Best cycling gilet: versatile vests for changeable conditions

T3’s high-speed roundup of the best cycling gilets on the market

Included in this guide:

Best cycling gilet
(Image credit: Castelli)

On of the best gilets for cycling is a splendidly versatile piece of kit that every cyclist should own, whether you ride a road bike or a new-fangled electric bike. Why? Well, a gilet adds a lightweight outer layer to keep the wind off your chest when conditions are a bit iffy and will fold down into a jersey pocket or backpack when not in use. You can pull it on and off as the weather dictates, without overheating like you might with a fully-fledged jacket.

 As we’ve already alluded to, the best gilets are windproof and packable – just put them in one of our Best cycling backpacks. Some also have added water resistance, further improving their versatility in changeable conditions. Here is T3’s pick of the best cycling gilets on the market for all budgets.

Best cycling gilets, in order

Best cycling gilets 2020

(Image credit: Sportful)

1. Sportful BodyFit Pro Windstopper Gilet

Best cycling gilet: pretty much everything you want from a gilet

Reasons to buy
+Excellent fit+Three rear pockets+Wide range of colours

• Buy Sportful BodyFit Pro from Wiggle

The Sportful BodyFit Pro Windstopper provides pretty much everything you want from a gilet, thanks to the windproof construction, superb fit and rear pockets.

 The gilet is made from a Gore Windstopper 4-Way Light fabric on the front, providing protection from the elements while remaining lightweight. It’s also stretchy to ensure a snug fit, so there’s no material flapping in the wind, and offers enough rain protection for road spray and short showers.

The back is made from an even stretchier material, plus there’s three rear pockets - often missing on gilets but a real boon for carrying the essentials required for a long ride.

(Image credit: Castelli)

2. Castelli Perfetto Vest

Best premium cycling gilet: water resistant for changeable weather

Reasons to buy
+Windproof and water resistant+High-vis colours and reflective detailing+Two rear pockets
Reasons to avoid
-Not so packable

• Buy Castelli Perfetto Vest from Wiggle

If you want a super-versatile gilet capable of fending off the elements in a wide range of conditions, the Castelli Perfetto Vest should be near the top of your list.

The gilet uses a Gore Windstopper X-Lite Plus fabric on the front and shoulders to provide windproof, water resistant protection, while the breathable Nano Flex Light material used on the rear has also had a splashproof treatment, making this a superb piece for all seasons when the weather just can’t make its mind up.

 The gilet isn’t as packable as the others featured here, but it should still fit in a jersey pocket when not in use. Add a generous amount of reflective detail and a wide range of colours into the mix, and this is an excellent high-end option.

(Image credit: Endura)

3. Endura Pakagilet II

Best cheap cycling gilet: affordable, with a generous cut

Reasons to buy
+Lightweight and windproof+Back mesh panel for breathability
Reasons to avoid
-Oversized fit on shoulders

• Buy Endura Pakagilet II from Wiggle

The Endura Pakagilet shows how a good gilet needn’t cost the Earth. It does the basics really well, with a lightweight, windproof fabric on the front and a mesh panel on the rear to add some ventilation. It also comes with a little stuff sack to store the gilet when it’s not in use, but in reality you can just roll it up and stick it in a jersey pocket. As the name suggests, it’s a really versatile, packable piece of kit, ready to pull on and off as the weather dictates.

The fit is more generous than the two performance-focused gilets we’ve also featured here. That will work for some riders, though others may find a little excess material around the shoulders.