Best Cycling Jackets
These are a stylish thin jacket that will preserve body heat and keep you riding during the chilly days that fall and spring can bring. Below we have listed the top ten of 2019, and why they are the best of the best on the market.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
How well the jacket fits you and how comfortable it feels each time you wear it can be a matter of personal preference, but they do need to have a specific fit so that they don’t slow you down when you are on the go. The cycling jackets we’ve provided on our list are all form-fitting and meant to provide you with a slim fit so that your profile stays aerodynamic as you move on your bike. So, some of the brands we have on our list might run a bit small simply because these jackets are made to fit tight.
Make sure you check the sizing of each brand before you make your choice so that you wind up purchasing the correct size. If you wind up with a jacket that is too tight, it can cut off your circulation when you move, which can be massively uncomfortable.
Also, if you wind up with a jacket that is too large, it can affect the way you perform when you are riding your bike. Since neither one of these occurrences is something that you want to experience, pay careful attention to the brand sizing before you make your selection.
Another area of comfort we analyzed was insulation and breathability. Not all of the jackets on our list come with insulative properties, but some do. If you are looking for something to keep you very warm when you are cycling in the cold weather, then you’ll want to take a close look at jackets that do offer insulation. Make sure, however, that if you are going for insulation, you wind up picking a coat that is still breathable.
Sometimes, jackets that are packed in with extra insulation can decrease the jacket’s ability to ventilate properly, and you’ll wind up feeling sticky and like you are drowning in your sweat. Of course, that’s a factor that’s going to affect how comfortable the jacket feels, and you do want to make sure you’re able to tolerate the jacket’s ventilation and insulation.
Different brands typically use different types of materials to help build water protection into their jackets. There are different types of water, and windproofing systems, and not all of them are created equally. Depending on the kind of weather you’re likely to encounter when you hit your bike, you’ll want to make sure you have enough weather protection to stay comfortable and keep you going strong all day long. We’ll take a look at some of the more popular uses of weather protection below.
DWR (Durable Water Repellent)
Durable Water Repellent (DWR) is a treatment you’ll find on a lot of jackets that contributes to providing you some protection from the rain. DWR isn’t a laminate but instead works as a treatment on a jacket that is used to cover the outer shell of the jacket. Many different types of waterproof outdoor clothing come with DWR treatments on them, and with that finish, you’ll get a decent amount of water-resistance.
Another nice thing about jackets featuring a DWR treatment is how breathable they are. While some types of waterproofing protection can affect the way the jacket ventilates, DWR doesn’t have this problem. So, a DWR coating is always a good sign of a jacket that’s got some water-resistance designed into it.
With a DWR treatment, you’ll get a jacket with an outer shell that can easily shed and repel water. The DWR treatment forces the moisture out of the fabric so that your jacket stays dry. DWR coated jackets usually allow the water to bead off of them, and that shows that the DWR treatment on that jacket is working. DWR treatments don’t allow water to get through the fibers of the jacket and are effective at forcing the water droplets out into beads of water that then slide off of the jacket.
However, DWR treatments do have their drawbacks. They can wear off after a lot of use or several washes, and any abrasions on the jacket can also degrade the DWR material. Certain detergents can also damage the DWR in your jacket, so pay attention to the type of detergent you use if you purchase a coat that has a DWR coating. When the DWR coating starts becoming ineffective, you’ll notice the jacket retains water and starts to weigh you down. When this happens, you’ll have the option to either purchase a new coat, or touch up the DWR coating, depending on what you can afford, and what you need at that time.
Besides DWR coatings, there are other options for waterproofing materials that the various brands will use. Many manufacturers of jackets use laminate fabrics which are also waterproof and breathable. With these types of jackets, you’ll get an inner jacket area that can wick the moisture to the outside, so you don’t wind up soaking in your sweat, a waterproof membrane, and an outer fabric that has some waterproof or water-resistant coating. Often the coating is still DWR.
Many types of laminate fabrics work as internal membranes on a jacket that help keep the water from the rain from reaching the interior of the coat. Gore-Tex, Polartec, eVent, and Thinsulate are all internal membranes, and you’ll usually find them at the center of the jacket, between an outer layer and an inner layer, made up of a liner. Many of these jackets are made to be abrasion-resistant, have a water-resistant outer coating, and the internal membrane that is also waterproof. So, you’ll get two layers of waterproof protection.
Many jackets today will provide you with a few layers of waterproof protection if you are willing to pay the money for it. It will cost you a bit more to get a jacket that has an internal membrane and an outer DWR coating, but you’ll also get a more durable, long-lasting jacket with better weather protection that will last longer.
