At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.What the road.cc scores mean
Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.
The Castelli Tempesta Lite Jacket is very waterproof, keeps the wind off nicely and is breathable enough for those mild-but-rubbish days the UK enjoys for three seasons (the fourth season is winter). It's rather bulky to pack and a little flappy to wear, though, and that price... yikes. YIKES. Which is to say... yikes.
For other (cheaper) options, check out our guide to the best cycling jackets.
Let's ignore the price and look at the grey thing that isn't the elephant in the room. The Tempesta Lite, or more specifically, its fabric – is brilliant. Castelli doesn't give specifics beyond it being 'Gore-Tex waterproof fabric', but it's very waterproof (I never saw it come close to wetting out), and water beads off extremely well. In fact, you need to give yourself a good shake before coming indoors, as taking it off can have the same effect as a dog coming out of the sea.
The fabric feels tough, despite being quite thin; peer close and it has a fine crosshatch of threads that resist stretching entirely (and resist normal-use abrasion as well).
Castelli says this is for temperatures from 4°C to 18°C, and for me that proved very accurate, at least at the top end. The test period was particularly warm and wet, and while I had to take it off during stormy yet 20°C rides, I did wear it fairly comfortably for over an hour during an 18°C shower-fest.
That time my single other layer (a short-sleeve jersey) was pretty wet by the end, but the Castelli breathes well enough that I never boiled over. Obviously it's very good when it's cooler/less humid, too. While many of you will run hotter or colder than me and will find it affects this jacket's limits, 18°C is objectively pretty warm for a well-sealed waterproof anyway. The Gore-Tex performs very well.
It's probably helped by the surprisingly baggy fit, though – with the waterproof zip (a YKK Vislon) cracked to collarbone height, there's easy room for air to circulate. I can actually get this on over a regular hoodie with absolutely no restriction to movement; that's a lot of room for winter layers. Personally I would never layer that thickly under a jacket, and found this a bit baggy. (For clarity I'd never ride in a hoodie either; that's just to prove a point.)
It's baggy but not oversized – the waist, sleeves and collar are all excellent fits on me. I tested a large, which the size chart says is correct. There's a good range (six sizes) and possibly you could size down, but possibly some areas would then get too tight or short. What is certain, however, is that you absolutely shouldn't have to guess at this extremely premium price.
Another result of the loose fit is that the flap on the back, there to give you access to jersey pockets, can flutter in the wind. At speed I'd feel the two ends vibrating in turbulent air, leading to me constantly checking the upper flap wasn't accidentally tucked in and leaving the bottom one as a scoop. It never was. The 10cm-deep overlap here is very effective against running water, but needs stretching tighter across your back to keep out wind.
The black panel below it is Gore-Tex Topo which is stretchy, to better accommodate whatever is in your pockets. It's thicker and doesn't help with packability, but I never felt any extra heat, rainwater leaks or sweatiness there.
The sleeves are quite wide for most of their length too, though well judged at the cuffs at least: they're long enough to fall neatly over gloves. Tucked up inside there's a fabric inner cuff to seal out draughts, but while these worked okay in mild weather, it's not a very tight fit and has very weak elastication. I'm not convinced it's enough to really stop icy wind (though can't yet say for sure), and there's no way of adjusting the cuffs if it isn't.
The reflective tape running down the arms is intelligently placed – facing rearwards – and there's a bit more at the base of the tail. I appreciate the fact that the whole jacket is not black, too. This very light grey is stylish but visible without being 'high vis'.
The Tempesta will fit in a jersey pocket, but with a considerable amount of stuffing and stretching. It's a bit bulky – balled up I can't get one hand right round it. It's the kind of thing you end up punching fitfully for the next couple of miles to get it to sit comfortably on your back... tell me that's not just me.
