The Rapha Trail Gore-Tex Infinium women’s jacket is a premium mountain biking jacket, made for less-pleasant weather conditions. This is unarguably one of the best women's mtb jackets for damp and windy conditions, and its classic Rapha style is very appealing - although the high performance and looks come with a hefty price tag.
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Rapha Trail Gore-Tex Infinium women's jacket - Technical Details
The Rapha Trail Gore-Tex Infinium jacket is, as the name implies, made from GORE-TEX Infinium™ material. This is a breathable, windproof, and water-resistant softshell that is very well-known in the outdoor apparel industry for its quality. Its ripstop material helps the fabric survive hits from the trailside bushes and in case you do get a rip, the jacket comes with a repair kit, that includes iron-on patches for easy repairs.
For comfort, Rapha has added a C-KNIT™ backer to the Infinium layer for optimal stretch and a soft next-to-skin feel. The underarm panels also aid easy movement and breathability.
The jacket’s minimal design includes two chest pockets; the left one is external and the right one internal. The hood is adjustable and fits over a helmet. Other details include a reflective stripe on the left sleeve for added visibility and there is a neat hanger loop for quick drying of the jacket.
There are three colours available for the women’s version of this jacket; Black, Blue/Light Grey and Blue Green/Eggshell (tested).
Rapha Trail Gore-Tex Infinium women's jacket - Performance
This jacket has been my trusty companion on rides in all conditions, and although I was apprehensive about its high price and hence, value for money, it has really delivered plenty for the buck.
Good quality outdoor apparel is, regardless of the discipline, pricey, and Gore-Tex is perhaps one of the most well-known makers of quality products. This Trail jacket is no exception. The quality, finishing and detailing are all excellent and the materials and details are well thought out.
Despite the taped seams throughout, this is not a rain jacket, and should not be considered as such. The Infinium technology is, as Rapha has suggested for this jacket, “recommended for use in changeable conditions”. It’s breathable which prevents overheating, but in heavy downpours, it did let the water in despite the taped seams. In a slight drizzle, which is this product's ideal stomping ground, the jacket keeps the water out, with the Infinium membrane beading every moisture off the surface of the fabric.
The overall feel of the jacket is very comfortable, and Rapha has managed to make it soft to feel but also robust enough to endure the outside elements and crashes. The zippers are easy to use and there is a basic zip garage for the robust main zip. All three zips have decent pulls that are easy to grab even with thicker gloves. The two chest pockets are not the spaciest and best for flat items, such as a phone and wallet, so in case you like to carry a lot in your pockets, this jacket is not the best for that.
The sizing of the jacket is relaxed, which allows for plentiful layering and comfortable riding all year round. I’ve ridden it in conditions ranging from sub-zero, nippy days to double-digit temp windy days, and it performs well in both. The size small I tested was a great fit for me (I could’ve possibly gone for XS but that’d not been as good for layering) and the adjustable cord at the hem allowed me to adjust the length easily. And in terms of sizing, there is a wide range from XXS to XL to choose from.
The large hood, which comfortably fits over any helmet, protects the head from rain and dirt and in cold conditions, offered great extra warmth and surprisingly became one of my favourite features of this jacket. The overall thoughtfulness of the jacket's design is really visible in this hood because it can be rolled down and cinched with a cord so that it doesn't flap around when not in use, and it has a little reinforced visor part that keeps the rain away from the eyes.
In his review of the men's version of this jacket, Liam mentioned the cuffs which are pretty basic and can leave a sleeve/glove gap - l agree about this and the cuffs are the only niggle this jacket has.
Rapha Trail Gore-Tex Infinium women's jacket - Verdict
There is no getting around the fact that £275 is a lot of money for a jacket. Then again, if you are looking for a versatile outer layer that has performance and looks, this is a great option. It’s not a perfectly waterproof jacket but the breathability is so good that in most conditions it is worth more than the feeling of being boiled in a bag.
7mesh Copilot Women's jacket that Rachael reviewed and rated costs £220. ION 3 Layer Shelter Jacket has similar properties, and so does the Fox Racing Ranger 3L jacket, both of which cost north of £200.
As much as I agree with this being expensive, I would also emphasise that quality and repairability are very valuable aspects of any jacket, and this one does have them both. For me, those two things add value and for anyone who has the money, I would recommend this jacket because of its performance and inevitable, long life span.