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Best Waterproof Bike Pants For Commuting (And Staying Dry When Cycling In The Rain)

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They do say about cycling that “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”. And that’s something you’ll want to think about when bike commuting.

Assuming you might have found a good waterproof jacket for cycling to work in, what do you wear to protect your legs from rain?

If you choose a good pair of rain pants for commuting, you have nothing to fear from inclement weather and can bike to work unperturbed.

Top Picks:

Top 7 Best Rain Pants For Bike Commuting Reviewed

Below are seven great choices of rainproof pants for bike commuters.

1. Gore Bike Wear Gore-Tex Paclite Pants (best overall waterproof cycling pants)

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Material: Polyamide (Gore-Tex)

Waterproof, windproof, breathable and durable, the Gore-Tex Paclite Pants from Gore Wear are among the best money can buy. As their name suggests, they’re made from Gore-Tex Paclite® – a thin, lightweight material that’s easy to pack.

These pants have several cycling-specific features, like an adjustable lower leg width that ensures material won’t be flapping around as you ride. Zippers at the base of the legs make the pants easy to put on and remove, even with shoes on.

A zippered waterproof side pocket lets you keep personal items dry and close to hand. Reflective details are also included and help keep you visible during dark rides. This is a high-quality product that is hard to beat for performance.

What we like

  • Packable – easy to carry all the time thanks to lightweight, packable material
  • Breathe – no “boil-in-the-bag” effect with breathable Gore-Tex material
  • Visibility – reflective accents help you to stay visible during dark commutes

What we don’t like

  • Price – not priced for modest budgets, but you are buying exceptional quality

2. Showers Pass Club Convertible 2 Women’s Bike Pants (best for women)

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Material: Artex™ fabric (nylon)

Ideal for changeable weather, the Showers Pass Club Convertible 2 Women’s Bike Pants quickly convert to knee-length knickers if the sun decided to come out. They offer excellent protection against the rain, otherwise.

These pants are made from a lightweight Artex fabric featuring a breathable, waterproof laminate to protect you from rain while allowing excess body heat to escape. Fully taped seams stop rain from seeping in through stitching.

Other cycling-oriented features include ankle zippers so you can put on or remove the pants whilst wearing cycling shoes, and an articulated knee design that doesn’t inhibit pedaling. Dual Velcro leg straps prevent the pants from catching the chain.

What we like

  • Convertible – can handle rain or sun with equal ease
  • Breathable – you won’t overheat thanks to Artex fabric
  • Design – several cycling-specific features to make riding safe and easy

What we don’t like

  • Space – not the most packable

3. Showers Pass Transit Bike Pants (best for men)

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Material: Nylon

For great-fitting rain pants that keep you safe as well as dry, consider Showers Pass Transit Bike Pants. These black pants offer plenty of durability thanks to their robust ripstop nylon construction. Taped seams ensure water can’t creep in anywhere.

Some of the appealing features of these stylish rain pants include articulated knees for unobstructed pedaling, dual cinch straps to stop the pant legs from snagging on the drivetrain, and long reflective strips for nighttime visibility.

These pants pack down to a reasonably compact size and come complete with a mesh stuff sack so you can keep them available for any commute.

What we like

  • Durable – ripstop nylon construction that resists tearing
  • Visible – leg-length reflective strip helps to get you noticed at night
  • Packable – ripstop nylon is lightweight and packable; mesh bag supplied

What we don’t like

  • Sizing – real-world sizes come up small, so you may need to size up (particularly if wearing over other pants)

4. Craft Rain Commuter Cycling Pants (best breathable rain pants)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Material: Polyester

Craft is well known for its high-quality biking apparel, and the Craft Rain Commuter Cycling Pants do justice to the brand. Like many sporting garments, they’re made from polyester, known for its breathability.

Features of these rain pants include a 3-layer waterproof and breathable fabric (rated at 8,000mm and 8,000g), reflective details for safety, a zippered pocket, and adjustments in the lower legs to prevent snagging in the bike’s drivetrain.

