Hiking in Best Rain Kilt for ultralight backpacking

Choose an Ultralight Rain Kilt For Hiking in Shorts & Trail Runners

Choose an ultralight rain kilt, rain skirt, or rain wrap because they are the lightest and most breathable way to stay dry from knees to waist. They synergize perfectly with shorts and trail runners, and are comfier and more effective than rain pants in moderate to warm climates. For the purposes of this buyer’s guide, we will use kilt, skirt, and wrap interchangeably.

Each featured rain kilt weighs less than three ounces, some less than two ounces. They are all made by reputable brands and have positive user reviews. We have not tested every model in this guide. Instead, these recommendations are grounded in a mixture of backcountry experience, meta-study, statistical comparison, user-review analysis, and brand reputation. We’ve studied the marketplace so you don’t have to.

Jump ahead to read our buyer’s advice. And while you’re here, don’t miss our guides to rain pants, rain jackets, hiking shorts, and trail running shorts.

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Best Rain Skirt For Hiking Quick Picks

Best Rain Wrap Comparison Table

Price ($) Weight (oz) Material Thickness Length (in) Size Range
Zpacks DCF 80 1.8 DCF 1.0 oz/sqyd 27 1S
Enlightened Equipment 50 1.9 Sil-Nylon 1.0 oz/sqyd* 26 S-L
Zpacks Vertice 80 2.4 Vertice WPB 1.5 oz/sqyd 27 1S
LightHeart Gear 55 2.5 Sil-Polyester 1.5 oz/sqyd* 25.5 XS-3X
Dutchware 37 2.5 Sil-Polyester 1.1 oz/sqyd 32 1S
ULA Equipment 40 2.8 Sil-Nylon 1.1 oz sq/yd 30 1S

*oz/sqyd fabric weight estimated when manufacturer provided denier stat instead.

Standing over a ridge

Ultralight Rain Kilt Reviews

ULA Equipment Ultralight Rain Kilt

ULA Equipment Rain Kilt

Choose the ULA Equipment Rain Kilt because it’s designed to last a thru-hike, is thru-hiker approved, and has a user-friendly and secure Velcro tab side opening system.

  • Price: $40
  • Weight: 2.8 oz
  • Material: Sil-Nylon 1.1 oz sq/yd
  • Length: 30″
  • Size Range: 1-size
  • Side Closure: Velcro Tabs
  • Pros: Full length. Good value. Thru-hiker approval. Velcro system is effective and reliable. 100% waterproof, doesn’t wet out.
  • Cons: Half oz heavier than avg.
Enlightened Equipment Rain Wrap

Enlightened Equipment Rain Wrap

Choose the Enlightened Equipment Rain Wrap because it is the second lightest weight, has the best and most statistically significant user review approval, a respectable size range, and all of that for an average price point.

  • Price: $50
  • Weight: 1.9 oz
  • Material: Sil Nylon, 15D
  • Length: 26″
  • Size Range: S,M,L
  • Side Closure: Snaps
  • Pros: Lighter than average. Size range available. Highly user rated. 100% waterproof, doesn’t wet out.
  • Cons: Shorter than average.
Zpacks DCF Rain Kilt

Zpacks DCF Rain Kilt

Choose the Zpacks DCF Rain Kilt because it’s the lightest weight model, and it’s made with the most durable fabric – 1 oz/sqyd Dyneema. Yes, the same burly fabric used in Zpacks DCF tent floors. But it’s also the most expensive, and its zipper is likely to be the first failure point.

  • Price: $80
  • Weight: 1.8 oz
  • Material: DCF, 1 oz/sqyd
  • Length: 27″
  • Size Range: 1-size
  • Side Closure: Zipper
  • Pros: Lightest weight. Most durable fabric. 100% waterproof, doesn’t wet out.
  • Cons: Expensive. Zipper likely to be first failure point.
Zpacks Vertice Rain Kilt

Zpacks Vertice Rain Kilt

Choose the Zpacks Vertice Rain Kilt because it’s the most breathable option, the best for warm climates. That’s because unlike every other model, it’s made with their hyper-breathable Vertice rain jacket fabric, instead of silicon impregnated tent fly material like all of the rest. That said, it’s also the least waterproof (because rain jacket fabric rather than tent fly), tied for the most expensive, is the least durable, and utilizes a zipper which is likely the first component to fail.

