Rab Cinder Downpour Light Waterproof Jacket review – a super summer shell

Waterproof, breathable, packable and well-featured, Rab's lightweight Cinder Downpour jacket ticks all the boxes

Woman in waterproof jacket by gate with field of sheep behind
(Image: © Jon Slade)

Bike Perfect Verdict

A brilliantly well-designed lightweight stashable shell that boasts superb water resistance and buckets of breathability, feels super-comfortable and has a great hood to boot. It's my new summer go-to jacket, both on and off the bike.


  • +

    Top fabric with excellent waterproofing and breathability

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    Great cut for biking and handy hood

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    Packs down small

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    Clever cuff design

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    Weighs next to nothing


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    Not as tough as heavier-weight waterproofs

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Rab is continuing its push into mountain biking clothing and, if this new jacket (part of Rab's Spring/Summer 2024 collection) is anything to go by, bring it on, I say! Well thought out and meticulously crafted using premium fabric – as well as looking good – it upholds Rab’s reputation for excellent outdoor gear. See how the Cinder Downpour compares to other waterproof jackets we have reviewed recently. I tested the women’s version, and the men’s is almost the same apart from sizing and colors – which incidentally are very attractive for both genders (in my opinion). My Red Grapefruit jacket is a sort of burnt ochre. 

Kit of this quality doesn’t come cheap, but you’re investing in clothing that’s reliable, made to last and is created with sustainability in mind. Also, Rab’s gear is covered by the Rab Promise, which includes a warranty to repair or replace any garment that fails due to a manufacturing defect during its usable lifetime, plus the brand offers wash and repair services to all customers as part of its drive to be more environmentally responsible.

Woman on path in woods wearing waterproof jacket and cycling helmet

The Cinder Downpour color co-ordinates with Rab's new-season Cinder Crank Pants (Image credit: Shim Slade)

Design and specifications

The Cinder Downpour Light shell is manufactured from Rab’s 20-denier Proflex woven nylon, a water-resistant, breathable and totally windproof fabric that also boasts two-way stretch. It is a 2.5-layer fabric, which means it has an outer face, a waterproof/breathable membrane, then a partially bonded inner liner (3-layer has a fully bonded liner, which makes it more durable but also bulkier and more expensive). The material has an eco-friendly PFC-free Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish.

Construction quality is supreme, as expected, and the jacket is tailored to be ride-ready, with shaped sleeves – although it doesn’t look out of place worn casually too. The multiple panels are sewn together incredibly neatly while the taped seams inside are barely visible, and certainly not detectable against the skin. Overall design is clean and minimal and there are no superfluous features, just useful ones, including the hood. It has subtle reflective logos on the left sleeve, right hip and above the rear hem, plus that small essential – a hanging loop.

inside rear hem of a cycling jacket

The single drawcord adjuster has a simple snag-free design (Image credit: Shim Slade)


This jacket reminds me how far fabric technology has come on since early waterproofs, which were heavy, crackly and made you sweat so much it was almost pointless wearing one. The Cinder Downpour has a ‘barely there’ feel thanks to Rab’s lightweight, comfortable and quiet Proflex fabric, with a soft inner face that positively caresses bare skin. This Proflex wonder-material is also very breathable and waterproof, with Rab awarding it a high rating for both (20,000g/m²/24 hrs and 20,000mm). Note, there is no standard industry method for testing breathability and water resistance, which makes accurately comparing fabrics between different brands impossible.

Rab’s ratings were borne out by real-world riding, though. To test breathability I wore the jacket as a windproof with a long-sleeve baselayer (and no backpack) on dry days and when the temperature hovered around 57F / 14C; although my body got sweaty, the inside of the jacket remained dry bar a little moisture inside the lower sleeves. This is a superb result as I often find my sleeves get soaked (I do seem to sweat more than most people!). Similarly, the jacket’s ability to shrug off rain was exemplary, especially given how fine the 20-denier material is. Water beaded brilliantly, thanks to the DWR coating, and it took much longer than I expected before small patches started to wet out, even in heavy rain. Where the outer face did get wet, the membrane prevented water getting through, and the sealed seams did their job perfectly. A brisk shake left the jacket mostly dry, and the wet areas dried off pretty quickly. Once I’ve worn the Downpour for a few more months I’ll update on how it’s bearing up to wear and tear, as I’ve managed not to crash or ride through brambles in it yet (happily).

