Review: Carradice Duxback Rain Poncho

Expert bikepacker Sam Jones models the Carradice Duxback Rain Poncho

Review: Carradice Duxback Rain Poncho

Cycling UK's expert bikepacker Sam Jones reviewed the old-school waxed cotton cape that actually keeps you dry in a downpour

Carradice £90 - £95

Pros: very waterproof, keeps your knees dry. Cons: not especially visible

Probably the most waterproof coat I own is my late father’s wax jacket. It’s over 40 years old, with carefully hand-sewn patches. So long as I don’t forget to proof it now and then, it never lets the rain in. It is, however, too hot for cycling and any form of semi-vigorous exercise.

The waterproofs I use for cycling, meanwhile, are lightweight and breathable but rarely last more than a couple of seasons before they start leaking, despite reproofing. I’ve long been on the look out for that holy grail of waterproofs: something durable that keeps me dry.

While searching through the indexes of old CTC Gazettes or mention of the Cape Wrath Fellowship, ahead of its 70th anniversary, every edition mentioned “capes” if not “wrath”. The Rough Stuff-Fellowship archives are similar: capes everywhere. I could immediately see the benefit. I finally bit the bullet last autumn and bought the waxed cotton Duxback from Carradice. 



The poncho even has a lovely plaid trim on the inside of the collar for a pop of colour

There is one obvious drawback with a cape: the wind. Accepting that, it is great for keeping you dry. It has that solid Barbour jacket feel, and water rolls off it like the proverbial. Two wrist loops ensure it doesn’t flap from the front, and a belt loop makes sure it doesn’t blow up and leave your midriff exposed.

A solid zip with button guard allows an opening to get the cape on while wearing a helmet, while also preventing water entry. The hood doesn’t affect your periphery vision, though you’ll find you’ll need to wear it under your helmet (if you wear one).

The poncho’s positioning over your handlebar will prevent the use of lights or GPS units mounted there. If that doesn’t bother you, then you’ll soon enjoy the benefits of being dry without overheating. Another bonus is that your legwear, especially your knees, won’t suffer as much in the downpour, although you’ll still likely get damp at shin level. 

If I had one real reservation it would be the dark olive green colour. Despite the wide Scotchlite strip on the back, I am conscious of potentially blending in with the hedgerows as I ride along.

Verdict

Durably made waterproof that will keep the more sedate commuter or tourer dry for years to come. Not cheap, but as the saying goes: buy cheap, buy twice.

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Other options

Weathergoods Imbris Rain Poncho £120


More expensive but this Swedish cycling poncho has a handy front pocket. 

Carradice Proroute Rain Cape £42


Less than half the price of the Duxback and nearly half the weight, this fluorescent yellow poncho should provide the same excellent coverage if not the same durability.

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