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Wind jackets. Should I go with light water-resistent, or heavier waterproof jacket?

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Wind jackets. Should I go with light water-resistent, or heavier waterproof jacket?

Old 11-16-15, 12:49 PM
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Wind jackets. Should I go with light water-resistent, or heavier waterproof jacket?

They have feathery light jackets, but there are heavier ones that looks a little raincoat-ish and are waterproof. What is your preferred cold weather jacket? The light or heavier jackets? If it's raining, I'll just use a Coleman rain jacket that I have (if it's pouring rain, I couldn't care less if the jacket isn't aero and cool looking). I just wanna be comfortable when it's cold and windy.
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Old 11-16-15, 12:52 PM
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If the jacket is waterproof it tends to also trap in the sweat which can make you colder or more uncomfortable, assuming it's not raining. I have a windproof jacket I wear sometimes and it traps in the sweat as well.
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Old 11-16-15, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Kertrek View Post
They have feathery light jackets, but there are heavier ones that looks a little raincoat-ish and are waterproof. What is your preferred cold weather jacket? The light or heavier jackets? If it's raining, I'll just use a Coleman rain jacket that I have (if it's pouring rain, I couldn't care less if the jacket isn't aero and cool looking). I just wanna be comfortable when it's cold and windy.
Don't go waterproof if you don't need waterproof. But it sounds like you do ride in the rain, and you'll like a real rain jacket a lot better than that Coleman.

But also be aware that some of the new waterproof jackets today are way, way better than they were a few years ago. They'll easily in a jersey pocket and are almost as light as a windbreaker. Fit as well as material is critical to performance.
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Old 11-16-15, 01:31 PM
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I prefer waterproof but I also go for the top end breathing fabrics and pit zips. So I like the Showers Pass Century jacket. Works for me.

J.
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Old 11-16-15, 01:36 PM
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I like rain jackets for rain and a windproof softshell for cold. A windproof softshell breathes better than a rain jacket and does the job in cold weather.
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Old 11-16-15, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I like rain jackets for rain and a windproof softshell for cold. A windproof softshell breathes better than a rain jacket and does the job in cold weather.
I was also going to recommend a softshell. It does a great job keeping the wind off and will keep you dry in a heavy mist to light rain. It could probably get soaked in a heavy rain, but in that case, a packable rain jacket over the softshell woud do the trick.
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Old 11-16-15, 02:04 PM
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Depends how cold it is (obviously it's warmer than freezing if rain is coming down) and how hard you're working. If you're going along slowly it won't matter, if you're pedaling hard enough to work up a sweat waterproof jackets will get clammy and uncomfortable. I use a resistant wind breaker and wool base layer.
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Old 11-16-15, 02:30 PM
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Using a waterproof jacket for extended periods in the cold is a recipe for disaster. Perspiration has nowhere to go - you get soaked underneath. Cold + wet = hypothermia. I have had it happen, not fun.

Even "waterproof/breathable" Goretex type fabrics are not suitable. They are designed to allow water vapor out. They are not designed to allow a large volume of liquid perspiration to evaporate and this is how I got hypothermic, with a very high end Gore cycling jacket. Unless you like hypothermia, a waterproof rain jacket is only suitable for a short period of time or extremely low intensity physical activity.

Your first priority in winter exercise is to stay as dry as possible. The best thing for winter is a base layer that wicks moisture away from the skin so you stay dry. Then layer insulation. Wind block vests with mesh back panels are excellent as they allow perspiration to vent. People forget cheap fleece jackets. There are some with wind block on the front and these are excellent insulators and dirt cheap.

If its 40f and raining you should rethink your ride.

I rode yesterday in the low 50's for 2 or 3 hours. Underarmor compression turtleneck, normal jersey and tucked a few layers of Saran Wrap under my bib straps, covered my chest and shoulders. Worked perfect.
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Old 11-16-15, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Using a waterproof jacket for extended periods in the cold is a recipe for disaster. Perspiration has nowhere to go - you get soaked underneath. Cold + wet = hypothermia. I have had it happen, not fun.

Even "waterproof/breathable" Goretex type fabrics are not suitable. They are designed to allow water vapor out. They are not designed to allow a large volume of liquid perspiration to evaporate and this is how I got hypothermic, with a very high end Gore cycling jacket. Unless you like hypothermia, a waterproof rain jacket is only suitable for a short period of time or extremely low intensity physical activity.

Your first priority in winter exercise is to stay as dry as possible. The best thing for winter is a base layer that wicks moisture away from the skin so you stay dry. Then layer insulation. Wind block vests with mesh back panels are excellent as they allow perspiration to vent. People forget cheap fleece jackets. There are some with wind block on the front and these are excellent insulators and dirt cheap.

