Cycling jackets aren’t just for fashion. They’re a necessity for any cold weather cyclist. Otherwise, you’ll end up freezing. You might even end up soaked if it starts raining. Either way, you’re likely to end up with an awful cold that you have to spend time fighting off.
You can invest in a normal jacket. However, it might not have all the extra important features that you would get from a cold weather or winter cycling jacket.
We’re going to go over what you need to look at when you’re shopping for a bike jacket. Then, we’re going to share the best cycling jackets for cold weather cyclists.
What to Look for in a Cycling Jacket
You’re probably wondering what you should look for in a cycling jacket. This is a good question. There are some key features to pay attention to before you pick out a cycling jacket for you. From strong weather protection to fabric breathability and reflective elements, it’s important that your bike jacket provides a good outer layer to keep you comfortable while riding.
Fabric of a Cycling Jacket
You should pay attention to the fabric of a cycling jacket. Different brands use different types of fabrics. Often, they use their own patented fabric. Gore Wear’s Gore-Tex fabric is a great example of this.
Most of these fabrics consist of Lycra, nylon, and polyester. All three are terrific materials for cycling jackets. Anything lesser than fabric is something you should avoid.
The fabric should always be breathable. Yes, it might be cold outside. However, if you go on long bike rides, you can get hot and sweaty regardless of the weather. You want your body and your skin to be able to breathe.
If the cycling jacket isn’t made from a breathable material, it should at least have vents on the back. Yes, some cycling jackets come with ventilation.
Keep in mind, most waterproof cycling jackets are going to use a different and thicker material than others. So, they’re not always as breathable. It depends on the climate in which you live.
Lightweight material is another factor to consider. If you’re a racer, a lightweight jacket is more appealing. It doesn’t weigh you down or slow you down.
But if you only ride casually and often encounter cold weather, lightweight material may not be a big deal to you.
Insulation of Cycling Jackets
Before we discussed the fabric of the outside of a cycling jacket. But you also want to take a closer look at the material or insulation that’s on the inside of a cycling jacket.
When you live in a cold area or an area with a lot of snow, you want a heavily insulated cycling jacket. This is going to keep you warm and toasty on your cold weather bike rides.
Waterproof Cycling Jackets
When it comes to cold weather, there’s nothing better than a waterproof cycling jacket. You don’t know if it’s going to be a rainy day or not. If it’s winter time, you might even encounter snow. You want to stay dry to stay warm and to fight off sickness.
There are different types of waterproof cycling jackets. Each type resists water to a certain degree.
If the cycling jacket states that it’s “waterproof”, it’s going to resist more water than others. It’s usually made from a waterproof fabric as well as taped seams.
Some cycling jackets are labeled as “water resistant”. Water resistant jackets can take some water. But it’s not going to hold out as much water from seeping in as a waterproof jacket.
Last is “water repellent” cycling jackets. These jackets have only received a treatment that repels very small amounts of water. Anything more than a drizzle and you’ll end up soaked.
Windproof Cycling Jackets
Wind can be a big deterrent to cycling in cold weather. It can make a somewhat cold day into a freezing cold bike ride.
Windproof jackets are able to keep you warm and safe from the freezing winds. Some windproof cycling jackets are also waterproof so that’s always a major plus.
Visibility of Cycling Jackets
The visibility of your cycling jacket is a bigger deal than you’d initially think. This is especially for those who go for night bike rides.
Reflective cycling jackets are what’s going to keep you visible on the road. These types of jackets have reflective strips on pockets and sometimes on seams.
Bright colors are always a plus. A driver is more likely to see a bright color in the middle of the night.
In a hurry?
Best Cycling Jackets for Cold Weather Cyclists
OUR TOP PICK
The Arsuxeo Winter Warm Up Thermal Soft Shell Cycling Jacket is made from 85% polyester and 15% spandex. It has a drop tail as well as an elastic waist. The cuff design is extra coverage for your arms and wrists.
It has three layers of fabric on the outside to ensure warmth during winter cycling. The top layer has a windbreaker surface that’s water repellent. When water hits the jacket, it beads up and runs off. That way the water doesn’t soak through. It also prevents stains.
The second layer of the jacket is both waterproof and breathable. The third layer, or the inside layer, is fleece for warmth.
There are reflective elements on both the front and the back of the cycling jacket. This is to make sure cars and other rides are able to see you at night.
It has two pockets so you can store anything you need for your bike ride. One of these zippered pockets is located in front for easy access.
The Charles River Wind Cycling Jacket uses premium fabric. The fabric has a luxurious feel. It’s a super lightweight jacket so you won’t feel reigned down by it. Plus, it’s pretty stylish considering the affordable price.
The fabric is water repellent. It can take some water but it won’t do well in anything more than a drizzle or splash.
It has a wind shield on the inside of the cycling jacket. This shield protects you from chilly wind so you keep warm on your bike ride. The wind shield clips by magnetic tabs so it’s removable if you don’t wish to use it.
It has vents all over it. There are vents on the upper back of the jacket as well as ventilation ports on the sides of the jacket. These vents create great airflow when needed.
The back of the jacket reflects your body heat back to you. This keeps you warm on those cold weather days.
It has a cell phone pouch. You can easily fit any phone in this pocket to store it away while riding.
The Endura Windchill Windproof Winter II Cycling Jacket is a standard fit. It stretches and moves with you. It also has a silicon grip hem.
