The Chapeau Rain jacket has proved an excellent weatherproof companion through the often murky days of early autumn.
The jacket is made from the same fabric as Chapeau’s Echelon gilet which impressed us when reviewed in August and, combined with a well thought out cut, is used to equally good effect here.
The multi-stretch fabric is comprised of an 86 per cent polyamide and 14 per cent elastane mix and feels like a lightweight softshell. The fabric is tough, stretchy and offers enough protection against the wind and rain to see off the worst of the weather it’s encountered thus far.
Pull the jacket on when rain begins to fall and water will quickly bead off the surface. That continues for some time, though it’s worth noting there becomes a point – after 90 minutes of so – when the exterior feels damp to touch, but no water gets through. One four-hour ride in consistent rain provided as good a test as any. Otherwise, snug cuffs, a high collar and taped seams also help keep rain out.
The fabric offers an good level of breathability, too. The same ride, at the start of September, was played out in heavy rain but temperatures still in the mid to upper teens but I remained relatively dry underneath, rather than being left sweat-soaked by the consistent climbing. A jacket of this type is never going to succeed in being fully breathable – that is the holy grail for manufacturers – but this is better than most.
While the fabric is the key to the overall success of a jacket – if it leaves you soaked through then it’s not much use, after all – the best thing about Chapeau’s is the cut.
It has what Chapeau describe as a ‘performance’ cut, with an asymmetric zip which ensures “the optimum fit when in the riding position” – and it works by ensuring there is little in the way of excess material to bunch up at the front of the jacket. The jacket is also suitably slim fitting and closely follows the contours of your body, whereas others can often billow in the wind.
Where we’d like to see the cut improved, however, is at the rear, where the generously dropped tail could be drawn in a little closer to provide more comprehensive coverage for your rear end against road spray. It’s a minor gripe, however.
The jacket has a single pocket on the left hip, useful in its own right but also designed to allow the jacket to fold down into itself. Do this – or just roll it up – and it will just about squeeze into most jersey pockets, though this is a jacket to wear on rides where you’re likely to keep it on, whether that be to keep you warm or dry.
It’s a stylish piece, too, with subtle branding and clean lines, helped by the excellent cut. The jacket is available in any colour you like – as long as it’s black, with only a small concession made to low-light visibility by way of a reflective Chapeau logo. We’d like more reflective detail to improve visibility on dreary days, when the jacket will come into its own. Otherwise, Chapeau tell us a “red burgundy” version of the jacket is planned for next spring.