Northwave’s Acqua Pro Rainshield aims itself as an intermediate solution – it’s Rainshield HiPlus waterproof material can take up to 5000mm before absorption begins, and still manages to perform in milder weather without making you start to overheat.
But on the first ride, the signs weren’t all that promising as it felt rather clammy and I was concerned about boiling in the bag. These worries turned out to be unfounded, though, and it breathes well until around the 12-15 degree mark where, in all honesty, you don’t want to be wearing it no matter how hard it’s raining. Little extra helping touches in ventilation terms come in the shape of a mesh opening on the shoulders, which is effective, and, of course, worst comes to worst you can always undo the zipper at the front.
The jacket is taped on all seams, which is an always appreciated touch as it’s there that water tends to seep through. On top of that it’s windproof too – another excellent feature.
While it gives an odd feeling against the skin, when you’re riding along you don’t notice that at all, and it’s a feature that’s quite common with rain jackets anyway. I got caught in a rainstorm while testing – on of those where it feels like it’s raining both down from the sky then up again from the road – and I was really impressed with the weather resistance. Another nice touch is the thumb loops which keep the sleeves planted in place while also helping to stop water creeping up the ends of the sleeves too.
One real highlight feature is the length of the tail as it’s long enough to wrap down under you on the saddle and act as a mudguard. That also means that it doesn’t flap about too much and doesn’t hook or snap on the saddle.
The version we tested was clear, making it good for racing as it shows your team colours underneath, and also is a lot more ‘pro’. There is a neo alternative for anyone who prefers a high-vis option, or simply likes it ‘loud’.
There’s one large zipped pocket that you can use to protect important items and it has a good, sizeable access opening and although you probably won’t be in and out of it much while riding it’s perfectly possible. That pocket also acts as a pouch for you to roll the jacket into when you’re not using it, keeping things nice and tidy.
Northwave’s Acqua Pro Rainshield is an effective, fitted, practical jacket for days when a full jacket is too much or the weather looks menacing enough that you need to carry something unobtrusive with you just in case. The taped seams, low weight and the fact that it packs down very small are great features and means you’ll be happy to take it with you even if you might not need it, rather than saving it for torrential rides only.
– Water and wind proof
– Packs down nice and small
– Extra long dropped tail at the back provides good protection
– Nothing in particular