Posted by: audaxing | May 30, 2013

All the coats I’ve ever used

A water proof coat is a “must have” for long distance riding. I’ve tried loads of them, with mixed results.
They have several important factors

  • Price – Noone has unlimited funds and there are all kind of exotic materials
  • Waterproofness – surprisingly many so called water proof coats are not water proof
  • How well they Breathe – when you ride, you sweat. If the coat can’t let water out then you will get wet from the inside out.
  • Weight – When the coat isn’t being used (during a long ride with changable weather for example) it is carried as luggage. So the bulk and weight of the coat is important

1) Polaris thing, don’t remember the model. Somewhat waterproof, not entirely so. Fairly breathable and extremely cheap. Stopped using it as it was too big

2) Freestyle Goretex XCR coat, don’t remember the model. Freestyle don’t seem to make coats any more which is a shame, this was a good un. When new, excellent breathablity, completely water proof. Used on PBP 2007. Eventually scrapped due to oil stains and rips.

3) Altura Nightvision. Bought for me as a present. Water proof but zero breatheability. I understand they are quite cheap. If you don’t sweat at all might be ok.

4) Paramo Velez Smock. Really expensive. This was over £130 about 4 years ago. And it hasn’t gotten any cheaper since. The most water proof coat. Very breatheable and has side zips for extra ventilation. Would be perfect but…a bit too warm for cycling. Great for winter commuting. There is a “light” version which I will get one day. Current one still ok but very oil stained and some tears, looks a bit sad.
Paramo Velez Smock

5) Montane Featherlite. Really Cheap! Really small! Really light- mine was 177g in the stuff sack! Not waterproof in the least. Tried “reproofing” it, with no improvement. Not recommended.
The tiny and light but ineffective Montane Featherlite

6) Montane Stormrider. £99 on sale from Cotswold Outdoors. eVent fabric. Breathable, lightweight, very water proof. Montane don’t make it anymore. Let down by details: the pockets double as vents and fill with water. The zip is not very good and often jams. Good coat though, still have it and use it.

7) Gore Oxygen IV. £110 on sale from Edinburgh Cycle Coop. Excellent, tiny, light coat. Surprisingly water proof. Still using it, great bit of equipment for long rides. Not sturdy enough for regular use. It is “aero” fit. It has a nice scoop tail. This is also genuinely water proof and breatheable. Excellent for when it is warmer. I think it weights about 150g including stuff sack.

8) Revolution Leader. Over £100 from Edinburght Cycle Coop. Light and compact. Seems fairly water proof. Breatheability poor. Looks stylish. Let down by details, the zip jams and (this seems petty but it’s uncomfortable) the elastication on the cuffs is not water proof so your wrists are rubbed by a band of wet material after a shower. Would I buy another one? No


  1. Granted I only cycle to and from work or around town (not long distance by any means), but I have found that the coat that best keeps me dry is a woollen cape I bought from ASOS!

    • haha, That’s ASOS bike fans, not Assos!

  2. Great Review!
    I’m in the market for such a coat and hope that others will chime in with their experiences.

  3. I second the vote for the Gore Oxygen – very waterproof and breathable, I have worn mine for nearly 2/3rds of a 300 and didn’t get uncomfortable. Sizing seems a little on the small size – you might need one size up from normal

  4. Have you tried the Ground Effect Stormtrooper? I rate it the best cycling jacket ever – particularly the hood, which fits perfectly under a helmet.

    At £149 it’s a bargain. I’ve had mone 13 years, utterly thrashed it MTB riding and adventure racing/running, and it’s only just been re-waterproofed, ready for another decade.

  5. I’ve never really understood this thing about “breathable”. I’ve tested Gore Tex, eVent (Showers pass) and various others. The only thing that breathes for me are coats that have ventilation. The Showers Pass has zippered vents, but I can’t tell that they do anything. Unfortunately I bought a black one and if it rains, I need a good reflective vest as well, nullifying the vents.

    I’ve done ok with Craft (also vents) and Diadora (no waterproofing under the arms and a little vent on the back). but when it comes right down to it, I’ve spent much more on rain coats and never found one that works better than the budget variants. I sweat like a pig in all of them.

    • I think that some people just sweat more than average and no coat is ever going to work well. Of course manufacturers are never going to admit this but it seems to be the case

      Agree that vents are a great idea

      I’ve just paid out a lot of money for another Paramo coat so there will be some words about that soon

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