Getting caught in a downpour while on two wheels can leave you feeling uncomfortable, cold, and needing a change of clothes once you reach your destination.
But, with a little preparation, it’ll be water off a duck’s back.
The best cycling rain gear is the answer to unpleasant precipitation.
The Top 8 Cycling Gear Must-Haves
The Essential Bike Rain Gear
Riding in the rain does require a little extra attention. Painted road markings and metal grills can become as slippery as ice and you need to allow a little more distance for your braking.
But, as a competent cyclist, this is nothing you can’t handle.
However, in addition to your riding technique—the correct cycling rain gear is essential.
Let’s be honest—none of us are perfect. As much as we love being on two wheels—sometimes, when feeling a little lazy—we may seek any excuse to use the car instead of our bikes.
I’m too tired, I’m already late—and of course—it’s raining.
Don’t do this! Advances in technology mean you and your equipment can arrive at your destination completely dry—even when riding in the most inclement weather.
Let me go through the cycling rain gear essentials:
If you don’t want to buy the full range of bicycle rain gear—at the very least, you should own a waterproof jacket.
Unless you ride in an extreme fully-crouched, dropped handlebar racing position, your chest is exposed to the full brunt of the rain. This is particularly the case if you own an upright cruiser style cycle.
Not only does this cause an unwelcome damp feeling—but also lower the temperature of your chest—reducing the efficiency of your lungs and diaphragm—the powerhouses behind your cycling.
When picking a jacket for your cycling rain gear, ensure that it’s waterproof, not shower or splashproof. Sure, the latter may repel unwanted droplets and light sprays—but will not help in severe downpours.
Furthermore, the jacket should incorporate some breathability characteristics. Let’s face it, you could save money by just donning a trash bag—it’ll definitely prevent water ingress—but inside, you’ll be perspiring like an Italian fountain.
Other factors to consider when choosing your waterproof cycling jacket include:
- Lightweight for easy carriage when not in use.
- Number of pockets.
- Reflective ability.
- Insulation for riding in colder months.
Waterproof Cycling Pants
If you’ve ever cycled in the rain—you know that your thighs become remarkably wet. During each pedal—your upper legs move upward against the downward force of the precipitation—increasing their saturation.
Typically, you wear water proof cycling pants over your regular lower clothing—making them bicycle rain gear commuter essentials. When you arrive for that early morning meeting—your work attire isn’t going to be flooding the boardroom floor with water.
Hence, it’s vital that when purchasing waterproof bike pants, you select a size large enough to slip over your everyday wear.
Furthermore, look at the waist and ankle openings. Ideally, the former should be elasticated to allow for easy fitting over existing clothing. Some manufacturers design their pants with an enhanced back rise—extending up beneath your cycling jacket to ensure complete protection.
Additionally, the ankles should have sufficient ‘give’—allowing you to put on your water proof bike pants without having to remove your cycling shoes. Thus preventing you from having to mess around taking off and replacing footwear at the side of the road—when you find yourself in an unexpected shower.
Other factors to consider:
- Reflective ability.
- Design for the fashion-conscious cyclist.
- Fleecing for insulation.
- Knee flexibility for unrestricted pedaling.
- Whether they include pockets.
Admittedly, you can buy a complete bike rain suit—which incorporates a jacket and pants. However, purchasing separately allows you to obtain the best examples from each category—without having to compromise.
Wearing waterproof cycling pants in torrential weather is crucial—but the water hitting your thighs and calves has to go somewhere—and that place is down.
Most cycling shoes, and indeed sneakers, have mesh vents. Meaning, that any more than a few drops of water and your feet are going to become saturated. Not only does that lead to an incredibly unpleasant and squishy sensation when you dismount—but it also increases the likelihood of freezing toes when riding as the wind hits your soaked feet.
You don’t want to be wearing your rubber gardening boots when you’re on two wheels. Instead, consider overshoes as part of your cycling rain gear armory.
These slip over your biking shoes, leisure footwear, or work brogues. Ensuring your feet reach your destination warm and moisture-free.
Correct sizing is vital when picking your overshoes. Too small, and they simply will not fit. Too large, and they can let in water or have you flapping around like a clown.
Typically, manufacturers retail them in S, M, L, XL and XXL dimensions. As these can vary between makers, check out their sizing chart for the perfect fit for your shoe size.
Also, take a look at:
- Side zipper or elasticated high-top—making them easy to put on.
- Machine washable.