If its 40f and raining you should rethink your ride.

I rode yesterday in the low 50's for 2 or 3 hours. Underarmor compression turtleneck, normal jersey and tucked a few layers of Saran Wrap under my bib straps, covered my chest and shoulders. Worked perfect.
It sounds like you overdress.

With regards to swamping out your high end jacket, that can be accomplished at any temperature -- if you sweat faster than the atmosphere can absorb it, you will get wet. This can be done below freezing with bare skin protected by nothing.

The trick when you begin sweating is to change layering, ventilation, what you're doing, etc so that you stay dry. Under 40F raining is no big deal at all -- 33F in the wet is quite comfortable. If you overdress though, you'll get wet on the inside and then hypothermic through conductive transfer of heat.

Nonintuitively, keeping warm often means wearing less. But most people don't trust this idea so they overdress (and freeze). I see this in other sports I do as well.

I'm not a fan of fleece for cycling or for any high output activity. Too bulky and easy to get wet. It's great for low impact situations where a lot of insulation is handy and weight/bulk is not an issue.
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Old 11-16-15, 03:14 PM
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Fleece has never worked for me, either, for cycling, running, or cross country skiing. Just doesn't breathe well enough for aerobic sports.
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Old 11-16-15, 03:17 PM
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I have both types of jackets and while they are great for very short rides I don't really like either for any ride longer than 15 minutes. I find it a lot more important to stay warm than dry. For longer rides I prefer to wear arm warmers and layer jerseys and not bother trying to keep the rain out.
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Old 11-16-15, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Using a waterproof jacket for extended periods in the cold is a recipe for disaster. Perspiration has nowhere to go - you get soaked underneath. Cold + wet = hypothermia. I have had it happen, not fun.

Even "waterproof/breathable" Goretex type fabrics are not suitable. They are designed to allow water vapor out. They are not designed to allow a large volume of liquid perspiration to evaporate and this is how I got hypothermic, with a very high end Gore cycling jacket. Unless you like hypothermia, a waterproof rain jacket is only suitable for a short period of time or extremely low intensity physical activity.

Your first priority in winter exercise is to stay as dry as possible. The best thing for winter is a base layer that wicks moisture away from the skin so you stay dry. Then layer insulation. Wind block vests with mesh back panels are excellent as they allow perspiration to vent. People forget cheap fleece jackets. There are some with wind block on the front and these are excellent insulators and dirt cheap.

If its 40f and raining you should rethink your ride.
Cold here (Minnesota) is when you're well below zero. If I had to stop riding at 40F (or 20F for that matter), I'd miss a huge chunk of riding each year. We see 40F here often in August and then again though May in the string. If I had to ride without a good waterproof outer layer, I'd be miserable as well.

As mentioned previously, it's all about learning how to dress in layers (more than two usually) and to not overdress. I have no problems with a waterproof jacket in the cold. I'm also a alpine skier and ski patroller. I have to be outside working hard at -25F or colder. Working hard, you're going to sweat. If you've got the right layers on, you'll handle the moisture without issue and stay warm. But the right layers are really not going to be cheap - there is a huge difference between the good stuff and the budget stuff.

I rode yesterday in the low 50's for 2 or 3 hours. Underarmor compression turtleneck, normal jersey and tucked a few layers of Saran Wrap under my bib straps, covered my chest and shoulders. Worked perfect.
Saran Wrap is the poster child for "doesn't breathe." I got a piece of PowerShield lightweight soft-shell material and use that just as how you describe. Works great, and it breathes super well in addition to being windproof and pretty waterproof. Rolls up and goes in the jersey pocket nicely too.


J.

Last edited by JohnJ80; 11-16-15 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 11-16-15, 03:53 PM
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I prefer form fitting windbreakers. How thick/heavy depends on the temps. I don't like layering, so rather have different jackets for different temps.
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Old 11-16-15, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Kertrek View Post
They have feathery light jackets, but there are heavier ones that looks a little raincoat-ish and are waterproof. What is your preferred cold weather jacket? The light or heavier jackets? If it's raining, I'll just use a Coleman rain jacket that I have (if it's pouring rain, I couldn't care less if the jacket isn't aero and cool looking). I just wanna be comfortable when it's cold and windy.
One of each!

I've got vests, lightweight wind jackets, and a couple different heavier waterproof breathable jackets.


