A great cycling rain jacket is hard to come by especially for a descent price. Finding one specific for women can be even more of a challenge. Women’s cycling rain jackets are similar to that of men’s but are typically cut to better fit a woman and are typically colored or accented with a purple, pink, light green, or baby blue to some rider’s like and others dislike. Regardless, finding a good jacket is key for staying comfortable when the weather turns bad.
Changing Weather Conditions
If you are heading out in variable weather you should carry a women’s cycling rain jacket in your pocket. Variable weather covers not only rain moving in where you are now, but also elevation changes along with riding at dusk when the temperature drops quickly.
Riding in the mountains where temperature can fluctuate greatly and weather can move quickly requires a cycling rain jacket almost every day. Climb to the summit and you will be overheating but on the way down you are likely to get chilled to the bone because you are covered in sweat and not working very hard while coasting.
Heading out for a ride that will go past dusk is also a great time to have a cycling rain jacket. Once the sun moves below the horizon, expect temperature to drop, especially if you live somewhere that does not retain heat, like the desert or coast. You will be glad you packed it for the ride home.
A cycling rain jacket will also prove useful if you have to stop to change a flat or for some other unforeseen circumstance. Standing on the side of road and shivering is no way to quickly change a flat. Put on your jacket and you can stay comfortable until it’s changed or your ride arrives.
Necessary Features In A Women’s Cycling Rain Jacket
Needless to say, the most important feature of a women’s cycling rain jacket is that it is waterproof. If it is not waterproof, it is a mislabeled wind jacket. Read reviews and talk with people that are familiar with a specific cycling rain jacket to determine how waterproof it is. Many are water resistant which can get you by depending upon the severity of the rain and temperature drops you experience.
When riding in the rain and other low light conditions, it is nice to have extra visibility for drivers. A cycling rain jacket should have reflective patches to make you more visible to traffic. This does not replace having good lights but additional help is always a plus as if it’s raining, visibility is also reduced for drivers.
The rear of a cycling rain jacket should extend down past where a normal jacket would to cover your backside from road spray. You will still get wet because your bibs are not waterproof; the tail is there to protect you from direct spray from your rear wheel.
A quality zipper goes a long way to making your cycling rain jacket easy to use. When the rain comes pouring down or you are wearing full finger gloves, a good zipper will make it easier to get your jacket on quickly and easily.
Storing your cycling rain jacket in a jersey pocket is a must. The jacket has to compress down and be light enough that it is not cumbersome otherwise you won’t want to take it with you on a regular basis. Bonus points to the jacket if it is small enough to go in your pocket and still fit other essentials in the same pocket.
A Note On Breathability
Cycling is an energy intensive activity; ideally your cycling rain jacket will allow your sweat to evaporate so you can stay dry inside. It is a tough balance to strike. Your expectations are too high if you expect to be perfectly dry and cool inside your jacket while keeping the precipitation at bay. Claims of cycling rain jackets (or any rain jacket) being waterproof and breathable are usually overblown.
The bottom line is expect to get clammy inside your women’s cycling rain jacket, but remember that it will not be nearly as bad as if you were riding without a jacket at all.
5 Great Women’s Cycling Rain Jackets
Here are a range of 5 women’s cycling rain jackets that may work for your needs and budget.
Price: $113 to $357 depending on supply but mostly about $113
This Gore Bike Wear Active Jacket is great for those days where it’s going to rain all day and be slightly chilly. It’s a little bit thicker so is one you wouldn’t want to try and stuff into a jersey pocket. It’s Gore-Tex material is both wind and waterproof yet the jacket is still breathable which is nice when riding harder, say up a climb.
The Craft Bike Light Rain Jacket doubles as both a wind and waterproof jacket. It has a flap over the zipper as well as fleece on the collar to keep you warmer as well. An intermediate jacket indeed with an intermediate price.
This jacket is incredibly versatile as well as small enough to fit into your jersey pocket. It can be used as a rain jacket or wind breaker without leaving you clammy underneath. It does this with high-tech fabric under the sleeves. It also has more of a race cut so it doesn’t flap in the wind.
This jacket covers it all for a descent price. It’s wind and water resistant and even though it’s not fully waterproof, it will do the job when you need it and it’s stuffed in your jersey pocket. It is also breathable and also has reflective accents to help keep you safe and visible.
Price: About $15. Depends on color and size.
This is your cheap, simple jacket that will keep the wind out and rain to a limited extent. The fabric is water-resistant, not water proof, but would be suitable as a jacket to carry with you if you think it might rain or get a little chilly. It’s a price you simply can’t beat despite not having some of the qualities of the higher end jackets.