We test 15 of the best cycling waterproofs to keep you dry this winter

We were impressed by the quality of all the jackets on test this year, which shows in the marks awarded. Whatever your budget, you should find something that suits you and wards off the rain this winter. You can check out more of our best-of tests here.

Best Cycling Jackets £60 to £100

Best Cycling Waterproof Jackets

B’Twin Waterproof Jacket 7, AGU Secco Pro, Altura Night Vision Evo

B’Twin Waterproof Jacket 7
£64.99
www.decathlon.co.uk

B’Twin is the in-house brand of French sports chain Decathlon, and while the styling of this jacket may not be cutting-edge 21st century, the price is most definitely right. Costs are kept down by speccing just one large rear pocket but there are no obvious shortcuts elsewhere. There’s plenty of reflective material on the arms and a slightly odd asymmetric band across the chest and back. The quality of the taped seams is the equal of that on much more expensive jackets – very neat, with no bobbling even where seams meet. It’s a medium-weight jacket but there’s venting across the back plus two foot-long pit zips that zip from the top for increased ventilation.

Verdict
Slightly bulky but offers top performance  and loads of venting.

Performance 4/5
Value 5/5
Overall 4/5

Triathlon Plus Top Value Award

AGU Secco Pro
£99.99
www.i-ride.co.uk

Developed with the aid of pro cyclists, the Agu Secco Pro is a top that’ll appeal to those who ride and train hard throughout the worst of the winter weather, and who want an emergency waterproof. Its unique selling points are a full-length Velcro (rather than zipped) closure and a transparent, fog-free window on the left wrist that’s large enough to let you glance at your heart-rate monitor or watch. The Poray 5000 coating doesn’t quite compare with Gore-Tex or eVent for waterproofing, but both the material and the internal seams survived our testing, with the Velcro proving secure enough on the bike, too. The jacket is easy to take off, packable and has large reflective strips.

Verdict
Light, simple and impressively bright training top.

Performance 4/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5

Altura Night Vision Evo
£99.99
www.zyro.co.uk

There are good reasons why you see Altura’s Night Vision products so often – they work, and they’re well priced. The 2013 Evo has gained a small rear LED, which makes it one of the most comprehensively specced jackets out there. It’s a slightly heavy, bulky top, but in spite of that it doesn’t get too clammy. An inner mesh helps with comfort (if not packability), with vented shoulder blades and large pit zips helping on warmer rides. With extensive reflectives, the Night Vision lives up to its name, and it also has a full complement of pockets – waterproof, of course. A great value winter top that’s ideal if you need a jacket for commuting duties as well as training.

Verdict
Comfortable, fully waterproof and well vented, with superb visibility.

Performance 4/5
Value 5/5
Overall 5/5

Best Cycling Jackets £100 to £130

Best Cycling Waterproof Jackets

Madison Flux Softshell, Pearl Izumi 
PRO Aero WxB, Vaude Spray III

Madison Flux Softshell
£99.99
www.madison.co.uk

Although nominally a mountain bike jacket, Madison’s Flux Softshell is well worth a look for winter road rides and triathlon training, too. Unlike a lot of the racier, super-lightweight tops on test, it has a full range of internal and external pockets, and a couple of meshed side vents to back up a surprisingly impressive degree of breathability. We were surprised because it’s quite a weighty top, in which we expected to get sweatier than we did. The sizing is slightly on the generous side, which makes for easier layering, and its high, fleece-lined collar will prove a welcome friend on cold, windy winter days.

Verdict
Generously sized, feature-filled top that makes a great outer layer.

Performance 4/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5

Pearl Izumi 
PRO Aero WxB
£119.99
www.pearlizumi.co.uk

Pearl’s new-for-2013 waterproof jacket is an exercise in minimalism. The PRO Aero WxB weighs just 173g, making it one of the lightest tops here and one that’ll easily fit in a jersey pocket. But the Minerale material, zip and seams are impressively waterproof, and the jacket is comfortable on the bike. The cut is close and won’t flatter the fuller figure but the material has a fair bit of stretch. Our only – very slight – criticism is that it’s possible to catch the zip on the internal storm flap. All in all, it’s a great quality, lightweight and genuinely packable waterproof that makes an ideal emergency jacket for winter rides.

