Review: REI Motility Rain Jacket

REI Motility Jacket
REI Motility Jacket

Rain Jacket
REI Motility Jacket
$169, 1 lb. 2 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL, women’s XS-XL

There are, quite literally, few environments in the world wetter than New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park: It receives upwards of 400 inches of rain a year. (Fun fact: That’s 10 times more than Seattle.) To me, that means there are few places on the planet better for testing a rain jacket. I took the Motility Jacket on a four-day trek of Fiordland’s famously wet, muddy, and rugged Dusky Track, and a dayhike to Gertrude Saddle above Milford Sound, where plenty of rain mixed with lots of exertion on my part provided an excellent measure of this well-priced, waterproof-breathable rain jacket.

REI Motility Jacket
REI Motility Jacket

The REI Elements waterproof-breathable shell fabric repelled hours of steady rain in Fiordland. It was moderately breathable: I never overheated while carrying a roughly 25-pound pack steeply uphill, at a moderate pace, in temperatures ranging from the 40s to the 50s Fahrenheit. The jacket only started feeling clammy inside when I exerted hard enough to perspire heavily; then the jacket couldn’t release moisture as fast as I produced it. REI says the four-way-stretch polyester fabric repels winds up to 60 mph.

Fit is roomy enough to layer underneath, and the length extends far enough to provide some butt coverage. The hood is fully adjustable, front and back, so it kept the rain off my face and didn’t blow off my head. I used the deep pit zips frequently in the relatively mild temps in Fiordland, as well as the adjustable cuffs, which let me push the sleeves up to my elbows when I was warm. The two zippered hand pockets sit above a pack’s hipbelt for easy access, and the zippered chest pocket holds a map or small electronic device, plus has a cord port.

REI Motility Jacket
REI Motility Jacket

Hikers, backpackers, and others who are looking for a good rain jacket at a really good price, and don’t need high-performance breathability, will like the value you get from the REI Motility Jacket.

BUY IT NOW: You can support The Big Outside by clicking this link to purchase your REI Motility Jacket at

See all of my reviews of outdoor apparel and rain jackets that I like.

See also my stories “My 10 Most-Read Gear Reviews,” “The Simple Equation of Ultralight Backpacking: Less Weight = More Fun,” “Buying Gear? Read This First,” “5 Tips For Spending Less on Hiking and Backpacking Gear,” and “Ask Me: How Do We Begin Lightening Up Our Backpacking Gear?

NOTE: I previously reviewed the REI Motility Jacket for the blog. I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu.

—Michael Lanza

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2 thoughts on “Review: REI Motility Rain Jacket”

    • Thanks, Ryan. That’s a good question. Depending on how often you use it and how, it should last several years with proper care, which often includes occasionally putting a jacket through the washing machine (using an approved soap product) and dryer to restore the DWR, or durable, water-repellent treatment (which causes water to bead up on the outer surface of the fabric). Check the label or the manufacturer’s website for instructions on cleaning the jacket. Waterproof-breathable membranes (like Gore-Tex and eVent) and coatings (used in many less-expensive, brand jackets) can get clogged by dirt, smoke, and skin oils. When your jacket no longer responds to washing and drying, and “wets out” in rain (soaks through), that’s the signal to retire it. But if you take care of it, you may decide you just want a newer, better jacket or you may blow out the zipper before the membrane fails.