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Best waterproof cycling jackets 2023 — get out on your bike whatever the weather

Raining cats and dogs? Don't worry, here's our pick of the best waterproof cycling jackets to keep you dry and toasty

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With rain falling somewhere in the UK on more than 150 days a year on average, a high-quality waterproof is one part of your cycling wardrobe that is going to see plenty of use. The best waterproof cycling jackets use a whole host of modern fabrics and technologies, and there are now a huge amount of rain-ready options on the market covering all sorts of styles and budgets.

A quality waterproof jacket can make the difference between a tolerable ride and a miserable ride. Or, if you combine it with a pair of the best cycling overshoes and best winter bib tights, the time on your bike can be just as enjoyable as it is in the summer... well, almost!

Regardless of whether you're riding across town in your everyday clothes, out on the club run, racing, riding organised events or even bikepacking, we've come up with a selection of waterproof jackets that we've reviewed to help you make the right choice.

Remember: there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing! 

The best waterproof jackets: our top picks

Showers Pass Elite 2.1 jacket

Showers Pass Elite 2.1 jacket

Best waterproof cycling jacket overall
Buy now for £225 from Amazon
Unfaltering waterproofing
Highly breathable
Plenty of ventilation
Reflective detailing in key places
Not cheap

It's not easy for a product to achieve a review score of 10/10, but tester Mike deemed Showers Pass' Elite 2.1 jacket was worthy due to it being 'the ultimate jacket for riding in appalling conditions.'

It's made from Elite 3-layer rip stop fabrics, with the jacket having been body-mapped to maximise waterproof/windproof protection with high levels of breathability. A multitude of venting options also keep you cool when you put in big efforts, or when outside temperatures start to rise. 

The Elite also comes with plenty of reflective detailing to help you get seen at night (there are bright colour options available other than the black seen in the photo), and there is also a hood available as an optional extra which we believe adds to the versatility of the jacket.

When it comes to fit, the Showers Pass has a roadie style to it being cut slim to reduce excess fabric flapping around, although we found it to still offer plenty of room beneath for a couple of layers.

It's not cheap, but thanks to great durability and a two-year warranty, the Elite is a long-term investment.  

Read our review:
Galibier Tourmalet 3 Jacket

Galibier Tourmalet 3 Jacket

Best waterproof jacket on a budget
Buy now for £68 from Galibier
Taped seams and zip for added waterproofing
Long dropped tail gives extra protection
No bright colour options

If you're on a budget, or want a lightweight, packable jacket that can be dragged out of a rear pocket in a rain emergency, then Galibier's Tourmalet needs to be on your list.

When we reviewed it we did mention that we would like some brighter colour options for overcast days, but other than that there was very little we could fault. The Tourmalet uses a Hydrastop 2.3+ membrane which provides a waterproof rating of 15k which is bolstered by fully taped seams and a stormproof zip. 

This is no boil-in-the-bag either, with a rating of 13.5k for breathability which seems to keep your core at a comfortable temperature unless you are riding very hard indeed.

Other neat details are a heavily dropped tail to suit an aggressive road position, snug fitting cuffs, a rear vent for er, venting, and a high collar to keep the worst of the weather out. The fact that you can get all of this for just £68 makes the Tourmalet one of the best bargains-versus-performance waterproof jackets on the market.  

Read our review:
7Mesh Oro Rain Jacket

7Mesh Oro Jacket

Best lightweight waterproof
Buy now for £250 from Sigma Sports
Very lightweight and packable
Excellent waterproofing
Close fit means no 'flapping'
Highly breathable
Increased risk of damage over thicker jackets

When we reviewed 7Mesh's Oro jacket, Mat described it as the best lightweight waterproof that he had ever tested due to its impressive ability to repel rain while folding up small enough to easily fit in a jersey pocket. A lot of that comes down to the Gore Active fabric which does away with the outer 'third' layer of material found on traditional Gore-Tex layers.

Making a jacket waterproof isn't that tricky a task, making it waterproof and breathable is another matter though and this is where the Oro really shines. Gore says that's because of the lack of that outer face layer, and the glue required to bond everything together and Mat was suitably impressed saying that he was comfortable wearing the Oro in temperatures up to 14°C whether it was raining or not as it also makes a great windproof. 

Should you want to strip it off after a shower though, a quick shake and it's bone dry. You certainly won't notice it in your pocket either due to its compact pack size and 93g weight. 

It's not just the fabric that ticks all of the boxes, the fit is designed for performance riding with a slim cut to reduce flapping and plenty of length in the arms. You'll need to make sure you get the right size though as there isn't much stretch in the Gore fabric.

