You love cycling, whether it's a weekend club run, a Sunday pootle or riding to work. Nothing beats enjoying the great outdoors on two wheels. Don't let the rain put a damper on your favourite pastime. There’s a huge range of waterproof jackets available to keep you in the saddle all year round. Here's our guide to help you find the right one.
Waterproof cycling jackets - what to look for
Waterproof cycling jackets can vary in style and appearance. Whatever you go for there are a few features that you should expect to see
- High collar to protect from windchill.
- Taped seams to prevent water ingress.
- Dropped tail to reduce splashing from the rear wheel.
- Under-arm zips to increase ventilation and breathability.
- Pockets to stash your essentials – some may have reinforced waterproof pockets
- Longer sleeves - some will have longer sleeves than others to accommodate a more aggressive position
- A hood. Generally, you’ll only find this on MTB and commuter jackets for protection off the bike.
What will you be using the jacket for?
Think about the type of riding you’ll be doing most often. Most jackets will be cut for a specific purpose and will fall into one of the three categories below.
Performance waterproof jackets will have slightly longer arms and a tighter cut to reduce loose material when you're in a more aggressive road racing position. These jackets are designed to keep you dry with the minimum impact on performance.
They're normally made from high-tech fabrics that wick sweat away and allow you to stay at the optimum temperature even if you're riding at maximum effort. These cutting-edge fabric technologies are often difficult to produce in a full colour range so don't be surprised if you find that you're limited to darker colours than you'd like. As a compromise, most brands add reflective flashes at points where other road users are likely to see them.
Expect a slightly looser fit to allow for work clothes underneath and freedom of movement off the bike.
Because it's likely that you'll be stopping and starting in traffic and you won't be riding an epic distance every day, weight, packability and wicking properties aren't as vital as they would be on a performance-cut jacket. Therefore, commuter jackets are generally available in a wider range of bright colours with whole retro-reflective panels and some even have built-in lights.
If you want something that you can wear for popping out to lunch or after-work drinks, look for fabrics that only light up under direct headlights and streetlights.
Packable jackets are available in both performance and commuting cuts. Many will pack down small enough to tuck into a pocket so that you can keep one on standby for unexpected showers.
Until recently, most packable jackets were only water-resistant. Fine in a brief shower or light drizzle but the water would eventually get through. This is still mostly the case but GORE-WEAR’s ShakeDry fabric offers another option, making it possible for a jacket to be packable, lightweight and totally waterproof. This technology doesn’t come cheap but it’s a worthwhile investment if you’ll be out riding in any weather.
Fit and sizing
As with any cycling kit, it’s important to get the right size. If you’re looking for a new cycling waterproof, always check the size guide on the product page as this can vary between brands and even between a single brand’s ranges.
For example, performance jackets from brands such as dhb, Castelli, GORE, and Sportful have a close-fitting ‘race cut.’ If you’re going to be wearing thicker layers underneath, it may be worth sizing up.
Many of our cycling jackets are available in both male and female-specific cuts to ensure a better fit.
Lined or unlined?
Some jackets have an inner mesh lining for additional warmth and comfort. If moisture builds up inside the jacket, it can feel cool against the skin. The mesh keeps the outer fabric away from the skin and traps warm air.
The lining can add more bulk, so most packable jackets are unlined. The packable jackets of the past have a reputation for feeling clammy against the skin but, thanks to recent developments in fabric technology, it is possible to create a jacket that is warm, waterproof and packable. For example, the Gore Wear C5 Gore-Tex SHAKEDRY 1985 Insulated Jacket has Polartec® Alpha® fabric which traps body heat and keeps rain out whilst allowing moisture to escape.
If you just want to use your jacket to keep you dry as you nip to the shops, breathability isn't so important. However, if you're riding hard or over longer distances, the level of breathability of a jacket will have a significant effect on your comfort.
If you think you're going to be working up a sweat you need a jacket that will allow that moisture to evaporate into the atmosphere through the fabric, otherwise, you'll end up getting cold every time you hit a descent.
The 37.5 technology in the dhb Aeron Storm FLT uses 'Active Particle Performance’ which rapidly increases water moisture dispersal and evaporation the hotter you get, maintaining the perfect temperature.
Waterproof jackets for mountain bikers
Road cyclists and mountain bikers have distinctly different demands from their kit. Road cycling jackets are close-fitting, often with high visibility detailing, and long arms. They’re designed for faster riding in traffic and cut for a more stretched out position on the bike.
By contrast, mountain biking jackets are designed to be able to deal with both the rain falling from the sky and the mud coming up from below. They are also made to be comfortable off the bike when you might be trekking up to the next downhill or waiting for the next uplift service.
As a result, they are made of more robust materials. You’ll probably find pockets to stuff your hands in to keep them warm and a hood to protect your head from the rain when you take your helmet off. Mountain bike jackets also tend to have a more relaxed fit, with a focus on comfort rather than streamlining. The dhb MTB Trail Hooded Softshell Jacket has been engineered with some thoughtful details, like silicone grips on the shoulders to keep your hydration pack in place and glove-friendly zipper-pulls, so that you can focus on the trail ahead free from distractions.
