Cycling Rain Gear | The Ultimate Guide

Riding a bike in the rain is no fun. Being stuck in soaking wet clothes is miserable. If you live in a rain-prone region like the Pacific Northwest or a tropical region like Florida, you know all too well about sudden and unexpected rain showers.

No matter where you live, if you’ve looked into getting rain gear from a local bike shop, you’ve realized it’s expensive and your selection is limited.

Before you resort to wearing a garbage bag. Let me introduce you to the best in cycling rain gear online.

Cheap Rain Gear.cycling-rain-gear

Who is it for?

When considering cycling rain gear, you should first consider your riding intentions. Are you a fair weather rider that just needs emergency rain gear? Cheap rain gear might be your best choice.

Why?

Aside from being budget-friendly, it is usually the lightest and most compact of the rain gear. When folded, rolled or stowed in its bag (often the front pocket), it’s usually small enough to fit in a bike’s water bottle holder a bike bag or pannier.

Being low cost, ultra compact rain gear makes sense if it’s always with you on every ride for “just in case” situations. After all, who wants to lug around heavy, bulky rain gear daily?

Plus, you might look a little silly riding an inexpensive road bike wearing expensive rain gear.

Durability

Most lower end rain gear is made from either a thin nylon type material like a windbreaker jacket that is weatherproof or a weatherproof synthetic material that almost seems paper-like. The material is less durable than higher priced gear and makes it suitable for just occasional use.

Being that it is most cheap gear is not as durable, it can easily rip or tear if snagged and zippers can separate if tugged too hard. With that said, you’re better off going with a larger size than trying to squeeze into a smaller one.

Check with the manufacturer or seller about washing it. Some cheap gear can survive a washing machine on a gentle cycle, but others may meet certain death. The clothes dryer is generally a no fly zone.

If you are planning to wear it as occasional emergency gear only, durability should be less of a concern. The best part is that should you need to replace it entirely, you could do it 2 to 3 times over for the price of the more expensive, bulkier and heavier gear.

Characteristics

Cheap rain gear is usually ugly. Generally it’s not form fitting and lacks contouring leaving you with a baggy appearance. So the cheap stuff is not usually designated for men or women specifically, it’s almost always unisex.

With big movements, some gear can give off odd sounds. Depending on the material, it could be either a crunching sound like a paper being crumpled or sound like fingernails on a vinyl record. This alone might lead you to select one a specific jacket or pants made from one type of material over the other.

If you are going for looks or styling , cheap gear will leave you disappointed. You’re not going to win any fashion awards, instead, it’s all about the performance and staying dry.

While most cheap gear skips out on reflective markers, it often comes in a variety of colors. Colors can vary from vibrant neon yellows and neon greens to solid black. If you are riding in the dark on wet streets, choosing a high visible color is a smart decision along with riding with a bike light.

If you normally avoid riding in the rain but want to be prepared for unexpected showers, cheap gear is the best choice.

Best Cheap Cycling Rain Gear

Waterproof Cycling JacketCycling Rain PantsWaterproof Cycling Jacket with Pants
Tenn Airflow Packable Cycling Jacket Hi-VizO2 Rainwear Original Rain PantsBIKMAN Waterproof Cycling Safety Raincoat and Pant Set

Premium Rain Gear.

Who is it for?

If you ride your bike regardless if rain is in the weather forecast, you will want to invest in higher quality rain gear.

Why?

You will get more life out of it.

Durability

The better cycling rain gear is more durable than the cheap stuff, it’s often made of Gore-Tex or PolyPropylene. It’s built to last. The higher grade material will also stand up to miles of riding and the friction from the seat or a backpack’s constant rubbing that would eventually destroy the cheaper gear.

Characteristics

While cheap gear might feel like you’re wearing a giant Glad garbage bag or pop tent, the better gear has a more tailored, form fitting professional fit. So although there are unisex selections among the more expensive stuff, the majority are designed specifically for men or women.

Quality rain gear features to watch for are vented panels, reflective markings and elastic or drawstrings in the cuffs and hems.

Vented panels can keep you cool during warmer times of the year and help eliminate the feeling like you are in a sauna. Reflective panels help ensure that drivers see you, which can be very important in dark wet weather conditions. The elastic cuffs and hems can help keep water out and in cooler months, the option to keep heat in.

Even though it may come with a reflective pattern, bright colors are still important to consider.

Best Premium Cycling Rain Gear

Waterproof Cycling JacketCycling Rain PantsWaterproof Cycling Jacket with Pants
Showers Pass Men's Transit JacketShowers Pass Men's Storm PantTenn Active Waterproof Cycling Jacket and Trouser Cycle Set

In Summary

rain-jacket-tail
Cycling rain jackets are different than most other rain jackets as the usually have a longer tail to protect your backside from the rear wheel spray.

When it comes to rain gear, it is sold all different ways. You can purchase just a waterproof cycling jacket, just waterproof cycling pan pants (maybe you already have a jacket) and some sellers offer the a jacket and pants combo.

If you are looking into keeping your shoes dry, you may also want to consider rain shoe covers. They run from cheap clear plastic covers to material that fits over your shoes to waterproof your cycling shoes.

Rain gear, just like anything else, comes in a variety of pricing and quality standards. In the end, it’s true purpose is to repel water, break the wind and keep you dry and comfortable. When deciding how much to spend, just think how much you would pay if you were caught off guard in a rainstorm without it. Don’t forget about safety when choosing a color.

Some raincoats come with a pocket for your things. Having one means that you can get to what you need to when you want it versus having to struggle under your rain gear.