First Impressions: Rapha Trail Gore-Tex Infinium Jacket for MTB

In timely fashion, Rapha has added the Trail Gore-Tex Infinium Jacket to its Performance Trailwear Collection for MTB. It is, first and foremost, a water-resistant jacket designed to keep the wearer dry come the worst of winter, but its Gore-Tex Infinium shell is said to produce the perfect harmony between impermeability and breathability, allowing the sweat produced during your hard efforts to escape. Here are our first impressions of this $375 USD piece of winter riding kit.

Rapha Trail Gore-Tex Infinium Jacket

rapha mtb jacket water-resistant

For those savvy with textile nomenclature, the Rapha Trail Gore-Tex Infinium Jacket is constructed from GORE-TEX Infinium, a hybridized 3L 30D nylon ripstop lined with a C-KNIT backer, and a DWR coating on the shell. That means the exterior of jacket is water-resistant and durable, but with a stretchy, more breathable panel sewn in underneath the armpits, tapering down toward the inside of the sleeves.

I’ve had a couple rainy rides in the Women’s Size Small that was sent my way. Here’s how it has fared so far.

Our First Impressions of the Rapha Trail Gore-Tex Infinium MTB Jacket

rapha gore-tex infinium trail hybrid jacket mtb waterproof mens womens

It has an ultra-thin DWR layer that makes rain drops bead up and roll right off like water off a duck’s back

The Rapha Trail Gore-Tex Infinium Jacket has only has two pockets. Both are chest pockets; the one on the left opens from the outside of the jacket, and the one on the right is hidden away on the inside. Personally, I really like my jackets to have big pockets down the front so I can slip my hands into them casually, or stow a spare pair of gloves and snacks in there when i’m riding pack-less. 

rapha gore-tex infinium hybrid trail jacket review chest pocket stores iphone 7

I can fit an iPhone 7 inside its bulky case inside the chest pocket quite comfortably. All the zippers move freely and feel to be of good quality.

It’s lightweight; my Size Small weighed in just 280g. I guess the absence of the extra pockets reduces the amount of material and zippers necessary, helping to keep weight down.

Inside the jacket, all the seams are fully taped, including those around the hood. After a couple of showery riders, i’m satisfied the Rapha Trail Gore-Tex Infinium Jacket is sufficiently water-resistant, as advertised, thanks to its DWR coating. I haven’t had the delight of any on-bike deluges yet, so you’ll have to wait for a longer term review to see how it fares under those harsher conditions.

rapha waterproof jacket taped seams gore-text infinium trail hybrid

In reality, any waterproof or water-resistant jacket is only as good as the owner’s efforts to maintain it. That is, caring for it as detailed explicitly by the manufacturer. For the Rapha Jacket, that means washing with the fasteners closed, inside a laundry bag, with liquid detergent only at no more than 30°C, and then tumble drying afterward to reactivate the DWR coating.

I really like the breathable panels that run underneath the wearer’s armpit. It tapers off as it extends down the wearer’s side, and as it extends down the inside of the wearer’s sleeves. It was the wettest part of the jacket on my most recent rides, demonstrating that the sweat I was generating was managing to escape. I remained warm and dry on my rides, despite putting in reasonable effort.

rapha gore-tex infinium hybrid trail jacket review breathable side panels under arms sleeves

I really like the extra back length offered on the Rapha Trail Gore-Tex Infinium Jacket. The hem drops low down over my bum to fend off any spray coming up from the rear wheel. There is an elasticated draw cord around the waist so you can tighten it here if you so wish.

Rapha Gore-Tex Infinium Trail Hybrid Jacket dropped rear hem

The Rapha Jacket’s hood is helmet-compatible. It was a tight-ish fit, but it does extend up and over the ABUS Cliffhanger helmet so you can pop it up super quick when the heavens open.

Rapha Gore-Tex Infinium Trail Hybrid Jacket helmet compatible

Rapha Gore-Tex Infinium Trail Hybrid Jacket review hood elasticated draw cord cinches down

If you’re wearing the jacket for walks or runs, as well as bike rides, the hood has an elasticated draw cord too; that will be helpful for wet, blustery days where the wind would normally threaten to whip the hood off.

Rapha Gore-Tex Infinium Trail Hybrid Jacket review cuffs

One aspect i’m not so keen on is the rucked sleeve cuffs. They pinch off at the wrist which, to me, seems like it would only serve to channel rolling droplets of water to fall directly into your gloves. I prefer a more open cuff design that helps shed water off the sleeve from underneath.

What about the fit?

Rapha Gore-Tex Infinium Trail Hybrid Jacket review size fit womens

I am wearing the Women’s Size Small. My relevant measurements are as follows: Chest 91cm, Waist 77cm and Hips 90cm.

