9 best women’s cycling jackets: Weatherproof and high-vis layers

Liz Dodd
·2-min read
A good cycling jacket balances keeping the weather out while letting enough air in to stop you from overheating (The Independent/iStock)
A good cycling jacket balances keeping the weather out while letting enough air in to stop you from overheating (The Independent/iStock)

Don’t let changing seasons put you off your cycle commute – whether you’ve been riding for years or picked up the habit during lockdown.

A good cycling jacket balances keeping the weather – in particular rain and cold wind – out, while letting enough air in to stop you from overheating. Because this is such a fine balance, it’s worth investing: the jackets we’ve picked out below are really durable and adaptable – they will see you snugly all the way through to next summer and beyond.

What you’re looking for in a cycling jacket depends on when and where you ride. If you expect to cycle at night, whether in the country or the city, prioritise a super reflective jacket. If you’re planning to ride for a long time in bad weather, it is worth investing in something with a fully waterproof – not just water resistant – shell.

If you feel the cold, or expect to ride somewhere it might drop below freezing, pick a down insulated jacket or a shell-style jacket with a slightly baggier fit that means you can wear multiple layers underneath. Windproofing – both the material and things like sleeves and collars – is also important for cold weather riding, or if you ride a lot of hills. A freezing cold descent is not the way to celebrate a difficult mountain pass.

We tested these jackets on simple commutes and weekend rides, but we also had some of them reviewed by some of the toughest cyclists out there: delivery riders and couriers. This meant they had to be sturdy and very waterproof, but also packable (for when the sun comes out), and ideally have a flash of hi-vis or reflective material for nighttime rounds. Some of them came bikepacking with us, which meant putting up with rough weather, rough terrain and even rougher treatment on overnight trips.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

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