So, depending on where you know you’ll be riding your bike, you’ll need to consider how much weather protection you need. If you do live in a very wet climate, it’s probably worth your time to get a jacket that has the internal membrane. You’ll undoubtedly be much drier and happier each time you ride your bike.
The durability of the jackets on our list do vary from brand to brand and style to style. We’ve listed how durable each one of our jacket choices on our list really is, and whether the jacket features high-quality materials. Typically, jackets with Gore-Tex weather protection come as more durable jackets because Gore-Tex is also abrasion-resistant, which makes the jacket last much longer. Some brands use a knock-off version of Gore-Tex that works very well for durability, while some jackets simply aren’t as durable as others.
Most of the jackets on our list will give you a decent amount of use. However, some jackets are more durable than others. How much money you can actually spend on your jacket if you are shopping on a budget can affect the overall durability of the type of jacket you decide to purchase. So, keep that in mind. If you can afford to pay a little more, you’ll probably get a better value, since the jacket is much more likely to last you longer.
However, if you are just getting started and want something simple and functional and you just don’t have the money to spend, you’ll be able to get decent performance even out of some of the less durable jackets on our list.
When you do your research to purchase your jacket, you’ll want to check out the seams in the jacket. Many jackets feature taping, which seals the seams in a waterproof jacket. Taping can make a jacket weigh more and also inhibit some of the jacket’s ability to ventilate, but if you live in a very wet climate and you don’t want water to seep through into the interior of the jacket, you will want to check out how the seams are sealed, since taped seams will give you the best weather protection.
Value is another thing you’re going to want to evaluate before investing in a jacket to use while you are out on your bike. If you are shopping on a budget, then the value of your jacket becomes even more important for you. Some of the jackets on our list do run on the expensive end of things, but most of them are affordable or averagely priced. You don’t always get the best performance out of high-priced jackets since sometimes the brand names make those jackets cost more.
Some of the average and affordable jackets on our list will still give you the value you need. When you are trying to get the best value out of the jacket you intend to purchase, make sure that you consider all the features you are really going to need, and then try to eliminate what you don’t need. Knowing what features are important for where you will be riding can help you save some money and help you avoid burning a hole in your pocketbook.
Top Ten Cycling Jackets
1. Showers Pass Elite 2.1
Designed for women, the Elite 2.1 is quite an impressive jacket. It provides excellent weather protection without compromising comfort or durability. There are two conveniently placed pockets for your small accessories. It is one of the most expensive jackets on our list, but it may be the only jacket you ever need.Read more
This regular-fitting jacket will become your favorite rainy-season accessory on or off your bike. Most reviewers love the fit but a few have said that it’s boxier than they would have imagined. It features a long tail to keep you dry while learning over your handlebars and tends to fit true to size. To dial in the fit and keep the bad weather out, there is also a cinch cord at the collar and hem of the jacket. To make carrying your small accessories easy, there is a small chest audio pocket and a larger pocket on the back of the jacket.
The Elite 2.1 is wind and waterproof. Even reviewers from Seattle have been impressed with the impermeability of this jacket. Also, the seams are taped for extra protection. You also don’t need to worry about feeling clammy in this jacket because it has great breathability thanks to the built-in zippered vents in the armpit area and back. One downside is that the jacket doesn’t include a hood. However, it is hood compatible.
As you can expect from Shower’s Pass, this is a durable jacket. The shell of the jacket is made from abrasion-resistant nylon. There haven’t been any complaints about the double-zipper either. The double zipper allows you to have the jacket closed on the top, and open on the bottom.
It is possible that this will be one of the most expensive jackets that you invest in. However, it features great weather resistance, has plenty of reflective trim, and is built to last. It is available in four different colors and sizes XS-XXL. Overall, we think this is a great investment and the only cycling jacket you’ll need.
2. INBIKE Winter Windproof Thermal
The Inbike Winter Windproof Thermal jacket is the perfect option for those who plan on cycling in cold winter months. Or, perhaps, you are planning a cycling tour through Iceland, where you will surely need to be prepared for cooler temperatures. Whatever your needs are, if you are a serious cycling aficionado, you will most likely need a warmer jacket at some point, and the INBIKE Winter Windproof Thermal is just the option to go for.Read more
The comfortable lining, which is thermal fleece, will keep your muscles warm in the coldest of months. The jacket tends to fit true to size and chances are that you’ll want to wear it even when you’re not cycling.
