Excellent water resistant cap which retains superb breathability
The Sportful Fiandre NoRain Cap is made from a water resistant fabric and is ideal for riding in wet weather, while superb breathability, and a solid shape and peak, ensure it’s an all-round excellent piece of kit.
Sportful have expanded their water resistant Fiandre NoRain range over the past 12 months so it now not only covers autumn and winter, but spring and summer, too. That means the range includes everything from lightweight (but water resistant) arm warmers, to deep winter kit. This cap, however, is likely to get plenty of use year-round.
The humble cap is a staple of many cyclists’ wardrobe but the design has changed little over the years and the cotton construction isn’t particularly effective in the wet.
However, the Fiandre NoRain Cap is made from Sportful’s NoRain Shell fabric, which has a water repellent finish. The seams are also sealed to help keep water out and it’s very effective in that regard. But the real key to this cap is its breathability.
The claim of a breathable performance fabric for use under a helmet – made largely from polystyrene, a great insulator – is a bold one, but the Sportful Fiandre NoRain Cap delivers. When out for a two-hour in a summer rain storm and temperatures around 15C, the cap remained dry on the inside, with only a little moisture on my scalp from condensation.
I think it’s worth reiterating how well the cap breathes – and it’s a real bonus having a dry head, which keeps you feeling more comfortable if out on a prolonged ride in poor conditions. Given how unreliable our weather is here in the UK, that’s a fairly regular occurrence.
Sportful have used a peak which is slightly longer than normal and it works well to protect the eyes from spray, falling rain and run-off from the helmet. Over the course of testing, it has retained its shape well and has a solid construction, which means it can be sported upright for that jaunty euro look. The bold Fiandre dash across the peak could be more subtle, but otherwise it’s a fairly inconspicuous cap.
The cap fits well, both under a helmet and without a lid, and there’s little or no bunching when worn. It covers your head just as a good cap should – protecting your head from wind and rain, or keeping the sun off.
The interior of the fabric has a softer feel than the outside, bar the elasticated hem at the back, which didn’t interfere with the helmet retention system and feels barely noticeable when riding. The finish and construction is excellent and given the £32 price tag you’d expect that, but the performance benefits more than make up for that premium.
The final thing to mention is that the two Sportful logos on the front and rear of the cap are reflective, though will be covered by a helmet if you’re wearing one. There’s also an additional logo on the underside of the peak, which may be visible depending on how you wear the cap.
The Sportful Fiandre NoRain Cap is an excellent addition to any cyclists’ wardrobe. It’s ‘only’ a cap, but it’s an excellent one, providing an extra line or defence against wet and windy weather, while also being breathable enough to wear comfortably in changeable or milder conditions.
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