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Best Waterproof Cycling Jackets

It's raining heavily outside, but you want to take your bike out for a ride nevertheless? Or you are out on the road when heavens suddenly open? That's exactly what a rain jacket is used for! Every outdoor athlete should have a waterproof and breathable rain jacket that can withstand longer tours in constant rain with ease.

We stock a wide range of waterproof cycling jackets for women and men in all common sizes and colours – ranging from classic black or blue through to hi-vis colours like fluorescent yellow. Discover our range of rain jackets by popular brands like GORE WEAR, ENDURA, VAUDE, JACK WOLFSKIN and ROSE.

How does a waterproof jacket work?

Most waterproof cycling jackets have a membrane. A membrane is a microporous layer that is sandwiched between the other layers of a garment. This membrane has microscopically small holes. As these holes are even smaller than rain drops, they stop water from passing through the membrane. Water vapour from sweat though can pass through the microscopically small holes to the outside – that's what you call the membrane's breathability.

There are different types of laminates a waterproof jacket can be made of. The most common laminates are 2-layer, 2.5-layer and 3-layer laminates. A two-layer laminate consists of a membrane which is laminated to the inside of an outer fabric. The lining – e.g. made of mesh fabric – is loose. Three-layer laminates on the contrary consist of a weather-resistant membrane which is laminated to an outer fabric and a lining. 2.5-layer membranes rather feature a thin protective layer instead of a real outer fabric.

Many rain jackets come with a water-repellent treatment that is used in addition or instead of a membrane. This means that the outer fabric is covered with a coating or treated to make it water-repellent. Thus, it stops rain from penetrating the material. However, a surface treatment or coating is often not permanently water-repellent, as it wears out over time.

When do you call a rain jacket waterproof?

The waterproof rating of a rain jacket is determined with the help of a water column test. In this test, a tube is placed on the fabric and filled with water. The aim is to measure how much water the material withstands before the first drops can penetrate through the fabric. If the fabric is for instance able to withstand 5000 mm of water until the water passes through the membrane, the material has a waterproof rating of 5000 mm. On windy days, rain and moisture press even harder on the fabric, which is why a higher water column is required. The same holds true when wearing a backpack that presses on the fabric.

It's also important to make sure the rain jacket has taped seams. Otherwise, moisture couldn't pass through the material but through the seams. A waterproof cycling jacket with taped seams provides best protection from rain and wheel spray.

The rain jackets we offer are all especially designed for their intended use. Thus, you don't have to worry about the waterproof rating. Simply read the product descriptions and find the right rain jacket for your needs. Our experts will also be happy to help you find a proper cycling jacket.

How to wash a waterproof jacket

No jacket is like the other. So please check the care label of your waterproof cycling jacket for respective information. Here you should find recommendations on the temperature and detergent you should use to retain the garment's waterproof rating and breathability.

There are also special washing detergents for rain jackets with membrane that neither leave any residues nor clog the pores of the membrane. See here for our range of proper detergents for waterproof women's and men's jackets.

If you would like to refresh the surface treatment or coating of your waterproof cycling jacket, you are well advised to re-waterproof the jacket after washing and tumble it dry at low temperature afterwards.

How to re-waterproof your rain jacket

If the surface treatment or coating of your rain jacket does no longer work and cannot be refreshed by washing the cycling jacket and tumbling it dry, you can re-waterproof it yourself.

There are two different types of waterproofing agents: Wash-in waterproofing agents that are used in the washing machine or when washing a garment by hand, and waterproofing sprays that are sprayed all over the surface of a jacket. Both types of agents have the same effect. Here you'll find our waterproofing sprays and wash-in agents to re-waterproof your cycling jacket – no matter if it's a hard-shell jacket, a softshell jacket or an insulated thermal jacket.

What to wear underneath a waterproof jacket

Waterproof cycling jackets are technical cycling clothing for bad weather. So apart from the waterproof rating, the breathability of such a jacket plays a decisive role. To guarantee best breathability, we recommend wearing breathable layers underneath a waterproof jacket.

A classic cotton shirt absorbs moisture and sweat from the skin and is bad at wicking it off to the outside. Thus, the shirt gets soaked with moisture, which results in heat accumulation and rapid chilling.

A breathable shirt or cycling jersey on the contrary offers fast moisture transport to the next layer, thanks to technical fibres that don't absorb moisture. That's why it's best to wear a breathable layer underneath your rain jacket.

How to choose the best rain jacket

Before buying a waterproof cycling jacket you should think about where you intend to ride. In the following, we'll give you some tips on which features you might need for your intended use:

Waterproof MTB jackets: Mountain bikers often wish to have a loose-fitting waterproof MTB jacket for their tours to enjoy unrestricted freedom of movement. Due to wheel spray, the lower back is especially exposed to dirt and water. Thus, a dropped tail will be a good solution.

Road cycling rain jackets: Speed lovers riding a road bike mostly go for close-fitting and ultra-lightweight cycling jackets. Thanks to a snug women's or men's specific fit, the jackets fit like a second skin and don't flutter in the wind. Perfect for fast downhills! Waterproof jackets that pack down small enough to fit into your jersey pocket when not in use are also interesting for long tours on your road bike.

Everyday rain jackets: Those who want to be well protected from wind and rain in daily life should choose a waterproof jacket that easily fits over their everyday clothes. A hood is also important though! When riding in road traffic, we recommend buying a jacket with large reflective elements. It might also be good to choose a jacket in hi-vis colours like fluorescent yellow instead of a black one – for improved visibility in the dark.

PFC-free rain jackets – Environmentally-friendly shopping

In the past, poly- and perfluorinated chemicals, as well as fluorocarbons, were used to produce outdoor jackets to make them resistant to dirt and water. Today, many manufacturers pay attention to an environmentally-friendly and resource-saving production process and thus use respective materials to make their technical jackets. Brands like VAUDE and JACK WOLFSKIN are real pioneers in PFC-free production. In our online shop, PFC-free jackets are marked accordingly.

Packable rain jackets – A good choice for on the go

Packable showerproof jackets are popular among cyclists who also need to ride in changing or adverse weather conditions. These jackets are especially lightweight and pack down small enough to easily fit into your jersey pocket or bike bag. Thus, the water- and windproof emergency jackets are ready at hand when heavens open. Perfect for all those who want to stay flexible on their tour!

With these practical tips and explanations nothing should go wrong! In the ROSE online shop, you will surely find the right cycling jacket for your needs. We stock a wide range of waterproof cycling jackets for women and men in all common sizes and colours – ranging from classic black or blue through to hi-vis colours like fluorescent yellow. Discover our range of rain jackets by popular brands like GORE WEAR, ENDURA, VAUDE, JACK WOLFSKIN and ROSE.