A light outer layer is a great way of dealing with changeable weather

Cycling in the wind isn’t just hard work, it can also make it feel much colder than it really is. You produce a lot of sweat when cycling, and the wind chills this sweat and can make you very cold, very quickly. A windproof cycling jacket will stop the wind in its tracks and keep you from feeling the wind chill.

A lightweight windproof jacket can prevent you being caught out in the wrong kit if the weather turns during the ride, or you’re out longer than planned. They add a lot of flexibility and versatility to your cycling outfit at this time of year, and are useful into spring, even summer too. Most lightweight windproof jackets can be rolled up very small and will fit into a spare jersey pocket, and most use technical fabrics that are very breathable if you need to wear for the entirety of a ride.

>>Get to know the difference between softshells, waterproofs and windproofs with our Buyer's Guide to Winter Jackets


Fabric is key in a windproof jacket. There are quite a few options on the market. How much you pay will dictate the quality of the fabric, and typically the more you pay the lighter and thinner the fabric. Breathability - the degree to which a jacket lets your sweat vapour escape - differs from jacket to jacket too.

Gore Windstopper is a very popular choice. It’s manufactured by laminating a lightweight PTFE microporous polyurethane membrane to a fabric. Unlike Gore-Tex, which is waterproof, Windstopper is designed to just keep the wind out. That said, it does a fine job at keeping quite a bit of lighter rain out too.

Other choices include fabrics made by Polartec, which usually have a polyurethane membrane bonded onto the face of the fabric, and Pertex which combines a moisture moving inner layer with a tight weave outer layer that stops wind getting through.

While only designed to deal with the wind, some windproof fabrics are reasonably adept at keeping rain out. We’re not talking here about torrential rain, but they can often keep you dry if you have to cope with several short showers during a ride.

Lightweight windproofs don't provide much insulation. They're intended to be used in conjunction with insulation layers to provide the warmth. These jackets purely stop the wind from getting through to those layers.


Fit is very important. Jackets range from generously sized to race fit, the right one for you depending on the type of riding you do. If you’re commuting you probably want a relaxed cut that can go over a couple of other layers easily. If you’re racing or training, you want to minimise any excess material flapping in the wind so choose a close and slim cut.

It’s always worth trying a jacket on before buying if possible. Sizing can vary so much between manufacturers, and details like the length of the arms, how much the tail drops down, and the fit around the shoulders and waist, can change from one brand to another.

Extra features

To keep the weight down, you don't usually get many features. All lightweight windproofs will have a full-length zip, and some might have ventilation ports around the arms or in the side panels to boost ventilation. You don't normally get pockets, but some of the jackets below do provide pockets, it all depends on the type of cycling you do and your requirements.

High-collars can be good for ensuring the wind doesn't sneak in around your neck. A dropped tail and raised front will give a better on-the-bike fit, and elasticated waist bands can stop the jacket riding up. Some jackets will have a pocket that doubles as a pouch to stuff the jacket into, as the photo above shows.

Light enough to pack away

Lightweight windproofs are made from thin fabrics so they pack away very small and will easily disappear inside a jersey or backpack pocket when not in use. If you commute by bike, it's worth having one in your backpack/pannier at all times, so it's there if you need it.

>>Want more protection? See our Buyer's Guide to Waterproof Cycling Jackets

11 of the best windproof jackets

We’ve picked some of the best reviewed windproof cycling jackets recently tested on road.cc. Most of these jackets are lightweight windproof jackets that can be added to your existing outfit, some are very packable so you can stuff in a jersey pocket when not needed, and some are designed to be worn all of the time.

Pearl Izumi Elite Pursuit Hybrid jacket — £89.99

Pearl Izumi Elite Pursuit Hybrid jacket - riding

Pearl Izumi's Elite Pursuit Hybrid jacket represents a really nice blend of performance fit, water resistance and windproofing. It's not quite your Castelli Perfetto or Santini Beta Rain jacket, but then it doesn't cost nearly as much as those all-round garments either.

It's a beefier version of the lighter PRO Barrier Lite jacket. Still relatively packable (this weighs 27g more), it's supposed to be a slightly more resilient version of the Barrier Lite that you might be tempted to rely on as an all-ride outer layer rather than a whip-on, whip-off as needed option.

Read our review of the Pearl Izumi Elite Pursuit Hybrid jacket
Find a Pearl Izumi dealer

Shimano Evolve Wind Jacket — £179.99

Shimano Evolve Wind Jacket.jpg

Shimano's Evolve Wind Jacket provides a cosy yet breathable layer with a relaxed fit that opens it up to more casual commuting as well as general road riding. The styling is very nice, but the notable feature is the Wind Shield, which looks odd but works well. It's a great jacket, but rather pricey.

Shimano's Evolve line sits between the race-focused S-Phyre range and the casual Explorer collection. Compared with the S-Phyre kit, the Evolve range is a little roomier, made for a slightly more upright position and, in the case of this Wind Jacket, also suitable for combining with jeans for the ride to work or cafe.

