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Best mountain bike jackets 2021 | 19 tried and tested by our experts

The best jackets for mountain bikers

Possibly the most important item in your winter wardrobe, a good mountain bike jacket will keep you riding through all weathers. You can spend a lot of money on one, but do you have to?

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Generally, the more you pay, the more you get, in terms of performance – by which we mean breathability, durability, features or a combination of all three. This isn’t always the case, though.

Working out exactly what you need your jacket for can help you narrow down your options and avoid spending money on features you don’t need.

Our expert testers have spent days and weeks out on the trails, putting different mountain bike jackets to the test in the most horrid conditions, to bring you the best performing options for every type of rider.

We’ve tested a selection of fully waterproof garments alongside some hybrid jackets that combine water-resistance with breathability and warmth.

Best mountain bike jackets in 2021

  • Gore C5 Gore-Tex Trail Hooded Jacket: £230 / €270  
  • Patagonia Dirt Roamer: £210 / $229
  • 7Mesh Guardian: £352 / $400 / €350
  • Endura MTR Shell: £140 / $199.99 / €164.99
  • Gore C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Hybrid Jacket: £200 
  • Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody: £250 / $299
  • Patagonia Rainshadow Jacket: £230
  • Rapha Explore Hooded Gore-Tex Pullover: £250
  • Altura Mayhem 2: £120
  • Berghaus Changtse: £290 / €350
  • Endura MT500 Waterproof Jacket II: £230 / $329
  • Jack Wolfskin Atlas Tour: £150
  • Mission Workshop The Sans Jacket: £400 / $475 / €475
  • Nukeproof Nirvana Jacket: £150 / $184.95 / €175.99
  • On Waterproof Anorak: £320 / $359.99 / €359.95
  • POC AVIP Rain: £295 / $300  / €350
  • RAB Arc Jacket: £200 / $260
  • Scott Trail MTN Dryo 20 Jacket: £220
  • Vaude Moab Rain Jacket: £160

Gore C5 Gore-Tex Trail Hooded Jacket

5.0 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
The C5 Gore-Tex Trail is one of our all-time favourite jackets for mountain biking.
Russell Burton
  • £230
  • Exceptional breathability
  • A super all-rounder
  • Protection: waterproof

As its five-star rating suggests, the 240g (medium) C5 Trail is one of the best all-round mountain bike jackets available. The spec of the fabric plus an excellent bike-specific cut make it very difficult to fault.

Decent pockets, a double front zip and an under-helmet hood are all present and well executed.

Its breathability is so good that our tester would reach for this layer without rain being forecast.

We also recognise this as a garment that makes a great choice for commuters who wish not to shy away from the worst of UK weather.

Patagonia Dirt Roamer

5.0 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
The Dirt Roamer is an all-rounder weatherproof jacket that proved to be surprisingly versatile.
Russell Burton
  • £210 / $229
  • Excellent cut
  • Versatile layer
  • Protection: water-resistant

Although not strictly a waterproof, this weatherproof, packable jacket is a true all-rounder that’s perfect for those days with quick changes in weather.

The DWR finish keeps water off well and dries quickly when wet, but this is not a choice for the worst conditions.

The fit is exceptional with a dropped tail, generous sleeves and over-helmet hood

It’s so breathable that it easily transitions from cooler starts to warmer finishes. Our tester found it ideal for spring and autumn rides in the UK with just a baselayer underneath.

7Mesh Guardian jacket

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
7Mesh has a reputation for nailing the mountain bike-specific detailing.
Russell Burton
  • £352 / $400 / €350
  • Lots of great details
  • Exceptional breathability
  • Protection: waterproof

7Mesh’s Guardian jacket has a great reputation, but at £352 / $400 / €350 it doesn’t come cheap. Fortunately, though, its performance doesn’t disappoint.

It’s impeccably cut, with brilliant details all over and its breathability is fantastic for a totally waterproof jacket.

Endura MTR Shell jacket

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
The MTR is a lightweight packable shell that takes up next to no space in a pack.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media
  • £140 / $199.99 / €164.99
  • Can fit in a jersey pocket
  • No pockets
  • Protection: waterproof

Endura’s MTR shell jacket is a packable waterproof jacket primarily designed for off-road use. It packs up small enough to fit in a jersey pocket, but doesn’t compromise on performance or durability.

