8 Waterproof Trail Jackets for Winter and Spring

We tested a pile of waterproof jackets that will make the next few months more bearable.

Editor’s note: Singletracks does not condone riding in conditions that cause damage to shared trails.

The notion that toilets flush in different directions based on their relationship to the equator is a myth. Apparently, the swirl is determined by the flush-jet direction of a given model, so unfortunately that folk tale is fake news. What’s true though is that it’s still wicked cold and soggy in some parts of the northern hemisphere, and we tested a pile of waterproof jackets that will make the next few months more bearable.

Chrome Storm Salute Commute Jacket$190Men and womenGiant cargo pocketNot looking like a rain jacket
Craft Pro Hydro Running Jacket 2$200Men and womenExcellent ventilationMultisport
Dakine Dewit 20K 3L Jacket$290MenLayering space beneathWet weather
DHaRCO Rain Jacket$226Men and womenHeavy materialCold rain
POC Signal All-Weather Jacket$350Men and womenVery waterproofSoggy slogs
Race Face Conspiracy Jacket$159MenVery waterproofRacing in the rain
Specialized Trail Rain Jacket$375Men and womenLong, slender fitLooking good post-ride
Velocio Trail Anorak$449Men and womenPull-over styleTailored style

Chrome Storm Salute Commute Jacket

The Chrome Storm Salute Commute Jacket has a sleek, minimalist design yet is feature-packed. The 2.5 layer waterproof shell (10k/10k rating) has neatly taped seams to keep all the rain out. The fabric is noticeably thick and heavy for a hardshell, however it’s not as noisy or baggy as I would expect. The hood offers nice coverage and can be cinched for a perfect fit while the fleece lining around the collar adds soft protection from the 2-way zipper when fully zipped. It can get warm in this jacket rather quickly but there is generous venting in the upper back. The backside also has a longer drop tail hem to cover a bit more of your rear.

Test pilot profile height: 152cm (5’0″) weight: 50kg (110lb) testing zone: Atlanta, Georgia

The giant pocket in the back is perhaps my favorite feature. Spanning halfway down the jacket and to essentially 1-2 inches from the bottom, and the full width of my waist, the pocket is large enough to carry at least 4 cans of your favorite beverage. I wouldn’t recommend lugging all that liquid on the trail, but since this jacket is designed for commuting I can easily imagine many bike rides around town where I could have used that extra storage for picking up lunch or running an impromptu errand. Other commuting type details like reflective bands on the cuffs and rear pocket are strategically placed to keep the overall look very streamlined.

Craft Pro Hydro Running Jacket 2

Don’t sleep on this one just because the Craft Pro Hydro Running Jacket 2 is designed for “running.” As someone who has logged many marathon training miles in frigid temps, a good running jacket that offers ventilation and mobility will easily function as mountain biking outerwear. Before we jump into the long list of technical features of this jacket, can we please acknowledge the striking (not-black) aesthetic? The varying shades of blue on the women’s jacket are reminiscent of mountain ridge lines in artistic shibori-esque hues, and the men’s version adds a touch of green, grounding the design to earthy terrain.

Test pilot profile height: 152cm (5’0″) weight: 50kg (110lb) testing zone: Atlanta, Georgia

On top of the technical feature list is the superior ventilation and breathability of the Hydro running jacket. Sweat and excess body heat can readily escape on 30-ish degree temps through the vents in the neck/upper chest and armpits. The wind- and water-proof 3L laminated fabric (WP 15k/MVP 10k) has a soft, silky feel and more stretchy and flexible than a typical hardshell rain coat. It also lacks any noticeable swooshes or crunchy sounds during movement. The sleeves are tapered and have a partial elastic cuff so they stay in place and out of the way. The adjustable hood can be rolled up and snapped down for storage. Two streamlined zippered pockets are handy for stashing gloves or a snack.

I did find the fit to be slightly longer and wider than the size chart suggested, not surprisingly for a petite 5’0″ woman. Craft does note on their US website that “As a Swedish brand our products can fit long and lean” and recommends sizing up if between sizes. A baggier, bigger jacket might have more of a performance effect for running rather than mountain biking. I would not hesitate to use this on 99% of trail rides, though I’d opt for one of the other black jackets if there was a good chance I might be rolling in some rocks as I don’t know how well the material would hold up to abrasion.

  • MSRP: $200
  • Men’s colors: Multi/Cactus, Blue
  • Women’s colors: Multi/Blues, Blue
  • Available at Craft

Dakine Dewit 20K 3L Jacket

The Dakine Dewit 20K 3L Jacket uses three layers of recycled polyester that’s coated with DWR to keep all of the rain outside, and it works. In a Washington-level downpour it will eventually soak through, especially around the shoulders, but it generally holds up well in the wet. There is a pair of large chest pockets that could each hold a modern pocket computer, and they double as vent ports thanks to a mesh lining that lets through all the air you will want when it’s cold enough to wear this jacket. The lower hem is dropped and can be cinched tight to keep trail spray out of your trousers. The hood fits nicely beneath a helmet for max warmth when it’s really pouring.

Test pilot profile height: 175cm (5’9″) weight: 65kg (145lb) testing zone: Bellingham, Washington

The size small Dewit has ample space for a few extra layers or back protection beneath while the sleeves leave room for a pair of elbow pads around my scrawny arms. The arm and torso length is just right to suit an aggressive riding position, and the material stretches enough that it likely won’t be destroyed when a soggy root decides you need to kiss the ground. Aesthetically, the jacket has a simple and clean look that’s likely pub-appropriate depending on how sweaty and soiled it is.

