For many cyclists, the chance of rain is an all-too-likely occurrence, so having the best waterproof cycling jacket to hand is essential when the weather takes a turn for the worse. A waterproof layer allows you to head out of the door with confidence that you can continue cycling no matter what the weather decides to do.
While the best winter cycling jackets might offer more material for greater warmth and a more aerodynamic cut, this can often be bulky and they will eventually fail to keep the rain out when the heavens really decide to open.
Developments in materials have meant that a resilient waterproof layer is now small enough to be stuffed in a jersey pocket for emergencies or when not in use, meaning they're useful year-round, rather than just for your winter cycling endeavours.
A good waterproof layer will not only keep you dry but also create an effective barrier from wind chill. In wet conditions, the effects are multiplied and while you may ride through a storm without getting cold, the resulting cooling effect of wet clothing will quickly reduce body temperature which can cause issues even on short rides.
So read on for our pick of the best waterproof cycling jackets available today, or head to the bottom for our guide on what to look for when choosing the best waterproof cycling jacket for you.
Best waterproof cycling jackets
Best waterproof cycling jacket for the style-conscious
Pockets: 0 | Colours: 1 | Fit: Race | Price: £220.00 / $295.00 / AU$385.00
Not one to miss a trick, Rapha has joined the Gore-Tex Shakedry crowd with its Pro Team Lightweight jacket. Unmistakably Rapha by design, the Pro Team features the classic white armband and pro team strip styling.
Despite the Shakedry membrane having little in the way of stretching qualities, Rapha has achieved a comfortable race fit. Naturally, with the omission of stretch panels, it does have a little extra material at the shoulders. This helps immensely when it comes to getting it on and off whilst riding, but it can catch the wind and flap a little on faster descents.
The half elasticated cuffs are designed to play well with all of the best winter cycling gloves and a raised collar features a sweat-wicking lining. A two-way waterproof AquaGuard zip has a reinforced zip guard to protect your bib shorts. Inside is a small mesh pocket that the jacket can be stuffed into for storage.
Read our full review of the Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex Jacket to find out more.
dhb Aeron Tempo Waterproof 2 Jacket
Best value for money
Pockets: 1 | Colours: 4 | Fit: Race | Price: £100.00 / $127.40 / AU$189.90
The dhb Aeron Tempo punches above its price point by boasting an impressive 30,000mm waterproof rating. This is balanced with a good level of breathability which is bolstered by underarm vents that help reduce heat and moisture build-up while riding.
The jacket offers a nice amount of stretch and has an unrestrictive performance fit with a generous drop tail to protect from wheel-spray. Waist and cuffs are elasticated plus the collar is fleece-lined, stopping any unpleasant drafts. A large rear pocket with a storm flap gives some storage and features reflective detailing.
Gore C5 Gore-Tex Shakedry 1985 Jacket
Best packable waterproof cycling jacket
Pockets: 1 | Colours: 2 | Fit: Semi-fitted | Price: £250.00 / $299.99
If you are wondering why 1985, well that's a tribute to when Gore released the first revolutionary Gore-Tex jacket and a reminder they have been at the top of the outdoor jacket game for a long time.
Gore’s Shakedry technology is their most advanced material yet and has quickly become the gold standard for wet weather activities. Shakedry uses a single layer of Gore-Tex technical membrane which forces water to bead and roll off whilst allowing any humidity on the inside to escape. As the water doesn’t soak into the jacket there is no chilling effect, making this a great windproof layer even in wet weather. Constructed from a single layer of Shakedry membrane paired with a thin liner, the resulting jacket is very light and packs away easily.
Gore has specced the C5 Shakedry 1985 with a reinforced two-way zipper and an ergonomically shaped collar with adjustable velcro for a perfect fit. The back features reflective detailing and a small rear zipped pocket that doubles as a storage sack for the jacket to fold away into.
For more, check out our Gore cycling clothing range overview.
Castelli Idro Pro 2 Jacket
Best waterproof cycling jacket for those who like a race fit
Pockets: 2 | Colours: 1 | Fit: Race | Price: £340.00 / $399.99 / AU$649.00
Castelli saw the potential of Gore’s new Shakedry material and licensed it so they can produce a jacket of their own from the now legendary wet-weather material. The Idro Pro 2 takes the stripped-back material and pairs it with stretchy Gore panels on the wrists, elbows, shoulders and side panels to not only make it easy to get on and off, but also to retain the race-ready aerodynamic cut.
While the stretch panels add a small amount of bulk over a pure Shakedry jacket, it can still very easily be packed into a pocket, meaning it can be carried on every ride, just in case.
There are also two pockets built into the back so that you don't need to let the rain in every time you want to fetch your phone / snacks, and the rear features a dropped tail to keep your backside happy too.
For more, check out our Castelli clothing range overview.