While the fabric of this jacket is soft and comfortable, it is also tough enough to face the elements. It is both windproof and waterproof to keep you both dry and warm. Not only will this jacket keep you warm and protected from the elements, but it certainly keeps you cool, too, so that you can push up that last hill without overheating. How does this jacket keep you so cool? There are mesh ventilation pockets on the inside that allow air in and sweat out.
With great comfort and strong weather-resistance on the outside, you can feel confident knowing that this jacket will last you for a while. Many reviewers have commented on its impressive quality.
If you are needing a jacket that you are sure you will feel warm and protected in, this is a fantastic option. It is priced quite affordable and has great features. The Inbike Windproof Thermal jacket doesn't come in a ton of trendy colors, but it is certainly that little black jacket that any serious cyclists should have in rotation for colder months. Additionally, the back of this jacket features a large zip pocket for all of your important items.
3. Sportful Hot Pack 5
The Sportful Hot Pack 5 Jacket is made to be a very warm and lightweight jacket, with excellent comfort and breathability. It’s got a great design and it is also very durable.Read more
Made for warmth, this jacket is form-fitting and also very flexible, so it will move with you as you move. Also, it’s very breathable, so you should feel comfortable anytime you wear it.
This jacket provides a decent barrier between the outdoor elements and your skin. It doesn't have any extra insulation added in, but you'll be heating up from the inside while cycling. There is a high collar that helps to add a bit of warmth to your core. The jacket comes with a water-resistant and wind-resistant outer shell as well.
This jacket is highly durable and designed with high-quality materials that make it a long-lasting jacket. You’ll get plenty of use out of this jacket if you decide to purchase it.
This jacket runs in the affordable price range, and for everything you get with it, it’s a good value. Since it’s quite durable, you’ll be able to use it for long periods of time.
4. Showers Pass Pro Tech ST
The Showers Pass Pro Tech ST brings you plenty of weather protection packed into a well-designed jacket. You’ll be able to stay warm and dry with its waterproof breathable membrane and excellent ventilation.Read more
Bringing you an anatomic fit, this jacket is designed to be flexible and not restrict your movements. Also, this jacket is very comfortable and soft to the touch on the inside.
Designed with a waterproof breathable membrane, you’ll get plenty of water and wind protection with this jacket. Also, the waterproof membrane also ventilates well, so you should be able to stay fairly comfortable.
This jacket is designed with durable materials that are built to be long-lasting. You should get several seasons of use out of this jacket’s design. It’s not quite as durable as some other products on our list, but for its price, it is a good choice.
This jacket is one of the most affordable products on our list and is made with value in mind. While it might last as long as some other jackets, it’s still a solid investment.
5. Castelli Gabba 2
The Castelli Gabba 2 Jacket comes with some very durable materials, and also provides great comfort and ventilation. You’ll get a lot of weather protection and value out of this jacket if you decide to purchase it.Read more
This jacket provides you with a lot of comfort since it’s designed to provide great ventilation and keep you dry. The fit is form-fitting, but the material is stretchy and flexible, so you won’t have to worry about your movements feeling restricted.
This jacket provides you with ample amounts of weather protection since it does a great job of keeping out the cold weather. With Gore Windstopper Fabric, you get a nice, breathable protective outer shell that can keep you dry and ventilate well.
Made from polyester and the Gore Windstopper fabric, you get a strong, durable shell with this jacket. Also, the jacket isn’t totally waterproof, but it is water-resistant, and the technology used to provide this jacket with weather protection makes it very durable as well.
This jacket falls in the average price range, so it’s a good value for what you’ll get. Since it’s so durable, the jacket will last you many seasons.
6. Endura Pro-SL
For any serious roadie out there, the Endura Pro-SL Waterproof Shell is a key item to consider adding to your riding attire. It is lightweight, breathable, streamlined, and of course, waterproof. You can't go wrong with this high-quality layer.Read more
The fit of this jacket is athletic built, meaning that it is streamlined to fit close to the body. However, the seams are fully sealed to offer complete comfort and no chance of water infiltration. To add to the comfort, the shoulders are stretchy and waterproof. There are zipped pockets on the rear where you can store belongings needed, such as keys, cell phone, or an electrolyte gel pack.
The Endura Pro-SL Waterproof Shell is a 3 layer Exoshell that is lightweight, breathable, and waterproof. How can you go wrong? Well, with this shell, you really can only go right (and of course, left). The point is, you will be well prepared for an epic ride in this quality jacket.
With a great fit, weather-resistance, and materials, you can count on this jacket to be your go-to for many seasons. The seams are fully sealed and the three-layer Exoshell can endure many harsh conditions.
