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Zpacksô  Challenger Ultralight Rain Jacket
Made from Waterproof-Breathable Cuben Fiber - eVent material.


This item is temporarily out of stock pending the arrival of new material. ETA February 2017.

This is the third generation of our Waterproof Breathable Cuben Fiber Rain Jacket. We have dubbed it the "Challenger Jacket" after our 2014 Great Outdoor Challenge test hike. In our testing the strength, waterproofness, and breathability have all proved to be very good. The jackets are breathable enough to sleep in or hike in if it is cold out without getting clammy, and the durability can handle typical trail wear and tear.


Constructed from 1.62 oz/sqyd Waterproof Breathable Cuben Fiber material! The material is a three layer laminate consisting of an eVent membrane on the inside, Dyneema fibers in the center, and a thin layer of nylon on the outside. It is thick enough to withstand light brush and abrasion from your backpack, while still being among the lightest possible choices for WPB rain gear.

  • The eVent Membrane provides industry leading water vapor transfer. The jackets are completely waterproof, while still being breathable enough to sleep in or hike in if it is cold out without getting clammy. On a warm day you will still sweat just like you would in any jacket if it is too hot, but this is about as comfortable as you can get. Armpit zippers are an available option for additional venting in warmer weather.
  • Dyneema fibers provide extremely high tear strength and rip-stop qualities.
  • A thin layer of Nylon on the outside gives the jacket abrasion resistance and allows the fabric to by dyed a nice solid color. The nylon has a durable water repellent (DWR) applied to it to prevent water absorption.
  • As with all Cuben Fiber material, repair tape sticks extremely well so repairs in the field are a cinch.


  • Full length water proof front zipper.
  • Adjustable elastic at the waist, cuffs, and hood.
  • Fitted Hood with stiffened visor keeps water off your face. A small strap on the back of the hood allows you to make vertical adjustment to keep the visor out of your eyes.
  • The hood is not specifically designed for a helmet, but it is a decent fit over a Climbing, Skiing / Snowboarding, or Cycling helmet. When the hood is worn over a helmet (photo) it can only zip up to chin level rather than up to your nose.
  • Bonded seams! No seam sealing necessary.
  • Packs up a little bit smaller than a soda can. Roll the jacket up and secure it with the waist elastic. No stuff sack necessary.
  • Combine this jacket with a Rain Kilt or a pair of matching Pants and Mitts for a super light rain suit!
  • A chest pocket with a waterproof zipper is standard. The pocket is positioned just below where your sternum strap sits, so that you can easily access the pocket while wearing a backpack. The pocket is roughly 8 inches wide by 9.5 inches tall. It is the perfect spot to store your rain mitts, phone/GPS, maps, or a snack.
  • The back of the hood has a strap for vertical adjustment. This allows you to pull the brim up out of your eyes if you have a smaller head. The same strap can also be used to roll up the hood and tuck it away if you aren't wearing it.
  • Waterproof Armpit Zippers are Optional. They aid in venting when it gets hot, but they may not be necessary for everyone. They add $15 and .4 ounces (11 grams).
  • 1 year warranty against defects in materials or workmanship on all Zpacks gear.
These photos are BLACK color.
Click for larger photos

Blue shown below.
Click for larger photos
Sizing Chart:
Size: Small Medium Large Extra-Large
5.1 oz (145 g) 5.5 oz (156 g) 5.8 oz (165 g) 6.3 oz (179 g)
Fits Chest Girth: Fits up to
36" (91 cm)
Fits up to
38" (97 cm)
Fits up to
42" (107 cm)
Fits up to
46" (117 cm)
Actual Chest Girth: 40" (101 cm) 42" (107 cm) 46" (117 cm) 50" (127 cm)
Actual Bottom Hem Girth: 40" (101 cm) 42" (107 cm) 46" (117 cm) 48" (122 cm)
Zipper Length:
(nose to hem)
30" (76 cm) 32" (81 cm) 32" (81 cm) 32" (81 cm)
Sleeve Length:
(back center of neck to cuff)
35" (89 cm) 37" (94 cm) 37" (94 cm) 39" (99 cm)
$275 $275 $275 $275


My chest is about 37" around. I am comfortable in a size Medium jacket which is about 42" actual chest girth. Measure your chest using a string or cloth tape measure. Add at least 4-5" for wiggle room and layering. It generally doesn't hurt for a rain jacket to be baggy if you have to choose.

The jackets are straight cut (like Men's jackets) and do not flair out at the hips. They are fine for women, but make sure your hips will fit the bottom hem girth, or size up.

