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Discussion Starter #1
Now that it seems to rain every damn day I find myself in need of a good rain jacket...:skep:

In all seriousness though, I have several bigger high country rides planned for this summer and am in the market for a nice lightweight, waterproof, packable jacket or technical shell. I'm looking for something that packs down small enough that it doesn't fill up half my pack but still offers a good amount of protection if the weather goes sideways during a big day while far away from the car. It doesn't need to be cycling specific although the longer sleeves and tail that most cycling jackets have are nice features to have.

Right now I bring my Outdoor Research Axiom Jacket, which is my go-to winter sports shell along on big rides but it's rather bulky and doesn't pack down very well unless it's in a small stuff sack. I'm eyeing the OR Helium II or due to it's weight and packed sized but something cycling specific that is along those lines would be nice too. I know plenty of you guys like to get HIGH on some big long rides where being prepared for inclement weather is important, so what is your go to jacket?
 

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The MTB Lab
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Now that it seems to rain every damn day I find myself in need of a good rain jacket...:skep:

In all seriousness though, I have several bigger high country rides planned for this summer and am in the market for a nice lightweight, waterproof, packable jacket or technical shell. I'm looking for something that packs down small enough that it doesn't fill up half my pack but still offers a good amount of protection if the weather goes sideways during a big day while far away from the car. It doesn't need to be cycling specific although the longer sleeves and tail that most cycling jackets have are nice features to have.

Right now I bring my Outdoor Research Axiom Jacket, which is my go-to winter sports shell along on big rides but it's rather bulky and doesn't pack down very well unless it's in a small stuff sack. I'm eyeing the OR Helium II or due to it's weight and packed sized but something cycling specific that is along those lines would be nice too. I know plenty of you guys like to get HIGH on some big long rides where being prepared for inclement weather is important, so what is your go to jacket?
My latest fave jacket is the Pearl Izumi MTB WRX Jacket. Light and packable. Been a great jacket, which has been tested in this ugly weather the Front Range has had since the first of May.
 

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Addicted to Dirt
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OR Helium II is a good option. I've been caught in multiple storms in the high country and also bike commuting (especially of late) with it. It won't be as bombproof or breathable as your Axiom, but it's not meant to be. I definitely prefer it over cycling specific jackets, a hood is essential imo for when you have to hunker down.
 

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If you want a rain/foul weather jacket for high country riding don't skimp and if you err, err on the heavy side. I also always carry arm warmers, lag warmers, warm full finger gloves and maybe a light vest pretty much always in the high country (I live in Breckenridge). When it rains, especially up high you don't want to f**k around with light weight gear.
 

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I have a Royal Racing Matrix jacket. Seam sealed, hood, draw string on waist No pit zips though so it stays toasty. Too bad I have more use out of it off the bike then on the bike this year.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Good suggestions so far, both the PI WRX and the Matrix jackets popped up in other threads I had found and don't look like bad options. My concern with the Matrix is its bulk, and the fact that they list it as a baggy fit which is not really what I'm after.
 

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I have the Mavic and don't like it. I'm looking for a jacket with that same lightweight material as the Mavic, but with pit-zips and velco wrist straps so I can pull up the sleeves.

When riding in the rain, with pit zips and sleeves rolled up, I can keep the core dry enough to prevent chilling.
 

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Resident Gear Head
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I have had my eye on a Patagonia Houdini. Packs down to nothing and looks like it gets the job done, kinda spendy at 100$ though
 

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bacon! bacon! bacon!
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I take my winter shell on big high country rides. it is an older arc'teryx beta lt. As zrm indicated - don't eff around in the high country.
 

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Oh, So Interesting!
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I just ordered a Marmot Ion from Sierra Trading Post for about $38 shipped, this is a 3.5 oz packable "wind shirt" for less demanding rides... If I'm going above treeline and may have to be outside for a several hours before I can reach cover I take my HH 3-layer waterproof breathable shell. It's 1+ lbs so it's a big penalty though.

From the research I've done most highly weatherproof lightweight/packable jackets may not breath all that well. My feeling is with the sport we're doing just bringing a plastic vapor barrier along with a highly breathable lightweight windshell might work out pretty well.

