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Best waterproof cycling jacket 2023: Stay dry and warm whatever the weather

Ride in comfort and style all year round with our pick of the very best cycling jackets

A good cycling jacket can make the difference between loving every minute of a ride or wishing you’d never left the house. You want a jacket that will shrug off rain showers, and keep the wind and cold out on blustery days, but ideally not leave you soaking with sweat from the inside out. It’s not a lot to ask, is it?

Cycling jackets aren’t purely a foul weather friend: they’re an essential outer layer in winter months, but many are also comfortable enough to wear throughout the rest of the year as an extra protective layer when the mercury falls or shine turns to rain. Some even manage to add a dash of pub-friendly style to the proceedings.

Let’s be honest, the good old UK weather means that buying the best cycling jacket you can afford is an essential purchase if you don’t want to leave your bike gathering dust in the garage for months on end. Here we’ve compiled a list of the best jackets for every eventuality, so read on to find the right one for you.

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Best waterproof cycling jackets: At a glance

How to choose the best waterproof cycling jacket for you

What types of cycling jackets are out there?

There are a few different types of cycling jackets, and the best one for you will largely depend on your cycling habits. Here are the two main types of cycling jacket:

Waterproof jacket: This should be fairly self-explanatory. Waterproof cycling jackets are made with a waterproof hardshell which makes them more suited to extreme weather conditions – whether it’s wind or rain, or both. They’re likely to be a bit more bulky and less breathable than your other options though.

Softshell jacket: Softshell jackets offer a middle ground between hardshell waterproofs and lighter fleece jackets. They’re often lined with fleece, but they’re water resistant as well as being soft and light, making them a good option for changeable spring or autumn days. That said, many softshell jackets don’t offer complete waterproof protection, so if you’re after something able to withstand the extremes of the British weather, then you might have to sacrifice some breathability in exchange for something more durable against the rain.

While most of the entries on our list are fully waterproof, we have also included a water resistant softshell option as they offer a breathable and lightweight edge over some of the more heavier waterproofs.

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Are there any extras I should consider?

In addition to such essentials as waterproofing, high-vis patches, and sensibly-placed pockets, some jackets will have additional features which can improve your cycling experience. One common feature is the drop tail: a flap that comes down at the back of the jacket to protect your lower back against the rain and from splashes. A frequent issue with the drop tail is that it can get caught on the seat of your bike, but many manufacturers have found a way around this problem by making the tail stowable inside the jacket.

Some cycling jackets will also have pit zips. If it wasn’t already obvious, these are zips underneath the armpits of the jacket. They provide ventilation and can be very useful if you’re liable to sweat a lot on your ride. No matter how breathable a jacket’s fabric is, sometimes only a pit zip can allow enough air movement to keep things dry inside.

Finally, there’s the aesthetic to think about: Do you want a packable jacket you can just scrunch up and put away as soon as you’re off your bike? Or are you after something a bit more stylish? Some jackets are designed for urban cycling, so you might not even be able to tell they’re a cycling jacket at all. Others are designed and shaped specifically to be effective in a riding position – with short front panels and long drop tails – so aren’t really suitable for wearing casually down the pub.

The best waterproof and water resistant cycling jackets to buy

1. dhb Aeron Tempo 3: Best all-round waterproof cycling jacket

Price: £65 | Buy now from Wiggle

This sub-£100 cycling jacket provides excellent protection against the rain, and packs up neatly for compact storage when not in use. It has a waterproof rating of 30,000mm and a high breathability rating of 25,000g/m2 (this latter measurement refers to how much moisture can pass through a square metre of fabric in 24 hours). The jacket’s streamlined design has performance in mind, with extra protection from the jacket’s drop tail and shaped cuffs, while back vents are added as a precaution against overheating. There’s also a large zip pocket to the rear.

The Aeron Tempo 3 also utilises dhb’s ‘Flashlight Technology’, keeping you visible at night with reflective patterns and logos. It’s a great cycling jacket, but bear in mind that, given its performance-focused design, it fits quite tightly around the chest.

Key details – Material: Nylon; Waterproof/water resistant: Waterproof; Wind resistant: Unspecified; Colours: Black, blue, grenadine

Buy now from Wiggle

2. Proviz Switch: Best for nighttime visibility

Price: £85 | Buy Men’s | Women’s from Proviz

The Proviz Switch is fully reversible. With Proviz’s signature Reflect360 material on one side or fluorescent yellow on the other, you can feel safe knowing that everyone is going to see you zipping down the road – day or night.

