The first time I saw someone wearing a rain cape I thought, “wow, that guy looks totally strange, why wouldn’t he just wear a rain jacket like a normal person?” after which I inspected my wet pant thighs and thought a little more about how such a garment could be pretty useful- regardless of how funny one might look wearing it. From a cyclist stand point, there is much to be gained from wearing a rain cape versus a regular rain jacket which the drawing above illustrates pretty well: a dry protected “cockpit” depending on the size and shape, total seat area protection, and some protection for the upper thighs. Some capes even have room to wear a backpack underneath.
Iva Jean is a fairly young company based out of Seattle making cycling-specific rain capes out of a dense coated fabric called Ultrex. Unique to their design is the ability to pull one’s arms from under the cape or through central arm holes. Other notable features are the billed hood and many cord pulls for adjustability.. they also get bonus points for that beautiful porteur bike!
Brooklyn based Postal Co’s version is made from nylon, suitable for all applications but seems more fashion oriented.. NOT cheap!