Although you need to make some preparations before heading out on two wheels—there’s little enjoyment in donning your cycling rain gear before every ride. It would be a shame to completely cover your body on a beautiful summer’s day before mounting your hybrid—just on the off-chance, there may be a shower.
The best waterproof panniers allow you to transport your rainproof attire when not in use. This means, should a shower occur, you have made provisions for yourself with warm and dry over clothing.
Furthermore, these downpour-detering bags protect your essentials, whether that’s a laptop, tablet, smartphone—or your lunch.
When picking the perfect panniers for your cycling rain gear, think about:
- Ease of installation.
- Portability—can you remove and carry with handles or strap.
- Number of compartments.
- Padding for protection.
The Ultimate Cycling Rain Gear
After hours of research—I’ve put together what I consider to be the complete cycling rain gear essentials. I’ve chosen these products for their quality, customer feedback, and the opinion of industry experts.
This riding jacket incorporates the renowned Gore-Tex material—a fabric known for repelling water while allowing perspiration to escape.
Furthermore, if you’re concerned about moisture sneaking in, you may welcome the velcro-adjustable cuffs and collar—ensuring a tight seal around your extremities.
The manufacturer has included an over-long rear section—which should protect your lower back from the elements, even in a forward-leaning riding posture. This could make it ideal for cyclists with dropped handlebars.
In professional-riding style, this jacket sports a rear pocket, including a Loksak inner to defend electronic devices from the wet conditions. And, should road-spray make this garment dirty, you may appreciate it’s machine washable.
And, when not in use, it folds to a size that you can easily fit into your pocket or waterproof pannier.
- Slim-fit to reduce friction.
- Windproof—it’s wearable throughout the year.
- Partially elastic hem.
- Black with distinctive neon yellow trim.
- Reflectors on back and sleeves.
- Gore-tex material.
- Only available in medium sizing.
- Premium price for a premium product.
It features three layers. The first is windproof and beads moisture, the second is a breathable waterproof membrane and the third is fleece lining for added insulation.
The elasticated cuffs are slightly elongated—providing a tight seal and enabling you to cover up to your riding gloves. Additionally, a drop tail increases back coverage—for maximum water protection.
If you like to stand out from the cycling crowd—or want to coordinate—you may appreciate the seven different color designs. Furthermore, each jacket is trimmed with front and rear reflectors—enhancing visibility in the darkest of storms.
And, whatever your physical size, there should be a perfect fit—as this jacket is available in five sizes—from S to XXL.
- Fleece lining for the colder months.
- Spandex shoulders to allow for increased movement.
- Elastic hem.
- Front (zipped) and rear pocket.
- Wallet-friendly pricing.
- Wide variety of designs.
- Dimensions run small—choose a size larger than usual.
- Spandex shoulder inserts aren’t entirely waterproof.
The double-layer synthetic construction repels water—yet isn’t clingy to your legs. Hence, even when pushing yourself hard on your cycle—you should find that these pants don’t reduce your performance.
Additionally, I propose that these rain-trousers are excellent for comfort. Breathable material in the rear allows perspiration to escape, while extra-padding reduces butt fatigue.
Should you be using these pants in cold or snowy climates, you may appreciate the fleece lining, which increases their insulation. Furthermore, the six-thread stitching means that the notoriously unreliable seams remain waterproof.
Finally, the ankles are adjustable via a zip—allowing you to both don the pants while wearing your shoes and tighten for a secure, rainproof seal.
- Available in seven sizes.
- Choice of black, or black with red trim.
- Additional knee draping to increase mobility.
- Reflective logo.
- Incorporates two zippered pockets.
- Fleece lining for warmth.
- Sizes run small—order larger than your regular size.
- No additional material to improve lower-back coverage.
The more reserved cyclists can opt for the solid black—but I believe those two-wheelers with attitude may welcome the choice of six camo and street designs.
However, it’s not all about style.
A non-woven outer and inner fabric blend provides flexibility and breathability. While the DriPore Gen2 middle layer is wind-resistant and waterproof. Furthermore, an expanded four-inch back rise means these pants will extend high beneath your jacket—ensuring lower-back rain protection.
The elastic waistband should allow for a comfortable fit—even when you wear them over your regular pants. Additionally, a hook-and-loop system in the ankles means you can don these trousers without removing your footwear—and then create a tight seal to prevent moisture ingress.
- One-year warranty.
- Available in six sizes.
- High back rise.
- You can also use it for camping or hunting.
- Wide choice of designs.
- No reflective features.
- Lacks pockets.