It’s fully waterproof too, so will keep you dry in all but the most torrential of downpours. Zipped side vents provide extra ventilation to stop you getting too sweaty when you’re pedalling hard, or just trying to stay dry in summer showers.

Key details – Material: Recycled polyester; Waterproof/water resistant: Waterproof; Wind resistant: Yes; Colours available: Yellow/reflective, black/reflective, red/reflective (men’s only), light blue/reflective (women’s only)

Buy Men’s from Proviz Buy Women’s from Proviz

3. Triban RC500 Waterproof Cycling Jacket: Best budget waterproof cycling jacket

Price: £50 | Buy now from Decathlon

With a waterproof rating of 8,000mm (down to 5,000mm after it’s been washed five times, according to Decathlon), the RC500 isn’t designed for torrential downpours. That said, it can still handle itself in moderate rain. And at £50, it’s a fair bit more affordable than a lot of other cycling jackets.

Nice added touches include a YKK AquaGuard front zip and sealed seams to stop water seeping in, and a foldable rear flap that’s coloured bright orange for visibility.

Key details – Material: Polyester; Waterproof/water resistant: Waterproof; Wind resistant: Unspecified; Colours available: Black, navy, khaki brown

Buy now from Decathlon

4. Rapha Commuter: Best waterproof jacket for commuters

Price: £120 | Buy Men’s | Women’s from Rapha

The Rapha Commuter, while lightweight and packable, is also fully waterproof, making it the ideal jacket if you cycle to work in a city like London, where it seems to rain more often than not.

It also has a roll-up hood, waterproof zip, reflective details on the back and a mesh-lined panel for ventilation. The taped seams are a nice touch at the price too, and ensure that the jacket keeps you dry even when the heavens truly open. The relaxed fit is spot on, with enough room to layer your normal, everyday clothes underneath.

Rapha doesn’t always make the most affordable products, but the Commuter is far from the most expensive jacket on our list, and is actually very good value when you consider you get free repairs for crash and accident damage.

Key details – Material: Polyester; Waterproof/Water resistant: Waterproof; Wind resistant: Yes; Colours available: Men’s – black, hi-vis pink, Women’s – hi-vis pink, grey blue, red, peach

Buy Men’s from Rapha Buy Women’s from Rapha

5. Gore Wear Race Shakedry Jacket: Best premium waterproof cycling jacket

Price: £213 | Buy now from Sigma Sports

Gore-Tex’s now discontinued Shakedry fabric might not be the most environmentally friendly material out there, but performance-wise it’s the best there is. This stuff really has to be experienced to be believed: it’s super lightweight, breathable, stretchy, windproof and completely waterproof. If you want the highest level of performance for long-distance riding, racing, and winter training then there is nothing better, and this jacket is made entirely from it.

The cut is optimised for a fairly aggressive riding position, with dropped shoulders, an extended tail and a narrow chest, which means it’s best suited to roadies, and commuters should probably look elsewhere. There’s also a large zip pocket at the back for stashing snacks, a phone or any other essentials you might want to carry.

The main downside, though it is a fairly big one, is that, as it stands, the jacket is only available in black. If you want maximum visibility, this is not it. But that said, it does have reflective details in the most visible areas, which will help you to be seen. As the most expensive jacket in our roundup, it’s not exactly a cheap and cheerful option either.

Key details – Material: Gore-Tex Shakedry; Waterproof/water resistant: Waterproof; Wind resistant: Yes; Colours available: Black

Buy now from Sigma Sports

6. Vulpine Softshell Harrington: Best softshell cycling jacket under £250

Price: £200 | Buy now from Vulpine

Vulpine’s Softshell Harrington looks pretty minimal for the price, but don’t be deceived – it comes with a number of handy features, including buttoned back adjusters, ventilation panels, reflective details, and lots of pockets.

Aside from the waterproof zip and storm guard, the jacket itself – like most softshells – is water resistant rather than fully waterproof. So, if you’re after a bit more protection from the rain, check out Vulpine’s Harrington rain jacket, or the Portixol waterproof. Otherwise, the Harrington Softshell is a great cycling jacket – warm, durable and more than capable in light showers.

Key details – Material: Cotton, polyester, elastane, fleece inner; Waterproof/water resistant: Water resistant; Wind resistant: Yes; Colours available: Black, dark navy

Buy now from Vulpine

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