With all the rain pouring down this spring, I found the Vaude Tiak rain jacket to be a perfect companion for the unpredictable weather. Light, waterproof and packable, it kept me dry during some pretty heavy showers.
Priced at the upper end, it might be a bit more then you are willing to pay for a rain jacket, but the price tag starts to look justified when we weight in all the features and the overall performance.
The 2.5 layer Ceplex Advanced Polyamide fabric with Polyurethane coating provides excellent protection from rain and water in general while being quite breathable (for a rain jacket). If we get into the technical specs, the water column (amount of water in a column with a 10 cm2 base that is needed to finally force the liquid through) is 20.000 mm combined with moisture vapor transmission rate of 20.000 g/m2/24h. Bla bla bla… what you need to know is that it does not let water in and gets as much of your sweat out as possible and even does it better then most of the other jackets on the market.
The collar is not the highest we have seen, but it covers exactly as much as you would like without getting uncomfortable. The full frontal zip, as well as all the other zips on the jacket, are smooth and most importantly water resistant. The frontal pockets are deep and can fit even the largest smartphone or whatever you decide to put in there up to a reasonable size (on one occasion I had two inner tubes in each pocket along with my phone, don’t ask why).
Also, if it is not raining and you wish to cool down a bit, you can open up the chest pockets for some extra air flow, which is a nice feature if you are using it as a windproof jacket. If we are talking about breathability, there is the usual moisture build up inside the jacket, when it gets hotter, but compared to some other rain jackets I have used, it is one of the best so far. Opening the underarm zips helps a lot in letting the extra moisture escape and even when raining, no rain went through the opened zips.
The articulated sleeves are long enough even for my monkey like build with nice adjustable Velcro strapped cuffs. The bottom hem drawcord is adjustable via two points on each side to prevent the jacket from riding up or just flapping in the wind.
As you would expect from a cycling jacket, the rear is a bit longer compared to the front but not as much as some of the other I have seen, so you can still use it for your other outdoor activities. There are not many reflective elements , but in my opinion they are enough (orange = reflective).
Now, when we are talking about a rain jacket suitable for mountain biking, I think it is fair to mention that the Tiak survived all the close encounters with tree branches and a fall from my bike when I missed a curve and went straight into a rock wall.
The all mountain fit, designed especially for mountain bikers, is a bit looser, totally non restrictive, but the jacket still does not flap in the wind. Out of the bike apart from its vibrant color, it has a quite urban feel and can be used for other outdoor activities.
Now, I know that the Vaude Tiak is a rain jacket, but when combined with a suitable long sleeve base layer like the Craft Warm Crewneck, it can do well in colder conditions and on shorter rides.
How packable is this jacket? Well it comes with a bag, not the smallest I must say, but it fits in a jersey pocket (taking the whole pocket), but in my own personal opinion you will be better off with the jacket in your backpack.
If you are ordering it online, I am 188cm high and around 94kg and I fit in the size Large just fine. The picture above is from my friend, 178cm / 80kg wearing the same size.
Pros: Excellent built quality, chest pockets, underarm ventilation zips, good fit, waterproof, packable
You can get the Vaude Tiak rain jacket online at Chain Reaction Cycles.