Although I wouldn’t recommend it as a rain shell wherever you might encounter hours of steady or hard rain and wind—it’s not intended to provide the coverage and full protection that a heavier, technical, waterproof-breathable rain jacket offers—it’ll do fine in light precipitation or short spells of hard rain.
And while the shell’s breathability also does not match that of high-quality waterproof-breathable rain shells or the best non-waterproof, ultralight wind shells, I did not overheat while wearing it in mild temps dayhiking Mount Adams or in the Sierra.
In other words, it delivers exactly what we want from an ultralight rain shell: just enough weather protection for many of our outings. For some users, including dayhikers, climbers, trail runners, and backpackers who typically head out in good weather, the Kento may be all they need most of the time.
At just over five ounces and packing down to the size of an orange in its stuff sack (included), the Kento Light HS Hooded Jacket is a welterweight among ultralight shells but one of the very lightest waterproof-breathable jackets you’ll find. Its 15-denier fabric also offers better durability than some (mostly lighter) ultralight wind shells, which are often targeted at trail runners who wear nothing heavier than a running vest.
Lastly, in a category of jackets with very minimalist designs, it sports an adjustable hood with a flexible, reinforced visor that offers decent face protection, especially with the front zipper that covers your chin; elasticized cuffs and a hem that extends about six inches below the waist; and a concealed, zippered chest pocket. The comfortable, close fit permits full freedom of movement, with space to wear two base layers or light insulation underneath.
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Mammut Kento Light HS Hooded Jacket
Barely heavier than a pair of three-season gloves and squishing down to the size of an orange, the Mammut Kento Light HS Hooded Jacket may be the only waterproof-breathable rain jacket that many dayhikers, climbers, trail runners, and fair-weather backpackers need.
You can support my work on this blog, at no cost to you, by clicking any of these affiliate links to purchase a men’s Mammut Kento Light HS Hooded Jacket at backcountry.com or moosejaw.com, or a women’s Mammut Kento Light HS Hooded Jacket at backcountry.com or moosejaw.com.
See my picks for “The Best Ultralight Hiking and Running Jackets” and “The 7 Best Rain Jackets for Hiking and Backpacking,” and all reviews of ultralight wind shells, ultralight rain jackets, trail-running gear, hiking apparel, and outdoor apparel at The Big Outside.
NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See my Gear Reviews page at The Big Outside for categorized menus of all reviews and expert buying tips.