The best waterproof jackets for road cycling and commuting will make what can be an unpleasant situation much better, and, dare we say it, even enjoyable.
Investing in a decent waterproof is advisable for anyone but especially those who take to winter cycling, when cold and wet conditions can combine to make riding an unpleasant experience without the right kit.
Old advice might have been to toughen up – a baggy, ‘boil in the bag’ rain cape would soak you through with sweat anyway – but waterproof fabrics have evolved massively over the past few years, and the holy grail of effective waterproofing and breathability isn’t the impossible combination it once was.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the best waterproof jackets for cycling, as tested by the BikeRadar team, to help you with cycling in the rain.
Our expert testers have ridden in all conditions to bring you great options for both road cycling and commuting. If you ride off-road, we’ve got a separate article on the best mountain biking jackets.
Otherwise, you’ll find BikeRadar’s top-rated waterproof cycling jackets below – or skip to the end for our buyer’s guide on choosing the right jacket for your needs.
For more advice on kitting yourself out for bad weather, we’ve got guides to the best winter cycling shoes and best overshoes to keep your feet warm and dry, plus a round-up of the best winter cycling gloves.
Best waterproof cycling jackets in 2023
Endura Pro SL Shell Jacket II
- £165 /$225 / €200 as tested
- Highly breathable
- Great fit and value
- Weighs 175g
Endura’s rain shell is highly breathable and very waterproof, leading to a comfortable ride in the rain. Fit is excellent, with an effective drop tail that stays put and an extra storm flap at the collar to keep out the rain.
Although there are no rear pockets, a zipped flap gives access to your jersey beneath and there’s a side pocket to stash a couple of gels. It’s great value for a feature-packed waterproof cycling jacket.
Gore C5 Shakedry 1985 Viz
- £250 / $300 / AU$360 as tested
- Fixes many of the issues with the original jacket
- Ludicrously light and breathable
- Weighs 134g
Made from Gore’s now-discontinued Shakedry material, the C5 Shakedry 1985 Viz jacket is an update to the original model of this waterproof cycling jacket. It addresses many of the issues we had with that jacket.
This model is available in a range of high-vis colours, is ridiculously light, has unrivalled breathability and it’s better than the old one – what’s not to love?
Assos Equipe RS Schlosshund
- £290 as tested
- Breathable and very waterproof
- Jersey pocket access flaps double up as vents
- Weighs 155g
Another one for the racers, the Assos Equipe RS Schlosshund is a waterproof cycling jacket with a close fit from its stretchy fabric and panel lay-up. The good length keeps your arms and body dry. The silicone gripper at the hem helps keep the tail in place well, which stops most road spray.
There’s a high breathability rating paired with quality three-layer waterproofing, taped seams and a waterproof zip to keep the weather out, even on the wettest days. There are flaps to access your jersey, rather than pockets in the jacket itself, which double as vents to help keep you comfortable.
Bontrager Velocis Stormshell jacket
- £154.99 / $139.99 as tested
- Superb water protection
- Weighs 182g
The Bontrager Velocis Stormshell keeps you dry inside and out. Rain doesn’t penetrate the hydrophobic nylon, while your sweat escapes pretty well.
Due to its comparatively relaxed fit, the Velocis Stormshell can be used for gravel riding and commuting, as well as foul days on the road.
The absence of pockets means the Bontrager Velocis Stormshell has no storage and isn’t that easy to stash in a jersey pocket.
Castelli Emergency 2 W Rain Jacket
- £165 / $140 / Au$225 / €150 as tested
- Properly waterproof and easily stashable
- Loose fit over torso and arms
The Castelli Emergency 2 W is a women’s specific rain jacket that is easily packable.
Castelli has used a multi-layer polyamide fabric shell with taped seams and a waterproof zip. It proves to be waterproof and windproof even in the UK’s mild winter weather.
This women’s version of the jacket is loose over the torso and arms, but it’s true to size and our tester appreciated the high collar for wind protection.
It’s not the cheapest option on the market, but it warrants the investment.
Castelli Idro 2
- £300 / $300 / €270 as tested
- Amazingly waterproof and breathable
- Race cut
- Weighs 105g
As with other Shakedry jackets, the combination of low weight, packability, total waterproofing and excellent breathability never fails to impress.
