Waterproof Jackets: 3 of the best

Rain and wind are very rarely high on a cyclists list of “favourite conditions to ride in”, but there will always come a day when the heavens open and you find yourself pedalling through it. The best thing you can do is kit up and ride through the storm – so here’s our run down of 3 of the best waterproof jackets:

The ‘put it over your clothes commuter jacket’:

dhb Commuter Waterproof Cycle Jacket – £55.99 (RRP £69.99, save 20%)

The dhb commuter jacket

The dhb commuter jacket

The dhb commuter is specifically designed, as the name suggests, for riding from A to B. Should rain be on the forecast, reviews suggest it will shine.

The jacket has received an average rating of 4.2/5 from Wiggle’s 68 customer reviews, so it’s had good feedback with 4/5 or more on quality, value, performance, appearance and fit.

The own brand design from Wiggle puts a focus on visibility and protection from the elements, with large reflective panels on the sleeves, torso and rear to help ensure you’re seen on the road.

The fit gives a little more room than more race orientated clothing, meaning it’s a comfortable option to wear over a mid layer if you’re making a short journey and popping it over your normal clothing, but not designed for anyone with aerodynamics high on their priority list.

An elasticated hem, silicone gripper and adjustable cuffs will keep rain water from sullying your civvies, as you can adjust the jacket to fit you, whilst ventilation panels mean you shouldn’t be sweltering either.

This one is medium weight, so not designed for the depths of winter unless teamed with a toasty warming mid layer, and it’s not a packable version so you won’t be able to pop it into a jersey pocket.

The ‘packable waterproof layer’

Castelli Squadra Long Waterproof Jacket – £40

The Castelli Squadra jacket

The Castelli Squadra jacket

This layer is great for popping into a jersey pocket or stuffing into a tiny space still available in your backpack or pannier.

If there is a chance of rain, but you don’t want to wear an extra bulky jacket on the ‘off chance’, this is a transportable barrier that will protect you from the worst if it does pour.

The back of the jacket is long to protect you from road spray, and this one comes in black, white and yellow.

One road cycling customer reviewer from Somerset said: “Packs down to fit in back pocket. Have used for several sportives. It has no wicking properties but has vents so you don’t get too hot but still stay dry. Perfect for changeable weather conditions when you don’t want to wear a heavier breathable jacket.”

This is a jacket that gives you options, and will fit into your luggage conveniently, but it isn’t designed to keep you bone dry or warm.

The big spend

Gore Bike Wear Power Gore-Tex Active Shell – £157.49 (RRP £174.99, save 10%)

Gore Bike Wear Power Active Jacket

Gore Bike Wear Power Active Jacket

This jacket is more of an investment than a ‘quick buy’ because you got wet on the way to work. However, Gore Bike Wear are renowned for making excellent all weather kit, and introduced Gore-Tex and Windstopper materials that have since been adopted by many other brands, so they know what they’re doing.

The Active Jacket is a tighter fit than more commuter focused jackets, so it will go over a base layer and won’t flap in the wind. A slim fit will keep the cold air from circulating around your body and feel snug on blustery days. Breathability is important, as is wicking, and Gore have catered for riders who are expecting to get hot and bothered with components designed for optimised sweat management.

Reflective sleeves and rear pocket decals mean that visibility is considered, and the blue, red and black versions of this garment have yellow markings and a yellow zip.

A clever ‘Loksak’ waterproof plastic pocket is included, and deisgned to hold a mobile phone or other device which you want to keep dry, meaning you can be safe in the knowledge your phone is safe and dry, as well as nearby.

Do you have a favourite waterproof that has served you well over the years? We’d love to hear about your waterproof joys and woes. If you are struggling with the rain, we talked about some of the best wet weather kit here and posted some handy wet weather riding tips here.

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16 Responses to Waterproof Jackets: 3 of the best

  1. Andy Macc 18/12/2013 at 3:49 pm #

    I love Paramo kit – for cycling, mountain walking, pub – just generally everywhere. It’s a bit too warm for summer, perhaps, but it’s unbelievably waterproof (when you see one in the flesh you’ll know what I mean) and the most breathable waterproof material I’ve used. The hood design on Paramos is the best I’ve used, possibly because the material is so soft, because it moves with the head and is useable – although I don’t wear a helmet so I can’t vouch for it if you do. The downsides are that they are expensive and heavy. I’ve got three; a Quito I wear almost every day from autumn through spring, whether commuting, cycling to the pub or walking to the shops, a Velez that I take to the hills and the lightweight version of the Velez that stays stuffed at the bottom of my travel bag just in case.

    I don’t work for them – but my mates will recognize this post because, in their opinion, I don’t shut up about this kit.

  2. Lewis Hill 18/12/2013 at 5:11 pm #

    I strongly disagree about the Castelli Squadra jacked- it is NOT breathable, it is a shell jacket that becomes very sweaty with any serious exertion.

    I’ve just bought one and I wish I had kept the tags on it so I could return it. Use as protective shell in rain only, definitely not a warm jacket.

    It does fold down very small though

    • Charlie H 18/12/2013 at 10:04 pm #

      Hi I agree with the comment above, the Squadra isn’t particularly breathable. it does pack down very small and I keep it in my saddle bag in case of rain. Saying that, it is pretty reasonably priced and is fine for the occasional use.

