Probably best described as a gilet with sleeves, the Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain top is a great choice for damp, chilly mornings, although we would have liked to see more protection for the price.
The Sportful Light NoRain Top is one of the most versatile pieces of clothing we’ve had the pleasure of testing here at Cycling Weekly. A jack of all trades, it’s part jacket, part waterproof, part long sleeve jersey, and part gilet, offering plenty of flexibility for changeable conditions.
Sportful describe the Light NoRain Top as “a vest, only better” and intend it to be used in the same way: worn on top of other clothing for when the weather is a little worse than you’d hoped for, then stuffed in a back pocket when the sun starts to shine.
It’s therefore good to see that the Windshield fabric that is used for the front, shoulders and upper arms provides decent protection while being light and thin enough to pack down to a similar size to a good gilet or light waterproof. However that’s not to say that the fabric is impenetrable, and certainly doesn’t claim to provide much in the way of insulation, but is certainly good enough to cope with a stiff north-easterly and single figure temperature when combined with a decent layer or two underneath.
The back and forearms of the Sportful Light NoRain Top are given a water-repellant finish with the brand’s NoRain Light technology, which aims to keep you dry while not affecting the breathability or stretch of the fabric underneath. In practice this is good enough to cope with a heavy morning’s mist or a few hours of light drizzle, but anything heavier and it’s quickly overwhelmed.
Given the £100 price-tag, the lack of proper waterproofing is a slight disappointment, and you could certainly get hold of a decent waterproof for similar conditions at a fraction of the price. However the excellent breathability of the NoRain Top is a welcome departure from the boil-in-the-bag experience of some waterproofs, while the slim design, particularly on the sleeves, meant it didn’t flap around in the wind.
If there’s one other oversight it’s the lack of rear pockets. Admittedly, in common with a lot of light gilets and waterproofs, the Sportful Light NoRain Top does include zippered openings to access the rear pockets of your jersey, but we can see no reason why Sportful couldn’t have added the sort of sleek slimline pockets also seen on their Light WS Jacket.
Nonetheless this is a great outer layer that you could find yourself sticking in your back pocket at the start of rides for three-quarters of the year in British conditions.
For more details visit the Sportful website.
The Sportful Light NoRain Top is a great outer layer to put on for nippy mornings and chilly descents, offering decent windproof protection and keeping you dry through unexpected showers. However for the price we’d like to see a few more features, such as full waterproofing or rear pockets