If you are in the market for a waterproof jacket that not only looks great, but is waterproof, lightweight, and offers maximum airflow, you may have just found your match. Additionally, to ensure your safety on the roads when dark nears, there are reflective strips on both arms. It is slightly expensive, but with great features and durability, we think it’s worth every penny.
7. Gore Bike Wear Oxygen
The Gore Bike Wear Oxygen Jacket uses some of the best weather protection technology on the market today. This jacket is also very breathable and comfortable and brings you everything you need for your rides.Read more
This jacket fits very well and provides an excellent fit around the neck. It also provides you with a lot of comfort, and it ventilates very well.
This polyester shell jacket comes with a Gore-Tex membrane, which makes the jacket waterproof and windproof. So, you’ll get all of the weather protection you need combined into one with this jacket.
Made with top-of-the-line Gore-Tex technology and high-quality fabrics, this jacket is very durable. It will last you quite some time before you’ll need to worry about purchasing a new jacket.
This jacket features some of the best weather protection available on the market today, but that also makes it more expensive than many other products on our list. So, if you are shopping on a budget, this might not be the jacket for you.
8. Proviz PixElite Softshell
If you want a jacket that offers a lot of reflective features for extra protection when you ride in low-light, then you might want to consider the Proviz PixElite Softshell Jacket. It’s a very reflective jacket that still looks great during the day, so it’s got fashion and style to boot.Read more
This jacket has a performance fit and is designed to be form-fitting and not slow you down. It has been said that the sizes in this type of jacket can run small. Therefore, make sure you check the size chart before you purchase this jacket. Otherwise, this jacket offers a lot of comforts and is very flexible.
This jacket is water-resistant, although not fully waterproof. However, it will protect you decently if run into some light rain. Even when damp, the jacket still provides great breathability. Proviz’s jacket also features built-in wind resistance.
Proviz’s jacket is made to be durable, and its high-quality materials, including polyester, elastane, and polyurethane, and weather protection make it a long-lasting jacket. You’ll be able to wear it for many seasons before you’ll need to worry about replacing it.
This jacket runs in the average price range, and for what you get with it, it comes at a good price. You’ll have everything you need, including durability, comfort, reflectiveness. Overall, you can invest with ease, knowing that you’ll be making a solid investment.
9. Gore Wear WIndstopper
The Windstopper is a jacket for all seasons. Not only does it have great breathability, but the sleeves of the jacket can be zipped off- turning it into a great summer cycling vest. If you're looking for a comfortable softshell, this is a great option.Read more
With 13% elastane built into this softshell jacket, it is flexible and comfortable. It has a slim fit and tends to run slightly large. If you plan to layer underneath, your normal size should be fine, but if not, you may want to size down. To keep wind and water out there is an elastic hem. Additionally, to your small necessities with you, there is a small zippered chest pocket, as well as a large back storage pouch.
This jacket does not provide you with a lot of warmth, but you’ll body temperature will be up from cycling so it isn’t much of an issue. This jacket is praised for its wind stopping abilities. With a Gore-Tex layer, the jacket claims that it is waterproof, but reviewers say that water-resistant is more realistic. One of the best aspects of this jacket is its year-round use. The sleeves of the jacket can be zipped off, turning it into a summer cycling vest.
There has been neither praise nor criticism about the durability of this jacket. The softshell of the jacket is made of polyester. With the great flexibility of the jacket, we can expect that it will last you for quite a few seasons. Be cautious when washing the jacket, to ensure that you don’t end up washing off the “waterproof” coating and technologies. However, these can (and should be) be reapplied, so don’t overstress it.
The price of this jacked depends on the size and color that you choose. While we would prefer improved water resistance, we still think it’s a great jacket. It will keep the wind chill and burn away and keep you comfortable during your rides.
10. Louis Garneau Modesto 2
The Louis Garneau Modesto 2 Jacket lightweight jacket that offers you excellent weather protection and performance. It’s flexible fabric and comfort will feel great each time you want to ride your bike.Read more
This jacket is designed to be both form-fitting and flexible, so it offers you a lot of comfort while you are on the go. It’s also very breathable and provides you with excellent ventilation.
This polyester jacket comes with Windstopper X-Lite Plus fabric, which makes the jacket very weatherproof. You’ll get full wind protection plus a jacket that can repel water well.
Made with durable fabrics, this jacket will give you a lot of protection and stay strong when you need it to be. You should be able to use this jacket for quite some time.
This jacket is priced in the average range, and for what it offers, it’s a good value. You’ll get ample amounts of weather protection and durability with this jacket.
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