A neoprene outer delivers water-resistant protection while providing a snug and versatile fit to your everyday footwear. Additionally, the interior microfleece polyester should ensure your feet remain warm in the harshest of storms.
Slipping over your shoes is simple—just lower the lockable zip, pull on, and then retighten. Furthermore, I suggest the interior storm flap will prevent any water entering through the ankle opening.
Although only available in black, you’re still going to be highly visible on the road. These overshoes incorporate reflective logos and heel and ankle tabs—increasing your safety.
Suitable for men and women, and available in sizes S to XXL, it shouldn’t be tough to find the perfect fit. Just ensure you check out the manufacturer’s shoe-sizing chart.
- High performance yet easy-on-the-wallet.
- Heel and ankle tabs to help putting-on.
- Kevlar underside to prevent wear.
- Velcro strap on the sole for a snug fit.
- Rubberized toe and heel to increase longevity.
- Neoprene construction can make the covers a little heavy.
The Gore-Tex construction ensures these footwear covers are waterproof yet breathable. Hence, your feet should remain both dry and fresh during those summer storms.
An elasticated cuff means sliding your shoe-wearing foot into the protectors is effortless—and also delivers a tight seal around your riding pants. Furthermore, a simple rear velcro fastener allows you to tailor the overshoes to your regular footwear,
These rain repellents are available in both black and neon yellow. However, should they become dirty in the inclement weather—I believe you’ll welcome the fact they’re machine washable.
- Available in four sizes.
- Reinforced edge on the sole to protect against friction.
- Markers indicate the left or right foot.
- Reflective logos.
- Offer little insulation.
- Premium price.
The 1000D polyester material, layered by waterproof PVC, means that the bag is both durable and rain resistant. Even if you’re something of an extreme rider, its anti-tear and heat-protective construction should provide impressive longevity.
With 25 liters of storage capacity, I suggest this pannier is equally suitable for work or leisure use, ideal for transporting your files or your picnic. And, when you reach your destination, you may welcome the carrying handle and shoulder strap for off-bike portability.
Furthermore, a quick-release system means that mounting and unmounting to your cycle rack is straightforward. And should you need quick access to your smartphone or other frequently-used essentials—the pannier features an exterior zippable pocket.
- 12-month guarantee.
- Roll-down top for increased water resistance.
- Reflective styling.
- Available in black, yellow, and black and green.
- Not a double-pannier—some cyclists may find balance challenging.
A 600D Oxford cloth outer, together with double-stitched seams, should provide reliable rain resistance, whatever challenges the weather makes. It incorporates four compartments, including two pockets opened by a concealed zip. Not only does this design feature enhance its sleek looks and add security—but it’s also an additional measure to prevent water penetration.
Even if you’re not technically-minded—I propose installation is simple. Just secure with four shelf straps and two-side velcro strips, and you’re ready to hit the road. Then, when you dismount, you can easily transport the pannier by means of the center carry-handle.
And, If you’re cycling in low-light conditions, you may be reassured by the reflective strips which flank both sides of the bags.
- Double pannier design—making balance straightforward.
- A large amount of space for a small cost.
- Reinforced handle to promote carrying longevity.
- Quick-release buckle.
- Effortless to install.
- Suitable for both commuters and leisure riders.
- You can’t separate the two bags, which can be cumbersome to carry.
- Requires a rack with full side support bars for correct installation.
Whether you’re intentionally heading out in wet weather—or a freak summer shower catches you by surprise—you can’t underestimate the importance of cycling rain gear.
These riding must-haves ensure you remain warm and dry, elevate your comfort, and allow you to cycle in conditions that otherwise would be preventative. Furthermore, they can make certain that your non-riding possessions—such as electronic devices, work projects, picnicking items and camping gear stay moisture-free.
My ultimate rain gear essentials above are excellent examples in each of their categories—whether it’s the 4uCyling rain pants, the CXWXC overshoes, or the Rhinowalk waterproof panniers.
However, if you’re just starting out on your cycling journey, and want only one item—then I’d suggest opting for the Gore Bike Wear Jacket.
This rain-repelling coat, with its Gore-Tex construction, keeps water at bay while allowing your perspiration to dissipate. Thus keeping your chest warm and preventing discomfort.
As it’s small enough to fit into your pocket—you can effortlessly carry this jacket on your rides—always prepared for any unexpected weather-whammies. Furthermore, with its reflective styling, you’re going to be visible to other traffic—even in low-light conditions.
Ideally, you eventually want complete body and equipment waterproofing—but, in my opinion, at the very least, check out the Gore Bike Wear Jacket.