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review

Castelli Emergency Rain Jacket

8
£160.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Very capable, comfortable protection that's lovely to wear, if a little slim for the bulkiest mid-winter layers
Perfect sleeve, collar and tail length
Great cuffs
Flap-free slim cut
Stylish
Slightly too slim for the bulkiest winter layers
Weight: 
159g

Castelli has hit the design brief for its Emergency Rain Jacket absolutely dead centre. It's light and easy to scrunch into a pocket, and once on it proves comfortable with a superb slim fit, excellent windproofing and waterproofing, and well-judged breathability.

This jacket both looks and feels very well made. Castelli's Deluge Light 2.5 layer fabric is light but feels tough, and it's waterproof to a 10,000mm rating. That means the fabric resists a 10 metre water column without leaking, which equates to around 14psi of pressure. Basically, rain's not getting in.

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The seams are sealed to stop it sneaking around the edges, and the zip is waterproof too – yet mercifully easy to slide and adjust, unlike some.

2021 Castelli Emergency Rain Jacket - zip.jpg

The crosshatched threads of the fabric give just a little bit of stretch, which is useful given the slim cut. This size large is for 100cm chests (about 39in, if you insist), and mine is exactly 100cm. The Emergency Rain Jacket gives a pleasingly slim fit over a baselayer and a typical winter jersey, but anything bulkier – such as a windproof or water-resistant softshell jacket – tends to need that stretch here or there.

2021 Castelli Emergency Rain Jacket - arm logo.jpg

To be fair, Castelli only recommends this down to 5°C, where you're unlikely to be wearing anything too thick, but really the only thing limiting it in lower temperatures is the cut. If you like thick layers, consider sizing up.

Castelli also only rates this as two out of five for breathability, which seems very fair. I found it took around 20 minutes of reasonable effort before starting to feel actively warm and sweaty, but once there it seems to stabilise at a perfectly acceptable level. Even over the course of an hour in mild (10°) air temperatures I never felt the need to adjust the zip lower than the neck.

It folds down easily into a centre pocket, and at 159g it's barely noticeable. The shaping neatly accommodates whatever remains in your jersey pockets once you put it on, too – even the bulk of spare gloves, a Buff and a phone didn't cause any tightness across my stomach.

2021 Castelli Emergency Rain Jacket - hem.jpg

The tail is really well dropped, the neck is pleasingly high and slim, and the sleeves are just the perfect length for me. The slim, elasticated cuffs work very well with gloves, and the 'gutters' around 10cm above stop rain running down your arms and into them.

2021 Castelli Emergency Rain Jacket - cuff 1.jpg

Two similar gutters angle down the back, and while they appear to function – the water is leaving dirt in the channels – they only really send it down where it's going anyway.

2021 Castelli Emergency Rain Jacket - back.jpg

My only gripe is personal – this matt black looks fantastic, but is just too low-vis despite the reflective logo. But that won't bother anyone else who feels the same, as the Emergency Rain Jacket also comes in fluoro yellow and a truly lovely crimson red.

> 9 top tips for cycling in the rain

At £160 this jacket is hardly an impulse buy, but it's reasonably priced against its quality competition. The Bioracer Kaaiman Jacket is £178 and heavier at 403g, for instance, while the Gore Gore-Tex PacLite Jacket is £169.99, is slightly less packable, and proves a little too generous in its sizing. It's also heavier at 222g.

Something like the excellent 7Mesh Copilot Jacket is more still at £220 and 261g, but you can of course get cheaper – the Altura Nightvision Storm Waterproof Jacket is £79.99, for instance, but you're sacrificing even more in terms of breathability and fit at this level.

> Buyer’s Guide: 32 of the best waterproof cycling jackets 

The Castelli Emergency Rain Jacket is very well designed, very well made and very good at what it's supposed to do. It even looks good as it does it. I'll have a red one, please...

Verdict

Very capable, comfortable protection that's lovely to wear, if a little slim for the bulkiest mid-winter layers

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Castelli Emergency Rain Jacket

Size tested: Large

Tell us what the jacket is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Castelli says: "Just like the name says, we wanted to create the ideal simple emergency rain jacket. We made it completely waterproof and compact, and, as you'd expect from Castelli, we also gave it an amazing on-bike fit, yet it's still roomy enough to fit over a Gabba.

"This jacket is an emergency piece, so we knew you wouldn't want to break the bank with it, but the only real compromise compared to our top-of-the-line offerings is in breathability. We didn't make this for an all-day rain ride, but it's just right for your next emergency."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?

Castelli lists:

Deluge Light 2.5-layer waterproof fabric keeps rain off with 10,000 mm water column

Slight amount of stretch for excellent fit in riding position

Folds into half a jersey pocket for emergency situations

Innovative 'gutters' drain water away from hands and off back

Waterproof zipper and seam sealing keep all water out

5°-18°C / 40°-65°F

Weight:175g

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Neat and strong.

Rate the jacket for performance:
 
9/10

Does what it sets out to do extremely well.

Rate the jacket for durability:
 
8/10

Fabric feels tough and the build is strong.

Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
8/10

Gets a little warm and sweaty after 20 minutes or so, then stabilises and stays comfortable for the duration. Performance matches Castelli's claims – this is an emergency shell, not an all-day riding jacket.

Rate the jacket for fit:
 
8/10

A lovely tailored fit, pretty slim and racy.

Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
8/10

Spot on for a slim fit, though you might need to size up if you like thick or multiple layers.

Rate the jacket for weight:
 
7/10

At 159g, this size Large is actually 16g lighter than claimed.

Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for value:
 
6/10

How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

The usual 30° wash is fine.

Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

Lovely tailored fit, excellent sleeves and cuffs, slight stretch.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

A bit too slim-fitting for deep winter layers.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?

At £160 this jacket is hardly an impulse buy, but it's reasonably priced against its quality competition. The Bioracer Kaaiman Jacket is £178 and heavier at 403g, for instance, while the Gore Gore-Tex PacLite Jacket is £169.99, is slightly less packable, and proves a little too generous in its sizing. It's also heavier at 222g.

Something like the excellent 7Mesh Copilot Jacket is more still at £220 and 261g, but you can of course get cheaper – the Altura Nightvision Storm Waterproof Jacket is £79.99, for instance, but you're sacrificing even more in terms of breathability and fit at this level.

Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes

Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes

Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

This jacket looks and feels very well made, works exactly as it's supposed to and is light and easy to stash. It's reasonably priced, too, given its quality, style and branding. While the fit is slim enough to potentially cause issues with bulky layers on really freezing rides, the sizing is accurate and the cut is excellent. It's even available in bright colours. There's very little not to like. A very respectable 8/very good.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,

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