Important considerations cyclists must make for waterproof jackets

A waterproof jacket is critical for year-round cyclists, especially if you cycle on your commute to work. Before you buy one, there is much you need to know. Having one of these jackets in your wardrobe is a must. Cold weather and rain are inevitable. A decent jacket will safeguard you from both. Let’s discuss what you need to consider when choosing the right waterproofs.

Rain protection

To start with, ensure your jacket is described as waterproof. Showerproof means what it states; it will do well in a passing, light shower. With sustained rain, it will leak.

Jackets have a waterproof rating to a specific number, like 5,000mm or 10,000mm. This doesn’t refer to the amount of rainfall. Instead, it’s on about the hydrostatic head. That is a measure of what water pressure your fabric can withstand before leaks happen. The larger the number, the more waterproof your material.

Anything with a rating under 1,500mm is showerproof. At 5,000mm, your fabric should put up with a persistent light rain. With 10,000mm and over, it can cope with heavy rain. However, unless the material is fully impermeable, some dampness could leak through. This is if there’s heavy rain and you are outside for too long.

Rain won’t only wet someone through the fabric though. It is also capable of seeping through zips and seams. Seams need taping or sealing. Zips need at least a storm flap behind or in front of them.


Cycling waterproofs should be breathable to help stop you getting sweaty and hot. Compact pores in the fabric release sweat vapour without admitting rain droplets.

Breathability has the same sort of number scale as waterproofing. Here, the numbers refer to the volume of water vapour capable of passing through the fabric in one day. A bigger number means it is more breathable. The harder and faster you intend to ride, the more useful a high rating will be.

However, it is still possible to become sweaty in a breathable jacket. This is because you can sweat quicker than your jacket can ‘breathe’. Apart from your exertion level, other important details are luggage and the weather. The jackets are at their best when it is drier and cooler. They don’t work as well when it’s wet and warm. The fabric won’t breathe full stop if you cover it with a backpack too.

Design and fit

The design and fit are also important. Every cycling jacket is closer-cut than a high street product. Although, there is a difference between those having a causal fit and a performance or body-hugging race fit. The latter is meant to be worn only with bike gear. A casual fit is one you can wear over other clothes comfortably. Commuter jackets tend to come with a relaxed, casual cut. For higher-speed, longer distance cycling journeys, a performance fit can work better. Whatever your preference, try before you buy.

Jackets come with a full frontal zip. It makes them easier to get off and on compared to smock-style waterproofs, especially if you wear glasses or a helmet. Cold weather rides are simpler if you’re able to work the front zip with gloves on your hands.

Some cycling jackets come with hoods, mainly for use off the bike. Lighter weight ones could be thin enough to go beneath a helmet. Others have hoods large enough to go over a helmet. Whatever the case, ensure it doesn’t reduce your peripheral vision. You need this to ride safely. Check that you can tuck away the hood under your collar or detach it if you won’t use it whilst riding.


The last consideration we will go over is pockets. Your most useful pockets will be chest ones for keys or a phone. A big rear pocket can be good for snacks, gloves, or anything else that will fit in. At times, a waterproof jacket will fold up into its rear pocket. Hand pockets in the front are good to have whilst off the bike, but aren’t as practical for storage. For every pocket you store things in, you will need zips to stop them falling out.

Speak to us about waterproofs

At JS Hubbuck Ltd, we have multiple waterproof garments available. These include the Tempest jacket and Ridgeline Evolution Smock. They are high quality products that are sure to serve you well in less than desirable weather.

So, if you are interested in making a purchase, please get in touch with us. You can even get advice about the different waterproofs we offer and the conditions they can withstand.