As Spring springs it’s easy to lull yourself into dreams of long, dry, dusty days but let’s face it; this is Britain, it could be snowing again next week.
It’s always great to have a waterproof stashed away, ready to produce in a smug flourish as soon as the clouds darken and the dreams of sun soaked trails become a slippy, soggy nightmare.
Rosie’s tested 4 different jacket options so you don’t have to. The contenders going through the Holdsworth proving grounds were, in no particular order, the Endura Singletrack, the POC Resistance Mid WO and finally, the Madison Flo soft and hardshell jackets.
This weatherproof offering from POC has become a firm favourite for rides where it’s necessary to have a thinner and less sweaty barrier between me and the sloppy filth being kicked up by my tyres. The length is great, with no awkward riding up, even under a pack.
The fit does initially feel slightly odd, with very generous bicep space, but the big arms and the stretchy material mean you can fit the jacket on comfortably over several other layers. It also features a hood, which is big enough (just) to fit over a helmet and keep your ears out of the wind.
The jacket’s a great lightweight extra layer, but retailing at around the £145 mark means it struggles to compete with the other, more robust jackets in this test.
This is the best looking of the bunch, and has the best fit for me, being plenty long enough in the arm and body and broad enough in the shoulder whilst being fitted enough to keep the wind out. It’s great as a mid-weight waterproof shell and packs down really nicely.
I have made the mistake of wearing it as a windproof layer on dry days and found that the breathability isn’t fantastic, ending up with a lot of condensation inside the jacket. However it’s been superb for long days out in filthy weather, I’ve been really impressed with the waterproofing on this jacket, it’s kept rain and bog at bay all day long.
A perfect jacket for big mountain days where you need something packable that you can trust to do its job and keep you dry.
I’ve long been a convert of the softshell, a happy medium between warmth and waterproofing for days when it’s a bit too nippy for just a jersey. This jacket is a great example of the softshell genre; it’s perfect as a warm layer and is water resistant enough to keep you happy in all but the most persistent of drizzle and muck.
Both the Flo jackets have a number of nifty additions that make them really adaptable and useful on long days out. The Flo softshell is pretty bulky to try to stuff in a bag, but has enough adaptability with vents and zips that it’s comfortable to wear for a full day without needing to constantly re-adjust layers.
I love the orange colour too. Well done Madison for avoiding the usual pink, purple or turquoise pitfalls!
Like the Flo softshell, this waterproof has a number of thoughtful features I really liked, the silicone shoulder grips are particularly effective, and something I’ve come to miss in other riding tops.
The cut of both the Madison jackets suits me less well than the other jackets on test, being slightly shorter in length and broader in the chest and shoulder.
The Flo waterproof is a hardwearing heavier weight waterproof, designed for all the slop and hail you can throw at it. The multi layered fabric and extra features mean it’s less packable than the Endura jacket, but it’s more breathable and therefore comfortable to wear all day, even once the sideways rain has decreased to a gentle drizzle.
Each of these jackets have features that I loved and I can wholeheartedly recommend each of them for their specific use. However there is one stand-out winner for all-round general useability and year-round practicality. Drum roll ….
The Endura Singletrack Jacket.
It’s small enough to keep in your pack for the whole year, ready to whip out as soon as the clouds burst. It does the job of waterproofing supremely well. It’s had some pretty filthy Pennine conditions thrown at it and it refuses to even hint at a leak.
The cut is great, and it looks so smart I’ve worn it to business meetings! It’s also not going to break the bank, retailing at around £110. If you’re looking for one waterproof to use year round and in a multitude of settings, this is the one for you.