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Rapha Men’s Brevet Insulated Gilet



Light, easily pocketable and warmer than it might appear, with useful reflective bits
Not bulky
Rapha reflective stripes
Elastic storage loop
Warmer than a standard gilet
No rear pockets

At 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.

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Though only lightly insulated, the Rapha Brevet Insulated Gilet, with its reflective signature stripes, is warmer than it appears for the chillier bits of those longer rides. It's also light and packable, so easy to stash away when not required.

Check out our guide to the best cycling gilets for more options.

> Buy now: Rapha Men’s Brevet Insulated Gilet for £160 from Rapha

I'm a big fan of the gilet. I'm on the scrawny side and a chill can go right through me – I'm a slave to the breeze you know, and there are probably only two days a year when it's warm enough for me not to fret about snucking one in a back pocket, or maybe that's just my British weather optimism, so a gilet with a bit more oomph to it for chillier days and cooler evenings looks like it could be tailormade for me.

The Rapha Brevet looks and feels very much like any other gilet in that it's light, scrunches up easily to hide in your rear pocket and fits snug to the body to form a barrier to wind and maybe a bit of rain, and it has large reflective stripes to boot. But hidden inside, and to give it its insulation, is a layer of soft waffled fabric.

2023 Rapha Men's Brevet Insulated Gilet - back.jpg

This Octa insulation has spaces in the waffle pattern to hold onto body heat and give extra warmth while also contributing to its quick drying abilities. It helps towards the gilet's airy feel too as the fabric is 50 per cent lighter than regular polyester materials, apparently. This insulating material lines the front and back of the gilet and it's only connected along the seams, enabling it to hang loose, allowing a barrier pocket of air to sit between the fabrics.

And it works. The Rapha Brevet doesn't look or feel like it's going to be the warmest garment because it's so light and thin, but it's deceptively toasty. It's not as warm as a more padded or quilted winter gilet but it's lighter and easier to leave unnoticed in a rear pocket, and there's a definite thermal benefit over a standard windblocking gilet that might be a similar weight and packability to the Brevet.

For the first and last miles of a ride that might be a little chillier, that insulating layer of extra cosiness is noticeable and appreciated, and for days that never quite warm up, its fit and comfort are very welcome. If you do get a sweat on climbing that last hill home, the waffle fabric dries quickly. Rapha suggests that it's best worn in cold and cooler (2-10°C / 35-50°F) conditions, but I'd say it's more versatile than that and it can also come in handy if you're riding your bike through the slightly fresher hours of a summer morning or evening, or all through the night as its audax tag might suggest you'd like to.

Fabric & features

Both front and back outer material are a lightweight scrunchy nylon that gives both protection against the wind and a little bit of water repellency via its DWR coating. There's no stretch to these so the side panels are a simpler lightweight Lycra to enable both a snug fit and a little breathability.

The Vislon zip has a baffle behind it to halt sneaky teeth-breaching breezes and being two-way helps with both ventilation if needed and easing rear pocket access. Both pull tabs are chunky enough to find with winter gloves.

2023 Rapha Men's Brevet Insulated Gilet - zip.jpg

The neck is cut high to keep chills at bay and is lined with the soft fabric inner which keeps it cosy against the skin. There's also a zip dock to deter chafing.

2023 Rapha Men's Brevet Insulated Gilet - collar.jpg

As well as a hanging loop in the back, there's a much wider 50mm elastic loop that's there to roll the gilet up into and keep it tidily wrapped when it's in your rear pocket.

2024 Rapha Men's Brevet Insulated Gilet rolled up.jpeg

Its not an essential feature that you've missed in all your other gilets but it's really quite handy, and it's where Rapha chooses to put some inspirational words, 'Pack Light, Travel Far' – always got to have some inspirational words somewhere do the Raphas.

Size and fit

I'm usually a medium across all cycle clothing, although sizing down to small quite often these days as manufacturers massage sizes to be flattering, notably in some Rapha clothing. Its sizing guide has me down as a small for this gilet, but this medium fitted perfectly. I am, however, a skinny medium, so if you're into audax for the cake stops (and who isn't?) then you might want to double check sizing.

It comes under Rapha's Classic Fit, which it says is close but relaxed, and that stands true. It's what I'd call on the comfortable side of the scale. It's not shrink-fit tight to the body, which makes it perfect for layering on top of other clothing, as is a gilet's job, and there's plenty of room in it to stretch over rear pockets stuffed with the usual gubbins, and then enough slack to easily pull the gilet up to rummage around in there for snacks when on the move.

2023 Rapha Men's Brevet Insulated Gilet - hem.jpg

It's perfectly cut for time in the saddle, short in the front and extra long in the back, with enough depth to the tail to stretch over bulging rear pockets, with an elasticated hem keeping it in place back there without any riding up.

2023 Rapha Men's Brevet Insulated Gilet - tail.jpg

While the cut is a little on the casual side, and the outer fabric is a little shooshy in the hand, there's no annoying fabric noise or garment flap when up to windspeed, with the elasticated arm holes keeping things taut and helping with this quiet.


Giving almost 360-degree visibility are the signature Rapha stripes round the body, the silver-grey and pink combo on this dark navy version (there are four other colourschemes if you don't fancy this quintessential Rapha look – two greens, pale and olive, light grey and 'deep coffee') helps with visibility during the day but they're also reflective so come alive in headlights at night.