      • Andreas 20/12/2013 at 10:50 am #

        Thank you for the feedback guys – have updated the section on breathability to be clear to people that whilst it helps with waterproofing, don’t expect great breathability.

  3. k8 18/12/2013 at 11:00 pm #

    I just love my new black Altura Night Vision women’s jacket. It is XXS – I am around about size 8 to 10 – but it still has plenty of room for me to wear two thermal vests, a cycling jersey and a fleece and not feel at all squashed. it is really light weight but so far I haven’t felt the least bit chilly, and I do suffer from cold.

    I had been looking for a warm women’s jacket for ages that isn’t garish blue, pink, bright purple or dayglo. This jacket is jet black but has lots of reflective strips on it so that I glow like a Christmas tree day and night. The zips and pockets are trimmed with a dark fuchsia and very nice quality. There is a massive back pocket for inner tubes and anything else you might want to put in. It has a nice little flashing light feature on the top of the back pocket. The only down side to that is it often turns itself on when I put my rucksack on my back, or when I stuff it into my bag.

    I had also been looking for a women’s jacket that has a zip pocket on the upper left side and I find this one has a pocket big enough for a staff building pass, mobile phone, purse, lip gloss and paper hankie.

    I love it! I bought my one from Cycle Surgery at the end of Southwark Bridge. I can’t remember how much but with my London Cycling Campaign discount it was less than £50. I am very content.

  4. Fr3d 20/12/2013 at 2:57 pm #

    While not even remotely cheap (£180!), the Castelli Gabba jacket is by far the best I have ever owned/worn. So far this winter it has kept me warm and dry in torrential rain and freezing cold wind.
    There is a reason most of the pro peloton choose this jacket in foul weather 😉

  5. Nick Donnelly 20/12/2013 at 7:12 pm #

    Love the site dude – but I have to say – these are 3 of the ugliest jackets I’ve ever seen in my life and a lot of what is wrong with cycling.

    Zero fashion sense.

    You really don’t have to look like a nob to ride – pleeeeeease review some stuff that you could – actually wear into the pub after you cycle there 😉

  6. Carolyn 21/12/2013 at 8:46 am #

    What annoys me most about the majority of waterproof jackets is the lack of a hood, which I would use when not cycling, very useful when your a commuter.

    • Arnaud 09/01/2014 at 9:23 pm #

      I found another solution, the Roofbi. I can wear my casual clothes and commute quietly. I am not wet anymore when cycling.

      • Gilles 22/03/2014 at 10:16 am #

        I can easily understand your rain protection, or rain cover called “Roofbi” is very efficient. No problem with visibility or sweat ?

        • Arnaud 25/03/2014 at 9:37 am #

          No problem of sweat, because I don’t wear warm or waterproof clothes. Inside visibility is pretty good. I ride a touring bike or a folding e-bike with the Roofbi. Just perfect !

  7. Rob 31/12/2013 at 12:59 pm #

    Good review. However, I do think that Gore clothing is overpriced. There are better jackets out there that cost much less. Madison, for example make very good jackets, as do the ‘big two’ – Altura, and Endura, then there’s Showers Pass, a new US bike clothing company that has recently ventured into the UK market. I’m told their jackets are superb, although I’ve never worn a Showers Pass jacket so I can’t give a verdict on them. Maybe London Cyclist could do another test of Winter Jackets aimed purely at the commuter cyclist, and they could include jackets from all the makers I’ve mentioned – for men and women.

    Nick Donnelly – unfortunately the real world we live in (in London anyway) doesn’t make it viable to ride in what you would be seen at work in or down the pub in. Firstly, our weather (especially in winter) makes it very hard to cycle in ‘normal’ clothing as you refer to it due to the general greyness, and the fact that alot of the time it’s raining aswell. Cars, buses, taxis etc are much less likely to see you if you’re wearing a brown/grey leather/tweed/suede jacket – even during the day . This is a fact.

    I for one am willing to forego being seen as a ‘nob’ as you also hilariously refer to people who wear hi-viz jackets. The whole point is not about being fashionable – it’s about BEING SEEN! If this means wearing a bright yellow jacket then I’m all for it.

    • Claire 23/10/2014 at 1:14 am #

      Rob, London is not the world. Even in the UK, there are many places across the country where it’s perfectly fine to cycle without hi-viz clothing, simply because there is less traffic, less rabid drivers and more bike lanes. And come on, the weather really isn’t that bad. Ask any Scandinavian if they think our weather is so bad that you can’t wear normal clothes while cycling and they’ll laugh at your face.

  8. Rudy 01/01/2014 at 5:02 pm #

    Ordinarily I would not understand content upon blogs and forums, however prefer to express that the following write-up quite required everyone to think about as well as take action! Your own way with words continues to be shocked me personally. Thank you so much, really nice post.

  9. arthur moses 06/01/2014 at 11:38 am #

    black is my favorite color, that perfect for this time will tend to rain in this month

  10. Chris 07/04/2015 at 2:37 pm #

    What brands have held up the longest. From experience it would be Gore first, then Castelli then dhb however the Castelli jackets are a bit lighter and fragile.

    I would be inclined to think that the Castelli and Gore are holding up as the most comfortable.

    Also, that the Gore and the dhb are more functional for everyday riding whereas the Castelli is a roadie style waterproof layer.

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