You'd only use the vapor barrier if you had to stop for a longer time, we're not going to be out for so long a vapor barrier isn't a good solution rather than a full waterproof jacket that won't breath enough and you get soaked with sweat if you use it while riding anyway...

What do you guys think? If you have a rec for a highly breathable, waterproof and light/packable jacket I'd definitely be interested but I'm not sure something like this really exists?
 

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I'm with stupid
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I have had my eye on a Patagonia Houdini. Packs down to nothing and looks like it gets the job done, kinda soendy at 100$ though
I have one of those. Then I have the super cell and matching goretext pants when I know it going to just get nasty. Worth every dime.
I have had my eye on a Patagonia Houdini. Packs down to nothing and looks like it gets the job done, kinda soendy at 100$ though

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I537 using Tapatalk
 

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My concern with the Matrix is its bulk, and the fact that they list it as a baggy fit which is not really what I'm after.
I wouldnt say it is big bulky but more so then some of these other jackets that are being listed. I can fit mine in the back of a camelbak without issue or notice. The matrix has a draw string around the waist. But if I'm at 11k feet and storm blows in I know that I will be warm and dry and can still ride without much of an issue.

Be careful with sizing with Mavic stuff. They are built for dainty euro cyclists for sure.
 

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I'm up in Georgetown, for what that's worth, and I use a Arc'Teryx Alpha SL pullover for the easy days, i.e., when I don't expect to crash; packs fairly small and is light. And, for the funner days, I've a Theta that's taken lots of hits and still looks and works like new; including one that broke ribs and another that took the better part of my face and my memory (an improvement I'm told.) They cost a bloody fortune but seem to last forever if you pick the right one for the right day.
 

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I get away witha fairly light setup: a Pearl Barrier Jacket and a shower cap from a motel and rubber medical gloves to go under the bike gloves. I find even the best breathable jackets don't breathe enough and just get sweaty and wet anyhow.
I also carry arm and leg warmers mid summer for when I go up high.

I also have a Patagonia rain jacket and some REI rain pants that I switch to for bikepacking or colder weather.
 

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I've been extremely happy with my Vaude Drop Jacket for years. It packs tightly, it is cut for a cyclist (longer in the back), fitted nicely, and just works. Vaudes makes lots of other cycling specific rain gear...including like 5 different jackets, and lots of pants options. It's not the most breathable thing in the world, but it is definitely fully waterproof. There is an attachment for a hood (bought separately) for those really rough days. I carry this on almost every ride. It will fill up one entire jersey pocket.

I also have the Vaude Spray pants, and Drop 3/4. The 3/4 rain pants are probably one of my favorite biking clothing purchases I've ever made.
 

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My summer kit is
- Marmot Mica waterproof/breathable shell w/hood, rolls up to the size of my fist
- Marmot Precip waterproof/breathable pants, same packed size.
- Wool arm warmers
- Fleece lined leg warmers
- a spare mid-weight base layer like Patagonia Cap 2
- Pearl Izumi fleece lined beanie

If I'm doing something more adventurous than usual, I'll make the spare layer a Cap 3 or 4 (and often keep the lighter one in the kit too), add some Marmot Precip insulated gloves and spare woolie socks. My shell (and pants) are super light, but I find that if I can put on something reasonably dry and then wrap myself in a wind and water barrier I can stay pretty warm even in the supah nasty.

One thing that I learned the hard way:

Put the stuff that can get soaked into ziplock bags inside your pack. I didn't learn that until a time when it rained so hard that it soaked through my pack and got my base layer, arm and leg warmers sopping wet. I lived (good fabrics will still insulate some even when wet), but it wasn't all that comfortable. Pack covers are a good idea, but you can forget to put them on or not want to stop a dink with it when the cloudburst starts. I pick the things in the pack that can't get wet and bag them.
 

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I have the Pearl Izumi PRO Barrier WxB jacket. It truly is the bomb but I think it has been discontinued as it is not in PI's outerwear list anymore but it is available online.

Only negative is that it don't have a hood but that hasn't bothered me so far. I also have a high end GoreTex jacket that is still going strong from the mid 90s that I keep in my car in case I forget the PI. So I would happily recommend GoreTex brand as well.

Beyond a shower cap does anyone have a recommendation for a hood that works well under a helmet for when it is really bucketing it down?
 
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