The men's Minimalist Gore-Tex PacLite Jacket is a well-rounded option for backpacking, mountaineering, climbing, or hiking. It blurs the line between a lightweight minimalist rain jacket and a do-everything 3-layer hardshell by combining moderately athletic fit and mobility-focused features with top-tier storm protection. It's a little heavier than some of the lighter rain jackets we've tested, but it's still fairly compact when rolled up and fits easily into its own hood to save space in your pack.
Marmot's newest version of the Minimalist includes some significant improvements over past models. The hood is easier to tighten and includes a substantial bill that provides exceptional coverage from driving rain. The chest pocket now has a zipper flap that closes with Velcro in the middle, and the cuffs are adjustable with a single drawcord. The fabric is now made with 100 percent recycled materials and uses a durable water repellent finish that's free of the harmful PFCs commonly used in waterproof coatings.
While it's not the lightest jacket we've tested, the Minimalist is a good choice for backpacking or travel because it packs down to a size that easily fits into its own hood and cinchable hemline. It's also more affordable than many other Gore-Tex shells. A comparable option is the Arc'teryx Zeta SL, which has upgraded Paclite Plus construction and weighs less at 10.9 ounces for a women's small, but it lacks pit zips and doesn't include a built-in stuff pocket.