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Tourist
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989 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been using the O2 rainwear yellow jacket for a few years. I've been reasonably satisfied with it, but I must say, the finish on the jacket is crap and it is not the most comfortable material, plus it scratches very easy. But for the price, it's a good one. Liked it so I bought the same after ruining the first one in a crash.

Now, let's ask for some opinions, here are points that would be nice in a wind/light rain jacket
- reasonably waterproof - not in heavy rain, but in light rain
- reasonably breathable - when biking, I know that nothing is going to be perfect and I'm always going to end up wet inside, but still, better than nylon would be good
- packs small - as small as possible ! The O2 rainwear jacket doesn't pack very small.
- goes up high to the chin - I hate having a windstopper that lets all the wind go through at the neck.
- bright color would be good - maybe even some reflective material, although this is not a big deal, I can add it myself
- would be nice to have underarm zips.
- and of course, a bike-friendly shape: short front, long tail.
- pockets: this is a nice feature, but not a major requirement.

Any suggestions ? Which of the points above does your favorite jacket cover ?
 

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Misfit Toy
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23,428 Posts
I have a friend in Florida who loves her Showers Pass Elite. Says it's very well made, waterproof and breathable-she gives it an A+. Seems to meet all your requirements, except it has no side pockets.

Showers Pass
 

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Registered
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5,193 Posts
Just took a look at REI.com

Had about 9 different jackets that appear to be of the breathable type, fairly wide range of prices too.
 

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Generic microfiber--cheap, windproof, breathable

I have a couple of microfiber jackets--light shells w/smooth finish, not micro fleece--I bought for about $20 apiece at Ross. One is NIke brand, the other one's some generic name. They wad up to the size of a softball, but are windproof, water-RESISTANT (not waterproof, but good in drizzle and mist) and breathe pretty well. Just bought some pants made of the same stuff, but haven't tried them yet.
To me, this is one of those areas where I can't justify spending $80-$100 + for bike-specific clothing when the cheap stuff works just as well
 

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Tourist
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
seems like it is really well made. But I'm wondering, is this a heavy duty jacket or a light one, does it pack reasonably small ? For heavy duty, I have a very nice one from REI, I had the occasion to test it in rain / heavy rain / extremely heavy rain / hail at the San Diego 300K brevet last month and it did well.
 

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Cory said:
I have a couple of microfiber jackets--light shells w/smooth finish, not micro fleece--I bought for about $20 apiece at Ross. One is NIke brand, the other one's some generic name. They wad up to the size of a softball, but are windproof, water-RESISTANT (not waterproof, but good in drizzle and mist) and breathe pretty well. Just bought some pants made of the same stuff, but haven't tried them yet.
To me, this is one of those areas where I can't justify spending $80-$100 + for bike-specific clothing when the cheap stuff works just as well

Therein lies the problem- even $80 - $100 won't buy decent rain gear either. I have one of those O2 jackets, and it is like wearing a garbage bag- my own personal sauna. It seems most jackets under $200 either are not water-proof enough, or they are too water-proof, and I get wet from excessive sweating. Good raingear isn't easily packable in a jersey pocket. My solution has been to use a rain bike with panniers where I can carry a variety of clothing... it aint pretty, but it works.
 

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Misfit Toy
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She is also a brevet rider, here's how she describes it:

"I would call it medium-light, but not flimsy, but definitely to be protected because of the price! Construction and style are excellent.

The only thing I don't like is no pockets, but I'm sure they did that as a way to keep rain out. Also, no hood, but you can buy an add-on hood, but I ride with a rain cover on my helmet anyway.

It is quite fitted, so I mainly use it for biking, since my normal every day clothes are baggy/bulky.

Mine, a medium, folds comfortably to 6x9x2, or 5x7x3 is the smallest I can make it without putting it in a ziplock.

I still love it."
 