Read our review of the Shimano Evolve Wind Jacket
Find a Shimano dealer

Monton Ghat Windbreaker — £70

Monton Ghat Windbreaker Jacket.jpg

This excellent windproof has a nominal list price of £140, but Monton were actually selling it for £80 when we reviewed it, and at the time of writing it's £70; far more sensible prices. The  Ghat is a smart looking, race cut windproof that offers excellent breathability when you are riding hard.

The front panels are a lightweight compound windbreaker fabric, which stops cold breezes from penetrating and offers some water resistance, making the Monton a good solution for those dry days when you might just catch a stray shower. Behind the full length zip you'll find a baffle to stop draughts getting through, and the high neck helps keeps everything at bay too.

Read our review of the Monton Ghat Windbreaker

Van Rysel RC 500 Ultralight Windproof — £22.49

Van Rysel RC 500 Ultralight Windproof Cycling Jacket - riding.jpg

The cheapest windproof jacket in this article at just £22.49, the Van Rysel RC 500 Ultralight Windproof is light enough to stuff into its own pocket about the size of a fist, and weighs very little so you can take it in a backpack, pannier or jersey pocket on all rides. The jacket is very light, if a little delicate feeling – treat it with care – but it still does a very good job of blocking the wind. It'll even keep out a light shower if you get caught out.

Read our review of the B'Twin 500 Ultralight Wind Jacket

Polaris RBS Pack Me Jacket — £36.51- £45.99

RBS stands for Really Bright Stuff, and you're certainly going to get noticed with this on. It's a packable light weight windproof that's just right autumn and milder winter days. Its windproof qualities keep the morning chill at bay. The 100% polyester fabric is thin but is a good barrier against the wind and will stand up to a bit of light drizzle too.

Read our review of the Polaris RBS Pack Me Jacket
Find a Polaris dealer

Rh+ Acquaria Pocket Cycling Jacket — £42.00

This three season windbreaker looks good while striking the difficult balance of warmth against breathability. It's made of a single layer, coated fabric called Airdry which is intended for mild and windy conditions and which is quite soft; it feels just like a normal jersey against the skin.

There are vents at the rear which helps the warm air escape should your work rate increase, but it's more at home when descending or riding in a group, not necessarily pushing too hard sitting on a wheel.

Prive and link above is for sizes L to XXL. BikeInn has S and M for £50.45.

Read our review of the RH+ Acquaria Pocket Jacket
Find an Rh+ dealer

Endura FS260-Pro Adrenaline Race Cape — £65-£77.99

Endura FS260-Pro Adrenaline Race Cape - riding.jpg

Unlike most of the jackets here, Endura's FS260-Pro Adrenaline Race Cape is fully waterproof, with a breathable fabric and taped seams. But in practical terms it has lots in common with most merely water-resistant windproofs in that it can be easily packed into a pocket.

This is a great garment, proving breathable race capes can be relatively affordable. Packable race-light 'shells' are usually either super-expensive yet breathable and comfortable, or cheap and boil-in-the-bag. I'm delighted to report here that the FS260-Pro straddles the two definitions.

It performs very well. Of course, there's a limit to how effective any breathable fabric can be. Even industry standard Gore-Tex meets its match in the right (or wrong) combination of humidity, warmth and exertion. But, if you're riding at a high tempo, the Endura keeps you as dry as I've experienced in a shell such as this. It works best in cooler conditions – and layering up too much negates its effectiveness – but it really is quite impressive.

Read the full review of the FS260-Pro Adrenaline Race Cape
Find an Endura dealer

Galibier Gino Pro — £53

Galibier Gino Pro Wind jacket - riding.jpg

Galibier's Gino Pro Wind Jacket is one very impressive piece of kit, blocking out the breeze without creating a humid micro-climate on the inside thanks to great breathability.

Galibier has used UPF200 Windstop fabric by Miti for the front panels, a high thread-count material which is then laminated to create the windproofing. Nothing gets through at all. To test how insulating the Gino was, I went out on a night ride with the temperature just half a degree below freezing and a cold north-easterly wind blowing in. Underneath, all I had on was a mesh short-sleeved baselayer that I normally wear in the warmth of summer. My temperature was very comfortable, even on my arms, where under the sleeves of the Gino my skin was exposed.

Read our review of the Galibier Gino Pro Jacket

Showers Pass Ultralight Wind Jacket — £65

Showers Pass Ultralight Wind Jacket.jpg

The Showers Pass Ultralight Wind Jacket ticks every box for staying warm while dodging showers in the shoulder seasons. Light, trim-fitting, tiny when packed and budget-friendly, it's hard to see how it could be improved on.