Castelli’s version of this waterproof cycling jacket distinguishes itself with its excellent race cut and smart features, such as the pull-tag extension added to the zip. This aids use while wearing winter gloves. The only drawback is the price, but racers who demand the best won’t be disappointed.
The latest Idro 3 has been updated with a stretch panel on the rear to make for an even closer fit, new cuffs and extra reflectives.
- £170 as tested
- Robust build with plenty of room and adjustment
- Great breathability
- Weighs 210g
The Paclite jacket is cut a bit larger than many waterproof cycling jackets, so it’s not just for the racer. Its waterproofing is great, with taped seams and it’ll fit in a jersey pocket. Hem and cuff adjusters mean there’s the adjustability to ensure a good fit.
The jacket feels more robust than many and we rated the Paclite’s breathability. With its combination of reflectives and bright colour options, the jacket should ensure you’re seen on a wet day out.
Lusso Aqua Pro Extreme
- £165 / $215 / €197 / AU$325 as tested
- Versatile design
- Designed for tough UK conditions
- Weighs 405g
The Aqua Pro Extreme is a different type of waterproof cycling jacket from most on this list; rather than focusing on being absolutely waterproof and packable, Lusso has prioritised protection from foul weather of all kinds.
There are compromises, such as increased bulk and reduced waterproof protection in absolute terms, but it makes massive gains in versatility.
It’s possible this jacket could handle almost everything the weather throws at you from autumn through to spring.
Madison Apex Waterproof Storm Jacket
- £135 as tested
- Ideal for truly horrible days
- True to size
- Weighs 445g
Madison’s Apex Waterproof Storm Jacket is a heavyweight waterproof cycling jacket designed to be worn in the worst conditions. Its waterproof rating of 20,000mm is impressive for the price and breathability is solid too.
It’s not a packable jacket, but that also means it can stand up to a lot more abuse, so there’s less need to worry about wearing a backpack or taking it off-road.
Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex Shakedry jacket
- Buy now from Rapha
- £220 / $295 / €260 as tested
- Proven Gore-Tex Shakedry performance
- Good fit and competitively priced
- Weighs 125g (medium)
Surprisingly, Rapha’s Shakedry jacket is actually cheaper than many waterproof cycling jackets, which is a boon when you consider how impressive this package is.
As with other Gore-Tex Shakedry jackets, Rapha’s is lightweight, completely waterproof and impressively breathable.
The cut is also very good, and Rapha’s understated styling looks great too (as long as you’re happy with black).
Santini Guard Nimbus
- £149 as tested
- Lightweight material and good packability
- Stretchy fit and good coverage
- Weighs 120g
Santini takes a different approach with the Guard Nimbus, which looks and feels more like a windproof jacket than a waterproof cycling jacket, with plenty of stretch and a matt jersey outer face. Despite this, it functions well in light rain, although it didn’t stay dry in a downpour.
Nice features include plenty of reflectives, an easy-to-use zip and a small pocket. There’s adequate length to the sleeves and tail for comfortable riding and protection from wheelspray, while the Guard Nimbus packs down small too.
Van Rysel RCR Ultralight Packable Showerproof
- £45 / €25 as tested
- Good breathability and adequate rainproofing
- Enough stretch for a comfortable fit
- Weighs 125g
Decathlon is renowned for the excellent pricing of its technical kit and its Van Rysel branded waterproof cycling jacket doesn’t disappoint. It weighs just 125g and has good packability, while the stretchy fabric and close-ish cut make for a comfortable fit without windflap.
There’s enough waterproofing from the built-in membrane for a few hours of riding in showers, although it’s not a jacket intended for use in a downpour. The fabric’s breathability is good too, and there are rear and pit vents to help keep you comfortable.
Albion Rain Jacket 2.0
- £175 as tested
- Close fit, although with some stretch
- Rather tight cuffs make getting on and off difficult
- Weight 160g
Made from a slightly stretchy, Bluesign-approved three-layer laminate, the Albion Rain Jacket received a number of upgrades in the 2.0 version of this waterproof cycling jacket, which has subsequently been superseded by the Albion 3.0. Improvements in the 2.0 included revised cuffs, although we found these too much of a tight fit.
At 160g, it’s not too heavy and it’s very waterproof and breathable, with the two-way zip helping with heat and moisture regulation, although you don’t get many vents or pockets. As well as the hi-vis orange reviewed, there’s a slate grey option.