Verdict
Genuinely back-pocket-packable, with great waterproofing too.

Performance 4/5
Value 5/5
Overall 4/5

Vaude Spray III
£130
www.vaude.co.uk

With the Spray III, Vaude has delivered a simple-as-they-come lightweight rain shell with environmentally-friendly credentials. But while the jacket is made from at least 90 per cent organic or recycled materials, the German company hasn’t skimped on quality. The Ceplex Active material is waterproof and breathable – aided by zipped underarm vents – the taped seams are exceptionally neat and it’s well shaped, with silicone hem grippers and asymmetric elasticated cuffs for wrist protection. The large zip-pull is one of the best on test for gloved hands. The jacket could do with more reflective details and there’s only a single Napoleon chest pocket, but those are our only quibbles.

Verdict
Well thought out jacket with added eco-friendly credentials.

Performance 4/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5

Best Cycling Jackets £139 to £160

Best Cycling Waterproof Jackets

Santini SP 522 75 Guard, Polaris Pulse, Mavic Infinity H2O


Santini SP 522 75 Guard
£139.99
www.fisheroutdoor.co.uk

Santini’s Italian-made jacket is so light and thin that it’s virtually transparent. In typical Italian racewear style, it has a body-hugging cut that won’t flatter the larger cyclist. You might want to go up a size too, depending on what you plan to wear beneath it. But in spite of its svelteness, the Guard jacket did a great job of keeping out water, with both the material and seams proving impervious to leakage. It’s only available in black, but has reflective details. It has one small zipped pocket and one open pocket, and in spite of its impressive performance and fleece collar, it’ll pack into a jersey pocket.

Verdict
Quality race-cut lightweight waterproof, but watch the sizing.

Performance 4/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5

Polaris Pulse
£144.99
www.polaris-bikewear.co.uk

Best known for its more modestly priced cycling kit, Polaris scores highly with its top-of-the-line Pulse rain jacket. Brightly coloured (though black is also available) and with plenty of reflective detailing, it also has a window for a flashing LED – an ‘exclusive laser-cut rear light pocket’, in Polaris’s words – so you should definitely stand out when training at night. This is one of the few extras on this looser cut, slightly stretchy top. Adjustable cuffs with thumb loops keep rain out of your sleeves, with the drawstring hem and collar helping to keep the rest of you dry. The Pulse has just a single rear pocket, but this means fewer seams and a lightweight top that you can just about squeeze into a jersey pocket.

Verdict
Looser cut, quite minimally-featured top with  a rear LED pocket.

Performance 4/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5

Mavic Infinity H2O

£160
www.mavic.com

Mavic’s Infinity H2O is another race-fit jacket for the more sporty set, but in spite of its minimal weight and bulk, it’s well detailed and very comfortable, thanks to an extensive lightweight inner mesh that covers most of the back. It has a small Napoleon chest pocket, a large zipped rear pocket, double cuffs and zipped wrist vents. There’s also a long tail, which doesn’t have any cinching or elasticated grippers. The full-length front zip is asymmetric and has a pleasingly large zip-pull for gloved use. Both seams and material proved impressively waterproof, and breathability of the Dura Lite Rain SL fabric – aided by zipped underarm vents – is very good. Back pocket-friendly? At a push.

Verdict
Great performance, loads of features and  lightweight too.

Performance 4/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5

Best Cycling Jackets £189 to £200

Best Cycling Waterproof Jackets

Gore Bike Wear Oxygen Active, Rapha Rain Jacket, Sportful Survival Gore-Tex

Gore Bike Wear Oxygen Active
£189.99
www.gorebikewear.co.uk

Gore-Tex Active material has perhaps the best balance of breathability and waterproofing for wet weather cycling. Even with no venting you can ride in heavy rain without suffering from boil-in-the-bag biker syndrome. Off the bike the Oxygen Active’s anatomic sleeves and dropped tail can look a little strange, but in the saddle they come into their own, protecting your wrists and backside respectively. Construction is first-rate, with a zip flap and an internal storm flap, and it all packs into a zipped mesh bag that’ll squeeze into a jersey pocket. If you can live with a pocket-free jacket then this minimalist masterpiece should be near the top of your list.