Our best waterproof jackets
The best performance waterproofs
Developed with input from ex-pro racer Fabian Cancellara, the Gore-Tex Shakedry Stretch jacket is designed for rides when it's warm and wet. The ultra-thin fabric will also layer nicely over jackets for cooler conditions.
Strategically placed stretch panels allow complete freedom of movement and minimise chasing as you put the hard miles in. A reflective logo helps you to stand out as the clouds roll in.
Available in stand-out orange or blue as well as black, this performance-fit jacket was designed for those riders who will give it their all no matter what the weather.
The breathable softshell fabric has a brushed finish internally for a soft feel against the skin if you're wearing short sleeves underneath. It's cut to fit like a jersey, complete with three roomy pockets at the rear so you can keep your essentials close to hand.
Combining classic Castelli styling with GORE-TEX® SHAKEDRY™ technology, the Idro 2 weighs a meagre 107 grams and will roll up into a package that's so compact, there's no reason not to carry one with you on every ride.
Despite the minimalist construction, this jacket features a high neck, drop tail and anatomic wrist closures to stop rain getting in. Reflective details on the back stand out on the black fabric under headlights and street lights.
The best waterproof jackets for commuters
Built to last year in, year out for the hardiest of year-round cycle commuters, this dazzlingly bright waterproof features rip-stop fabric and an abrasion-resistant outer layer.
Fluorescent yellow helps you to stand out in daylight but after dark, the strategically-placed reflective features reflect light exactly where other road users will notice.
Adjustable cuffs, articulated sleeves, a dropped hem at the rear and cosy brushed collar all help to keep your work clothes clean and dry underneath.
Dressing for the commute can be a bit of an art, especially when the weather forecast isn't always entirely accurate. This clever jacket lets you adapt to changing conditions with zip-off sleeves that save you from turning up hot and bothered if the weather is better than expected.
High-tech Windproof Gore-Tex® Infinium™ repels light rain and locks in body heat without adding bulk.
The 'Active Fit' of the Phantom is shaped for coverage and comfort in the riding position but roomy enough for layers underneath.
For the hardiest of all-year cycle commuters, Endura offers this brilliantly bright waterproof designed to keep you warm and dry on the most wintery days. The cut gives you plenty of room to layer up when it's particularly chilly, whilst the waterproof fabric is surprisingly breathable so you won't turn up at your desk needing another shower.
The generous front zipped pocket can be used to store the things you need access to like bike lock keys and your work pass so you're not rummaging around in the cold. The two side-pockets are lined with a cosy fleece to keep your hands warm if you're popping out on your lunch break.
The best packable waterproof cycling jackets
Get guaranteed waterproofing plus stand-out visibility with the super-light GORE-TEX PACLITE®.
Whether you're trying to get to work without breaking a sweat or you're pushing the pace at the weekend, the highly breathable fabric allows perspiration to escape whilst not allowing moisture to get in.
The active cut means there's room to layer up underneath, making this a great choice to keep with you wherever you're riding.
Not a fan of noisy fabric rustling on every descent? Neither are we which is why we love the latest update to the best-selling Sportful Hot Pack. The fabric has been reengineered so now it's not only lighter than ever before but also quieter.
Fully-taped seams, together with Aquasield and Micro-shell stretch fabrics, ensure unbeatable protection from the rain with no weight penalty - this incredible jacket comes in at only 128g and fits easily into a jersey pocket.
The best-selling Aeron Tempo has been updated with enhanced visibility. Added reflective logos and piping help you to stay visible in murky conditions.
As the name would suggest, this jacket was designed especially for riders who enjoy high-tempo rides, whatever the weather.
Cut for a performance riding position, the drop tail keeps the road spray off and there's discreet under-arm vents for added moisture-management.
The best waterproof mountain bike jackets
It's already won awards, but now the Endura MT500 is back and somehow they've made it even better.
Designed and tested in the rain-slicked highlands of Scotland, the MT500 excels on even the murkiest days, keeping you dry and comfortable so you can carry on blasting around the trails as long as you like.
And if the sun makes an appearance? You'll keep cool even on those tricky technical climbs thanks to vented front pockets and underarm vents.
For the most demanding mountain bikers, it seems that dhb have thought of everything with this trail waterproof.
The tough, 3-layer fabric can withstand bumps and scrapes on the trail but it still feels soft against the skin.
The adjustable hood has been designed to fit under your helmet but, if you don't need it, you can roll it up and out of the way.
All the zipper pulls have glove-friendly loops so you're not wasting time in the rain trying to grip.
If you look forward to those wet, muddy rides navigating slippery roots and rocks, this one's for you.
This stylishly cut jacket has a non-restrictive fit and stays put as you shift around on the bike on those technical trails. A drawcord at the waist further ensures you'll stay dry as you attack the terrain.
The water-resistant pockets have separate compartments so you won't be fishing around for your essentials with wet hands.