Both the front of the jacket and the sleeve panels have a quilted texture. This quilted texture protects you from harsh winds. The rear panels of the jacket are fleece to keep you warm.
It does have ventilation. It has zippered pit vents. If you start to feel sweaty, you only have to unzip these vents to let your arm pits breathe.
It has a zippered pocket on the front. There are also three pockets on the back of the cycling jacket. This allows you to store anything you’re going to need on your bike ride.
The jacket even has a headphone slot on the inside. This means you can keep your phone or music device inside your jacket to keep it safe while being able to jam out.
There are reflective strips on the upper sleeves as well as on the logo. This makes it easier to see you in the middle of the night.
The Giro Chrono Expert Rain Cycling Jacket is form fitting so it’s going to fit you like a glove. It’s a two-and-a-half-layer laminated material. It also has a seam sealed construction.
It’s a very durable cycling jacket. It’s also a lightweight fabric. You’re going to feel free but protected in this jacket.
It uses a Durable Water Repellent coating. This makes it a water-repellent jacket. When water hits, it beads up and runs off. That way the jacket doesn’t absorb it and soak you.
There’s back exhaust ventilation. This vent lets warm air escape so you don’t overheat.
It has reflective strips so others can see you if you’re night riding. It’s a big safety precaution.
There’s even an exterior zipper guard so your shirt doesn’t get stuck in the zipper.
The Endura Pro SL Shell II Cycling Jacket has a multi-panel construction with a drop tail. The fabric is able to move with you so you don’t feel confined. It has cuff panels as well.
It uses a three-layer fabric called the ExoShell 40. It’s a lightweight jacket so it doesn’t hold you back or weigh you down. It’s also breathable so sweat doesn’t build up underneath.
The cycling jacket uses three layers to keep out rain. It also has taped seams making it super waterproof.
It has a small pocket located on the side of the cycling jacket. It also has a zippered pocket on the back. Anything small you need to store, you can.
It also has reflective strips. This way anyone coming across you in the dark can see you and avoid hitting you.
The Gore Wear Thermo C3 Cycling Jacket has a slim fit, and long sleeves. It also has a bike specific cut with an extended back. The sleeves are cuffed. You’ll be comfortable and look stylish at the same time.
The polyester Gore-Tex fabric of the cycling jacket make it super durable. It’s not going to get easily ruined. This fabric is lab and field tested to ensure quality.
It uses Gore-Tex Infinium technology. This technology does three wonderful things to the cycling jacket. First, it creates a breathable jacket so you don’t overheat underneath. It’s also water resistant and protects you from the wind.
The lining is fleece. The fleece keeps you snug and warm on a cold day.
The cycling jacket has a three piece back zipper pocket with added splash protection. You can carry important objects without worrying about them getting ruined by water.
The back waistband uses adhesive rubber so it covers you much better.
The Gore Wear C3 GTX Active Cycling Jacket has a comfort fit and bike specific cut. This creates an extended back and adjustable waistband. It also has cuffed sleeves. This is a super comfy cycling jacket.
It uses Gore-Tex Active technology. This special Gore-Tex technology creates a windproof jacket.
It also uses a membrane in the fabric. The membrane has tiny little holes that prevent rain from coming through, creating a waterproof jacket. Yet, it’s still breathable enough that sweat doesn’t get trapped inside.
There’s a back pocket. It has an internal LockSack. The LockSack protects your phone or anything else in the pocket from getting wet.
It has reflective strips. It even has a reflective triangle on the rear pocket. This triangle works well at picking up car headlights.
The Pearl Izumi Pro AmFIB Shell Cycling Jacket is form fitting. It’s made for three out of four seasons. That’s not too bad if we do say so ourselves. It fits like a cycling jersey while still offering protection and warmth.
The fabric is three layers. It has a four-way soft shell fabric. This special fabric is water resistant since it uses PI Dry water shedding technology. This technology makes water bead up when it hits the jacket. This is so it runs off the jacket instead of being absorbed.
The cycling jacket is also windproof to keep you warm. At the same time, it’s breathable so you get too hot underneath the cycling jacket.
There are zippered vents on this jacket. They are two-way water resistant Vislon Aquaguard. All you have to do is unzip to create airflow when it gets too warm for you.
The Castelli Alpha ROS 2 Cycling Jacket is form fitting. It doesn’t matter who you are, this cycling jacket is going to fit like a glove. It has both a waist and drop tail.
It uses Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper technology for the fabric. This fabric is breathable so you don’t trap in too much heat inside with you.
It’s also water resistant. So, it can take on most rain. But if it starts raining too hard, you might need to take cover. Last, the Gore-Tex fabric makes the cycling jacket windproof as well.
The cycling jacket has a double-front layering construction. This allows you to remove the top layer if you need some ventilation instead of the windproof design. The inside of the jacket is insulated for warmth.
The jacket has a double-layer wrist opening. This opening allows you to tuck in any riding gloves you choose to wear.
It has a total of four pockets to store anything you need to bring along with you. One of these pockets is a zippered side pocket. The other pockets are located in the back of the jacket.
Cycling jackets are an important piece of clothing for any cold weather cyclist. You want to keep warm and keep dry. Just because you’re biking in cold weather doesn’t mean you have to suffer in the process.
This is our list of the best cycling jackets for cold weather cycling. These are some of the best jackets on the market.
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