2023 Rapha Men's Brevet Insulated Gilet - shoulders.jpg

Supplementing these stripes are two small reflective tags towards the bottom of the rear of the gilet, in line with a central reflective Rapha logo. There's a small reflective Rapha chest logo, too.


The Rapha Brevet Insulated Gilet faces up toe to toe with the Cafe du Cycliste Maya Unisex Insulated Packable Cycling Gilet in features and intended use, although it's cheaper, which isn't hard. The Cafe du Cycliste uses bulkier down filling to create warmth, which probably explains the price difference (it's £196), but it has a slightly flawed rear pocket. It's weightier than the Rapha gilet by some amount but can still fit into a rear pocket.

The Universal Colours Chroma Insulated Unisex Gilet is a cake stop receipt cheaper at £150. The insulated part is largely confined to the front, where Ali noted in his review that it wasn't particularly windproof, but you do get pockets in the back. The only visibility aid the dark coloured one tested comes with is a reflective logo, which doesn't help much during the day.

The Vulpine Men's Ultralight Quilted Gilet is only £100 but is a far more casual affair, looking more like a normal padded vest than anything cycling specific; it's well weighty in comparison, too. That said, the windproofing and insulation were top notch and it also comes with hand pockets. If your audaxing is of the more steady-paced kind then this could just do.

If you wanted something that was more 'winter jacket with the arms chopped off' than gilet then the Galibier GrandTour Foul Weather Gilet is worth a look. It's also half the price at £69.72. It's a chunky beast that keeps the worst of the weather off and comes with three rear pockets and one in the chest. The downside to this is that it weighs almost twice as much as the Rapha and is a real squeeze to get it in a pocket, which limits its adaptability.


Rapha's Brevet Insulated Gilet is noticeably warmer than your standard gilet, and gets bonus points for being light and rolling up compact enough to stow inconspicuously in a rear pocket. It's not just for winter months but for any time of the year when an extra bit of wind protection with cosy benefits might be required.


Light, easily pocketable and warmer than it might appear, with useful reflective bits test report

Make and model: Rapha Men's Brevet Insulated Gilet

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

Rapha says: "Lightweight and packable active insulation for colder days on the bike"

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Rapha:

Lightweight - Active insulation to maximise warmth to weight, while retaining excellent breathability and moisture management

Packable - Lightweight materials mean the gilet easily fits into a jersey pocket

Wind-resistant - Outer shell provides wind protection without inhibiting breathability

Protection - A DWR coating offers additional protection from rain and road splash

Two-way VISLON® zip - for easy pocket access while riding and option to increase airflow for cooling

Visibility - Reflective stripes for added visibility in low light conditions

How To Wear: To be worn in cold to cool conditions (2-10°C / 35-50°F)

Stretch side panels for optimal fit and comfort

Dual fabric design helps regulate temperature during mid-tempo riding

Main: 100% Nylon

Contrast: 92% Polyester 8%

Elastane Lining: 100% Polyester (57% recycled)

Rate the product for quality of construction:

It's light and flighty but well made.

Rate the product for performance:

Like a gilet, but warmer.

Rate the product for durability:

Standing up to rear pocket stashing, wearing and washing well.

Rate the product for fit:
Rate the product for sizing:

My default sizing is medium, and although Rapha's size guide would have me in a small, the medium was fine.

Rate the product for weight:

Light for a warm gilet.

Rate the product for comfort:

Rapha's Classic fit makes it non restrictive but also non flappy.

Rate the product for value:

It seems a little pricey for a gilet, but it's just a tenner more than the Universal Colours Chroma Insulated Unisex Gilet, and much cheaper than the down-filled Cafe du Cycliste Maya.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Thrown in with everything else cycling on a 30°C wash and no bother.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Great warm torso protection when needed, but light and rolls up small enough to slip unnoticed into a rear pocket.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Light and small in the back pocket, packing strap, reflective stripes, little bit of warm.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

A rear pocket might be nice for easy access to phone or snacks but that's not a deal-breaker for me.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

It's cheaper than the Cafe du Cycliste Maya Unisex Insulated Packable Cycling Gilet, which isn't hard, though that uses bulkier down filling to create warmth which probably explains the price difference, while the Universal Colours Chroma Insulated Unisex Gilet is a cake stop receipt cheaper (£150).

Much cheaper options include the Vulpine Men's Ultralight Quilted Gilet at £100, though that is a far more casual affair, and the Galibier GrandTour Foul Weather Gilet, which is half the price if you wanted something that was more 'winter jacket with the arms chopped off' than gilet.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's very good: noticeably warmer than a standard gilet yet light and able to be rolled up compact enough to stow in a rear pocket. It's versatile too, useful for any time of the year when an extra bit of wind protection with cosy benefits might be required.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 50  Height: 180cm  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: It varies as to the season.  My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

Add new comment


Rapha Nadal | 2 months ago

God, this looks really, really cheap!

Freddy56 | 2 months ago

In my bit of the South west, anyone who appears on the road in the pink stripe, never waves. Is this true of the rest of the country? 

Worse is the Rapha club guys. We have 4 local REAL clubs!

NotNigel replied to Freddy56 | 2 months ago

Nice one.

VecchioJo replied to Freddy56 | 2 months ago

No, the south west is ten years behind the rest of the country and all the too cool to wave kids are wearing MAAP or Pas Normal now.


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