What You Need to Know About Motorcycle Rain Gear

If you’re in the market for motorcycle rain gear, you may have noticed something about the available options. There’s essentially two choices; highly specialized rain gear that is made specifically for motorcyclists, or rain gear that isn’t specific to motorcyclists but will still meet their needs. The highly specialized gear often carries a much higher price tag too.

What You Need to Know About Motorcycle Rain Gear

Motorcycle Rain Gear


Motorcyclists value rain jackets and rain pants that can completely keep water off of them, but also allow for some breathability so they won’t immediately overheat in warmer conditions. On cold rides, using waterproof outer shells, on your top and bottom half, is an effective final layer to wear over a warm and cozy base layer. The best motorcycle rain gear is also packable enough to stow away when not being used, and easy enough to take on and off when conditions suddenly change.

We regularly review features of general all-purpose rain gear that would work just as well as motorcycle rain gear. Non-specialized rain gear has the added bonus of being completely comfortable and usable in any situation where you’re off your bike. This goes for not only rain jackets but rain pants, which used to only be found in stores specializing in biker, fishing or boating gear. 

Most bikers will be able to find specialized boots that keep their feet dry enough. But if your goal is to stay 100% dry from head-to-toe on a motorcycle ride, then high-quality all-purpose rain gear is going to be at least as effective as the specialized options. And, in most cases, general rain gear will be a lot less expensive and far superior for packing and stowing away in a small space (like in a motorcycle saddle bag).

Breathability vs. Venting

Newer rain gear is built with a breathable fabric, so you don’t suffer the dreaded feeling of suffocating from a plastic rain poncho. But breathability differs between brands, and something that is too permeable will reduce overall insulation. With motorcycle rain gear, if you’re in rainy conditions, holding onto some body heat is a good idea. Therefore, bikers prefer breathable fabrics with some dedicated venting.

Venting refers to an actual opening in the apparel, usually at the back, but sometimes under arms or on the sides. The vents are usually opened and closed used zippers or velcro. This versatility is crucial for motorcycle riders since everyone is unique and comfort levels change with the weather conditions.

Most modern rain gear includes venting, but it’s also a good idea to keep convenience in mind. Will a rear vent be accessible from your bike, while you’re riding? As for breathability, make sure to check out the specs if you order online, or ask for details if you buy in a brick and mortar shop. 

Best motorcycle rain gear


Shell layers for jackets and pants are either made with laminate (higher end products) or another coating, to provide water resistance. Review which type you are getting, because a laminate shell is more sophisticated at keeping the water away. Plus, it will usually be lighter weight. In either case, new all-purpose rain gear is durable in design and will be able to completely protect riders from rain, sleet, mist and snow.

Convenience Features

Many motorcycle riders are unaware of just how many great features come with “everyday” rain jackets and rain pants. Smart companies offer ultra lightweight jackets (less than one pound), cinching hoods, multiple pockets on their jackets, and quick zip-off pants. Additionally, you should look for higher quality gear with taped seams, which will all but guarantee that they are 100% waterproof. Other treasured features include: bright colors to keep you visible on the road, as well as adjustable cuffs and belts for rain pants (instead of simply using elastic).


It is no exaggeration to say that you can get all the features we’ve discussed in a rain jacket, for around $60; and a similar price for rain pants. Motorcycle rain gear does not need to be ultra expensive and specialized for riding. We highly recommend that your shopping search include other brands that are made for hiking, fishing and traveling. Because that way you can save money while still getting high-quality rain gear that is lightweight and easily stowable in your saddlebags. That’s a win-win.