Our tester also found the fit to be spot on, with plenty of length and strategically placed stretch panels that enable a full range of movement.

Gore C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Hybrid

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
The C5 Infinium Hybrid is also available in different colour combinations.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media
  • £200
  • Impressively breathable and weatherproof
  • Slim yet stretchy fit
  • Protection: water-resistant

This is a particularly versatile and breathable jacket that excels in the most challenging conditions.

A hardshell waterproof this is not, but we’ve been impressed by how it copes with even serious rain showers. The under-helmet hood is an acquired taste but it works well and can be rolled up neatly should you not want to use it.

The fit is relatively slim but stretches and articulates well when on the bike.

Our tester found that this jacket combined with just a baselayer beneath made for a winning combination of comfort, protection and breathability.

This particular finish isn’t going to impress everyone, but black and blue options are also available.

Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
The Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody leaves plenty of room to comfortably ride a bike.
Alex Evans
  • £250 / $299
  • Impressively warm
  • Packs down into its own pocket
  • Protection: water-resistant

The Micro Puff Hoody from Patagonia is a lightweight, soft-shell garment that looks good both on and off the bike. It’s seriously warm thanks to the use of synthetic PlumaFill insulation and the DWR coating is effective, but we’d still recommend using this as a mid-layer in the worst of conditions.

Despite minimalist looks and a fit that’s neither tight nor slack, it’s full of useful storage pockets. It’s impressively packable too, folding down neatly and easily into its own pocket. Our tester loves his so much that he’s rarely seen without it.

Rapha Explore Hooded Gore-Tex Pullover

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
The Explore from Rapha is a jacket unlike any other on this list.
Russell Burton
  • £250
  • Unique style
  • Good for a wide range of temperatures
  • Protection: waterproof

Rapha’s uniquely styled Explore jacket was originally marketed at gravel riders, but can make a great choice for commuters or mountain bikers too.

Constructed from three-layer Gore-Tex Active material, the Explore does waterproofing with an impressive level of breathability and makes for a low overall 220g weight in a size large.

It’ll pack down into a supplied sack where it can double as a pillow, or smaller still to wedge into a pack or jersey pocket.

Not everyone wants a pullover, but we didn’t miss a full-length zip when wearing this jacket.

It was comfortable in a range of temperatures ranging from single digits right through to mild 17-degree Celsius autumn conditions.

It’s a wildcard choice but one that we really enjoyed.

Altura Mayhem 2

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
The Altura Mayhem 2 is a practical waterproof that delivers and at a great price.
Immediate Media
  • £120
  • Good cut
  • Well featured for the price
  • Protection: waterproof

The Altura Mayhem 2 is a practical waterproof jacket that delivers great performance at a good price.

It’s not the lightest at 369g, nor does it use the best technical fabrics, but it delivers on value. Its cut is as good as many high-priced jackets, and it delivers on waterproofness.

Breathability is helped by vents under the arms, but in an ideal world these would be slightly larger to promote even better airflow. This is only a minor quibble though, because in reality this jacket offers excellent value for money.

Berghaus Changtse jacket

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
All the zips of the Changste are water resistant and the full-length front zip is also two way.
Russell Burton
  • £290 / €350
  • Technical construction with lots of vents and pockets
  • Do-everything credentials
  • Protection: waterproof

The Changtse is absolutely jammed packed with features. It uses a number of different Gore-Tex waterproof fabrics across the jacket for optimal performance in each area.

There’s Paclite Plus on areas such as the chest and arms, which are more prone to wear, while the core is made from Active Shell for greater breathability.

It’s not a bike-specific jacket, but the cut and flexibility are good enough that it never feels like a compromise.

Endura MT500 Waterproof Jacket II

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
The MT500 Waterproof has been improved for this second iteration.
Russell Burton
  • £230 / $329
  • Adjustable helmet hood
  • Multiple pockets
  • Protection: waterproof

An update to the popular MT500 jacket only adds to the appeal of this excellent fully-featured waterproof layer.

The three-layer waterproof fabric performs well and combined with the refined fit and plentiful storage adds up to a garment that does not disappoint.

The 536g (large) MT500 kept our tester both dry and comfortable during challenging conditions.

It’s also been designed to work well with a backpack, and we can confirm it does just that.