Close up of hood of cycling jacket on paving slabs

The under-helmet hood is a piece of design genius and even has a separate wired peak (Image credit: Shim Slade)

As for fit and features, Rab has got these spot on as far as I’m concerned. The sleeves are amply long and I like the extended cuffs that ensure your wrists stay covered; if you like to pull the sleeves up to dump heat, the elasticated binding underneath allows this. Likewise, the dropped rear hem is long enough to cover your backside even when you’re stretched out on descents, with silicone gripper print inside and a single drawcord to cinch it in with the end tucked through a loop to prevent it snagging. It’s neat touches like this that help make this a premium bit of kit.

The fit through the body is relaxed with total freedom of movement, although I do wonder whether I could have got away with a size smaller (10 not 12) as it is a little loose on me and I never needed to make use of the fabric’s two-way stretch. So, if you can’t try before you buy, I’d advise going smaller if you’re between sizes. The neck zips up nice and high with a chinguard (folded-over fabric) to stop it irritating your skin. Water ingress is prevented belt and braces by a waterproof zip with a storm flap behind, and the zip is supple enough to pull up single-handed while riding along – something you miss when it isn’t. The shaped zip toggle is good and grippy, too, another small but important detail.

Rear view of woman wearing cycling jacket in front of stone wall in field

The Cinder Downpour is nice and long through the body and has a rear zipped pocket (Image credit: Jon Slade)

Then there’s the cleverly designed hood, which really adds to the Downpour’s versatility. Lots of summer jackets forego a hood, but I find one a lifesaver if you’re caught out when the temperature plummets, as it can quickly in the mountains, especially when it rains. This one fits very comfortably under your lid with the high collar snuggling under the chinstrap, and the elasticated sides and rear toggle (positioned low enough to sit under any retention cradle) ensuring a close fit around the face. Despite this, the hood doesn’t restrict your head movement or peripheral vision. And there’s more… it boasts an extra wired peak, which helps stop rain dripping off your helmet visor into your eyes. Rab really has thought of everything!

There’s one more feature – a generous-sized zipped rear pocket with storm flap. Handy if you’re heading out for a quick blast without a pack, it also doubles as a stash pocket. The jacket fits easily into it and folds up small, and means you can carry it without fear of accidentally snagging the fabric on a stray multi-tool or whatever’s floating about inside your pack.

Hand holding cycling jacket stuffed in its stash pocket

It stuffs into its back pocket and takes up hardly any space in your pack (Image credit: Shim Slade)


This really is a superb summer jacket, which could extend to spring and fall use – it's windproof, reliably waterproof and amply breathable, plus it feels great, looks great, is extremely well made and boasts a host of clever design minutiae that elevate it above many of its competitors and justify the premium price tag.

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The lowdown: Rab Cinder Downpour Light Waterproof Jacket
WaterproofingSo far, Rab's Proflex has been a match for Gore-Tex★★★★★
BreathabilityAs good as you'd need★★★★★
DurabilityDecent but it's a lightweight shell so can't be super tough as well★★★★
Value for moneyExpensive but worth it★★★★★

Tech specs: Rab Cinder Downpour Light Waterproof Jacket

  • Price:  $170 / £160 / €180
  • Sizes: 8-12
  • Weight: 185g (size 12)
  • Colors: Red Grapefruit, Sahara, Tempest Blue
  • Materials: 20D Proflex 2.5-layer stretch woven nylon
Shim Slade
Freelance writer

Shim first discovered MTBs when she moved to Bath in the mid-nineties and has been making up for lost time ever since. She started working on Mountain Biking UK nearly 20 years ago and also counts What Mountain BikeCycling PlusOff-road.cc and Bikeradar among the bike-related magazines and websites she's written for. She loves exploring technical singletrack, has ridden England, Wales and Scotland C2Cs and gets out in the Quantocks and the Black Mountains as often as possible. Other regular riding destinations are the Lake and the Peak Districts, and an MTB holiday in India is her most memorable, partly for its uber-steep tech. The odd trip to the Forest of Dean and Bike Park Wales inspires her to get wheels off the ground, but that’s a work in progress, helped by coaching with Rach at Pro Ride and formerly Pedal Progression