I?m a bike commuter of seven months, and fortunately those months have all been dry. Now monsoon season is upon us and I need a jacket to keep me dry on the way to the office, one that?s light enough to carry there when the rains come in the afternoon. Jacob Tucson, AZ
Kinda depends on your budget and whether you need a jacket that can keep you comfortable for ten miles or more, or one to just ward off a sudden T-storm on a short commute.
The Elite 2.0
For the short commute, Id just go cheap. Marmots Precip ($99) is a winner here. Waterproof, decent breathability, light, and packable. You arent going to be all that happy in a downpour anyway. The Precip will keep you dry and you wont overheat too much. Its all good. REIs Ultralight ($119) is a similar 2.5-layer piece, with nice details (such as pit zips and chest pocket) and decent breathability.
You also can spend more $$ and get something that is more comfortable and breathable. Here an Oregon firm called Showers Pass has really taken the lead. Its Elite 2.0 ($230) may be one of the best cycling jackets out there. It uses three-layer eVent, an extremely breathable, waterproof fabric that is great. I have eVent in an older Pearl Izumi jacket (no longer made), and it is a fantastic cycling-jacket material. Its light, and has big pit zips and other features for extra ventilation.
You might also try Gores Countdown jacket ($250), which uses Gores light, breathable PacLite fabric, an excellent material for cycling. This is a great buy in a Gore-Tex jacket, and Gore has made a decent cycling-specific piece.