  • Price: $80
  • Weight: 2.4 oz
  • Material: Vertice waterproof breathable, 1.5 oz/sqyd
  • Length: 27″
  • Size Range: 1-size
  • Side Closure: Zipper
  • Pros: Most breathable. Only model w/ breathable fabric. Zipper is easy to use. Lightest weight.
  • Cons: Expensive. Zipper likely first component to fail. Least durable. Least waterproof.
Lightheart Gear

Lightheart Gear Rain Wrap Ultralight Rain Skirt

Choose the Lightheart Gear Rain Wrap because you want the most customized fit and movement friendly chassis. Most rain skirts are one-size-fits-all, and this one is available in seven unique sizes, ranging as low as XS and as high as 3X. The wrap around side closure is least likely to restrict your movement, doubly so because it’s also the shortest skirt (in size medium). Beyond that, it’s stats and price are fairly average.

  • Price: $55
  • Weight: 2.5 oz
  • Material: Sil-Polyester, 1.5 oz sq/yd
  • Length: 25.5″
  • Size Range: XS-3XL
  • Side Closure: Overlapping fabric
  • Pros: Best size range. Most movement friendly & comfortable to hike in. 100% waterproof, doesn’t wet out.
  • Cons: Shortest inseam length. Least secure side opening.
Dutchware Rain Skirt

Dutchware Rain Skirt

For the longest Rain Skirt choose Dutchware. At 32″ in length, it’s roughly 5″ longer than average, draping to mid-calf, rather than slightly below the knee. It’s also available in tons of colorways, and is the least expensive kilt in our round-up. Average weight.

  • Price: $37
  • Weight: 2.5 oz
  • Material: Sil-Polyester, 1.1 oz/sqyd
  • Length: 32″
  • Size Range: 1-size
  • Side Closure: Hook & Loop
  • Pros: Longest model offers most protection. Most colorways. Great value.
  • Cons: Longer length is least movement friendly.
a waterproof wrap draped from a branch

Pair a Rain Kilt With Shorts & Trail Running Shoes

If you’d like to use a rain kilt, you must wear it with shorts and trail runners. There are tons of reasons to do so. First off, there’s no point to wear a rain skirt over pants, because your lower legs will get wet as the rain is absorbed and wicked upwards. Furthermore, there also no point to wear a rain kilt over boots, since the ankle opening of your boot will not be protected by pooling pants hems, and inevitably water will drip in. Lastly, there’s the fact that shorts and kilts are both best suited to being warn in warm or moderate environments, when breathability is more important that warmth.

all packed up for scale

Rain Pants vs Rain Kilt

Compare these kilts to our favorite ultralight rain pants.

Rain Pants

  • Pro: Warmer, performs better in high wind
  • Pro: Fabric itself is usually more breathable
  • Pro: More “normal” looking
  • Con: Uncomfortable directly against skin when paired with shorts
  • Con: More expensive
  • Con: Heavier, higher volume when packed
  • Con: Fabric is less waterproof
  • Con: Less breathable overall

Rain Kilts

  • Pro: More breathable overall
  • Pro: Lighter weight, lower volume when packed
  • Pro: Made with 100% waterproof fabric
  • Pro: More affordable
  • Pro: can be worn high, preventing jacket/pants gap
  • Con: Does not protect lower legs, cannot be effectively worn with pants
  • Con: Less “normal” looking
  • Con: Not as good for cold windy environments

a skirt fully unwrapped from the side

Conclusion To The Best Rain Kilt

Thank you for reading our guide to choosing the best ultralight rain kilt, rain skirt, or rain wrap – whichever name you call it by. Here we hope you found your next favorite piece of rainwear. Happy hiking and please drop us a line in the comments if you think we’ve missed your favorite kilt!

hiking on a trail in a kilt
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