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Katusha Light Rain jacket review

30 Jun 2020
Verdict:

A high-quality rain jacket that is packable, breathable and plenty waterproof. Lead Image: Sean Hardy

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Breathable • Waterproof • Packable • Tight cuffs
Against 
Could be considered expensive

There are three things that I always look out for when reviewing a rain jacket such as the Katusha Light Rain jacket: that it keeps you dry, is breathable when you ride in it and it’s compact enough to fit into your rear pocket when you’re not wearing it.

You may also ask for access to your jersey pockets, ShakeDry technology and a bright jacket colour to keep you visible in low light but that’s just pushing your luck. If you can tick off those first three things from the wishlist, then you should consider yourself to have bought a good rain jacket.

And, having tested the Katusha Light Rain jacket which successfully ticked off those three wishes, I have found another good rain jacket.

Waterproofness

Rumour has it that one former, high-profile Katusha-Alpecin pro was so impressed by this rain jacket, he even had one made in the colours of his new team. Testament, I guess, to the quality of the product.

And I understand why this rider (who shall remain nameless no matter how wonky his helmet always is) was so keen to keep hold of Katusha’s rain jacket, it’s very good at keeping you dry.

 

If you look at the testing numbers, it stacks up well with a waterproofness of 20,000mm (this means you could put a 20m tube of water above the fabric before it begins to leak). In practical scenarios, I found it stood up to British summer rain perfectly, battling off downpours, keeping any moisture from seeping through the material by instead seeing it bead and roll off the jacket.

It was enough of a match to drizzle and thunderstorms alike and I was never left wanting no matter how much the British weather seemed to hate me.

Breathability

The Katusha Light Rain jacket kept me dry, much to my delight, but it didn’t do so at the cost of boiling me in a bag like, something lesser rain jackets are subject to doing.

Scientifically, the measurement for breathability is determined by how many grams of moisture vapour can pass through a square metre of the material in a 24 hour window (g/m²/24 hours).

As a benchmark, your average material sits at the 5,000g/m²/24 hours mark. The market leader Gore-Tex has a breathability of 28,000g/m²/24 hours. The Katusha Light Rain jacket measures 20,000g/m²/24 hours.

Buy the Katusha Light rain jacket from Katusha now from €280

In theory it is breathable and, thankfully, it is in practice. I wore this jacket during summer downpours. That typical sticky British weather where humidity is high and moisture everpresent, a great foil of any poorly made cycling rain jacket.

When I was cruising around at a modest tempo, I was perfectly cool and then even after riding harder up a few climbs, which obviously increased my body temperature, I never reached an unbearable level of heat meaning I could happily continue riding in the jacket.

Packability

Katusha provides a neat little pouch for you to stuff the jacket into when out of use. When packed, it looks like those little pocket First Aid kits you get from Decathlon. It’s perfectly sized to slot into a rear jersey pocket and even better placed to be stuffed into a bikepacking bag for all you adventurous types. 

When not in the accompanying pouch, the jacket does not stuff down as neatly but I found I could get it down to a size acceptable for my jersey pocket. This was also helped by two rear magnets that almost close the jacket together in position for folding.*

The magnets are not there to help with packing, mind.

 

Rather than providing its own pockets, Katusha has opted for two slots on the rear of the jacket to allow access to your jersey, which is acceptable as the lack of pockets definitely helps with compatibility. And rather than using velcro, Katusha has plucked for the more luxurious fastening system of magnets.

It’s a more expensive material and hints at Katusha’s premium pricing but it’s a much better option than velcro which has a tendency to lose its effect when sodden.

*PS, the pouch that houses the jacket also doubles up as an excellent waterproof carrier for your valuables. 

Buy the Katusha Light Rain jacket from Katusha now from €280

Fit, weight and price

The Katusha rain jacket is race fit, there’s no doubting that. That’s a good thing, however, as it means it’s a far cry from the bin bag-esque jackets of old that acted as wind sails. This jacket can be raced in and at the very least see you through a demanding sportive without slowing you down.

I also love the tight sleeve cuffs. In fact, I’m very picky with cuffs, I hate it when they flap around, it makes me feel weird. So while Katusha’s cuffs are slightly harder to slip on while moving, I’m not too fussed because the feeling of elasticated, close-fitting cuffs is far superior to the feeling of those that are not.

And for us non-races, you can always just stop to pop on your rain jacket. There’s also a hi-vis strip that follows your arms and shoulders, another nice little touch.

 

It’s not the lightest rain jacket but I guess this is because such excellent impermeable material is not awfully light and also because magnets are heavier than velcro. And I never really noticed it in my pocket when riding, either.

Being a premium product, the Katusha Light Rain jacket comes with a premium price tag of around £255 (€280). That’s a lot of money but pretty reasonable in comparison to its rivals.

The Castelli Idro Pro jacket is £340 (although that does have Shakedry technology), the Assos Equipe Evo rain jacket is £290 and the 7mesh Rebellion jacket is £280, just to name a few pricey counterparts. It seems that if you value staying dry and comfortable during an unexpected downpour, you have to be willing to pay for it.

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

Price: 
€280 (£255 approx)

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