Test: Lightweight rain jackets with small pack size for the bike

In the following test I would like to present three rain jackets I use for road cycling and gravel biking. Each of the jackets has its justification for me and a special feature that distinguishes it from other jackets. The jackets have a small pack size and can be stowed in a jersey back pocket. All three rain jackets have an extended back that protects against splashing water on the butt and lower back. However, the extension is not overly long, so splashing water can reach the saddle and butt. This is a compromise, because more material (through a more extended extension) would also increase weight and pack size. I wear the jackets exclusively over long-sleeved and short-sleeved jerseys and do not put on these jackets over other softshell jackets or clothing with membranes. The jackets do not have a warming layer by themselves. This results in the areas of use in terms of temperature in the table below. For a woman, I freeze rather little. My temperature sensation corresponds to that of an average male cyclist. Typically for women, I freeze faster on the extremities than on the upper body. The products have been in use for several years, so they are sometimes no longer available on the market in the version I tested. However, successor products are available for purchase and hardly differ from the tested original. I researched the successor products and their current price as well as other data (weight, material, etc.) and took them into account in the test.

Biehler Technical Reflective

source: https://www.biehler-cycling.com

The rain jacket of the brand Biehler TECHNICAL REFLECTIVE impresses with high reflectivity, which was the clear purchase argument for me. “Safety through visibility” is a high priority for me. The jacket is designed in such a way that light hitting the jacket is reflected. So it reflects on the whole. Unfortunately, the jacket without light incidence is exclusively gray, so that the visibility without the irradiation with artificial light is rather poor. Especially at dusk, some drivers are still on the road without lights. The model I bought is three years old. However, the current successor model has 1:1 the same data in terms of material, breathability, cut, etc.. There are only three differences. The price of the successor model (“Defender Reflective”) is 230 euros, quite a bit higher than the jacket I bought. The original model was made in Germany. The current successor model, however, in Portugal. The new version has a continuous back, while my model has ventilation holes in the upper area, which are covered from the top, so it is protected from moisture penetration. The jacket is waterproof with a water column of 10,000 mm. Breathability is stated at 10,000 g/m²/24h. The jacket is constructed of a two-layer membrane and is half polyester and half polyurethane. The cut is advertised as a race cut with a shortened front. The rain jacket comes in a waterproof carrying bag, which like the jacket is made of completely reflective material. Breathability is above average, but performs least well compared to the other two jackets. When exertion in the upper basics, my jersey is completely wet-sweaty after a ride under the jacket. Therefore, I wear the jacket exclusively in everyday life, when I can change after the bike ride. In addition to the reflectivity feel is the high-neck collar, which is also constructed somewhat warmer, as very positive. So you are protected from the cold and wet even without a bandana (which would soak up in the rain). A higher collar is rarely found in Biehler products. Compared to the other two jackets, which also have a race-ready cut, the front is still a corner shorter. In heavy rain, this is a bit too short for me, as there is less protection here. Therefore, I wear size S with this jacket. Size XS would be clearly too short for me.

Sportful HOT PACK NoRain w

source: https://www.sportful.com

The HOT PACK NORAIN jacket from Sportful is a classic and has been on the market for many years. It has a back pocket with inner bag by which the jacket can be stowed, so that it is protected during transport. The latest version has been improved in terms of stretch. The jacket has a high collar and reflective elements. The 2022 version is available in black, white and orange. Depending on the color, the visibility differs during the day and at dusk. The main material is polyamide. The inserts are 86% polyester and 14% spandex. I own the jacket in size S. In size XS, it would no longer be possible for me to carry larger items underneath in the jersey pockets. The sleeves have a loop at the end for the thumb. Sportful has created an all-rounder with the Hot Pack NoRain jacket. Good breathability, sporty cut, small pack size and relatively good robustness make the jacket the first choice in many situations. The ratio of price and performance is very good. The jacket is offered by many stores and can be purchased with a little luck also greatly reduced. For me, the only real weakness: the too small number of reflective elements.


source: www.gorewear.com

The C7 GORE-TEX SHAKEDRY™ by GOREWEAR is by far the lightest rain jacket with the smallest pack size at the same time. The current model 2022 differs only in color to my older model. Currently, the jacket is only available in black. My older model has colored sleeve cuffs to increase visibility during the day. The logos on the jacket are reflective. Personally, the visibility is still too low for me with it. The jacket is made of 100% polyamide. It is very breathable and can keep up with that of average windbreakers without rain protection. It is used by me on one-day tours – especially in alpine terrain – and races. Disadvantage is, in addition to the high price, the high sensitivity of the jacket, which is why I do not have it in continuous use and never use it in everyday life, even if it has the nose in front in terms of breathability. The jacket has a slightly laterally offset zipper pocket at the back in which there is a rubber loop for attaching keys or the like. I wear it in size 34 EU.


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