The Ultralight squishes into a stuff sack not much larger than my fist, and disappears into any jersey pocket, awaiting the call to duty. The Elite Wind Fabric is highly breathable while blocking wind, and the durable water-repellent finish sheds light rain and drizzle. While the Ultralight is not marketed as a waterproof, the combination of fabric and DWR (durable water repellent) finish means after a few minutes under the kitchen tap, water is still beading off with nothing getting through.

Read our review of the Showers Pass Ultralight Wind Jacket

Pearl Izumi Pro Barrier Lite — £59.99 (some sizes £42-£56.95)

Pearl Izumi Pro Barrier Lite Jacket - riding.jpg

This is an excellent packable jacket that offers even better protection than Pearl Izumi claims. It's billed as "wind and water resistant" but actually offers excellent wet weather protection – it's very packable, and capable of shedding even torrential downpours for a short period of time.

Some packable jackets on the market claim waterproofness, but in reality fall short of it, only able to deal with showers before being overwhelmed by their own fragility. The Barrier Lite is no such garment – it really could claim to be waterproof.

Taken out in a wintry deluge – and I mean a real deluge – it lasted the full 10 minutes I could bear to be out in it, keeping me dry underneath. Even when used for intermittent showers on longer rides, it was a dream in this regard, with water beading off effectively and efficiently. It only begins to come unstuck in prolonged rainfall.

Read our review of the Pearl Izumi PRO Barrier Lite
Find a Pearl Izumi dealer

Chapeau! Echelon Jacket — £134.99

Chapeau Red Echelon Jacket - riding.jpg

The Chapeau! Echelon Jacket brings together some really nice features combined with good performance and an excellent fit, even if it looks a little Star Trek-y.

One of the key points of judgement for the Echelon, as with any other jacket, is how well it performs in bad conditions. Luckily, testing in the UK in December means it's been put through its paces.

In terms of windproofing it works really well, with Chapeau! choosing a fabric that kept even the fiercest wind off. I was really surprised by how effective it was, simply because it is so thin – it can't be thicker than a regular sheet of A4 paper, but managed to keep the wind off even in the freezing cold. It is genuinely impressive.

Read our review of the Chapeau! Echelon Jacket
Find a Chapeau! dealer

For more choices see the full archive of winter jacket reviews

About road.cc Buyer's Guides

The aim of road.cc buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

Our guides include links to websites where you can buy the featured products. Like most sites we make a small amount of money if you buy something after clicking on one of those links. We want you to be happy with what you buy, so we only include a product in a if we think it's one of the best of its kind.

As far as possible that means recommending equipment that we have actually reviewed, but we also include products that are popular, highly-regarded benchmarks in their categories.

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You can also find further guides on our sister sites off.road.cc and ebiketips.

Road.cc buyer's guides are maintained and updated by John Stevenson. Email John with comments, corrections or queries.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.


Disfunctional_T... [440 posts] 1 year ago

This is a very disparate collection of jackets... from traditional wind jackets to rain jackets.

> Endura Hummvee Convertible Jacket... fully windproof and very breathable

Those qualities are at odds with each other.

Most rain jackets have 0 air permeability, and thus block 100% of the wind. Gore-Tex falls in this category. Some waterproof breathable membranes, however, notably eVent and Polartec NeoShell are slightly air permeable (approximately 0.5 cfm to 1 cfm). They are still waterproof, but are much more "breathable" than Gore-Tex waterproof breathable membrane because moving air can transport much more water vapor than surface mechanisms.

(By the way, if Gore Windstopper is so breathable, why doesn't Gore release vapor permeability numbers for it?)

Some wind jackets have coatings which block 100% of the wind, but have 0 water vapor permeability. These will feel like a sauna, unless the panels are in limited locations.

> Other choices include Polartec

Polartec is a fabric manufacturer, not a fabric.

Chris Hayes [459 posts] 1 year ago

I think some of the ambiguity here arises from seasonal differences whereas seeing alternative jackets lined up one after the other invites comparison.  In short,  riding into a winter headwind on a cold day (as, probably, many of us are about to do requires warm heavy duty materials.  This is very different to being caught out in spring / summer (when a flimsy membrane over a summer shirt will help).  Still, looking at the disparate garments selected I sometimes wonder whether road.cc is struggling to be all things to all people. 

jthef [56 posts] 1 year ago

you have left the best on the market off?

I know it is expensive but it should of been included on a test like this (as there materil is sold to other producers as well).

I for one would like to read quite a few reviews on it espeshaly in comprison to other makes.

Gore shakedry jacket if your in any doubt.

Sriracha [250 posts] 2 weeks ago
jthef wrote:

you have left the best on the market off?

I know it is expensive but it should of been included on a test like this (as there materil is sold to other producers as well).

I for one would like to read quite a few reviews on it espeshaly in comprison to other makes.

Gore shakedry jacket if your in any doubt.

I guess because that is specifically a waterproof/breathable jacket (obviously windproof comes free with that, you're paying £250 for the rest), whereas this article is looking specifically at windproof jackets, albeit some may offer a measure of shower resistance as a side effect.