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Professional Lurker
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242 Posts
Pierre,

Your best bet is going to be a lighweight (1.1-1.5 oz/in^2) nylon material with a good DWR coating. This will give you the greatest breathability of any materials I am aware of while still maintaining a semblance of water resistance. You will have to touch up the DWR coating every once in a while, as it does wear off.

This type of jacket can weigh in at around 6-8 oz and will pack down smaller than the size of a standard softball. You can drop another several ounces and some more size by going with an anorak.

One thing to remember is that, in general, water resistance is inversely proportional to breathability. Polyurethane coated nylon will give you excellent water resistance, but it simply isn't breathable enough to handle high exertion in moderate temperatures. Almost any non-waterproof jacket will wet through during rain within 90 minutes; this time can sometimes be increased by sealing the jacket seams.
 

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I've been pretty happy with the Canari Matrix Extreme II jacket, which I just got a few weeks ago ($25 on Ebay). I've been in a little light rain and stayed dry, though I'm sure it would be useless in a downpour. It definitely keeps out the wind and packs small enough to stuff into a large jersey pocket (just barely - maybe a tad smaller than a softball). Also, it turns into a vest and you can zip off the back for more ventilation. It has 3 pockets in front and one in back. And I like the aerodynamic shape. Only complaint so far is that some of the reflective logo (the "i" in Canari) came off in the washing machine. Definitely my favorite piece of bike clothing so far. But I am very cheap.
 

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Giordana makes a nice Nandrolone jacket at that price point ($90 or so). It is water resistant, windproof, and very packable. I am pretty warm when I ride, and like to wear it with a L/S jersey in temps up to, say 45F (the range on that jacket for me is about 30-45F with a light winter jersey). It is great in a light to mid-rain. With a summer jersey, I would wear it up to 60F without overheating. The problem I find with even the nice, $200+ waterproof jackets is that they are warm. Fine if you are riding in sub 40F rain, but too warm for anything else. For me, my nice eVent jacket is a winter garment: the Nandrolone jacket is a more versatile item for the majority of my riding.
 

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Tourist
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
oh, right, I forgot to mention that I'd prefer if the temperature range is not too cold. Although this is not too much of a big deal, I get cold easily. Good to see what people use - most of the time I look at REI or Performance, but people here have tested a wide range of jackets... I've been reasonably satisfied with the cheap O2 jacket, but if something else has better construction & features, I don't mind paying more.
 

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wool shirts take the pressure off the jacket.

They are so much warmer when wet that the jacket can doesn't have to work nearly as well. I use a Nike jacket that folds into its rear pocket that I got for less than $20. It keeps the rain out for 10 or 15 minutes and keeps the wind off indefinitely. With a wool shirt, that's all I need.
 

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Squirrel Hunter
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Tailor Made & Cheap

My favorite rain gear is the clear, vinyl jackets.
Features to look for are a long tail, velcro front and
ventilated sides. Now many riders have used these and
found that you get almost as wet inside from the sweat
as you do from the rain outside. The solution is to
custom TAILOR the jacket with a pair of scissors. Take
the scissors and cut off the sleeve so you have a
SHORT sleeve (not sleeveless) rain jacket. This will
keep your shoulders and torso dry while allowing
enough air up the sleeves to keep you from
overheating. Combine the air up the sleeves with the
side vents and adjusting the velcro front and you will
be comfortable on a spring ride that turns wet. You
will also appreciate the long tail as it will keep
your butt dry if you dont have a fender. An added
bonus of cutting the sleeves off is that the jacket
fits into a jersey pocket better. The jacket will also
help keep you warm in the morning until things warm
up.

Add a cycling cap for warmth and also to keep rain off
my glasses (clear lenses for rain). Finally wear a
pair of wool socks. If the forecast is cold you can
add the following as necessary, arm warmers, knee
warmers, long fingered knit gloves, shoe covers (or
toe covers), long sleeve jersey, skull cap.

Remember the goal when riding in the rain is to stay
warm, not dry. If you get both it is a bonus.
 
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