DHaRCO Rain Jacket

I took my daughter for a ride during a healthy downpour while she was wearing the DHaRCO Rain Jacket and she was the only one not shivering when we returned to the car park. The over-helmet hood kept her hair dry and she cinched the lower hem tight for a fully dry seal with her pants. She is typically a fair-weather rider, but with gear like this jacket she was pumped to get out and dance in the mud. It was 42° and raining throughout that ride and she was able to fit a few layers under the jacket to keep toasty, so I’d say DhaRCO has done this rain jacket right.

Test pilot profile height: 175cm (5’9″) weight: 65kg (145lb) testing zone: Bellingham, Washington

The fit on this jacket is a little large for both of us, which is nice when it’s cold enough outside to require multiple layers. The polyester shell isn’t the most elastic or breathable, though it does feel fairly durable for the dirt naps. There are two external hand pockets and a pair of internal pockets that work well to store a spare set of gloves warmly against your belly.

  • MSRP: $226
  • Men’s colors: Black Grey (pictured), Camo Green
  • Women’s colors: Clay, Camo Green
  • Youth colors: ShRed
  • Sold out at DHaRCO

POC Signal All-Weather Jacket

If there has to be a waterproof winner, it’s likely the POC Signal All-Weather Jacket. It’s the only jacket I haven’t managed to soak through despite Bellingham having record rainfall twice since I’ve moved here. This simple number really keeps the water out so you can enjoy trail for as long as your calories allow. At $350, it better be one of the best, and fortunately it is. There’s one large lumbar pocket to pack extra gloves inside and the rest of the shell is sealed tightly from the elements. The two-way zipper up front allows for quick jersey and pants adjustments. To top off the cake, there’s an NFC Medical ID inside so riders can enter their vitals in case of emergency.

Test pilot profile height: 175cm (5’9″) weight: 65kg (145lb) testing zone: Bellingham, Washington

The fit on this jacket might best be described as “athletic.” It’s form-fitting close to the body, and if you want space for layers you may want to size up. The sleeve cuffs are quite tight, and if you have particularly large hands you may want to try this jacket on before buying to make sure you can easily get it on and off. That tight cuff can make it tricky to pull the sleeve over gloves, but it also holds it securely in place once you get the two garments folded together.

Race Face Conspiracy Jacket

Like their racey rain gloves we recently reviewed, the Race Face Conspiracy Jacket is designed with going fast in mind. For example, there are slits in place of pit-zips, because of course you will be pinning-it and sweating constantly. This was likely the second most waterproof top I tried, holding up against some of the wettest rides I’ve ever been on. It’s relatively breathable for a rain jacket, which is saying a lot. It’s also too enduro for pockets since everything has to be strapped to the frame. There are no cinchers or fancy technical pieces. It’s just a rain shell that keeps you dry while riding trails.

Test pilot profile height: 175cm (5’9″) weight: 65kg (145lb) testing zone: Bellingham, Washington

As you might have guessed, this jacket also has a fairly “athletic fit” but there’s a little more room between the rider and material, provided they order their usual size. There could be space for a couple of tight layers underneath and a pair of small elbow pads depending on how hefty your arms muscle is. The waist and wrist openings are tight enough to keep water out while the wrists are still fairly easy to slide over glove cuffs to keep the moisture out. If you like to keep moving on wet rides, this jacket should work well.

Specialized Trail Rain Jacket

If you want a riding jacket that can double as a short and dressy trench coat, the Specialized Trail Rain Jacket is undoubtedly the one. This jacket keeps the rain out almost as well as the POC listed above, while its subtle exterior keeps you looking clean and fresh anywhere around town. Its stretchy material feels ready to take a few dirt naps and get back up for more. The cinched hood slides over most half-shell helmets to keep your head clean and dry, and the zippers also do a solid job of keeping moisture out.

Test pilot profile height: 175cm (5’9″) weight: 65kg (145lb) testing zone: Bellingham, Washington

The torso is quite long, well suited for taller riders with slender builds. On my shorter frame, it legitimately looks like a short trench in person, providing ample overlap with my pants. The collar is quite high, keeping your chin warm if you decide to squeeze the hood under a helmet. While it’s undoubtedly a top-shelf option, the Trail Rain jacket is fairly straightforward in terms of features, which creates fewer places for rain to enter.

Velocio Trail Anorak

The Velocio Trail Anorak is a refreshing new take on mountain bike jackets. The Italian-made, pullover-style hardshell is semi form fitting and is both wind and waterproof. The drop tail and waist cinch provide a customized fit and coverage when on the bike. The large hood can fit a helmet and is also adjustable with large, easy to operate cord locks. The hand pockets open to a large pass-through space large enough for a guinea pig, and provide extra venting should you decide to carry your pet in your pocket.

Test pilot profile height: 152cm (5’0″) weight: 50kg (110lb) testing zone: Atlanta, Georgia

This lightweight jacket makes a versatile layering piece adaptable to all four seasons. Take it in your pack as an extra layer for spring/summer rides or combine it with a baselayer or thermal layer on the coldest winter days. For sizing, I have gone back and forth between XS and small on different Velocio pieces. This time I chose size small, and could have sized down as the overall length of the torso as well as the arms were a little large for my petite frame. This works fine for layering purposes though.

Related articles

  1. Jackets
  2. Showers Pass Transit Jacket CC Keeps Rain and Wind at Bay, Melts Excuses Away [Review]
  3. Warm up Cold Mountain Bike Rides with the Latest from Gore, Zoic, Velocio, Pearl Izumi, and more [Review]
  4. 13 Packable Mountain Bike Jackets, Tested