Jack Wolfskin Atlas Tour

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
Jack Wolfskin’s Atlas Tour is good for more than just riding in.
Russell Burton
  • £150
  • Multi-sport design
  • Solid value for money
  • Protection: waterpoof

The 515g (large) Atlas Tour represents good value for money, particularly when you consider this fully-featured waterproof has been designed to meet the needs of cyclists but with extended use for hikers too.

This multi-sport approach does not hinder the jacket or lead to a compromise in fit or performance.

The two-layer design did warm up quicker than some, but the temperature was easily controlled with the zip.

Three pockets, an adjustable helmet-compatible hood and reflective highlights complete an impressive feature list.

Mission Workshop The Sans jacket

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
The single zipped pocket on this jacket is big enough to store a large phone.
Steve Behr
  • £400 / $475 / €475
  • Fantastically light and waterproof
  • Great fit both on and off the bike
  • Protection: waterproof

Mission Workshop’s The Sans isn’t a cycling-specific jacket, but it has the specification and performance to make it a great choice both on and off the bike.

The Toray fabric is impressively waterproof, breathable and lightweight (our tester’s size medium weighed just 169g), making it a great packable option for stuffing into a jersey pocket.

If we’re nitpicking, it’s a shame the hood doesn’t fit over a helmet, but otherwise it’s really only the price that might put you off.

Nukeproof Nirvana jacket

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
Classic mountain bike styling and a killer price point make the Nukeproof Nirvana a jacket to be reckoned with.
Russell Burton
  • £150 / $184.95 / €175.99
  • Packable but with plenty of pockets
  • Great price relative to the competition
  • Protection: waterproof

Built from a 2.5-layer waterproof fabric, Nukeproof’s Nirvana isn’t the most breathable jacket we’ve ever tested, but it’s very good for the price and the gills under the arms help dissipate excess heat and sweat.

The fit is relaxed, so there’s room to layer up underneath when it gets cold, and the hood also fits comfortably over a helmet.

All things considered, it’s built like a jacket that costs a lot more than it actually does.

On Waterproof Anorak

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
The material is very light and that’s complemented by bonded hems.
Russell Burton
  • £320 / $359.99 / €359.95
  • Light and athletic fit
  • Hydrophobic inner helps wick perspiration away
  • Protection: waterproof

On’s Waterproof Anorak isn’t a cycling-specific jacket, but its performance impresses nevertheless. The half-length zip isn’t perhaps the most practical option for getting On’s Waterproof Anorak on and off while on the bike, but it does reduce bulk a bit, and fashionistas will likely welcome the alternative look.

We didn’t notice any compromise in breathability either, possibly thanks to the hydrophilic elements on the innermost layer of the jacket’s three-ply fabric.

It’s an especially good jacket for those who do a bit of running as well as cycling because it can happily share duties across the two sports.

Patagonia Rainshadow jacket

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
We found the Patagonia Rainshadow shined both on and off the trails.
Russell Burton
  • £230
  • Unassuming styling
  • Well thought-out storage
  • Protection: waterproof

Should you purchase the Rainshadow jacket from Patagonia we are willing to wager it will quickly become your most used jacket.

Despite not being bike-specific, the 397g (medium) Rainshadow excels both on and off the trails. It’s better at colder conditions than mild ones, but the pit zips mean it is useful for both. The fit is roomier than most bike-specific clothing, which in this case is no bad thing.

The three-layer fabric is light to wear with some useful stretch meaning plenty of mobility. We were also big fans of this jacket’s generous pockets with their long zip pulls.

The Rainshadow will happily pack down into its own chest pocket too.

POC AVIP rain jacket

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
So bright that it hurts, but the AVIP was designed for visibility.
Russell Burton
  • £295 / $300  / €350
  • Comfortable even against bare skin
  • Tear resistant fabric
  • Protection: waterproof

The style, colour and cut are reminiscent of a road jacket, but in reality POC’s AVIP is more of a multi-purpose cycling waterproof.

Its tear-resistant Vectran fabric, for example, means it can stand up to the rigours of XC and gravel when a true road jacket might be too delicate.

The three-layer waterproof fabric does its job well too, but the lack of a hood might be a dealbreaker for some off-road cyclists. If that’s not a problem for you, though, there’s a lot to like here, with great on-bike performance and fit.

