Gore-Tex has long produced foul-weather textiles for a variety of brands, as well as selling its own clothing. The relatively new 'Gore-Tex Active with ShakeDry technology' fabric has a long name but an impressive function: imagine the normal waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex material — at half the weight and packable size.
Castelli, 7Mesh and Gore each have Gore-Tex ShakeDry rain jackets that weigh about 100g and pack down to the size of an apple. We take a look at the differences here. All jackets were weighed in size large.
Gore achieved the low weight and small size by completely reworking the structure for what a waterproof jacket is. Instead of a normal protective outer fabric laminated onto a delicate breathable PTFE membrane, Gore-Text ShakeDry is just a single, breathable, waterproof layer.
Removing the DWR (Durable Water Repellency) treated outer layer that always ‘wets out’ in sustained rain has other benefits. Rather than the water soaking in and sitting on top of the Gore membrane, reducing breathability and conducting away heat so you feel wet and cold even after it’s stopped raining, rain just rolls down the hydrophobic surface in beads like it would on a window.
As always, the high technology and low weight come with a price; the jackets are £250 / US$300 and up.
- Weight: 93g
- Fit: Semi-fitted
- Price: $300 / £250
7Mesh is a techy, boutique brand based in Canada's stormy North Shore. Many of the founding members are veterans of Arcteryx, and the high-level fabric experience shows here with welded raw hem edges, a laminated zipper and taped seams.
The biggest pros of this jacket, aside from the fabric of course, are the big rear flaps that allow for jersey-pocket access without bulk or fuss. The long tail is a plus for a rain jacket, as is the wrap-around reflectivity on the lower hem.
The downside is the relatively short collar, which is the shortest of the bunch. The zipper, while great at deflecting water, is small and difficult to engage, especially while riding.
it is also the lightest jacket of the three, and in fact the lightest production rain jacket in the world, to the best of our knowledge.
The wrists have a single band of elastic to cinch down the fit.
More info: 7meshinc.com
- Weight: 125g
- Fit: Race cut
- Price: $350 / £260
The Idro is classic Castelli — tight-fitting, high-tech and with a bit of fashion flair. Okay, so that flair is just a couple of stripes of red and reflective material, plus a red zipper. But still, for a black rain jacket this one looks the best.
A silicone strip keeps the tail in place, and the long reflective strips pop under the beams of cars.
There is a single zippered pocket on the right side of the back for accessing your pocket, but it's small and the jacket is so tight that it's not really useful.
The Idro has a tall, fitted collar, which is welcome in a rain jacket. The sleeves and the wrist closures are snug, which definitely cuts down on flapping but also means that you have to pull the jacket off inside out when on the bike.
As with the rest of the jackets, a quick shake or two of the Irdo flicks most of the water off, so you can tuck it into your jersey without soaking your back.
The big, chunky YKK zipper with a pull tab is the easiest of the bunch to use on the bike.
More info: castelli-cycling.com
Gore One 1985 Gore-Tex ShakeDry
- Weight: 119g
- Fit: Semi-fitted, looser than 7Mesh
- Price: $300 / £250
Gore has two jackets with ShakeDry. Compared to the original One, the One 1985 gets a rear pocket/stuff pouch and a second zipper, which lets you access your jersey pockets while hiking up the jacket.
The collar on the One 1985 features two Velcro patches, so you can fine-tune the fit around your neck to keep the rain out. It works well enough, but it also adds a step over just zipping up a rain jacket.
The logos on the arms and the left breast are reflective, as is the little stripe above the rear pocket.
Gore labels this cut as Slim Fit, but it is the loosest of the three here.
More info: goreapparel.com
Bottom line: it's clothing - go with what you like
The star of the show here is the fabric. The jackets only differ in cut and execution. I usually reach for the Castelli because I like the fit and the look, and I appreciate the big zipper and tall collar when riding in the rain. The 7Mesh rear flaps are an excellent detail; I wish more jackets worked like that.