Altura Firestorm Waterproof
- £80 / €100 as tested
- Clever reflective print
- Excellent value
- Weighs 110g
Altura’s Firestorm Waterproof jacket doesn’t have the highest spec of some waterproof cycling jackets, but at under £100 its 15,000mm waterproof rating is competitive and breathability is good enough for all except the hardest of efforts.
Its standout feature is the clever reflective print that covers the whole of the jacket. It goes almost unnoticed during the day, but makes the jacket glow like a beacon when light hits it at night.
Ashmei Waterproof Jacket
- Buy now from Ashmei
- £238 / $258 as tested
- Super-stretchy fabric
- Well made
- Weighs 240g
Ashmei might be a relatively new name to the cycling world, but this super-stretchy waterproof cycling jacket did not disappoint during testing.
The jacket is made from an extremely thin (seven microns!) fabric that is stretchier than most – a good thing given the cut of the jacket is relatively racy.
The jacket also features three jersey-style pockets on the back. These have drain holes, so shouldn’t cause any issues in wet weather.
Decathlon Triban RC500 Rainproof
- £40 / €50 as tested
- Low price
- Solid performance
- Weighs 280g
Decathlon has really outdone itself with the Triban RC500 Rainproof jacket. Out of the box, it looks and feels like a waterproof cycling jacket costing much more.
It only has a waterproof rating of 8,000mm, so it isn’t the best option for truly horrendous conditions, but for shorter rides and commutes it’s perfectly adequate, and we’ve got no complaints at this price.
dhb Aeron Rain Defence Polartec
- £130 / $180 / €160 as tested
- Warm and breathable
- Good price
- Weighs 255g
The dhb Aeron Rain Defence Polartec jacket is a lighter-weight waterproof cycling jacket made from a triple-layer softshell fabric that offers decent water and wind resistance and exceptional breathability.
It won’t keep you bone dry in a concerted downpour, but on those drizzly, cold days that we seem to get so many of here in the UK, it will ensure you’re warm, dry and comfortable. As usual for dhb, it’s reasonably priced too.
- £90 as tested
- Robust feel
- Relaxed fit
- Weighs 235g
Mid-weight and with a more relaxed cut, the Peloton waterproof cycling jacket caters well for less slim riders and for layering up in the cold. It feels hard wearing too. There can be a little windflap and pooling of water in folds, but they’re not intrusive.
The Peloton jacket folds small enough to get into a jersey pocket when not in use. It’s a solid performer at a reasonable price, although breathability isn’t quite as good as some, despite the mesh rear vent.
- £250 as tested
- In-built lights genuinely boost visibility
- Soft-touch lining feels great
- Weighs 404g
Métier’s four-product line-up is focused solely on jackets and gilets fitted with its signature integrated lighting technology. The Beacon is its all-round shell jacket.
The waterproof cycling jacket is easy to live with and comes with a dedicated wash bag and cleaner, alongside extensive care instructions.
Sizing is snug, so pay attention if you can stomach the £250 price tag.
- £300 / €249 as tested
- Very breathable and waterproof
- Jersey access flaps instead of pockets
- Weighs 160g
Q36.5’s shell jacket has lots of quality features, such as a reduced number of seams, which are tape sealed, and V-shaped wrist openings to up their coverage. There are two stretchy side panels for a close fit and the tail offers plenty of coverage.
Breathability and waterproofing are top notch for great performance, no matter how bad the weather gets. It’s everything you’d expect from a money-no-object waterproof cycling jacket.
- Buy now from Rapha
- £100 / $135 / AU$175 as tested
- Feature-packed jacket with smart details
- Range of bright colour choices (and black)
- Weighs 280g
Coming in at a surprisingly reasonable (for Rapha) price, the Commuter jacket is nevertheless a fully featured waterproof cycling jacket.
Designed, as the name suggests, for commuting, it’s available in a selection of bold colours – though black is still offered.
Features such as zipped front pockets, a relaxed fit and a hood that can be worn under a helmet help it stand out from standard road cycling jackets.
The jacket breathes reasonably well thanks to its 2.5-layer fabric and shoulder-width vent, but this isn’t a piece for fast road riding. The dropped tail also offers some protection from road spray and is covered with a reflective print for increased visibility.
Rapha Core Rain II
- £110 as tested
- Top-class waterproofing
- Decent value
- Weighs 122g
The Rapha Core II is an excellent waterproof jacket for cycling in sodden conditions. A dropped tail, and elastane cuffs and collar help ward off the wind.