RAB Arc

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
The RAB Arc is a durable, multi-purpose jacket.
Immediate Media
  • £200 / $260
  • Multifunction styling that works on the bike
  • Sturdiness means good warmth and durability
  • Protection: waterproof

The RAB Arc jacket isn’t made specifically for cycling, but this compromise means it brings more versatility to the table.

In particular, the cut feels a little boxy on the bike, but the 422g jacket feels great when you’re not riding – unlike cycling specific jackets, which are often poorly shaped for off-bike use.

Generously sized front pockets and a hood that fits comfortably over a helmet only further its credentials.

The fabric is three-layer rip-stop with a high-quality and durable feel. This adds a bit of weight and a fair bit of warmth, but it also means it’s more likely to stand the test of time.

Scott Trail MTN Dryo 20

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
The Scott Trail MTN Dryo 20 offers high levels of weather protection for long days out.
Immediate Media
  • £220
  • Gear functionality
  • Lots of great bike-specific details
  • Protection: waterproof

Scott consistently makes high performing waterproof jackets, with the kind of small, bike-specific details that make a big difference in use.

The chest pockets, for example, are large enough for easy access with gloves or freezing hands at the end of a long ride. Extra-long vents complement an already breathable fabric for excellent airflow. They can also be quickly closed off for long descents.

The triple layer waterproof fabric is durable, and the lining bonded to the inner layer makes for a much more comfortable feel than single layer jackets. Our sample weighed 407g in a size large.

Vaude Moab Rain Jacket

3.5 out of 5 star rating
Best mountain bike jackets
The Vaude Moab is priced well, given its impressive performance.
Russell Burton
  • £160
  • Generous fit
  • Capable on and off the bike
  • Protection: waterproof

The Moab is considerably cheaper than many jackets on this list, but it still offers decent performance for mountain biking or other outdoor excursions.

Taller people are likely to appreciate that the fit is more generous than most, particularly in the sleeves and the length of the body.

The 2.5-layer fabric has a rubbery feel inside, which can stick to skin in warmer conditions, but in colder conditions and when placed over a baselayer this was not a problem.

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There are hand warmer pockets, reflective highlights and an adjustable hood, though the latter proved to not be ideal for use when riding.

What to look for in a jacket for mountain biking

Water resistant zips

These keep wind and rain out without the need for a storm flap. They’re easy to identify by the smooth seal that closes protectively over the teeth, but can be stiff to use.

Drop tail

A longer back hem to ensure your lower back is covered and help keep mud and spray off the seat of your shorts. Check the length is right for you by jumping on a bike when you’re trying a jacket on.

Lined collar

A fleecy inner collar not only feels more comfortable, it absorbs stray drips before they run down your neck.

Helmet compatible hood

A hood that goes over a helmet is our preferred style for practicality, although some riders like one that fits underneath. Check that it can be cinched in to reduce its volume and keep your peripheral vision clear.

Vents

Vents help heat and sweat to escape. They can either be zipped or open, gill-like slits. If you wear a pack, check that the straps don’t obstruct the jacket’s vents, and look for double-ended zips, which give more ventilation options.

Jargon

Breathability

The rate at which a fabric allows heat from inside to escape, in the form of water vapour. Multilayer fabrics can be both waterproof and breathable because the membrane layer has billions of tiny pores. These pores are large enough for water vapour to escape, but too small for water droplets to pass through.

Two-layer fabric

One where the waterproof membrane has no backing. Can have a rubbery or plasticky feel next to the skin. Generally lightweight (although newer three-layer materials can compare well) and lower cost.

Three-layer fabric

Here, the membrane is lined, so the inside of the jacket feels smoother. The lining can help with moisture management and also improve durability, so can prolong wear.

This can come at increased cost, though, and the extra material means more mass, so jackets with three-layer fabrics tend to be less packable.

P.F.Cs

Perfluorinated and poly-fluorinated chemicals are often used in the production of DWR (durable water repellent) finishes, but break down very slowly once released into the environment. Many brands are now moving to PFC-free materials, so check the blurb.

Articulated

This is when a fabric is cut along the lines of active use, so that it follows the shape of your arm or curve of your back when in the riding position.

A design of this type allows free movement without the need to be baggy, but may be less suitable for use off the bike.

If you only want one waterproof jacket to do it all, you might have to compromise somewhat in this department.