What we like

  • Breathable – made from (8000g) breathable polyester
  • Reflective – be seen at night with reflective details
  • Adjust – alter the width of the pants at the ankles to avoid snagging
  • Warm – soft and warm material

What we don’t like

  • Pockets – only one pocket (on the left leg)

5. Proviz Nightrider Waterproof Pants (best for nighttime)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Material: 95% Polyester, 5% Cotton

If you’re bike commuting in the dark, it helps to have reflective clothing as well as a good set of commuter lights. The Proviz Nightrider Waterproof Pants utilize millions of tiny ultra-reflective beads to bounce light back off of vehicle headlights.

You’ll struggle to find rainproof commuting pants that are this noticeable after dark. They offer amazing reflectivity.

Aside from being visible at night, Proviz Nightrider Pants are completely waterproof with sealed seams to prevent rain leaking in. The pants are easy to put on and remove, too, thanks to lower leg zips and a draw-cord waist.

What we like

  • Bright – you’ll definitely be seen by other road users at night
  • Popular – products are well reviewed in multiple places
  • Quick – easy to put on and take off (no need to remove shoes)
  • Adjustable – leg height adjustment with poppers

What we don’t like

  • Breathe – not the most breathable on the market

6. INBIKE Winter Fleece Windproof Thermal Pants (best for winter)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Material: 100% polyester

It would be more accurate to call the INBIKE Winter Fleece Windproof Thermal Pants water resistant rather than waterproof, but repel water they do. They’re also impressively breathable for such warm pants.

Examine these pants closely, and you’ll see the fabric is quite “technical”. It’s a three-layer composite fabric that accomplishes wind proofing, water resistance and wear resistance.

You can also go jogging in these comfy pants, so they’re good for a bit of cross-training. Other features include reflective details, relaxed knee fit for freedom of movement, elastic waist with drawstring, and thermal properties that lock warmth in.

What we like

  • Warmth – nicely balanced combination of warmth and water resistance
  • Stylish – they look the part with patched, technical fabrics
  • Design – designed to allow freedom of movement
  • Soft – comfortable to wear

What we don’t like

  • Breathability – may not be quite as breathable as more expensive pants in milder weather

7. Hotian Men’s Quick-Dry Waterproof Bike Pants (best budget)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Material: 100% polyester

If you’re buying waterproof bike pants on a budget, you’ll struggle to find better value than the Hotian Men’s Quick-Dry Waterproof Bike Pants. Not only do they look pretty sporty and stylish, but they’re also laden with features.

Made from quick-drying, moisture-wicking polyester (like many cycling garments), these trousers are quick and easy to put on and remove. They have an elastic waistband and legs with zippers, so you can rapidly slip them over shoes.

There are multiple pockets in these pants, including two front pockets, two zippered side pockets and a rear pocket. Reflective strips help you to be seen at night. These pants are great for cycling and other forms of exercise like running or hiking.

What we like

  • Sporty – stylish, sporty pants that look good and perform well
  • Quick dry – ability to dry quickly is ideal for commuting purposes
  • Storage – more pockets than many pricier pants
  • Comfortable – warm, windproof and waterproof

What we don’t like

  • Pockets – zippered side pockets will not hold much

What To Look Out For In Cycling Rain Pants

There are a few features in cycling pants you’d always want, ideally. We’ll look at these now.

Breathable Fabric

A breathable waterproof garment will allow sweat vapor to escape whilst keeping rain out. It does this through micropores in the fabric, which are larger than sweat vapor molecules but smaller than raindrops.

Rainproof pants that are extremely breathable and waterproof are likely to cost more money, as they require technical fabrics to achieve this. In low-priced pants, you’ll probably forfeit some breathability in favor of rainproofing.

Breathability can be measured in grams of sweat that pass through a square meter of fabric in 24 hours, but this information is rarely provided.

Video: Breathable vs Waterproof Materials

Waterproof/Water Resistance

In marketing parlance, “waterproof” usually implies that the garment won’t allow rain to penetrate, even if the rain is heavy. If you see “water resistance”, it means the fabric will resist light rain but succumb to heavy rain after a while.

A fully waterproof garment will often have taped seams, which prevents rain from seeping in through stitching.