Because it’s cut looser than some Rapha garments, you can fit a baselayer and winter jersey beneath.
Breathability isn’t fantastic, but respectable for a waterproof jacket at this price.
The Rapha Core II is let down slightly by its lack of pockets and propensity to stain.
Santini Vega Multi Jacket
- £220 / $322 / €240 as tested
- Waterproof softshell
- Warm and cosy
- Weighs 325g
The Vega Multi Jacket is a do-it-all softshell jacket with a waterproof rating of 5,000mm.
This is at the lower end of the scale for waterproof ratings, but it’s more of a multi-purpose cycling jacket designed to help you deal with the cold and wind as well, rather than a dedicated waterproof cycling jacket.
Think of it as a classic winter jersey with added waterproofing and it starts to make a lot of sense. As long as it’s not pouring for hours on end, the Vega Multi Jacket can keep you warm and comfortable on those long winter rides.
Triban Cycling Rain Jacket Gravel
- £79.99 as tested
- Budget rain defence
- Suitable for commuting
- Weighs 419g
As its name indicates, the Triban Cycling Rain Jacket Gravel is intended for more than road riding.
This bargain waterproof jacket withstands deluges while its peaked hood, loose fit and zipped pockets lend themselves to gravel and commuting.
However, the Cycling Rain Jacket Gravel is only available in brown and for men.
Velobici Alfred jacket
- £250 as tested
- Good looks
- No taped seams
- Weighs 382g
The Velobici Alfred waterproof jacket is almost too stylish to take down dirty lanes and gravel tracks.
The Alfred’s stronger suit is urban riding. Internal and external pockets and reflective detailing boost its commuting practicality.
The absence of taped seams is a double-edged sword. This feature aids breathability at the expense of impermeability.
Waterproof jackets for road cycling and commuting buyer’s guide
A waterproof jacket used to mean a hard-shell garment made from a fabric that felt more like plastic. However, we’re now seeing the rise of the ‘jerket’ or rain jersey.
These are softshell tops that feel like a jersey but use a waterproof membrane or DWR (durable water repellent) treatment to repel precipitation.
Things would be easier if it were simply a matter of keeping the rain out, but pedalling makes you hot and sweaty, and the heat and moisture you generate need an escape route.
The trouble is, the properties that allow a waterproof jacket to keep the rain off also make it difficult to deal with the damp building up on the inside.
The ideal solution, therefore, is a cycling jacket that combines being waterproof with breathability, which is difficult, but by no means impossible. Some garments manage it by using advanced materials, others solve the problem by incorporating vents into their designs.
Aside from being waterproof and breathable, it’s worth seeking out a jacket that packs down into a tiny package that’s easy to stow. Better still, if the rain stops, you can take it off and put it away rather than keep wearing it long after it’s done its job.
How waterproof fabrics work
Waterproof fabrics are either multi-layer laminate fabrics or regular woven fabrics that get a DWR treatment designed to keep water out. While both achieve the same goal, they work slightly differently.
Durable water repellent, or DWR, is your wet weather gear’s first line of defence. It’s not a laminate or coating but a treatment applied to the fabric’s outer surface.
All waterproof garments, except those where the membrane is the outermost surface, receive a DWR finish.
The treatment does not inhibit breathability because it doesn’t fill the gaps between the fibres. Instead, it bonds the individual fibres to help the garment shed water and prevent saturation.
DWR treatments shed water because they increase the contact angle of moisture on a fabric by forcing a water droplet to maintain its surface tension; so when you see water beading on a fabric, the DWR is hard at work.
When the DWR is applied to a fabric, it creates micropegs or microspikes that protrude from the fibres and prevent water from spreading out, forcing it to form beads that slide off the fabric without seeping in.
However, DWR treatments wear off over time, accelerated by abrasions and some detergents. When this happens, the fabric no longer causes water to bead and will become saturated and heavy.
Not to fear, though, refreshing and retreating a garment is simple and there are plenty of spray-on or wash-in options available. Check out our guide on how to rejuvenate your waterproof cycling gear.
Most waterproof breathable fabrics are made from laminate materials, which usually consist of an inner fabric optimised for wicking moisture, a waterproof membrane and an outer-face fabric with a DWR treatment.
Gore-Tex, Thinsulate, Polartec and eVent are all internal membranes that are sandwiched between two other materials – usually something abrasion-resistant on the outside, with a soft liner on the inside. Even the Castelli Gabba Jersey is made using a Windstopper laminate fabric.
