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.
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.
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.
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 rei.com 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.
This blog and website is my full-time job and I rely on the support of readers. If you like what you see here, please help me continue producing The Big Outside by making a donation using the Support button at the top of the left sidebar or below. Thank you for your support.
The Big Outside is proud to partner with sponsor Osprey Packs. Please help support my blog by liking and following my sponsors on Facebook and other social media and telling them you appreciate their support for The Big Outside.