Rapha Core Rain Jacket – review

Simple but effective emergency layer, which does a decent job of keeping the rain and wind out

Rapha have packed all of the essentials into their lightweight and packable Core Rain Jacket, making it perfect for stowing away on days when the weather can’t decide what it wants to do.

Appearance-wise, the Core Rain Jacket may appear basic; that is, after all, the primary function of Rapha’s Core range – simplistic functionality, at a more affordable price than some of their premium apparel.

The essentials, however, are all there: a good fit; close but with enough flex and movement to allow full range; a waterproof zip; a pronounced fit on the bike; long arms with effective cuffs; and a good collar height. It’s everything you need to make  a jacket perform, and the Rapha Core Rain Jacket does this admirably.

Rapha’s Core Rain Jacket is simple, but does an effective job of protecting against the elements
  • Specification

  • Price: £100
  • Sizes: XS-XXL
  • Size tested: M
  • Colours: Chartreuse, red, navy, black
  • Website: Rapha

Pulling it on for its first outing, I did initially think it would prove a little fragile – having put it to a prolonged test, however, I can confidently say this was never the case. Despite the low weight, it gives solid protection against rain, wind and sleet.

It doesn’t hold any heat but if you are layered up well underneath, it’s a brilliant outer shell, thanks to the windproof and waterproof nylon fabric.

The offset AquaGuard zipper prevents any draughts cutting through to the layers beneath, and offers a distinct look while keeping a good fit, though the jacket is not hugely breathable.

The six laser-cut holes under the arm did an adequate job of minimising moisture build-up, however.

On the topic of the zipper, however, it is good but a little bit of a struggle to unfasten quickly – a compromise of the waterproofing effectiveness.

Rapha’s design brief of paired down simplicity was something I particularly liked – not least the draw cord for pulling in the hem and a good drop in the back tail to minimise water and road spray.

The look is very minimal – there isn’t even a panel in a different colour on the arm, just a sewn in area where it would normally be.

The interior of the jacket is taped and there are small darts of fabric removed then sealed on the back that help give the great on-bike fit.

The fit is excellent, though one gripe would be the lack of pocket storage

Its role would mainly be a back-up jacket, in my opinion, but one which will happily perform all day long.

Back to the fit, meanwhile, I tested a small and usually wear a medium – but though it was a little tight in the shoulders off-the-bike, this thankfully was not a problem on the bike, where the fit was excellent.

The drop hem adds to the great way it stayed seated and pulled down on my back, and the drawcords eliminated 99% of any draughts.

Finally, I think the cuff design is brilliant – it works so well in keeping the gloves to jacket gap closed, and also allows a gradual ventilation as opposed to an open gap.

Small vents under the arms help keep things relatively cool

If I had to pick one gripe, the lack of storage is one negative – there’s not even a little pocket for essentials.

There are no zip pockets to allow access to pockets underneath, and while the positive of that is no water getting in, it does mean the need to unzip the jacket if you need a gel or to make some running repairs from your jersey pocket.


Rapha’s Core Rain Jacket is designed to be simple but functional, and it is exactly that. The fit is excellent on the bike, and the jacket does an effective job of keeping the wind and rain out.


  •  Excellent on-the-bike fit
  • Light weight
  • Waterproof and windproof, with minimal moisture build-up


  • No pockets for storage
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