Five years ago when I started biking to school I decided I had better invest in a rain jacket. Initially I got the cheapest one at MEC - the Lightweight Rain Jacket. After a few bikes trips I soon found that I was still wet from the condensation building up on the inside! This jacket would be good for walking but as soon as you start hiking or biking the jacket becomes pointless! I quickly upgraded to the Hydrofoil 3 Jacket (the cheapest waterproof breathable jacket MEC offers) and was extremely happy with the difference. Although there is still some condensation build up it’s manageable and not even noticeable if you’re wearing a long sleeved layer. This jacket is very lightweight and unlined so it’s easily stuffable into a daypack. I wear this jacket almost constantly in spring and fall and on rainy days in summer. This jacket is by far one of my favourite gear purchases. After 5 years of heavy use the waterproofing is starting to peel however I would gladly replace it with the exact same one!
For my Eurotrip I’ll be pairing this jacket with a lightweight down layer in the form of the Patagonia Down Sweater:
The great thing about down is it compacts into a very small space. This jacket in particular is great because of the large zipper pocket inside the front flap which the jacket folds into and becomes a little pillow. They even put a little loop on the inside of the pocket so you can hang your pocket-pillow off your bag. On top of it the jacket is made from recycled material - it blows my mind how much thought they put into making this.
I tried the hydro-foil/down sweater combination out on my 4 hour hike and they performed perfectly. I could even fit them in my 17L bag with room to spare for water and lunch when I got too hot.