Review: Rapha Men’s Explore Lightweight Gore-Tex Jacket

A lightweight and versatile waterproof jacket that packs down to a tee.

Feature type Review

Read time 4 min read

Published Jun 26, 2024

Author Sam Firth

Sam Firth Sam is an outdoor, sports and lifestyle photographer based in Devon. He feels most at home outdoors whether that’s on a bike, on foot or on a rock face.

OUR VERDICT

A lightweight and versatile waterproof jacket ideal for on and off the bike.

Features Fully waterproof Gore-Tex Paclite membrane, highly adjustable under-the-helmet hood, two-way zip, reflective Rapha branding
Weight 235g (in size medium)

Pros

  • Highly versatile for both on and off bike use
  • Fully waterproof Gore-Tex Paclite and taped seams
  • Great looser fit, ideal for layering
  • Lightweight and packable

Cons

  • None that I’ve found so far

WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR

I’m looking for a lightweight and versatile waterproof jacket that I can rely on to keep me dry whilst riding. Additionally, I need it to be able to pack down really quite small, so it can be stuffed into a bike bag when not in use. Though not essential, it would be nice to have a jacket with a more relaxed fit that also works off the bike for bike packing trips or for when I’m wearing more baggy cycling clothing.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

My first impressions were that it looks and feels great. It lives up to the well-thought-out design and stylish looks expected from Rapha. Additionally all the materials feel high quality including the two-way zip. I was really impressed at how light it felt and how small it could be rolled up.

Fit-wise I went for my normal medium size which fit great and allowed for plenty of room underneath for layers.

it looks and feels great

THE TEST

I tested this jacket on a number of rides in some very wet conditions indeed and the Explore Lightweight Jacket kept me dry throughout. Additionally the Gore-Tex Paclite material provided decent breathability during prolonged periods of wear.

This jacket has a lot of great features including a two-way zip which allows you to unzip the jacket from the bottom allowing airflow and a highly adjustable hood that fits under your helmet.

Described by Rapha as a ‘waterproof jacket for off-road adventures’ it’s not designed to be a snug traditional cycling fit, rather a relaxed fit giving you room to move and wear more relaxed clothing underneath. Personally I much prefer this It’s relaxed without being baggy yet still feels fitted enough so that it isn’t flapping all over the place when riding.

The jacket is also very lightweight and packs down pretty small making it ideal for cramming into a bike bag when not in use. Just what I needed.

Due to its design, the jacket also lends itself really well to off-the-bike wear and I’ve ended up taking it on a number of walks when I just want a lightweight waterproof jacket I can keep in my bag in case the weather turns.

WHO IS THIS FOR?

True to its marketing, I agree that it’s ideal for gravel cyclists and bikepackers who need a lightweight jacket to keep them reliably dry, and that can be worn both on and off the bike, whether you’re pushing the bike across some questionable terrain or setting up camp in the rain.

WHAT STANDS OUT?

Design

As ever from Rapha, a well thought-out sleek design with high quality materials

Waterproof

Fully waterproof Gore-Tex Paclite with taped seams

Lightweight

Lightweight and packable

Fit

Regular fit allows for layering underneath

Well thought-out sleek design

VALUE FOR MONEY

At £295 it definitely isn’t the cheapest option on the market and there are plenty of alternatives that will do a decent job if you want to save your pennies. However, if you don’t mind spending the money and are looking for a slick-looking, highly waterproof, lightweight and versatile jacket ideal for gravel and bikepacking this could well be for the one you’re looking for.

BASE BOTTOM LINE

Throughout all my testing I’ve been really impressed with the Explore Lightweight Gore-tex Jacket from Rapha. It fits well, keeps me dry and is ideal for all kinds of off-road cycling. 

Due to it genuinely being such a versatile jacket both on and off the bike, I’ve found myself grabbing it a lot for a bit of everything.

 

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