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With good waterproofing and windproofing the Chapeau City Jacket is ideal for fending off the elements whether you're commuting by bike, walking round town, or even bikepacking. It's light and very packable, so great for situations where space is at a premium, and for normal riding there's no excuse not to take it everywhere. It's not the most breathable option out there, but Chapeau has clearly aimed this at a more down-tempo type of riding.
I think it's an absolute corker, and just as good off the bike as on it. I've worn it to the shops, to the park, wherever really. A lot of that is down to the comfort. It just feels really nice to wear, which is helped by the excellent fit. It's a slim fit, cut for cycling no doubt, but it's generous enough that you can wear your favourite non-cycling specific jumper underneath. And one small detail: it's got a loop so you can hang it up like a normal jacket when you get home – hurrah!
On the bike it's just as appealing. There's lots of length in the body and arms (even for this 6ft 4in giant), and in a large it sizes up perfectly – a proper UK fit, that is, not an undersized Italian one. I'm pretty sure you could confidently buy this in the size you would normally buy a jacket in. It's available in a decent range of sizes too – S, M, L, XL and XXL.
There's plenty of adjustability if you want to further tailor the fit to your liking. The hem is adjustable, as is the hood, and the cuffs can be altered thanks to adjustable Velcro tabs.
The zip is a quality YKK type with a cord and plastic toggle to give you more purchase. I did find it a little on the stiff side at times, and you definitely wouldn't be able to do it one-handed while you ride.
As well as being usable off the bike, the jacket could easily adapt to a wide range of disciplines on the bike. It's great for commuting on the bike but I'd happily do some relaxed gravel or mountain bike riding in it too. A slightly dropped tail gives you a bit of extra coverage at the back on wet and muddy days.
Breathability could be a touch better for my liking. The material is quite thin, and there are vent holes under the arms and at the rear, but I did get pretty warm and the fabric inside a bit clammy on slightly more spirited rides. Clearly, Chapeau didn't design this jacket for that kind of riding though. If you're riding round the city at a low to moderate tempo, it's going to be fine.
The windblocking cuffs are a brilliant idea on cold, miserable days where you want a bit of an extra hug in the morning, as they are super cosseting. But the downside is, after a while your lower arms can get a little warm, where you might normally have a bit of air coming in at the cuffs on another jacket.
It's a great looking jacket. It comes in a fairly staid looking black option, or this bright red that I love. It's not traffic light red, more of an orange red, which should help get you noticed in the day time or in low light.
There's plenty of subtle reflectivity around the jacket: the lower back/sides, rear Chapeau logo, cuffs, a small chest logo, and front of the hood.
One of my favourite features is the two front pockets which have magnetic flaps. These are really easy to operate, even with gloves on. There's a decent amount of space inside each pocket, too, though there aren't any other pockets elsewhere. I did find that with a heavy/bulky item like a smartphone (iPhone 13 Pro) in one pocket, it did feel a bit weighted to one side while riding, though that's possibly exacerbated by the jacket being quite thin and light.
As I said at the start, it really is very light and very packable. It comes in at just under 10g heavier than the super-lightweight 7mesh Copilot Jacket I tested a year ago, which is impressive. It's not quite as packable, but it's not far off. The 7mesh just has the edge on breathability, but then it does cost nearly £100 more. Because of this you could easily take it everywhere, even on a warm day where there isn't a cloud in the sky – there's just no excuse not to carry it as a backup. It would work well on bikepacking rides too, where pack space is at a premium.
In terms of waterproofing, the City Jacket performed very well. There's full seam sealing on the inside, and the front zip is waterproof. Chapeau doesn't specify the level of waterproofing on offer (nor breathability, for that matter), so armchair analysts will have to do with my explanation, I'm afraid.
There weren't a heck of a lot of really wet days to test out the waterproofing for prolonged periods of time, but using the ever-reliable garden hose – what I classify as torrential spec – showed that the water easily ran off the jacket for a good few minutes without wetting out anywhere. Water doesn’t bead up all that much on the surface like some jackets, but doesn’t seem to affect its water resistance.
