Can Windbreakers be used as Rain Jackets

Joaquina Erdmann

Windbreakers have become popular among hikers due to their lightweight design. So, many hikers choose these single-layer jackets instead of rain jackets. Windbreakers are quite different from rain jackets. They are made of nylon or polyester, while rain jackets are made of the combination of two or more different materials.

The best rain jacket for hiking not only protects you against the rain, but it also offers you much protection from gusts of wind. On the other hand, a windbreaker can block gusts of wind but offers very little protection against the rain. When it comes to length, windbreakers can provide you with more coverage than rain jackets.

If you want to know a windbreaker can be used instead of a rain jacket to protect you from the rain, you have to understand the differences between these two garments. In the following, we’re going to explain the differences between them to help you choose the right one for your upcoming hiking trip.

Different Between Windbreakers and Rain Jackets

When you know the difference between windbreakers and rain jackets, you can understand that a windbreaker can be used a rain jacket or not. Continue reading this article until the end to discover the differences between them.


Breathability is essential when you’re wearing clothes on a hiking trip. If your clothes are not breathable, you will extensively sweat while hiking for long. Since rain jackets are made of multiple layers, they are breathable as your expectations.

On the contrary, windbreakers usually provide better breathability due to their single-layer synthetic fabrics. You can also do a variety of aerobic activities, such as running and climbing a mountain if you wear a windbreaker while hiking.


Since windbreakers are made of single-layer materials, they weigh less than rain jackets. A windbreaker can weigh only 80 grams while a rain jacket weighs less than 200 grams. In terms of weight, windbreakers are preferable options for hiking because lightweight clothing ensures comfort and reduces strain from the body.


Rain jackets are the construction of thick fabrics with coatings, so they’re not as comfortable as windbreakers. On the other side, windbreakers offer much better stretch than rain jackets so that you can have greater freedom of movement.

In terms of comfort, windbreakers are better options for hikers because they provide more comfort than rain jackets. But keep in mind that they don’t ensure protection against rain as rain jackets.

Protection against Rain

Rain jackets keep you dry in a heavy downpour since they are particularly designed with impermeable materials. They are also great options when you can’t depend on the weather forecast.

Besides, windbreakers provide a little bit of protection against the rain, but they won’t keep you dry for long. Unlike most rain jackets, windbreakers don’t use coatings to provide you extra protection from the rain.


Whether you can use a windbreaker as a rain jacket or not entirely depends on the weather conditions. A windbreaker will be a fantastic choice in dry weather due to breathability and lightweight. But, if you’re going to hike in rainy weather, a rain jacket is a better option. So, we recommend you not use a windbreaker while hiking in the rainy season.

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