REI is a leading outdoor retailer known for its high-quality and innovative rainwear. Their much-loved XeroDry line of jackets and pants have been updated in 2023 with the new Gore-Tex Titanium Paclite platform for best-in-class waterproof protection and sustainability. This features 100% recycled poly face fabric and a PFC-Free durable water repellent (DWR) finish.
REI Co-op XeroDry GTX At-a-Glance
Pockets: Three total (two hip, one chest)
Pockets: Two zippered hand pockets
Circumstances of Review
Here in the beautiful state of Maine, the late spring and early summer brought record-breaking amounts of rain, creating the perfect opportunity to put rain gear to the test! I decided to wear this rain gear set on multiple drizzly day hikes to gauge their performance, exploring places like Gulf Hagas and Baxter State Park.
REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Features
- Angel wing yoke/sleeve construction for ease of movement.
- Fully adjustable hood.
- Zippered hand and chest pockets are mesh-lined to double as core vents.
- Shaped cuffs with rip & stick adjustability.
- Hem drawcord to fine-tune fit and keep out weather.
- Elastic waistband with drawcord allows for ease of movement, all-
day comfort, and on-the-fly adjustment.
- Zippered hand pockets (pants packs into left-hand pocket).
- Articulated knees.
- Ankle zips with hem adjustment system for easy on/off and tightening down over boots.
- Boot hook to keep the pants in place when bushwhacking.
REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Pros
Features: The XeroDry jacket and pants stand out by offering an array of features not typically found in mid-range rainwear. The jacket offers various adjustment options for the hood, waistband, and cuffs, ensuring a customized fit. There is also space to layer underneath. Though pit zips are absent, the jacket compensates with two hand pockets and a chest pocket backed with mesh for added ventilation.
As for the pants, in addition to vented hand pockets and an elastic waistband, they boast an ankle cinch and lace clip, providing a secure leg fit during bushwhacks, ensuring everything stays in place.
Price point: The XeroDry jacket and pants go above and beyond in terms of value. They offer the performance and features usually associated with high-end rainwear, all without the hefty price tag. For most hikers, this makes them a practical and cost-effective choice.
What’s even better is that with these items (and most others sold at REI), you get the added benefit of their bomber warranty. This includes generous returns, repairs, and exchanges if anything goes wrong – a rare find at this price point. This added peace of mind makes the XeroDry set an even more appealing option for those on the fence.
Recycled fabric: Where practicable, XeroDry products are made with 100% recycled polyester, which keeps useful material out of the landfill.
PFC-free DWR: PFC’s are bad news, and the outdoor industry has gradually stepped back from these long-lasting, “forever” chemicals. First, long-chain PFC’s disappeared, and now even their short-chain brethren are falling by the wayside. The PFC-free DWR used on the XeroDry is the next step in improving the environmental impact of water-resistant technology.
READ NEXT — Best Rain Jackets for Thru-Hiking
REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Cons
Baggy fit: The XeroDry GTX jacket and pants, like most of REI-brand apparel, both have generous sizing, offering a baggy fit that allows for layering when needed. While this can be beneficial in certain situations, the excess fabric is far from streamlined and can become cumbersome while hiking.
The loose fit of the pants, in particular, is a concern as they billow excessively below the knee, potentially catching on branches or obstacles. While the jacket’s roominess is manageable, the pants just felt like they were constructed with more fabric than necessary, even when pulled over hiking pants.
PFC-free DWR: Ever find yourself thinking that your rain gear isn’t as waterproof as it used to be? Wasn’t that old jacket that you used for years a decade ago better? Well, the truth is that PFC-free DWR, while better for the environment and our health, is less durable than the toxic stuff that we used to wear. That means that we all need to take better care of our gear, and reapply DWR finish more frequently than before. This is a price worth paying, but it’s still frustrating.
Waterproofing durability: It’s easy to bag on DWR finishes and waterproof technology in general. Each has inherent limitations as engineers attempt to strike the perfect balance between breathability and full waterproofing. As hikers and consumers, it’s easy to fall victim to bold marketing claims about breathability, and the truth is that no rain gear is as breathable as we want it to be. That’s a fact.
As mentioned above, the DWR coating on waterproof/breathable fabrics like Gore-Tex will wear off, leading to “wetting out” where the face material absorbs water instead of repelling it. This diminishes breathability so you get that nasty clammy feeling.
With the XeroDry jacket and pants both using 2-layer waterproof technology and offered at a relatively low cost, I do not expect the DWR finish to last very long before requiring re-treatment. The name-brand Gore-Tex waterproofing is top-notch, but that doesn’t do a lot of good if the jacket wets out. It’ll take some effort to keep this DWR functional. Indeed, I noticed the fabric beginning to wet out after a long day of sustained rain while hiking around Mount Katahdin, confirming my suspicions. In fairness, this is a tough test for any rain gear.
The XeroDry jacket and pants undoubtedly provide exceptional value, holding their ground against high-end rainwear with their impressive performance and features. The DWR has its limitations, but the overall protection is quite good, all while remaining budget-friendly.
For hikers seeking top-notch functionality without breaking the bank, this combination is a smart and practical choice. REI’s careful design in both the jacket and pants showcases their commitment to continuously improving the sustainability of their products their rainwear options without compromising on performance.
While the XeroDry set may not be the absolute lightest option available, nor the most flattering, it excels in striking a balance between quality and affordability. This makes it an enticing choice for those prioritizing reliable rain protection and durability throughout the year.
For my own outdoor adventures, I intend to continue using XeroDry for day hikes and everyday excursions around town, where weight and absolute waterproofness are not critical factors.
Comparable Rain Shells
Weight: 14.1 oz
Material: 3-layer H2No
Weight: 6.3 ounces
Material: 2.5-layer Pertex Shield Diamond Fuse
Read our review of the Helium Rain Jacket and Pants here.
Weight: 13.9 oz
Material: 3-layer Gore-tex
Weight: 9 oz
Material: 2.5-layer BD.dry
The REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Rain Jacket and Pants were donated for the purpose of review.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek’s ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.