Before My LightHeart Rain Jacket
The lighthearted Rain Jacket Review reflects my journey to silnylon. I’ve decided that when hiking hard, in cold or warm weather, there is no “breathable.” When I work hard and sweat, that moisture stays right on my skin – unless the jacket material is capable of sucking it away! Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find that jacket.
I’ve used expensive “breathable” jackets from companies like Marmot, Arcteryx, Patagonia, etc., and I’ve yet to find one where I’m not soaked after strenuous hiking or climbing. Even with pit zips and temperature regulation, truly breathable is tough to find. A few have provided some measure of breathability, but at the end of the day, zippers have proven the most effective means of regulating temperature for me.
The higher-end jackets are also expensive. Not only do I end up not staying very dry if I don’t regulate my activity closely, but the treatments and coatings ultimately wear off. I have a closet full of $200-400 dollar rain jackets that appear in good shape, but the layer is worn, and they are no longer waterproof. I’ve tried “retreating” a couple of them but never ended up with the same quality of “waterproofness.”
After ten years, I began looking at less expensive silnylon again and finally settled on the LightHeart Rain Jacket.
Table of contents
lighthearted Jacket Decision
After many reviews and reading, I took an essential silnylon jacket with me on my Colorado Trail hike. The only requirements I had when looking for a coat were the following:
- pit zips
- deep hood
- loose fit
I checked several manufacturers, scoured numerous reviews, and finally settled on the LightHeart rain jacket, size XL, color – Cranberry.
One note on finding trusted gear reviews is that it is sometimes tough to find reviews that are “real,” meaning the reviewer has tried using the gear. I’m sure many reviewers order items and look at them, but I like reviews that are not in a “10 Best” list and provide the good, the bad, and the ugly. I also have attention deficit disorder and don’t want to read a 10-page review on a sleeping bag. So I read the specs, looked at field user comments, if any, and ordered.
Two sites are my go-to when looking for new gear (Other than my own, of course…:-). These are SectionHiker (which I mentioned above) and OutdoorGearLab. I know both these sites and authors have extensive gear experience, and I will get a solid review based on use and experience.
lighthearted Rain Jacket Manufacturer
Lighthearted is a small entrepreneur/manufacturer located in North Carolina. I always like to support the “little guys,” and watching these companies grow over the years has been interesting. Lighthearted first came on the scene with handmade tents, mostly seen on the Appalachian Trail, and they now offer rain apparel, jackets, poles, stuff sacks, etc.
Lighthearted Jacket First Impressions
I received the LightHeart jacket last week and was pleased with the quality. It met all of my requirements and was well made. The hood was nice and deep for my large head, with a brim to keep out the rain. However, it aggravates when the light jackets cinch up around my face. I feel like I’m hiking in a large sausage casing.
I appreciated the long pit zips that were easy to reach and use. They are like really long side zips.
The only pause for me was the two pockets outside the jacket, with no zippers. I use hiking poles, so I don’t put my hands in my pockets much. I also won’t be able to put my snacks in them since they don’t close, but I do like that they are nice and deep.
There are two waterproof pockets inside the jacket, which is nice. I can put maps, phones, etc., in these.
I swim in the XL a bit, but I like looser rain jackets. They always bunch up under my pack, and I don’t want to feel constricted when I’m hiking. I also like a rain jacket that can easily fit over several layers in colder weather. The added benefit of this one is that it is so long that it may even cover my shorts!
I’m looking forward to trying out the jacket. My favorite thing about it was the small tag that clearly stated it was “NOT BREATHABLE!” They were honest.
lighthearted Rain Jacket Post-Hike Review
The hike on the Colorado Trail lasted two weeks. During this time, I used the jacket three times. The first time I used the LightHeart rain jacket was during downpours that lasted about 3 hours. The second and third times I used the coat were during wet, rainy days with intermittent showers. In all instances, the jacket performed well.
lighthearted Rain Jacket Size
I purchased the rain jacket anticipating a snugger fit, much like my jackets of the past. Unfortunately, that was not the case. If anything, the rain jacket runs a little on the larger size. My coat was enormous on me, but this was not a problem. I would rather the jacket be too oversized than too small. If ordering again, though, I would probably call the Large.
LightHeart Rain Jacket Performance
The LightHeart Rain Jacket kept me dry. The long armpit zips made it easy to regulate the jacket’s temperature, and I could unzip them as I hiked. The jacket was comfortable and also kept me warm on chilly mornings. Other than the large size, the performance was as expected.
LightHeart Rain Jacket Pockets
In my original assessment of the jacket, I mentioned my disappointment in not having zippers on the pockets. These were unnecessary on the hike. I kept my electronics and map in the inside pocket, where they were dry. The outside pockets were unnecessary for me since I use hiking poles. So not having zippers was not an issue.
LightHeart Rain Jacket Review Summary
My experience with the LightHeart Rain Jacket was excellent, and I recommend this product. It is reasonably priced and well-made. I would look at this jacket for your next hike, especially considering the price.
Have you thru hiked the AT yet? firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes…about 14 years ago. I’m fortunate enough now that I live close and can hike days and sections. My last long section was from Katahdin down to High Point in NJ. I love hiking on the AT when I can.
Nice review! I used this jacket on my pct hike and loved it. I did have the jacket made with an additional 3 inches in the sleeves and body and that modification worked great.
Hi Rick – thanks for checking out the site. It has been a great jacket for me also.
Thanks for the review…also read some detail on the other review sites mentioned. My only potential issue is that it seems the jacket is rated at only 3000 mm.HH, if my abbreviations are correct for the waterproof measurement. This is
on the low end of the scale for being waterproof. Any input on this?
Also, what about the new sil-poly vs. sil-nylon option?
I’ve not actually tried a silpoly jacket, but there are a few cottage makers that I’ve heard good things about. I’ll move them up the list to check out.
You are correct, the Lightheart is currently rated at >3,000. What people consider “waterproof” sometimes varies by the source. Many people I know consider anything less than 5000 mm not completely waterproof, while others will tell you that jackets over 2,000 mm are waterproof. Still other sources I’ve seen will state > 10,000 is waterproof. In the case of the Lightheart jacket, I’ve worn it in some pretty serious downpours and not had any issues. I think this is probably also attributed to the silicone coating on the outside AND the polyurethane coating on the inside.
I’m considering this jacket and wondering about size. I would normally get an XL, but you said they size them big. I’m 6’0″, 200 lbs. How does this compare to you and your experience with the XL?
Hi – I bought an earlier version of the jacket (silnylon), and the XL ran big. I am 5’11 and 185 and definitely should have gotten the Large.