Raincoats for big guys are hard to find. Not a lot of manufacturers make XXL raincoats that are comfortable and lightweight enough for hiking or camping in. This last winter I needed to pick up a new raincoat because someone had stolen my last one and I’m in the PNW. It rains here, it rains here a lot. So I went shopping, did some hiking, and now that I’ve had all winter to give it a good try out, and here is my review of my XXL XeroDry GTX rain jacket.
The trick in finding any outdoor gear is that I’m a big guy. At 6’4″ I’ve got a 51″ chest and long arms so most raincoats, even most XL or XXL ones are a bit on the small size. After some looking online and not finding anything that looked like it would fit, and that wasn’t stupid expensive, I finally relented to venture into Seattle to the REI flagship store. If any outdoor store is going to have plus-size rain gear to try on, it will be that location. Even then their selection is a touch on the sparse side, but that is an ongoing problem with finding outdoor gear as a big guy, no one builds things for us. If you’ve read my post on finding ultralight camp chairs for big guys, you know the struggle.
Luckily, the day I was there, they had a few options for me for XXL raincoats. Beyond size, my next two concerns were breathability and price. My preference was for a Gortex jacket, under $200 and finally, I settled on an REI XXL XeroDry GTX.
Starting with fit, my experience is that it is amply roomy for a big guy to wear. I’ve worn it over t-shirts and sweaters, and the fit is still comfortable. I don’t find that it binds up or pulls like some jackets do when you are moving or reaching for something. It has a hip-length build and I find that it covers amply for walking in the drizzle or light rain. The hood is a good balance of being roomy, but without being so large as to get in the way when you have it up.
Venting is achieved via core vents in the side pockets, and I’ve never gotten that steamy feeling in it, unlike some other jackets. There is a lot of debate on whether core vents or pit zip vents are better, but I find that the pocket vents on this jacket are more than sufficient.
On the subject of pockets, this jacket has two zippered side pockets as well as a weather protected exterior chest pocket. As mentioned, the side pockets function as the vents for this jacket, and the chest pocket is roomy and is easily large enough for a big phone.
I don’t believe that I’ve had to fully button this jacket down yet, but if you really need to seal it up, there is a drawstring on the hood that will pull it down around your face, velcro closures on the wrists, and a drawstring at the bottom. The main zipper is taped, and I have yet to have any water get through this jacket at any point. In addition to being nylon and Gortex, it has a Durable water repellent (DWR) finish that does a great job at shedding water. Before next season, I’ll check to see if I need to renew the DWR finish just to be sure it is ready for another season of rain.
One thing I would say is that this is considered a midweight rain jacket. To me, the 20-denier ripstop nylon shell fabric is durable enough for hiking and camping. This would be considered a 3-season jacket, and more than fitting for most of the weather here on the coast. If you are going to go play in more severe weather, you will be hard-pressed to find one under $200. If you really want to go hardcore, you can grab an Arc’teryx Alpha SV that is damn near bulletproof but get ready to have some sticker shock. On the plus side though, this jacket is very light, coming in at 12 oz and rolls up to about the size of a water bottle, so it isn’t bulky in your daypack.
One thing to keep in mind is that being as thin and light as it is, it will keep you dry and stop the wind, but you will want to layer up as it won’t keep you warm. That though is inherent to any lightweight rain jacket.
XeroDry GTX Specs from REI
- GORE-TEX® Paclite® gives you a windproof, waterproof and extremely breathable shell that’s lightweight and easy to pack
- Durable water repellent (DWR) finish sheds drizzle
- Articulation throughout for ease of movement
- Zippered hipbelt-compatible hand pockets and convenient chest pocket keep essentials secure
- Pockets are mesh lined to double as core vents
- 2-point adjustable hood lets you fine-tune the fit and allows for improved vision
- Hook-and-loop adjustable cuffs and hem drawcord seal out the elements
XeroDry GTX Review Video
Final Review of the XXL XeroDry GTX rain jacket
I can say that this jacket more than meets my expectations for a rain jacket for dealing with the rain and drizzle that I encounter here on the coast. As plus-size raincoats go, I can certify that this jacket won’t disappoint. If I was going to purchase it again, knowing what I know now, I might try the XXL Tall Xerodry GTX, but I’m perfectly satisfied with this jacket as it is.
If you are a big guy like me and need a new rain jacket that will actually keep you dry and won’t break the bank, this is a great option!