The reason these lamination techniques allow for water-repellent characteristics is that the inner membranes are full of holes. This may seem counterintuitive, but a Gore-Tex membrane boasts nine billion pores, each 1µm – a millionth of a metre – wide per square inch. The holes are big enough to allow water vapour created by sweat evaporation to escape, but are too small for water droplets to sneak through.
These internal membranes are quite fragile, which is why there’s an abrasion-resistant layer on the outside of the garment. This outer layer receives DWR treatment and, as we mentioned before, the problem with DWR treatments is they eventually wash away, causing a jacket to ‘wet-out’, meaning the moisture escaping from inside and landing on the outside saturates the outer fabric, clogging the pores of the membrane and eliminating breathability.
When a jacket stops breathing, the moisture your body creates gets trapped inside, creating that unpleasant, steaming-hot sensation.
Most outerwear today is based on this two and a half- or three-layer lamination, but the fabrics and membranes are continuing to evolve and we’re now seeing jackets eliminating the outer fabric.
Pioneered by Columbia with its OutDry fabric, brands have figured out how to toughen up these membranes and eliminated the DWR-treated outer fabric.
This construction is becoming the go-to for high-end, cycling-specific jackets, with several big-name brands using versions from GoreTex – the One Active and Shakedry fabrics allow the membrane to be used as an outer ‘beading surface’.
The advantages of these fabrics are that they can’t wet out because there is no face fabric to saturate, they weigh next to nothing and breathe better too.
What to look for when buying a waterproof cycling jacket
To be officially waterproof, a garment has to withstand the pressure of 1,000mm of water without leaking. This test concentrates on jackets that keep moisture managed so you stay warm however foul the forecast.
Usually, this is achieved through an internal membrane like those from Gore-Tex and eVent.
Waterproofness is generally measured in terms of how much water, in mm, can be placed on top of a fabric in a column until it seeps through (though some companies dispute whether this testing method accurately represents real-world conditions). In simple terms, bigger numbers ought to mean the garment’s fabric can withstand more water before any leakage occurs.
However, as with anything, the raw numbers don’t always tell the full story. How a jacket is constructed plays a big role too, because water can also get in through poorly sealed seams or zips, or via the collar or sleeves if they don’t fit correctly.
It’s no good keeping rain out if you get soaked by sweat from within. Different fabrics have different water vapour transfer rates but cut, lining, membranes and vents all make a significant difference to how dry you stay.
Taping is used to seal the seams in a waterproof jacket on the inside. It does add bulk and reduce a jacket’s breathability, so some of the jackets in this list trade a bit of seam leakage for better overall performance.
The worst enemy of your wet-weather gear is your washing machine. Detergents (biological ones especially) strip off waterproof coatings and conditioners clog the pores and fibres that help fabric wick and breathe.
Still, it’s important to keep waterproof fabrics clean because dirt and oil can clog membranes (limiting the fabric’s ability to breathe) and degrade DWR treatments, too. Always read washing instructions carefully.
Often overlooked is the outer DWR treatment. If your jacket is wetting out as described above, there are ways to revive the treatment on your jacket.
Some manufacturers say to throw the garment in the tumble dryer for a few minutes on low to medium heat, others recommend ‘touch ups’ with an iron on the warm setting. Again, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Finally, if the existing DWR treatment can’t be saved you can re-treat it. There are quite a few spray-on and wash-in products available from brands such as Grangers and Nikwax. Again, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Pockets, hoods and zippered vents might seem like a good idea on a hanger, but not if they make a jacket too bulky to shove in your back pocket. Extra features all add to the cost too.
That said, features such as a dropped tail can protect your rear from road spray if you don’t have mudguards, and reflective details can help keep you visible in low light, so consider which features you actually need for the type of riding you do.
There’s currently no requirement (in the UK at least) for cyclists to wear high-visibility clothing at any time of day or night (front and rear lights are a legal requirement in the UK at night, though), but for some it’s an important consideration.
Whatever your opinion on the subject, it’s always good to have choice and hi-vis doesn’t have to mean fluorescent yellow anymore. Though it was once the case that the majority of waterproof cycling jackets were either clear, black or designed to look like building site safety equipment, many brands now offer waterproof jackets in a variety of bright, dare we say even fashionable, colours.