The saying goes, there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad equipment. Or something like that. It's a little different for mountain biking. With too much rain, trail systems may be closed or at risk of serious damage. 

But that doesn't mean you'll never need a quality waterproof jacket. Some trail areas will always be wet, and many climates will have storm activity. So having a quality rain jacket as part of your mountain bike wardrobe will let you stay safe. It will keep you dry, and therefore warmer, which may help keep you out of trouble in some iconic trail environments.

READ: What to pack for a big day of mountain biking

Hypothermia is a real possibility when in the great outdoors if you're getting cold and wet - or even just wet. Staying dry with a proper waterproof is a surefire way to keep yourself in a safer situation. Even just being a bit too wet, and then cold, can really impair your judgement and your bike handling, which could lead to serious injury or worse. 

READ: Essential first aid for mountain biking

What jackets are we testing?

We have tested 11 waterproof jackets, you can click through to go straight to the review:

Fox Ranger 3.0 L
Ground Effect She Shell
100 Percent Hydromatic Jacket
DHaRCO men's rain jacket
Troy Lee Designs Descent Jacket
Royal Racing Quantum Jacket
Attaquer Race Rain Hardshell Jacket
Assos Equipe RS Jacket
Endura FS260-Pro Adrenaline Race Cape
Outdoor Research Helium II
Ground Effect Rivet

What are we looking for?

While some multipurpose waterproof jackets will work well enough for mountain biking, it's not a given. For this group test we looked at a number of features that make a jacket great for mountain biking, along with some that might be handy for extra uses.

Pro Tip: Trail trousers are great in the rain - we tested 13 pairs

We have only tested jackets that have waterproof and breathable materials with taped seams. Water resistant jackets have not been included.

Fit: we want the jackets to fit well when on the bike. That means coverage down the back, a shorter torso at the front, good sleeve length, reasonably fitted for the purpose and  with shoulder mobility. We also expect pockets to work for a riding position. We'll test some women's specific and men's (which some brands call unisex).

Waterproof rating: This is called hydrostatic head, and is measured in millimetres. If a rating is 10000mm, or 10k, that means the material would need the pressure of a tube of 10000mm (10m) on it to push through.

Features: Sometimes less is better, but it depends how you're riding. We'll note worthwhile features like pockets, glasses wipes, key clips and the like - so you can choose what works for your use.

Adjustments: none of us are the same shape or size. So we are looking for ways to cinch up hems and collars, and lock cuffs in place.

Pack size: We don't want to ride in rain all the time - so how well does the jacket pack up? And can it pack into it's own pocket? You're more likely to bring a jacket along if it's not a hassle to do so.

Hood or no hood: This one is up to you. For those looking for a jacket for events, a hood is unlikely to be required. But if you're looking for a jacket for the park and mountain bike trips or bikepacking adventures - you'd be mad to get one without!

Breathability: Making a jacket waterproof is one thing, making it breathable when mountain biking is another! This is noted in 10k/15k etc, but it's based on how much vapour can get through in a 24hr period. Outer material will also play a role. So we have noted effective breathability based on our experience - not a lab test.

Reviews by: Georgina von Marburg, Mike Blewitt and Colin Levitch