There are times when “water resistant” may be better than “waterproof”, as it suggests the garment could be more breathable. However, rain is likely to penetrate in a downpour. If your commute is short, the trade-off could be worthwhile.

Consider this waterproof/water resistant language, especially if you’re buying budget pants. If the pants can hold the rain off without being impervious, they may well be more pleasant to wear for the duration of your commute.

Waterproofing can also be measured in terms of a water column in millimeters. Again, this rating is often unprovided.

Read more: Bicycle commuting guide

Video: Guide To Waterproofing

Ankle Zips

Many cycling-specific pants have zips at the ankle, which enable you to put on or take off the pants without removing your shoes. This might be useful if you want to quickly slip on the pants during a rainy commute without removing your shoes.

After a rainy commute, zippered ankles may also avoid you having to treat on the wet ground in stockinged feet. You can simply slip the pants off over your commuter cycling shoes before entering the work premises.

Cinch Straps (On Calves)

A sure sign that a pair of pants is meant for cycling in is the presence of cinch straps. These secure any loose material around your ankles and calves so that it doesn’t catch on the chain or drivetrain, potentially causing an accident.

Some pants only have one cinch strap around the ankle (often made from Velcro), which normally does the job sufficiently well.

Articulated Knees

If you try to cycle in regular trousers or jeans, you’ll often find them to be restrictive around the knees, hampering movement or at least feeling uncomfortable. Cycling pants remedy this with an articulated cut at the knees, allowing unhindered pedaling.

Quick Drying

Most pants designed for cycling are going to be reasonably quick drying. Usually they’re either polyester or nylon, and the former is slightly faster to dry. Either material should dry before the end of a typical working day.

Some cycling pants are made from cotton. Cotton is a highly absorbent material, so it takes a long time to dry unless treated with a hydrophobic spray or similar.

What About Shoes? How Do I Keep Them Dry?

Cycling overshoes (or Booties) can be worn over your shoes to keep your feet warm and dryPin

You can wear waterproof shoe covers (aka overshoes) over shoes to keep them dry during a rainy commute. Some shoe covers are likely to be roomier than others, depending on the type of shoe they’re designed for.

Read more: Best commuter bike shoes

Can I Use My Waterproof Cycling Pants In Warm Weather?

In warm weather you’ll probably be better served by non-waterproof or “water resistant” pants, otherwise you’ll be forfeiting breathability. The right pants are the ones that balance waterproofing and breathability best for prevailing conditions.

Pants that are waterproof and windproof (the two go together) inherently allow less air to pass through them, so they are less well ventilated. Ventilation is a facet of breathability that exists in porous materials.

Breathable fabric membranes like Gore-Tex or similar do not breathe through ventilation. They rely on a process called “solid state diffusion”, which is less efficient when external air becomes warmer and more humid.

Which Size Of Pants Is Best For Me?

Always be wary of sizing anomalies between different manufacturers. Sometimes, you’ll need to size up or down. Pay attention to peer reviews on this topic.

You may also want to go up one size if you intend wearing waterproof pants over other pants or attire.

Let’s Wrap This Up…

Reflecting on our top three reviewed waterproof pants, Gore Wear Gore-Tex Paclite Pants take first place for their convenient packability and their breathability in wet weather.

The Showers Pass Club Convertible 2 Women’s Bike Pants are unusual for their ability to convert to knee-length knickers in fine weather. This also gives them the ventilation you’d probably look for in year-round bike pants.

Still with Showers Pass, Transit Bike Pants are made from a durable ripstop nylon that packs down to a compact size. It dries quickly after shielding you from the rain, too. Taped seams reinforce the waterproofing.

Remember to ponder the level of waterproofing versus breathability and weigh it against the length of your bike commute.

Most people prefer a slight lack of breathability over clothing that lets in rain easily. They’d also rather be wet and warm from sweat than be cold and wet from ingress of rain and wind.

Over to you! We hope you enjoyed this article. You are welcome to leave comments or share it.

Read more: Best ponchos and rain capes

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Mark W
Mark W
I’m a cycling enthusiast, and the founder and chief editor of Bike Push. If I’m not working on this website, then I’m out on the bike clocking up the miles. I want to help others get the most out of cycling.

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