I also have a Coleman rain jacket ... I wore it in cool rainy conditions over a couple weeks, and discovered that it was one of the coldest, most uncomfortable jackets I've ever cycled in. I think I would have been warmer and drier if I had gone without a jacket. It might have been all right for sitting around a campground on a drizzly day, but not for cycling.
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Old 11-16-15, 05:42 PM
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I've ridden in the rain every winter for many years here in the PNW. I've tried many different jackets: waterproof, waterproof/breathable, and wind resistant. I don't know if there is a garment one should describe as windproof but not waterproof.

I've found that it depends on how you ride. If I were commuting to work on a relatively flat route, I'd ride slowly and use waterproof. But for sport riding, there's really no practical choice other than wind resistant. You're going to sweat enough to overwhelm even the best waterproof/breathable jacket. You won't be able to get rid of the heat, so you'll wind up stripping down to minimal clothing which will be a total drag as you change outputs while climbing and descending.

The way to go is a very wind resistant jacket. It's easy to tell what to pick. Put it up to your mouth and suck on the fabric. If no air goes through, it's waterproof, no good. If a lot of air goes through, it's too permeable, no good. You want to get air through it, but for that to require some decent suction. Why? Because you want to get water through it too, but slowly. You need the water to cool you, but then you also need enough layered clothing to keep you warm even though it's wet. Because it's going to be wet one way or the other, either from sweat or from rain. With the wind jacket you'll wear enough clothing so that you're warm climbing and descending.

The obvious other great thing about a wind jacket is that it should stuff to the size of a large orange in your jersey pocket so you can put it on and off easily as conditions change.

My current favorite is the Voler Jet jacket in HiViz.
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Old 11-16-15, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
The obvious other great thing about a wind jacket is that it should stuff to the size of a large orange in your jersey pocket so you can put it on and off easily as conditions change.
You can get this with waterproof/breathable too. It won't breathe as well as what you're recommending, but for extended time in the rain, it's a better way to go than just a wind jacket.

Especially for shorter (maybe just a couple hours) or more intense rides, your route is more comfortable unless the rain is heavy. Keep in mind rain in the PNW is generally lighter than what they experience in many other areas.
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Old 11-16-15, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
You can get this with waterproof/breathable too. It won't breathe as well as what you're recommending, but for extended time in the rain, it's a better way to go than just a wind jacket.

Especially for shorter (maybe just a couple hours) or more intense rides, your route is more comfortable unless the rain is heavy. Keep in mind rain in the PNW is generally lighter than what they experience in many other areas.
A couple of winters ago, Stoker and I did a 78 mile ride at a steady 36 in a continuous heavy downpour in just this gear. Our only problem was cold hands but we have better gloves now. So far, I haven't seen waterproof/breathable gear that stuffs to the size of an orange. My Voler jacket weighs 5 oz.

OTOH I always wear waterproof when hiking, simply because I'm not going hard enough to stay warm in only windproof gear, nor do I want all that wet layered gear in my tent at night. It depends about how hard you're going. However when bike touring I wear exactly what I wear when sport riding and for the same reasons, but I'll usually sleep indoors after a rain day while touring.
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Old 11-16-15, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Kertrek View Post
They have feathery light jackets, but there are heavier ones that looks a little raincoat-ish and are waterproof. What is your preferred cold weather jacket? The light or heavier jackets? If it's raining, I'll just use a Coleman rain jacket that I have (if it's pouring rain, I couldn't care less if the jacket isn't aero and cool looking). I just wanna be comfortable when it's cold and windy.
I have an extremely thin fabric Pearl Izumi jacket (P.R.O. fabric) that rolls up to fit in half a jersey pocket. It's very convenient to bring along, "just in case". But it's actually not breathable enough. I get sweat soaked very easily when I wear it. So now it's just brought as insurance, in case it rains or gets very cold by the end of the ride.

Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I've ridden in the rain every winter for many years here in the PNW. I've tried many different jackets: waterproof, waterproof/breathable, and wind resistant. I don't know if there is a garment one should describe as windproof but not waterproof.

..snip...

The way to go is a very wind resistant jacket. It's easy to tell what to pick. Put it up to your mouth and suck on the fabric. If no air goes through, it's waterproof, no good. If a lot of air goes through, it's too permeable, no good. You want to get air through it, but for that to require some decent suction.
..snip..
Huh. I never tried this. But it's exactly right for the thin roll-up jacket. I barely get any air through this one at all, and it's too sweaty.

Now, I have the (two year old model, it's been changed a little each year) Pearl Izumi Elite Convertible jacket. This is great for riding.

The breath test allows some air through, and I do stay quite dry when I wear it, even on longer rides. But the real reason is the big mesh panel on the back, under the removable shoulders that the sleeves are attached to. If I unzip the front partway, I get a huge airflow through and out the mesh. So I can vent on the climbs, then zip up to the neck on the downhills.

And the sleeves detach and stow in the back pocket when the day warms up.