The length of the standard jacket zipper is 32" (81 cm). The zipper zips up to just below your nose. Stand up straight and measure from the bottom of your nose down to see how long the jacket will hang.

There is also an option to upgrade to a 40" two-way zipper that comes down almost to knee level.

The Sleeve Length is measured from the back center of the neck to the cuff. They are generously sized. Compare against a jacket you own if in doubt.


Machine washable. Line dry only. Do not dry any Cuben Fiber Gear on high heat or it may shrink or delaminate.


This item is temporarily out of stock pending the arrival of new material. ETA February 2017.

Clothing items are made to order and are currently shipping in about one week. If you need your gear by a certain date please email us after you order and we will schedule accordingly if possible.

Our remaining stock of new Challenger Rain Jackets and Pants are available in our Bargain Bin!

Challenger Rain Jacket - $275
Armpit Zippers +.4 ounces (11 grams)
This option adds waterproof zippers under the arms. They aid in venting when it gets hot, but they may not be necessary for everyone.
Armpit Zippers - $15

40" (101 cm) Two-Way Jacket Zipper +1.5 ounces (42 grams)

This option extends the length of the jacket zipper to 40 inches. Measure from just below your nose down. It hangs to just above the knees on an average height person, or mid-thigh on a taller person. This is a good option for those who hike in running shorts and want to skip rain pants in the summer months. The two-way zipper is a larger #5 size zipper. It opens from both the top and the bottom for venting and to allow a longer stride.
40" Two-Way Zipper - $20
 Our original Cuben Fiber rain jackets were white in color. We have now switched over to a new version of the waterproof-breathable material with a thin layer of nylon on the outside. The nylon gives it a nice solid color, and better abrasion protection.
 In May 2014 Joe Valesko, Matt Favero, and Steve Kaiser tested the new rain gear on The Great Outdoor Challenge, a 200 mile cross-country trek through the Highlands of Scotland. We wore our rain gear almost every day, either for rain, or for wind protection and warmth on the cool sunny days. (Trip Photos).
 The rain suits kept us completely dry from pouring rain, and they were comfortable enough to hike in on cold days without becoming clammy. The material allows water vapor to escape well enough that the jackets can be hiked in on cold mornings, or slept in on cold nights. The material really cuts the wind and makes a big difference in warmth when fighting driving wind on a mountain ascent.
 The abrasion resistance is much improved. Unlike the previous generation of material we didn't have any wear under our shoulder straps or from our backpacks rubbing against our backs.

From left to right:
Matt, Steve, and Joe during a windy ascent of Ben Macdui, Scotland's second highest peak.


Reviews and Customer Testimonials:

Please email us with feedback (good or bad) if you have any!

