Rapha's new Trail Gore-Tex jacket is excellent protection for anyone who regularly battles the weather.
The Rapha Trail is a new contender for the best mountain bike waterproof jacket and uses the highly breathable and water-resistant Gore-Tex Infinium fabric, but also features the company’s C-Knit backer technology.
This is a bonding process that joins the 30D nylon rip-stop face fabric and breathable ePTFE membrane to a micro-knitted inner layer. This feels really soft against bare skin, but also reduces weight and has some inherent stretch for a better fit.
Out of the box, the Rapha Trail had one of the best DWR proofs we’ve tested. Water pooled on the fabric in large drops and ran off easily, but the performance did drop slightly when we washed it, so will need regular reproofing.
For a minimalist jacket Rapha has sweated the details. Adjusting the over-helmet hood is done via a single pull on the back, which tightens neatly round the helmet so it doesn’t obscure your peripheral vision. The chin comes up quite high and also features a soft fleecy patch at the top to eliminate chafing.
The waterproof zip is backed up by an internal storm flap and, rather than conventional pit vents, Rapha has opted for a panelled Lycra under the arms. The cuffs are also a simple gusseted design rather than having a separate Velcro tag and there are no pockets, which means there’s no double layer on the front of the jacket to impair breathability.
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The Rapha Trail is an expensive jacket, but it wicks moisture more effectively than anything else. During testing, when we took one of the other jackets off and put this one on, we actually started to cool down, it’s that good. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it fits really well; there’s no excess bulk in the front and you can easily wear this all day or just pack and hack. It’s a clean, efficient waterproof jacket with great after-sales care and our jackets group test winner for 2022.