At £350 this is extremely expensive; we haven't tested anything even remotely close for a long time. The last time anything was even over £300 was almost a year and a half ago, with the £310 Rapha Men's Pro Team Insulated Gore-Tex Rain Jacket. In general, the fanciest jackets top out around £250-£270. This is something of an outlier, especially as a simple, uninsulated shell-type packable.
If you're trying to spend this kind of money elsewhere you'll be partially successful with the Endura Pro SL Waterproof Shell Jacket at £199.99. Ben tested it last year and found it very waterproof, breathable and packable, and at 161g it's 10g lighter than the Castelli as well as £150 cheaper. It even earned a 'road.cc recommends' badge.
Castelli's own Perfetto RoS 2 Jacket fits really well and works brilliantly according to Liam's review from November, and is over £100 cheaper at £245. Okay, that's a water-resistant softshell rather than a full-on packable waterproof, but for a lot of UK days it may well prove more useful.
Personally, I still love the Santini Guard Nimbus Jacket that I tested last year, which has now risen to £169 but is still less than half the price of this Castelli. It scrunches to a much more packable size, the slim fit is great, and it breathes really well while keeping out wind and rain. It looks good (and gets seen) in orange, too. Okay, I'd take this Gore-Tex Castelli over the Guard Nimbus if I was riding for hours in heavy rain, but for everything else I'd favour the cheaper Santini.
The Rapha Pro Team Insulated Gore-Tex Rain Jacket I mentioned above is also an option if you're looking in this kind of price range, especially as it's also breathable enough to be remarkably versatile. Its insulation, though, obviously means it's only for cool and cold days. Then again, the cut of this Castelli seems to assume you're wearing winter layers anyway, which you may find limiting.
While the fabric and construction here are pretty fantastic, overall I only found this good – and most people will expect way more than that given the premium price. It's very waterproof, comfortable and breathable, but the fit is rather baggy, the rear pocket flap can be annoying and it's kind of bulky when packed. As good as it is, I think in this case you could reasonably expect, or even demand, better.
Comfortable, stylish and extremely protective, but the loose cut and massive price are drawbacks
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Tempesta Lite Jacket
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the jacket is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Castelli says: "The waterproof, packable jacket to take on all your rides. It's highly breathable and extremely light, with a great fit. Perfect to have if there is a chance of rain or if you just want extra protection on a long descent."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
The lightest and most packable fully waterproof Castelli GORE-TEX jacket
GORE-TEX waterproof fabric is fully waterproof yet offers unmatched breathability
The entire lower back is in GORE-TEX® Topo stretch fabric to allow the jacket to expand in diameter if you have a few extra winter kilos or full pockets
Reflective tape on back of both sleeves for high visibility in low-light conditions
YKK Vislon waterproof zipper slides easily for ventilation adjustments
Internal wrist gaiter seals wrist and integrates with glove to keep water out
Keeps out rain and wind extremely well, and it's comfortable.
A bit baggier in most places than seems ideal, and can flap, but it's certainly comfortable and coverage is good.
Fits well at the waist, wrists and neck, but the arms and body are loose enough for extremely thick layers.
Considerably more expensive than some excellent jackets that do the same thing.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
You can wash this at 30°C like most things, but as it's a shell there's rarely a need.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It doesn't leak and water beads off the fabric extremely well. It's pretty breathable too. It's quite roomy for a 'performance fit', though, and the access slot on the back can flap at speed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Very impressive fabric that really keeps the rain out, and it's all very well put together.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
A bit too roomy even for winter layers, no cuff adjustment, pocket access flaps about in turbulence, pretty chunky when packed.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's considerably more expensive than some extremely good competition: the Endura Pro SL Waterproof Shell Jacket performs well enough to get 9/10 in our testing, for instance, and is £150 less.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? No
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Gore-Tex fabric is very impressive and overall protection is excellent, but the loose fit, bulk when packed and the sheer cost hold it back. It's a great jacket to have in bad weather, but to score higher it'd need a better-tailored fit and – ideally – a significant price drop, as it's not doing much that the cheaper competition isn't doing too.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,