Endura Pro SL Shell II Jacket
Best race-ready jacket with jersey pocket access
Pockets: 1 plus jersey pocket access zip | Colours: 3 | Fit: Semi-fitted | Price: £164.00 / $224.99
Formerly used by Movistar, the Endura Pro SL Shell II jacket is made from Endura’s ExoShell40 material which achieves some impressive figures for waterproofness and breathability.
Endura has constructed the Pro SL Shell II using multi-panelling with strategically positioned stretch panels to create a pre-shaped close fit. There is a small external gel pocket and a right-hand vertical zip that gives full access to items stored to jersey pockets. Detailing includes a raised collar to add extra neck protection and reflective panels to keep you visible.
For more, check out our Endura cycling clothing round-up.
Assos Equipe RS Rain Jacket
Best waterproof cycling jacket for durability
Pockets: Access to jersey pockets | Colours: 2 | Fit: Race | Price: £265.00 / $349.00 / AU$507.00
While other brands are jumping on the Shakedry train, Assos has chosen to develop its own materials to use for the premium Equipe RS jacket. Schloss Tex is a 3-layer construction made up of a DWR (durable water repellent) layer that protects the inner hydrophobic membrane.
While pack size and beading levels might not compete with Gore’s material, Schloss Tex does offer more durability as well as some stretch to aid fit. By using body-mapping, Assos has created a closer fitting jacket, improving aerodynamics without restricting movement.
Taking the Equipe RS on and off is easy thanks to the elasticated cuffs and good-sized 2-way waterproof zipper. On the rear are two vents that double as access to your jersey pockets.
Altura Firestorm Jacket
Best waterproof cycling jacket for night riding visibility
Pockets: 1 | Colours: 4 | Fit: Semi-fitted | Price: £79.99 / €100.00
Altura has thought about the conditions that are frequently experienced during winter training rides and commuting. By adding all-over reflective detailing, the Firestorm should give superb 360-degree visibility to keep you safe and visible when the light fades and the weather turns gloomy.
The Firestorm is waterproof with taped seams and features a semi-fitted design that finishes low on the front of the hips. Shaped cuffs are a nice touch as is the rear pocket which the jacket can pack into when not in use.
Peter Sagan's waterproof jacket of choice
Pockets: 0 | Colours: 2 | Fit: Race | Price: £270.00 / $350.00
It's named after one of the most iconic mountain passes in the world and for good reason, the Stelvio is one of the best waterproof cycling jackets when the weather takes a turn for the worse but the racing continues.
This jacket was designed in conjunction with the Tinkoff team in all manner of bad weather, and it's still the jacket that Peter Sagan reaches for today. This is thanks in part due to its breathability rating, which at 50,000g/m2/24hrs, is one of the best on the market.
The Polyamide/Polyester hybrid material is DWR coated to keep the water on the outside, and as a result, has been given a waterproof rating of 20,000mm. This isn't quite as high as some of the competition, but if you want a great waterproof cycling jacket that'll keep you cool during hard efforts in downpour conditions, then look no further.
What to look for when choosing the best waterproof cycling jacket?
While all of the best waterproof cycling jackets share the same purpose of keeping the rain off your back on your two wheeled adventure, it's near impossible to quantify a single product as the best. Each has varying features that make it suited to different people and their different needs.
For example, a commuting cyclist who wears a backpack will have vastly different needs to a competitive road cyclist putting in their winter base training. Likewise, a rider in Canada will have different needs to someone in the United Kingdom.
In the list above, we've highlighted our top picks of waterproof cycling jackets, clarified the stand-out features of each and quantified where each product excels, but to help you decide exactly which is the right option for you, here's what to look out for when making a purchase.
The jacket's level of waterproofing capability, its breathability, its visibility, the tightness of fit, the durability of the material, its packability and whether or not it has pockets will all affect your decision and each will have varying levels of importance depending on where, when, why, and for how long you ride your bike.
What is the best waterproof fabric?
Most of the best waterproof cycling jackets are constructed from a multi-layer laminate, featuring taped seams and waterproof zips to stop water ingress. The multiple layers usually consist of a Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coated face fabric which protects a hydrophobic membrane underneath and is finished with a liner for comfort. Many jackets will feature Gore-tex or similar.
Some manufacturers such as Gore have been able to develop a resilient membrane that no longer requires the outer layer, resulting in its Shakedry fabric. Using a single layer improves waterproofness as there is no outer layer to become saturated while significantly reducing weight and pack size. Shakedry is widely considered to be the last word in waterproofness, but it's not without disadvantages. Not only is it expensive, but these membranes are also still relatively fragile.
Therefore, if you're a gravel cyclist or a commuter that wears a backpack, then you'll probably be better off avoiding Shakedry, since catching it on a thornbush or the continual abrasions from shoulder straps are likely to damage the material.
