Dressing for spring and earlier summer can be tricky. Days can still be cool and Britain often keeps riders guessing with its characteristic downpours. One piece of gear becomes so crucial that leaving for a ride or outdoor adventure without it is — to say the least — ill-advised.
A fully waterproof rain jacket, whether you're riding off-road, around town, or hitting a club run, will make getting outdoors as easy as riding a bike. So do yourself a favour and pick up one of our tried and tested, best rain jackets on the market.
Mission Workshop Meridian Jacket
Mission Workshop has, for years, been an established outwear and lifestyle brand. The made-in-America label has upped their clothing offering with technical jackets and mid-layers. All Mission Workshop products are guaranteed forever.
Who it's for: People who don't want a race cut rain jacket. Designed for day-to-day wear and adventure riding on gravel and beyond. If your riding takes you from bike to building a fire in the evening, then this is for you.
Watch out for: It's not cheap, but that's because the Meridian is constructed from Polartec's NeoShell fabric, which is ultra waterproof and tough, so you don't need to worry about ripping it, and it packs small, too.
Alternatives: The Endura MTR Shell has a removable hood and weighs 215g. That's not much more than a banana! It is light on features but that is reflected in the price. The front zip isn't waterproof, but it's backed with a storm flap to stop the rain getting in.
PEdALED Vesper Packable Jacket
The Italian-made Vesper is a pocket-stuffable jacket designed for late spring, when warm days are threatened by light rain. A large vent at the rear keeps air circulating.
Who it's for: High-performance riders who don't want the bulk of a jacket to carry around, the Vesper weighs only 46g. It is perfect for those heading out to training camps. Whip on the Vesper at the top of a climb for wind protection on a chilly descent off the Sa Calobra.
Watch out for: PEdALED cut their clothing for a race fit, so you may want to size up.
Alternatives: The Assos sJ.blitzFeder offers wind-proofing and water resistance, and is perfect as an early morning layer. The sJ.blitzFeder was our best selling Assos jacket last season. You can get it for 35% off.
Metier Beacon Jacket (available in men's and women's versions)
Wearable-tech that doesn't cost a bomb or need a Bluetooth connection? Step forward the Beacon jacket. Featuring built-in LED lights on each shoulder and the lower portion of the back, as well as generous amounts of reflective detailing, this will improve your visibility without having to resort to a shapeless hi-vis jacket.
Who it's for: People who ride in low-light conditions, which is pretty much everyone. The fabric is lightweight and the jacket is cut for performance riding, so this little number isn't just for commuting. There is Windstopper technology, too, to keep you warm.
Watch out for: This jacket is probably a bit overkill at higher temperatures. You may want to switch to the Metier Beacon Gilet. The lighting control unit is charged using the USB cable provided. A full charge takes three hours and you'll carry a small pack around but, but it weighs no more than an inner tube.
Alternatives: There are none. Just buy more bike lights and stick them to your body?
Assos Equipe RS Jacket
Did you know that Assos support USA and Swiss cycling teams, as well as World Tour riders of Team BMC? That means they can get their pro athletes to cycle, and climb in their latest products in a range of conditions and test them to breaking point. We're not sure if that is the athletes or the garment.
From those tests came Assos' Schloss Tex fabric, an incredibly waterproof material that is not only lightweight but seriously protective.
Who it's for: Riders who want a sculpted jacket for use through three seasons of the year with the feel of a jersey that shakes dry and has the protection of world famous Assos testing. At 198g, it's packable and breathable. Equipe RS feels like a rain cape but has the performance of a full-on jacket, so there is never a reason not to go outside.
Watch out for: The torso is fitted and it has a performance cut, this season its only available in orange. If you want something roomier, try Gore Shake Dry.
Alternatives: Made from Shakedry material, the Gore C7 Shakedry Jacket provides waterproofing that could stand up to riding in the nastiest weather warnings, its alittle thinner and roomier than Assos Equipe RS.
Endura Pro SL Classic Jersey II
Designed to be worn through a huge temperature range, Endura's Pro SL Classics Jersey comes with a free pair of water-resistant arm warmers, constructed from the same material as their all-weather jersey fabric. Excellent at keeping out the cold and repelling the rain.
Who it's for: People who absolutely hate riding with a rain jacket or stopping to put their jacket on. If you want a piece of clothing that can be worn even if rain isn't forecast, then an all-weather (Castelli Gabba-esq) jersey is for you. Highly breathable, the jersey is perfect for riding hard, be that training or racing.
Watch out for: It is not the answer to everything. It will protect you in a mixture of conditions but there are no taped seams, so eventually water will seep through.
Alternatives: The Fiandre Light Norain Short Sleeve Jersey is Italian brand Sportful's take on the all-weather jersey. They've treated the fabric to make it waterproof and kept the heavier windproof fabric just for the front to aid breathability.