At £250 the Oro is a big investment, but our conclusion is that if you want a minimalist, lightweight waterproof with loads of breathability, this is superb.     

Read our review:
Chapeau City Jacket

Chapeau City Jacket

Best for riding in urban environments
Buy now for £90 from Chapeau!
Excellent fit and adjustability
Bright colour for visibility
Good waterproofing and windproofing
Works on or off the bike
Can get slightly warm when riding hard

What works on the chain gang or your weekend blast on the road bike might not befit the daily commute to work, especially if your pace is a little less frantic and the drop from your saddle to handlebar is a bit less dramatic. This is where the City Jacket from Chapeau steps in. With a relaxed cut that looks just as good off the bike as it does on it, it is mostly at home in an urban environment.

Being very packable means that it also a good contender for the bikepackers or tourers amongst us. Our reviewer found that the Chapeau delivered impressive waterproofing thanks to the material and the addition of fully taped seams throughout, and the breathability was fine for the steady state riding typical of an urban commute. Push the pace a bit and things can get a little overwhelming, but that's forgivable as this isn't a jacket designed for riding flat out in.

The sizing allows you to wear it over standard civvy clothing should you so wish, and with a bright colour and a few reflectives thrown in you shouldn't just blend into the background.     

Read our review:
7mesh Copilot Jacket

7mesh Copilot Jacket

Best for those who ride many different disciplines
Buy now for £250 from 7Mesh
Relaxed fit
The rain just beads off
Breathability keeps you dry
Minimal reflectives

When we reviewed the 7mesh Copilot Hollis reckoned it offered a minimalist design with maximum performance, being a brilliant packable jacket for taking with you everywhere.

The design and cut means that it is a bit of a Jack of all cycling trades with a looser fit than most road jackets, but still well shaped for life on the bike. It works for commuting, gravel riding, touring, bikepacking and more without looking out of place.

At £250 it isn't cheap, but we were very impressed with Gore's Paclite Plus fabric when it comes to waterproofing and blocking the wind. A hood is built into the design too. Breathability is also well managed with our reviewer finding that even on long climbs he never felt overwhelmed from a temperature management point of view in typical UK winter temperatures. 

Read our review:
Gore Race Shakedry Jacket

Gore Race Shakedry Jacket

Best for class-leading performance
Buy now for £239.99 from Wiggle
Best-in-class waterproofing performance
Desinged for riding hard
Material limits colour options

Gore's Shakedry fabric has become a bit of a game-changer in the lightweight waterproof market, and while many brands have incorporated it into their own line-up of jackets, the Race Shakedry jacket is Gore's own offering.

Unlike most waterproofs that use an outer layer bonded to a membrane for durability, the Gore does away with that. What you see here is just the membrane fabric which means it is lightweight (174g) and very packable. A racer's dream jacket.

The waterproofing is immense and with no need for any kind of water repellant coating like that found on a typical outer layer the Shakedry's performance doesn't degrade over time. Should it get wet during a shower, a quick shake before after taking it off means that it is dry to stow away in your rear pocket.

There are a couple of downsides, with the biggest being that the membrane comes in the colour you see in the pics, and that can't be changed. If you want something bright you'll need to look elsewhere.

Also it's not quite as durable as a multi-layer jacket, but we found that it is tougher than it looks and for road riding there are few issues. Now all you have to do is decide which one of your internal organs you can live without and bung it on eBay, so that you can treat yourself to a Shakedry! 

Read our review:
Castelli Idro 3 Jacket

Castelli Idro 3 Jacket

Best money-no-object waterproof cycling jacket
Buy now for £192 from Merlin Cycles
Brilliant waterproof fabrics
Excellent breathability
Top-end price point

Now, I know that we said that the Gore Shakedry above was expensive... but if money really is no object then we give you the Castelli Idro 3 jacket with an RRP of a cool £325!

It actually uses Gore's Shakedry fabric for the bulk of the jacket although the have used another Gore-Tex material for the lower back which gives some stretch to the panel for covering loaded rear pockets (Shakedry isn't renowned for its elasticity). The sleeves also use an inner stretch gaiter for a snug fit too, and there are plenty of reflective details to offset the dark colour colour on drab or dark days. 

If your budget isn't capped and you want some of the best waterproofing available with a racer's fit to match, then the Idro 3 is the jacket you are looking for.