Will "Redbeard" Wood discusses the features of his rain suit in this
Challenger Rain Jacket Review Video.
Fellbound discusses the merits of his Arc Blast Backpack and his Challenger Rain Jacket in this Challenger Rain Jacket Review.
"Iíve used the pants for a year and they have officially replaced all other rain pants in my kit. Iíve worn the jacket for just a few trips in 2014 so far, and I foresee the same future for my other rain jackets. Iíve experienced their effective breathability and comfortable next-to-skin feel (e.g., when worn over shorts or a short-sleeved shirt); I love the fit, finish, and manufacturing quality of the garments; and have been impressed by their waterproofness and durability when bushwhacking, sitting in a pack raft all day, and sitting and kneeling on wet ground."
-Ryan Jordan, Review
"I bought your stuff sacks, food storage bags, and a long length rain jacket. All of them got a thorough workout during the trips and all of them performed much better than expected. I used the rain jacket both for rain protection and for a mosquito protection layer, and it was great, much better than the Marmot Precip jacket it replaced and much lighter." -Barry W.
"We're now in Abisko on our Scandinavian hike. So far its been 3 months and I just wanted to let you know how the gear is holding up. The rain gear is truly the best I've ever had. By far! It's wearing astoundingly well, performing much better than some of my other gear." -Henrik W.
"I just wanted to say that the jacket is absolutely awesome - I own so many shells that it is embarrassing and this thing is one of the coolest pieces of gear I have ever owned, I just love it." -John S.
"I ordered the full rain suit for my 500 mile Peak Races run. 9 days, 5 hours, 15 minutes. Running up and down a mountain that is equivalent to doing Mt. Everest 4 1/2 times. I am now only one of four people in history to have ever complete this race. The rain gear worked perfectly. We had down pouring the first few days and nights. It kept me dry and warm and prevented hypothermia during the night. The jacket stayed in my pack when I didn't need it, and it added almost no weight at all, nor took up any space. Thanks again for the superb gear!" -Nick B.
"Just completed our 5 day trek of the Bailey Range in Olympic National Park, Wa. Your Challenger jacket, pants, and mittens were thoroughly tested. Through the clouds, fog, rain, and wet vegetation I stayed drier than I expected. Very happy." -Mike M.
"I had a 4 days hike this weekend. The weather turned a little worse than I had expected, but at least I got to test the equipment in strong wind and rain. After walking against the wind in heavy rain for a full day I was amazed how good the challenger rain jacket performed." -OddbjÝrn M.
"Just wanted to say thanks for yet another great product, the challenger rain jacket. Just got back from 2 weeks in Patagonia and it held up to all four seasons like a champ." -Matt B.
"After having used this latest version of the Zpacks Rain Jacket, I have sold all of my previous versions. This really is a rain jacket worth buying."
Challenger Jacket Review by John Abela of
"I hiked through monsoon rains and hail on the JMT with your Solplex tent and Rain Suit in 2014. The rain jacket and pants were perfect for keeping me dry and warm both in camp and on the trail. They doubled as windy weather gear on passes and around camp. The new black finish wore well. After the JMT, my tent, rain suit and I hiked the Wonderland trail too. I couldn't be more pleased with the performance and quality of the gear ordered from you. Thank you!" -Cindy L.
I used the jacket on a stop and start drizzly day, the humidity must have been very high. As the dayís weather was so unpredictable I left the jacket on until I returned to my car. I was able to regulate my heat by unzipping the main zip and zipping up again when the cloud and mist got heavier. I was delighted with the small amount of perspiration I found on the inside of the jacket while I was taking it off. Iím very pleased with the performance of the jacket, the only negative comment is I have difficulty getting the 40" main zip started, unless itís perfectly aligned. Thanks!" -Michael B.
"The challenger jacket performed wonderfully in Washington's Cascade for nine days, eight of which were of consistent rain. The material let ZERO water through and the pit zips and front zipper adjustments prevented me from sweating. Thanks for making quality gear!" -Ken D.
"Thank you for helping me to choose the correct size. The Challenger rain jacket fit me perfectly over my fleece and other layers, and it kept me dry and warm during the rainy hikes in Nepal. I'd highly recommend the Challenger to my eco tour clients. My next purchase will be the Rain Pants." -Tim T.
"I used my Zpacks rain jacket for the first time during a long climbing route and It worked great. This season is so stormy in Spain it is hard to choose whether to bring your jacket or not during the climb. The Zpacks jacket is very light and so small that I can pack it inside my shoes attached to the harness during the climb! That is great!" -Hilo M.
"I wore my rain suite a lot on the last 800 miles of my CDT hike. Some light showers and some very heavy downpours in thunderstorms along the Montana Idaho border and again in
Glacier. Pants and jacket couldn't have performed better. They kept me dry and breathed very well for waterproof rain gear. I was glad for the pit zips when I had to hike uphill in warm rainy weather. The pants show the most sign of wear, but I had them on often to keep me dry from wet vegetation encroaching on the trail. After around 800 miles, both the pants and jacket are still good to go for more use. Best of all...I didn't have to suffer through carrying heavy rain gear when it wasn't raining. They are permanently a part of my base weight. The mitts worked well too in the heavy rain." -Chuck S.
"I want to say that I got to finally put my Zpacks rain suit to a real test this weekend when I had to hike all day sat and sat night in a downpour. The suit worked perfectly and kept me dry, and even held up to some thorny bushes and off trail exploring. Up to this point, it has seen only a drizzle here and there but this was truly a test worth writing about, so thank you for the quality and thoughtfulness of your gear!" -Justin C.
"I love your stuff! I used the rain coat, pants, and gaiters on a 500+ mile walk this summer and they were effective and so easy to store and carry." -Victoria H.
"I just wanted to thank you for making such quality products. My Challenger rain gear was put to the test when I hit three straight days of rain, sleet, and snow on the Tour Du Mont Blanc in the beginning of July. Your rain gear kept me dry and warm while hiking, which was no surprise to me. What did surprise me was how it kept others envious. When I arrived at the refuges (after hiking for 6-8 hours in the wet weather) while we would cram into the entry way with other hikers to take off wet shoes, jacket, and pants I would over hear the all too common complaining (in 3 different languages) about how worthless their rain gear was. All the other hikers were wearing expensive major brand rain gear that wetted out half way through the day and left them soaked and pruney. Others would notice that I had managed to stay dry and comfortable and began interrogating me about my rain gear. Im sure you don't mind that I passed along your information. Thanks to you over those 3 days I quickly became know as "the tall american with the good rain proofs"." -James B.