The front zip blocks water ingress and the pockets stay dry inside. Though I didn't find this an issue on the bike, I did notice that if your arms were raised slightly, some water could get in and easily soak the windblocking cuffs.
We've reviewed a few similar city-style jackets on road.cc, but the one that most closely matches the Chapeau in my opinion is the aforementioned 7mesh Copilot. The Copilot performs a little bit better at higher tempos, which is ideal as it's seemingly designed for mountain bike riding, and it's got better waterproofing, but otherwise there's not much in it. Both are a similar weight, and almost equally packable. The fit is similar, too, though the 7mesh is slightly more generous (7mesh stuff usually is, I find). There's a big difference in price, though, with the 7mesh costing £220, which highlights what decent value the Chapeau City Jacket is.
The Galibier Courchevel Storm Jacket is about £38 less than the Chapeau, but it's well over twice the weight at 617g. It does offer decent protection, but it's a bit bulkier and less packable.
The Chapeau City Jacket is, as its name suggests, perfect for riding in the city, and works equally well off the bike. Performance all round is excellent, with great fit, protection against the elements and visibility, and it looks great too. Admittedly, the breathability is a slight issue, at least for me, though I think you just need to accept its limitations; to reiterate, Chapeau clearly markets this as a jacket for casual city use, not for riding up cols.
Excellent packable jacket, as long as you don't stray too far from its intended urban environment
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Chapeau City 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?
Chapeau says, "Because we're not just cyclists on the club run. A high spec, lightweight and waterproof jacket that's as suited to the daily grind as it is a spin to your local cafe."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Available in Jet Black or Flame Red
Magnetic pocket snaps
Available in S, M, L, XL, XXL
Quality feels right up there with the most premium brands – lots of nice details, well thought through.
Very light and packable, and windproofing/waterproofing is good. Breathability is decent, though it's more for casual tempo rides.
So far so good. Though the material is quite thin, it doesn't feel fragile.
Chapeau doesn't offer a rating. Waterproofing is good, with no issues keeping water out in a downpour.
At fairly low efforts, the jacket is reasonably breathable. If you start working too hard, or you're wearing too many layers underneath, you will find you get a bit too hot and the jacket gets a little clammy inside. The windblocking cuffs, though clever, also prevent your lower arms from getting fresh ventilation.
Couldn't be better – slim, but with plenty of room underneath for a couple of layers. Plenty of space under the hood without it being too high.
Spot on. Chest size is about right, with no overly tight or loose spots anywhere. Plenty of length for tall people in both the body and arms. Hem and hood are adjustable to dial in a perfect fit.
Its 270g is exceptional for a city jacket with a hood. It also packs down very small (about the size of a small grapefruit).
Feels great, though if you have bare arms you might find the liner feels a bit plastic-like, thought it's pretty soft. The windblocking cuffs feel great on cold days when you need that extra boost of warmth.
Looks good value compared with the similar 7mesh Copilot. Loads of features, great looks, and a really good overall performance make the asking price seem like a pretty good deal.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Wash at 30 degrees just with detergent – job done. Even after a lot of rides it's still looking like new.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really good – it's a very protective jacket that covers a variety of cycling styles, and it works well off the bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The magnetic snap pockets – so easy to use!
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The cuffs are good at blocking out wind, but sometimes you want that extra bit of cooling...
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's about £90 less than the very similar but slightly more breathable 7mesh Copilot, but about £38 more than the Galibier Courchevel Storm Jacket, though that's a slightly bulkier and less packable option.
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
The Chapeau City is an excellent waterproof/windproof jacket, and great as a backup. If you don't intend to work too hard, and/or you're not a sweaty type, then you'll find its breathability perfectly acceptable. There are loads of neat features, and it's clear the jacket has been put together really well – it feels like it should cost much more.
About the tester
I usually ride: Condor Italia RC custom build 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: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,