Verdict
As good a balance of fit, breathability and waterproofing as you can get.

Performance 5/5
Value 4/5
Overall 5/5

Triathlon Plus Gold Award
Triathlon Plus Peak Performer Award

Rapha Rain Jacket
£190
www.rapha.cc

Rapha’s waterproof is another jacket that you can just about fit in a jersey pocket, but it doesn’t skimp on defeating the elements. The main body is fully waterproof, with lighter side panels designed to add stretch. These are less exposed to rain when you’re riding than the front and back, and we never suffered from water getting through. There’s a single rear pocket, plenty of reflective detailing and piping, and though there are no pit zips, we didn’t find ourselves overheating. The neoprene cuffs are comfortable and protect your wrists well, and the tail is long, with the hem cinched for adjustability. It’s a very good jacket overall, executed with Rapha’s customary style and attention to detail, but on the pricey side.

Verdict
Rapha’s usual excellent quality – with a price  to match.

Performance 4/5
Value 3/5
Overall 3/5

Sportful Survival Gore-Tex
£200
www.sportful.it

Sportful packs a lot into this jacket, but then again at this price it ought to. It’s made from Gore-Tex Active, and the Italian company chooses to supplement this material’s excellent breathability with pit zips – complete with zip ports – for extra venting. The jacket compresses into a small package, but the material has very little give or stretch so sizing is crucial on what’s very much a race-cut waterproof. The front zip has a very wide storm flap secured with a popper at the bottom and large Velcro patches, and the tail can be extended or shortened with poppers – truly no rain will pass. Lightweight, pocket-free and with great performance.

Verdict
Race-cut jacket with great material and excellent packability.

Performance 5/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5

Best Cycling Jackets £255 to £350

Best Cycling Waterproof Jackets

Scott Helium Active Shell, Castelli Pocket Liner, Assos RS Sturmprinz EVO

Scott Helium Active Shell
£255
www.scott-sports.com

The Scott is the only jacket here with an integral hood. It’s thin enough to fit under your helmet, though you can fasten it away if you choose. Like the rest of this lightweight top, it’s fully waterproofed, with well-finished seams throughout. Being made of Gore-Tex Active, we found the jacket impressively comfortable and breathable too. Should you start overheating – though it’s designed for temperatures down to -1˚C – there are pit zips that zip from the top or bottom for greater adjustability. There’s a Napoleon pocket, ample reflective details (especially on the back – needed on this black-only top) and a long-sleeve, long-tail cut.

Verdict
Quality jacket with a hood that fits easily under your helmet but far from cheap.

Performance 5/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5

Castelli Pocket Liner
£290
www.saddleback.co.uk

The expense of this jacket is partly due to the labour-intensive construction its design requires. The highly waterproof and breathable eVent material has ‘plisse stretch zones’ – concertina-like sections – in order to achieve an anatomical fit on the back and elbows. The breathability is added to with a couple of zipped side vents, while the main zip’s wide external storm flap is supplemented by large Velcro patches for extra security all the way up to the collar. Velcro-adjustable cuffs help keep your wrists dry, too. The eVent material shrugs off heavy rain very well, but for a lightweight top it’s still a squeeze getting it in a jersey pocket. This is a great top, at a correspondingly top price.

Verdict
Great waterproofing, but not as packable as some and it’s hard to ignore the £290 pricetag.

Performance 4/5
Value 3/5
Overall 4/5

Assos RS Sturmprinz EVO
£349.99
www.yellow-limited.com

Swiss company Assos has a typically unique take on its waterproof. While most of the material and seams on its race-cut, lightweight, packable, multi-panelled top are totally waterproof, the black strips across the shoulders are there to add more stretch – adding to an excellent fit – and do permit water through. In practice we didn’t find this a problem, and it contributed to excellent breathability. Because of its size and weight, the RS SturmPrinz Evo doubles up as a windshell for added versatility. The price may be eye-watering but at least the top will easily shrug off your tears!

Verdict
Versatile, light, ultra-bright and highly packable jacket at an eye-watering price.

Performance 4/5
Value 3/5
Overall 3/5

Check out more of our best-of tests here.