Rapha Softshell Gilet Review

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Rapha Softshell GilletThe Rapha Softshell Gilet (http://www.rapha.cc) is designed specifically for winter training.  That said the Gilet is by far my favorite layer in both spring and fall conditions.

Even though it’s still hot here in Austin, I will soon be breaking out my Rapha Gilet for early morning rides.

Based on their Classic Softshell Jacket, it is totally windproof and highly water resistant. The polyester fabric offers great stretch and durability and includes a Hytrel® membrane, a highly breathable laminate to keep you dry, even on the most testing rides.

Cut long in the back, the gilet has a shaped or ‘canted’ hem for all-weather protection and the collar has a lower profile at the back for improved riding comfort. The arm holes are faced with extra softshell fabric for reinforcement and cut to allow greater freedom of movement. The gilet has a full-length, off-set zip, making it easy to layer jerseys underneath.

Reflective piping around the arm holes and on the back of the vest helps visibility and there are also reflective Rapha logos on the collar and lower back. The gilet has five rear pockets, positioned to minimize sweating and center weight when loaded. In addition to two large cargo pockets, a rear pump pocket has a rubberized grip for securely attaching a rear light. A zipped pocket with an O-ring puller is perfect for carrying keys and is bonded for a clean finish. The left panel also has a concealed valuables pocket.

Rapha Softshell GilletAll internal seams have been bound and the inside of the collar has been lined with a soft, tricot fleece for comfort. The tricot lining also runs the full length of the zip. A wrapover tricot zip guard prevents both chafing and piling.

The right rear pocket has a buttonhole for an iPod® cable, with stylish pink cable loops running to the shoulder. The hem has a pink drawstring with friction locks for easy adjustment and eyelets for durability. The jacket is finished with a pink hanging loop.

The Rapha Softshell Gilet tends to run a little small, so you would be wise to choose a size larger than you normally wear.  The gilet/vest performs perfectly in cool to cold weather and is an excellent choice to complement any cycling kit.  Many vests out there are either too thin or too thick for extended rides.  Rapha seems to have made the perfect weight gilet for cyclists.

One thing that can become a little difficult when layering cloths on longer rides, is how to pack them when the temps increase.  Some vests are really too bulky to put in rear pockets.  The Rapha Softshell Gilet, while thicker than some, packs down nicely when not in use.

The only downside to the Rapha Softshell Gilet of course is the price.  At over $200 retail it is a hefty price to pay, but if you are after a quality product, you can not go wrong with the Rapha line.

Fabric – Rapha Softshell Gilet (polyester 81%; spandex; 10%; Hytrel® membrane 9%).

  • 100% windproof for core body warmth.
  • Water-resistant and highly breathable fabric to keep you dry.
  • Reflective Rapha logo and rear rubber light grip for improved visibility.
  • Rear pockets positioned to reduce sweating and center weight when loaded.

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About Author

Tom Crandall

Totally into multi-sports including triathlon, swimming, cycling, running skating and movement in general. Love to trail run and hang outdoors.

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