Rapha sent me a Women’s Rapha Trail Gore-Tex Hybrid Jacket in Size Small. My chest and waist measurements both come in larger than the measurements indicated for the Size Small, but I have narrow hips (see size guide below). With the two thin layers I was wearing underneath, I probably could have worn an XS quite comfortably. That said, as we head into deepest winter and the temperature hits freezing, i’ll be layering up more, and will probably wear some kind of fleece-lined mid-layer underneath this so the fit will be better for that.

Pros:

  • Water-resistant
  • Breathable
  • Neat
  • Sufficiently long in the back
  • Helmet compatible

Cons:

  • Not enough pockets
  • Sleeve cuffs aren’t to my taste

Pricing & Availability

The Rapha Trail Gore-Tex Infinium Jacket is available in Men’s and Women’s cuts, in sizes XS-XXL, and XXS-XL, respectively. All retail at $375 USD (£275 or €325).

rapha mtb waterproof gore-tex jacket colors

RAPHA WOMENS GORE-TEX TRAIL HYBRID JACKET SIZE GUIDE

Size Guide for the Women’s Rapha Gore-Tex Infinium Trail Hybrid Jacket tested here. For the Men’s size guide, head to the Rapha website.

Rapha.cc

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12 Comments
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DefRyder
DefRyder
2 months ago

Ouch on price. I’m sure there’s quite a few jackets out there that perform better than the Rapha for significantly less. You’re definitely paying for the name/logo…

Ernest Fitzgerald
Ernest Fitzgerald
2 months ago
Reply to  DefRyder

(deleted)

Def Defy
Def Defy
2 months ago

filed under genre: generalizations that are ridiculous

Rich
Rich
2 months ago
Reply to  DefRyder

So you’ve tried this jacket to compare? What other brands offer a Gore-tex infiunium build with the breathable armpits as mentioned?

Rob
Rob
2 months ago
Reply to  Rich

Gore wear. I bought mine on special for a fraction of the price.

Brian
Brian
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Literally looked at Rapha, and immediately went to Gorewear and can buy a jacket with 99% of the same features, 100% the same material, and $200 less.

mattydubs
mattydubs
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian

Not at all.

The Lupro, which is the “cheaper” jacket Gore sells is quite a bit different than the Rapha jacket. In person the Lupro feels a bit cheap (not bad, per se) and is lacking a great number of features and is made from different materials. I find it to be a bit too bulky and lacking stretch, but your mileage may vary.

Gore Infinium, is a laminate membrane, not the nylon shell itself. So “100% the same material” is just completely misunderstanding what Gore-Tex is, to begin with.

Now I’m not sure the Rapha jacket is worth twice the price, but it is a much nicer piece.

Collin S
Collin S
2 months ago

I have a Gore Jacket in this material and REALLY like it. I’ve raced in it on colder/snowy days and never overheated. In addition, I’ve done super long rides in December/January in Michigan, and even after 3-4 hours, I still feel comfortable/not cold and wet. Since you complained about not enough pockets, I’m assuming no back cycling style pockets? The Gore has that and is worthwhile for extra layers, phone, gu’s etc.

tim
tim
2 months ago

Rapha or Gore, I can’t buy either. Im 6’3″ w/ 46″ chest. I wear at least a XXL or XXXL. I would buy this due to the product longevity and quality build by Gore. Gore you need to increase your size offerings.

Jevgeni
Jevgeni
2 months ago

I have a Scotts GoreTex Infinium jacket and that is the most useless peace of equipment for cycling I have ever bought. That is the only cycling kit I regret buying since starting cycling again in 2015. Waste if money. Doesn’t hold mid to heavy rain. Does zero to keep out cold or the wind. I am massively disappointed, especially for the asking price. I have a Columbia shower-pass hiking jacket, got it at a discount for half the price of the Scott GoreTex and it is much better in all aspects. I will avoid GoreTex infinium going forward…

rainyronald
rainyronald
1 month ago

How would this compare to say, my Gore SHAKE DRY jacket, or my 7mesh REVELATION, both Gore jackets, but different membranes than this ‘infineum’?

Zach Overholt
Admin
Zach Overholt(@zachoverholt)
1 month ago
Reply to  rainyronald

I can’t comment on the 7mesh jacket since I haven’t tried that, but I have the new Rapha jacket along with a number of different Gore jackets including some Shake Dry.

The Rapha jacket feels much more durable than the Shake Dry – I wouldn’t use one of the Shake Dry jackets under a backpack, or mountain biking really. So far my experience with the Rapha Trail jacket has been that it seems completely waterproof, highly breathable, and very comfortable – the built-in stretch gives it a great feel, and it seems more than durable enough for MTB missions.