- Packable and waterproof, easily fits in jersey pocket
- Lightweight and breathable perfect for warmer days
- Great for winter outer layer to stop cold winds and wet conditions
- Reflective magnetic droptail for added visibility and protection from road spray
- Fitted cut keeps jacket from flapping in the wind
- Only available in one color for women– not very visible especially in rainy conditions
- No pockets
Colors: Battleship Blue (men’s and women’s); Azure (men’s only)
Sizes: XS-2XL (men’s to 3XL)
How Obtained: Company sample
RBR Advertiser: No
Lightweight, Breathable and Packable
This past fall, the number one question people asked me was, “Which packable rain jacket do you recommend?” I had yet to find a packable rain jacket that was also breathable, until I tested Bontrager’s Velocis Stormshell Jacket.
Rated for 50-70 degrees F, this jacket can take you from spring through summer and into fall. It can also be used in the winter as an outer wind barrier layer, which I tested on cold winter night trail rides. The fitted design prevents fabric from flapping in the wind, but you may find it necessary to size up if you plan to layer underneath.
The Stormshell waterproof fabric uses 37.5™ active-particle technology which, according to Bontrager, speeds up moisture evaporation to keep you dry and maintain an optimal body temperature. Staying drier and not overheating is key. Too many packable rain jackets are like plastic bags, locking in moisture and perspiration. The breathability of the Stormshell fabric and a dual zipper are key to keeping you comfortable on and off the bike.
To help protect you from road spray, the Velocis Stormshell has a droptail flap that is quickly lowered with a tug. It is held up with two intergraded magnets making it easy to deploy while riding and retract when no longer needed. The fabric of the droptail is reflective which helps to provide added visibility in low light conditions. Unfortunately, this is the only reflective element on the jacket.
The jacket also has inner wrist cuffs constructed from soft, stretchy elastane, which can easily layer with gloves and also protects you from the cold. There are two cordlock adjustment bands that cinch up the bottom of the jacket and help keep moisture and cold winds out.
A Couple of Misses
With a price tag of almost $200, I’d like to see at least one waterproof jacket pocket. The Velocis Stormshell has none. The video below touts a two-way zipper that lets you unzip from the bottom to access your jersey pockets. Personally for me personally that isn’t an ideal scenario.
I’d also prefer brighter color options and more reflective detailing. If you are riding in the rain, the likelihood it is overcast with low light. The battleship grey is a poor color choice for visibility and I wouldn’t want to rely solely on my front/rear lights to be seen. A neon yellow or bright color option as well as front, rear and side reflective elements would make this jacket a definite 5 star. For commuter riders, I’d suggest using a reflective or lighted vest in conjunction with this jacket. For MTBers who aren’t too worried about being seen on the trail, this jacket is a great choice.
Finding a light weight packable rain jacket that also breathes is not an easy task. The new Bontrager Velocis Stormshell Jacket checks the boxes. Rated 50-70 degrees F, this jacket can take you through most of your riding season. For colder winter riding use it as a windbreaker. The only major drawback is visibility since the reflective elements are minimal and the battleship grey is too dark.
Dan Boice says
Sheri, your reviews are always thoughtful and very helpful, so thank you!
I’d be interested to know — if and when you have the data — how products compare. For example, do you (or perhaps other readers) have other rain capes that you rate better (or worse) than this one? My Showers Off cape has served me well for years, but it’s wearing out, and at these prices, I want to make sure I get another one that will be worth the money.
Again, thanks for your consistently excellent reviews.
Sheri Rosenbaum says
This is the first packable rain jacket I’ve had in some time. I have a VERY VERY old Pearl Izumi that has the removable sleeves. I like that flexibility but it doesn’t breath (again, an old model). The other rain jackets I have are Showers Pass. All are great and waterproof, but not packable in a jersey pocket.
Maybe some of our readers will have suggestions.
Also, glad you find my reviews helpful.
Joel Spencer says
Your review lacks an opinion on how breathable the jacket actually is in use. Manufacturers all tout the breathability of their wears, but so far I have not found a single “breathable” jacket to be sufficiently breathable to prevent me from becoming quite wet from sweat. I guess I sweat faster than the material can breathe. Nothing “breathable” has yet to match the utility of a jacket with pit vents and an back vent. Unfortunately I have not found a rain jacket with pit and back vents that is also packable.
I do not have the resources to try all of the available products so perhaps someone knows of a jacket that actually works well in practice.
Sheri Rosenbaum says
Since it is winter here in Chicago I wasn’t able to try the jacket in temps over 50. However when I layered it on a very cold winter night ride (into the teens) it was great for keeping the wind out but didn’t make me feel like it was trapping moisture (sweat) in like some jackets. It felt like there was good moisture management.
Kerry Irons says
I have zero data to share but decades of experience as a downhill skier, cross country skier, and former year-round bike commuter in central Michigan teach me that there is no such thing as a fabric that can keep you dry from rain and still pass enough sweat through it to keep you dry from sweating. Think about it: your jerseys get damp and they are DESIGNED to pass moisture. Even a simply nylon shell, with zero waterproofing, will get wet inside in vigorous exercise.
Emily S. says
What is it with manufacturers and low-visibility colors? I would never, ever buy a gray, black, or dark blue jacket to wear on the road, most especially not for cloudy or rainy days. I wouldn’t spend $20 for such a potentially unsafe item, much less $ 200. Just don’t know what they were thinking with this one. I want to be as visible as possible out there; we have enough going against us as road cyclists without being invisible.
Chris Wilby says
Totally agree, in the event of an accident the drivers lawyer will soon be seeking a non-fault accident due to negligence by the cyclist in wearing dark clothing.
Have a look at Galibier clothing, tempest Pro packable Orange jacket. Just bought one, it’s great.