Cycling gilets are thin, sleeveless layers that are worn over jerseys and jackets. They’re often an overlooked and underused piece of cycling kit, but they offer an extra layer of protection from the wind and cold.
What are cycling gilets for?
Cycling gilets provide extra protection from the elements while still remaining breathable and compressible, which means you can easily stash them away in a jersey pocket when they’re not needed. Cyclists wear gilets to protect the torso from the brunt of the wind and rain on particularly miserable rides, but they’re also a handy extra layer for when temperatures warm up, as they’re normally thin and breathable.
In terms of materials, grab a gilet that boasts windproof and water-resistant capabilities, as well as either a mesh back or back air-flow panels to keep you from overheating. Other key features to look out for include a durable zip like those made by YKK, a zip garage to avoid uncomfortable pinching at the neck, elasticated arm holes for a snug fit, an in-built stuff-sack to simplify tucking the gilet away when not needed and a bright design or reflective details to aid visibility.
The best cycling gilets in 2021
Van Rysel Team
Built to protect against front-on windchill, the Van Rysel Team gilet also claims to be water-resistant, while the entire back section is made of moisture-wicking mesh. A cosy felt-lined collar provides further warmth.
Giro Chrono Expert
This compact and compressible gilet is designed to act as a barrier against wind and cold temps. It features a breathable, perforated back section, a soft zip garage and collar with reflective details.
Pearson Ins and Outs
From family-owned Surrey brand, Pearson, this windproof, reflective gilet has a zipped back pocket for valuables, a water-repellent design and back air vents, which also provide access to jersey pockets.
For more bike gear, why not check out our gear section.