Once you have the bug for commuting by bike, it’s hard to imagine travelling any other way. When you love to cycle, you will want to get out on your bike as much as you can. Whatever the weather.
There are some cyclists who believe that commuting by bike is a fair weather sport. However, thanks to our mild-ish weather, in Ireland it is possible to bike to work most of the year. Afterall, as Alfred Wainwright once wrote “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”*.
Being prepared with the right clothing means you’re less likely to arrive at the office soaked through. At The Edge, we are keen cyclists and have tried and tested more waterproof options than we can count. Below, we’ve put together some of the best waterproof clothing for cycling commuters and tips for staying dry.
The Must Haves Of Waterproof Clothing For Cyclists
When it comes to waterproof clothes for commuting cyclists we think there are seven core qualities you should look for. They are:
1. Reflective qualities
No matter what the weather, it is essential to ensure other road users can see you when you’re cycling. In wet and rainy weather, road visibility is reduced so the need for effective reflective gear is increased.
Not all workplaces have changing rooms or storage, so most likely you need to stash your gear under your desk. Your waterproofs need to be able to roll up small and quickly.
3. Quick Drying
On the days you do get rained on and arrive to work wet, you’ll need to dry quickly. No employer is going to take lightly to your waterproofs dripping on the floor.
4. Low Maintenance
Easy to wash is a rule we live by. Waterproof clothing should be machine washable to get rid of mud and pollution with ease.
5. Light weight
Heavy gear means a slower commute and heavy bags to lug around when you arrive. Opt for light weight rain gear to keep the commute quick.
Breathable waterproof clothing keeps commuting comfortable. Without breathable qualities, you will find commuting becomes a sweatier, less enjoyable experience.
Not all rain jackets are waterproof. Some are shower proof, which means you’ll be fine in a light drizzle. Others are more heavy duty and will not only have waterproof fabric but also sealed seams.
Waterproofs are rated for different levels of protection. This is done in millimetres and will be listed on the tag in store or website description. As a rough guide to waterproof ratings:
- For light rain – Look for anything under 10,000mm (sometimes written as 10k)
- For moderate rain – Look for 10,000mm – 15,000mm
- For heavy and persistent rain – rating closer to 20,000mm will keep you dry.
Best Waterproof Jackets For men
The Madison Mens Jacket is both waterproof and lightweight. With a 5k waterproof rating, it is perfect for anyone commuting in milder rainy weather. This jacket also has the all important dropped hem at the back to keep road spray off your back.
The ETC Arid Rain Jacket is stylish, practical, and reflective. For anyone who would prefer to avoid the standard yellow reflective gear, this silver reflective option is ideal. For added waterproofing, this jacket has sealed seams and a deep tail.
The Endura Urban Luminite EN1150 Waterproof Jacket is a breathable option with a 10,000 mm waterproof rating. Not only does this jacket have large reflective panels but it is also certified for its high visibility level.
Best Waterproof Jackets For Women
A popular option with commuters, the Altura Nevis Nightvision Women’s Jacket has a relaxed fit and is fully waterproof. Offering a 10k waterproof level, this jacket is equally breathable and has highly visible reflective detailing. To keep your valuables dry and safe, all pockets are zippered.
Available with its very own carry bag, the Madison Oslo Women’s Jacket Yellow 8 is a good compact option. Thanks to its small packable size, this is a jacket you can keep in your bag for those unexpected downpours. It’s also breathable, windproof and waterproof. Reflective print gives this jacket its all over visibility and its limited lifetime warranty will give you peace of mind.
The Pearl Izumi Women’s Select Wxb Jacket has fully sealed seams and a lighter (5,000 mm) waterproof rating. Designed to fit over thicker layers, this jacket is also subtly contoured for a better fit. The stand up collar is designed to protect you from the elements for a more comfortable ride.
Best Waterproof Trousers For men
Stay dry with Madison Stellar Men’s 2-Layer Waterproof Overtrousers on wet and winter commutes. It helps to have a higher level of waterproof protection in trousers to protect from both rain and road spray. These overtrousers have just that with a 10k protection level. For stowing away neatly, these Madison trousers pack down to the size of two apples.
For a tough and durable option consider the Endura Men’s Hummvee Waterproof Trouser. Designed to protect mountain bikers out in the rain, they are a good choice for commuting in heavier rainfall. The trousers are pre-shaped and have built in stretch panels specifically for a comfortable ride.
Best Waterproof Trousers For Women
For popping over your work or workout gear, the Altura Women’s Night Vision 3 Waterproof Overtrouser is a good choice. As well as being waterproof and breathable to 10k/10k, these overtrousers have superior retroreflectivity. The relaxed fit allows for a comfortable ride and the NV360°™ performance offers 360 degree reflectivity. Keeping you dry and safe on the road night and day.
Ever got stuck trying to slip waterproof trousers over shoes? Then you’ll appreciate the extended ankle zips on these trousers. The Endura Women’s Gridlock II Trousers are waterproof and breathable to 10k/10k and are fully seam sealed. These black trousers have built-in reflective elements that are visible through 360°.
Best Waterproof Accessories
Commuting in all weather means protecting your gear too as well as yourself. These waterproof accessories help add that extra layer of protection.
- Gloves – Cycling with cold wet hands is enough to put anyone off. Keep your hands protected witha pair of ALTURA Thermostretch 3 Neoprene Gloves. Wearing gloves with silicone grips, like these, means you also retain better control.
- Overshoes – Typically used by road racers, there’s nothing to stop commuters benefiting from overshoes too. The SHIMANO H2O Overshoe has a durable waterproof coating and reflective elements. They also have a cosy fleece lining for extra comfort.
- Bag – If you have to carry your laptop or work gear, the ORTLIEB Back-Roller bag is a waterproof option to consider. Made waterproof with a polyurethane coated Cordura fabric, it also has high-luminosity reflective yarn in neon yellow and black.
- Mudguards – Not all bikes come with mudguards as standard but they are a useful addition for any commuter. Minimise the effects of roadspray with this clip-on SKS Mud-X & X-Tra Dry 26″ Dirtboard Mudguard Set.
To get kitted out for commuting in the rain, call in store at The Edge, Cork, or shop online here.
*It is unlikely that Mr Wainwright ever cycled the Kerry coast in winter. So we’ll add a note here to say please only cycle when it is safe to do so.