No matter the material, jackets will regularly have a waterproof rating, this is measured by placing a tube with a diameter of one inch over the material and filling it with water. The rating is based on the height of the water before it starts leaking through the material. To be considered waterproof a jacket must achieve a rating of at least 1,500mm, however, for reliable protection in prolonged rain look for ratings of 10,000mm and above.
Should I choose a high vis waterproof cycling jacket?
If you're a commuter or road cyclist, then being visible during darkened hours will be high on your list of things that are important, and therefore a jacket that integrates reflective panels or detailing will likely benefit you more than one that doesn't. Conversely, if you're riding predominantly off road, then reflective details likely won't make much of a difference to your ride.
Despite this, aside from the potentially higher cost, there are no real negatives to adding reflective details to a waterproof jacket, so if you're toying between two choices, reflectivity could be the difference that sways the decision.
How should my waterproof cycling jacket fit?
This depends on your riding discipline and preferences. If you're a road cyclist with an aggressive position who wants to maintain a high average speed, then a waterproof jacket with a tight, aerodynamic race cut will help more than something that catches the wind. Moreover, among the race-ready waterproof cycling jackets, there are subtle differences in cut, as well as the inclusion of stretch panels that help you get it on without needing to stop.
However, if average speed doesn't feature on your lists of things to care about, then you might prioritise a more relaxed feel that allows for more movement, better coverage, and a more casual aesthetic that makes it wearable off-the-bike too.
Should my waterproof cycling jacket be packable?
The great thing about the best waterproof cycling jackets is that they make for a great 'just in case' option to stuff into a pocket when you leave the house. They can also easily be removed and stowed away mid-ride, if you're lucky enough for the skies to clear, meaning you can remain comfortable for the rest of your ride.
Exactly how packable you need your jacket to be will depend on the amount of storage space you have available. So if you usually ride with bags for carrying luggage such as panniers or a backpack, space might not be at quite as much of a premium. However, if you're a road cyclist whose storage space is limited to three jersey pockets, then the smaller you can fold up your jacket, the more space you'll have left for the rest of your essentials.
The usual trade off with a highly packable jacket is price, with the more expensive options usually able to bunch up to the size of a couple of tennis balls.
Should a waterproof cycling jacket have pockets?
Once again, this depends on your riding habits and requirements. Many waterproof cycling jackets are designed to be used for quick protection against rain showers before being stuffed back into a pocket when the skies clear, while others are designed to be worn all day long. Those that are designed with quick protection in mind usually forego pockets, with the assumption that most wearers will already be wearing a jersey or jacket beneath, which will almost always feature three pockets across the lower back.
Jackets that are made to be worn for the entire duration of your ride will usually feature some consideration towards pockets. This might be a slit that allows you to reach into your jersey pockets beneath, or it might be pockets integrated into the jacket itself.
Which waterproof jackets won't get wet inside?
In the past, packable waterproof layers might have kept the rain out, but would suffer breathability issues resulting in you being soaked by your own sweat instead. This is mainly down to the heat generated by your body not being able to escape, resulting in condensation that leaves you feeling clammy.
Thankfully, technology has greatly improved and with the development of breathable hydrophobic materials, jackets can wick away moisture from within while keeping out rain more effectively.
The hydrophobic membranes are covered in pores, by forcing the water to bead on the face of the materials they don’t soak through while the vapour from perspiration inside can still escape.
Moisture and temperature management can be further improved with strategically placed vents to offer some additional airflow. These will usually be positioned under the arms or under storm flaps on the rear of the jacket.
All the jackets listed here have been rated on their breathability and we've made note of ventilation points so you can rest assured that all options here will leave you feeling dry.
Why are some waterproof cycling jackets so expensive?
The devil is, as they say, in the details.
While some waterproof cycling jackets are simply a shell designed to pack away as small as possible, others will have added features built-in. It’s worth considering what extra features you need, as these details will often increase cost and reduce packability.
Pockets are useful for keeping items close to hand rather than needing to dig around under layers to find jersey pockets. Manufacturers get around this by using zipped access or well-placed vents to make jersey pockets accessible.
Some jackets will come with integrated storage pouches making packing and storing the jacket when it isn’t worn neater and providing protection from damage. Elasticated openings, draw cords and fleece lining are added around the wrist cuffs, hems and collars to reduce drafts, hold the material in place and increase comfort against the skin.
How long should a waterproof jacket last?
Nothing lasts forever, and when it comes to waterproof cycling jackets, even the best ones will need ongoing maintenance to keep them working properly. Over time, waterproof layers become less effective, thanks to all the grime and dirt that gets into the water-repellent coating and helps water to get through. So every few months, following lots of use, your jacket will need re-waterproofing.
There are lots of products to help you do this, from wash-in products like Nikwax or Grangers Active Wash, to spray-on treatments like ReviveX.
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