Read our review:
Stolen Goat Men’s Mekon Climb & Conquer Winter Jacket

Stolen Goat Men’s Mekon Climb & Conquer Winter Jacket

Best for those who want a softshell that gives impressive waterproofing
Buy now for £149 from Stolen Goat
Lots of warmth
Great waterproofing for a non-hardshell
Reflective rear pockets
No taped seams so not a true waterproof

When it comes to keeping the rain out, not all of us necessarily want a hardshell jacket; especially if getting caught out in a heavy rain shower rather than heading out into weather that is likely to be wet for the duration of your ride. Stolen Goat's Climb & Conquer is a softshell jacket more akin to a long-sleeve jersey, made from Tempest Protect fabric which manages to be very warm while impressively waterproof.

It's not technically a full waterproof as the seams aren't taped (to aid breathability) and there is no protection behind the zip, but should the heavens open the results are still spectacular.

The Climb in Conquer comes in a range of different colours and designs which are constantly evolving so you should definitely find something that suits. The material looks grey in daylight but when light is shone on them they are a solid block of reflective light.

One great bonus that the Climb and Conquer offers are the rear pockets. Just like a traditional jersey you get three pockets across the rear, with an additional zipped pocket for your valuables.

Overall, the Stolen Goat makes a great option if a softshell is what you are after.   

Read our review:
Rapha Women’s Classic Winter Gore-Tex Jacket

Rapha Women’s Classic Winter Gore-Tex Jacket

Best for riding in the harshest of conditions
Buy now for £290 from Rapha
Faultless waterproofing
Great wind blocking
Wide easy access pockets
Inner face of the material feels cold against the skin

Rapha's Classic Winter Gore-Tex jacket is available in both men's and women's versions (you can find the men's review here) with very subtle differences, but they both use a three-layer Gore-Tex fabric from Gore's Infinium range, which we found to keep out absolutely everything that the elements could throw at it.

A dropped tail keeps you covered in an aero position while the front is cut higher to avoid causing any damage to your bib shorts or bib tights. Unlike a lot of waterproof jackets you do get a decent selection of pockets, and there are a couple of colour options including the very bright orange you can see in the picture. 

Whichever you go for though, there are reflective details added for riding in the dark. 

Read our review:
Altura Nightvision Storm Waterproof Jacket

Altura Nightvision Storm Waterproof Jacket

Best for visibility night and day
Buy now for £67 from Cyclestore
Loads of reflectives
Great weatherproofing
Not the most breathable at pace

Let's face it, if you're riding in the rain it is likely to be dull and grey, so if you want to be seen you'll want something bright like the Altura Nightvision Storm Waterproof jacket. Other colours are available if you want something a little more subdued, though.

If you are a commuter and work the 9-to-5 then your rides to and from work are probably going to be in the dark too, which is where the huge amount of reflectivity in this jacket really comes into play. For our reviewer George the results were impressive, with the Altura shunning wet weather and blocking the wind. Breathability was decent too for all but the most spirited of rides.

Altura's Nightvision range has always been about visibility in the dark, and this jacket doesn't let you down. The side panels, the outside of the arms and the collar are all covered in an array of reflective dots, which give a distinct definition of someone human-shaped riding along. 

The reflectivity of the arms also helps with making your signals for turning more noticeable. There's a women's version of this jacket too which we've also reviewed.

Read our review:
Sigr Nackrosleden Transparent Pro Cycling Wind/Rain Jacket

Sigr Nackrosleden Transparent Pro Cycling Wind/Rain Jacket

Best for race day
Buy now for £215 from
Impressive waterproofing
Tall neck stops draughts
Close fit stops material flapping in the wind
Not cheap
Material feels odd against the skin

If you're racing in your club colours and need to show your number beneath, then a see-through jacket is a must. We found one of the best ones is this Nackrosleden Transparent Pro from Sigr.

Some of these pure polyester jackets can be be a bit boil in the bag, but we found the Sigr to have decent breathability when riding hard and very good waterproofing. The fit, as you'd expect, is cut close and there is plenty of length in both the body and the arms. Another bonus is a double zip which allows you to undo the jacket from the bottom to give quick access to your rear pockets on the fly.  

Read our review:

How to choose from the best waterproof cycling jackets

What type of fabric is the best for a waterproof cycling jacket?

The fabric is the most important point to consider when you buy a waterproof cycling jacket. Our advice is not to skimp if you want a decent high-quality jacket that is going to provide years of outstanding service. You really do get what you pay for.

Making a waterproof fabric is relatively easy: even a bin bag is waterproof. Making a fabric waterproof and breathable so it lets sweat out, though, is a lot more challenging, but not impossible. With a hard-working cyclist inside a jacket producing a lot of sweat, the fabric needs to let water vapour escape outwards, while stopping the rainwater getting in. Fortunately, water vapour can pass through pores in the fabric that are too small to let water get through as a liquid.