With various combinations of base layers, this jacket is good from around 35F up to low 60F. If it's warmer than that, the sleeves go in one jersey pocket and the vest in another pocket. And I've been in a couple of heavy rains--it'll wet through, but I stayed warm with the base layers at 50F.

Last edited by rm -rf; 11-16-15 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 11-16-15, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Kertrek View Post
They have feathery light jackets, but there are heavier ones that looks a little raincoat-ish and are waterproof. What is your preferred cold weather jacket? The light or heavier jackets? If it's raining, I'll just use a Coleman rain jacket that I have (if it's pouring rain, I couldn't care less if the jacket isn't aero and cool looking). I just wanna be comfortable when it's cold and windy.
I prefer something I can imagine wearing half unzipped at least briefly at some point, because even in the coldest weather, you occasionally want to open up your jacket a bit for air. In cold weather a heavyweight jacket with just an ordinary jersey or base layer underneath may be fine, but open it up a little and it can get too cold too fast.
You may not care about "aero," but you don't want anything too loose, because having something flap around in the wind isn't comfortable, and it's a real problem in the cold because it accelerates heat transfer away from you.
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Old 11-16-15, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
I have an extremely thin fabric Pearl Izumi jacket (P.R.O. fabric) that rolls up to fit in half a jersey pocket. It's very convenient to bring along, "just in case". But it's actually not breathable enough. I get sweat soaked very easily when I wear it. So now it's just brought as insurance, in case it rains or gets very cold by the end of the ride.

Huh. I never tried this. But it's exactly right for the thin roll-up jacket. I barely get any air through this one at all, and it's too sweaty.

Now, I have the (two year old model, it's been changed a little each year) Pearl Izumi Elite Convertible jacket. This is great for riding.

The breath test allows some air through, and I do stay quite dry when I wear it, even on longer rides. But the real reason is the big mesh panel on the back, under the removable shoulders that the sleeves are attached to. If I unzip the front partway, I get a huge airflow through and out the mesh. So I can vent on the climbs, then zip up to the neck on the downhills.

And the sleeves detach and stow in the back pocket when the day warms up.

With various base layers, this jacket is good from around 35F up to low 60F. If it's warmer than that, the sleeves go in one jersey pocket and the vest in another pocket. And I've been in a couple of heavy rains--it'll wet through, but I stayed warm with the base layers at 50F.
I have that exact jacket too. Works just like you say. I quit using it though because the sleeves were a PITA to zip back on if I needed them again. Now I take the Voler and a Craft wind vest which also has a mesh back. Can always add the wind vest inside the jacket, too.
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Old 11-16-15, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I have that exact jacket too. Works just like you say. I quit using it though because the sleeves were a PITA to zip back on if I needed them again. Now I take the Voler and a Craft wind vest which also has a mesh back. Can always add the wind vest inside the jacket, too.
Thanks for pointing out the Craft vest.



Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
Cold here (Minnesota) is when you're well below zero. If I had to stop riding at 40F (or 20F for that matter), I'd miss a huge chunk of riding each year. We see 40F here often in August and then again though May in the string.
I've been to Minneapolis at Christmastime and up around Split Rock Lighthouse in February. My heart goes out to you J.

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Old 11-16-15, 08:16 PM
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A good rain jacket should have heat core zippers. I have the Shower's Pass Refuge and it has huge zippers on the front that you can unzip to drop heat fast before you sweat inside. I also have a Gore Windstopper jacket, but if I had to choose only one, I'd choose the rain jacket.
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Old 11-16-15, 08:28 PM
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IDK. A waterproof jacket with a back vent and pit zips with proper layering underneath seems to work for me. Adjusting the pit zips and front zipper after warming up I haven't suffered to badly, certainly not hyperthermia. I use both the Showers Pass Elite 2.1 and Transit.
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Old 11-16-15, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Thanks for pointing out the Craft vest.
Craft makes nice stuff. i thought I'd point out that Garneau's Nova vest sounds similar and is reasonable at $40. Mesh back, with a couple of pockets, folds up small.

https://www.amazon.com/Louis-Garneau-.../dp/B00B3Y0KE8

It's not a super-tight fit, so keep that in mind. Unlike most cycling stuff, there was no need for me to size up -- my usual size in street clothing worked best for me.
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Old 11-16-15, 09:52 PM
  #25  
colnago62
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I ride all winter in the PNW. I have rode in 17. I have several weight jackets and tights built with Windstopper by Gore. The other key to riding in the cold is not riding so hard that you sweat profusely. I got that tip from one of those hard core winter riders sites. I feel like winter is for base miles. Not too worried about working hard when it is still early in the riding season.
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