I'm going to be open and honest about the weather gear here, the Caterham Cars supplied full hood is fine, it's well made and an acceptable fit. It's just... well a nightmare getting in and out of the car when fitted. It probably doesn't help that I might be carrying more body mass than I'd like, but I still maintain this is an accurate statement for most 7 owners. The flexibility needed to get in and out, plus dodging a hot exhaust makes the full gear pretty intolerable to use. The full hood is also fairly bulky in the boot too, so not ideal if you are going touring. Putting the full hood up is a pain as well. It's a proper 5 to 10 minute job, I won't bore you with the process, it's not that interesting!
A better option is a half hood, these are slightly more accommodating when getting in and out. The full hood hoops aren't required, allowing the half hood slightly more flex as you lift yourself out. Putting the half hood on takes a fraction of the time too, especially since it doesn't need the hoops. Plus a half hood is easily stored on top of the boot cover when not in use.
Back in April I purchased a half hood from Thundersport, it's now my goto weather gear and I feel all that's needed if the British weather let's me down.
The material and finish of the Thundersport hood is first class. I believe Thundersport or as it's commonly know Oxted Thundersport is the supplying trimmer for Caterham Cars. The material used is the same as that supplied to and subsequently supplied by Caterham.
Installation is a doddle!
The hood is supplied with two different types of securing straps. The first is placed onto one of the roll bar mounts using an eye.
The second strap fits onto the rear roll bar mount using a simple loop.
They then all clip onto the hood as shown.
Tension in the hood is then provided by adjusting the length of the strap and securing with the integrated velcro fasteners. The hood fixes at the front using the standard windscreen poppers.
With the hood fitted and the side screens closed the cabin is quite cosy. Heat is retained inside the cockpit and there's little in the way of a draft. I never driven in heavy rain, but can say for sure the hood prevents light rain from entering into the cabin. The rear opening doesn't seem to suffer any ingress of rain which is very surprising. I really do recommend one. If you've just purchased your 7, I'd suggest getting one on order ASAP, leave the full hood at home!
There is an alternative supplier, Softbits for Sevens. They manufacturer a similar hood with a greater variety of options including a zip out section in the roof which makes ingress and egress even easier. I might consider fitting a Softbits hood to my 620R as an interesting comparison.