There are all manner of fabrics on the market. Some have a waterproof treatment applied to the actual weave of the fabric (the lightest and most breathable option), some have a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) layer that causes water to bead up and roll off, and some have a membrane sandwiched between several layers. Many fabrics use more than one approach. Membrane waterproofs have a DWR coating that provides the first line of defence against the wet.

It’s also worth considering that many waterproof cycling jackets will need to be re-proofed regularly to replenish the DWR. If water isn’t beading off your jacket, and it was when it was new, then it needs reproofing. There's plenty of choice of reproofing products. It's typically a matter of just putting your jacket through the washing machine with this special proofing product added.

What do I need to look out for to make sure a jacket is actually waterproof?

Pay close attention to manufacturers' descriptions when buying a cycling jacket. They can claim that it's waterproof, water resistant or water repellant. To be considered waterproof, a jacket must be made from a waterproof fabric and have taped seams. Some will have all of the seams taped, while some just have the seams in key places receiving the treatment. 

Anything else is water resistant, which will hold up to some rain but eventually water will find a way in. Water repellant fabrics use a hydrophobic treatment that reduces the amount of water the fabric absorbs. A water resistant jacket might be okay for short showers, but if you're likely to be out in prolonged heavy rain you want a properly waterproof cycling jacket.

I'm going to be riding in my work clothes. How do I make sure I don't get too sweaty?

Apart from riding at a steady pace (or perhaps treating yourself to one of the best electric bikes), ventilation is your friend.

Even the best fabrics are not breathable enough to cope with the amount of sweat put out by a cyclist working hard: while climbing a hill, or keeping up with the ebb and flow of traffic in an urban environment, to give two examples. 

Some waterproof cycling jackets, therefore, have various ventilation options. There could be zips on the sleeves or in the arm pits to let some of the moist air escape, to give one example. Some also have vents on the upper back just below the shoulders. If you're considering using a rucksack over your jacket, you'll want to make sure these don't clash.

If the rain is coming from behind, you can also drop the main zip without getting wet unless there is a lot of road spray.

My bike doesn't have mudguards, how can I keep as dry as possible?

Many bikes come with mounting points for full mudguards, or if not you can sometimes add some clip-on guards instead. We'd strongly recommend buying some of the best road bike mudguards for your bike, but if you're yet to invest then here are some tips! 

> Learn how to winterproof your bike here

Most waterproof cycling jackets usually have dropped tails to keep your lower back and bum covered up when you're crouched low over the bike. Some are longer than others, so it's worth thinking about your position on the bike to see exactly how much coverage you're going to need. Certain urban style jackets have drop down tails which are either hidden by a popper or magnet for when you're not on the bike, or if it's dry. 

Whether you have mudguards or not, most jackets will fit slightly different to non-waterproof items for extra coverage. For instance, the arms are usually given some extra length so they don’t ride up when you're stretched out on the bike, leaving your wrists exposed. The collar and cuffs are places for rain to get inside, so look for a design that is close-fitting with elasticated and/or adjustable openings. Drawcords at the hem and neck and Velcro cuffs let you adjust the fit.

Do I need a gender-specific waterproof cycling jacket?

Thankfully the world of cycling has moved on since the days of 'shrink it and pink it' to create women's versions of cycling garments that were predominantly made for men. Most of the manufacturers mentioned in the list above offer their jackets in both a men's and women's fit, so if you can it's definitely worth going for one that best suits your body shape. Not only will the fit be more comfortable on the bike, you're also less likely to have excess material flapping about in the wind. 

Regardless of which jacket you go for, it's also worth checking out reviews for advice on sizing as brands from different countries tend to follow a different set of measurements for a nominal size. It also depends how many layers you want to wear underneath the jacket, as you might need a more relaxed fi if you're layering up. 

What is the difference between a softshell and a hardshell jacket?

The majority of waterproof jackets are hardshells, where there are two or three layers which can include something like a mesh inner layer, a membrane in the middle, with a woven outer. It's what gives the jacket it's firm sort of feel.

The outer layer is often coated in a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish to bead off the rain allowing the membrane to breathe through the micr-pores. This kind of set up doesn't allow a huge amount of stretch in the design, so getting the correct fit is more important than with a softshell.

Softshells tend to feel more like a long-sleeved jersey, although often a bit thicker to cope with the more extreme weather conditions they are likely to see providing warmth and insulation, and good windblocking capabilities. To make them as waterproof, or water-resistant as possible, they often rely on the same sort of DWR coating as that found on the hardshells, although you will rarely find taped seams inside.

A softshell is probably better for more variable weather conditions, while if prolonged rain is the order of the day you'll definitely want to go down the hardshell route.  

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!