Jacket justice from the members

Bikemagic Bikemagic

We’ve had two weeks of intensive winter jacket testing but they’re still coming in thick and fast. We’re taking a short break (if only to wash our thermal vest before the environmental health men come back to Scoop’s kennel), but here’s your assembled anorak wisdom.

Hi Guy,
I’ve had a Polaris StormLite for about 4 years (during which it has seen
daily use through each winter for commuting) and have found it excellent.
The jacket is well-designed with various features: constructed from fully
waterproof and breathable Hydrovent fabric, fully taped seams, double storm
flap over the front full length zip, one pocket within the storm flaps,
detachable hood, extended back and longer length arms to suit the cycling
stance, adjustable hem draw cord, elasticated and Velcro adjustable cuffs
and Scotchlite reflective patches on elbows and back.
Construction is good,
the only problems so far being the loss of one of the press-studs from the
storm flap and the disintegration of the hanging loop on the back, both of
which have happened pretty recently. In use the jacket is waterproof and
quite breathable but occasionally on long climbs I wish there were some vent
All in all, a great jacket for the price. The only slight caveat I
would put on it is that I’ve heard people say on the forum that the quality
of manufacture isn’t as good now as it used to be, so I’d advise checking it
out before you buy.
Al Freeman

Endura Dakota:
Cobalt blue, discreet scotchlite piping, figure hugging. Perfect for walking
the 2 miles to the pub and back, although you do get some funny looks when
you’ve got to undo three zips and pull it over your head to take it off.
The front zip is so big that if you’re patient, you can even pull it on and
off without removing your helmet, but that’s definitely not the sort of
thing you should try in the pub.
Keeps me dry, the fabric looks fairly tough (I’ve not had a chance to “test”
it’s strength properly yet) but it’s boil in the bag hot March to October.
The upside is that it is perfect from November to February, even with just a
thin fleecy base layer underneath.
It doesn’t bundle up into a particularly small erm, bundle either, so should
you be boiling in the bag you’ve got a big bundle to bundle around for the
rest of the ride.
I like this jacket. It’s blue, and it keeps me warm & dry all through

Parrot windproof pertex shell thing:
Summer type thing, well cut, but wets out quickly when the rain gets heavy.
Did a reasonable job of being an outer layer for about 6 months until those
nice ambulance men took the scissors to it.

Scoop a question for you:
£80 for a winter jacket + £50 for a shower proof = £130 for a whole year’s
Does £130 buy you a jacket you can wear all year round?
And how gutted would you be if you fell off and put a hole in it?
Gary Ewing

Dear Mr Doggy Dog,
For the last 2 winters, I’ve used an Altura Nevis but having stacked big
time in the lakes two weekends ago, It will now leak at the elbow and
shoulder (!)
I have however been impressed with the jacket overall and it has
withstood some decent stacks in the past. I thought it would be a good
‘in between’ jacket for spring/autumn but since buying it, it’s the only
jacket I’ve used. The construction is simple with no useless features
such as chest pockets/hoods etc. and is perfect for anyone who, like me,
stores everything in the Camelbak anyway. There are no pockets but the
jacket is lined and construction is of a high standard.

The jacket is waterproof/windproof and very comfortable but does not
insulate well as there is no insulation or padding. I do tend to
generate a lot of heat when cycling anyway and find that by using a
layering system, this jacket is the ideal shell. The pit zips are of a
good size and easy to use and the jacket features a fleece lined collar
and elasticated cuffs for when you want to keep draughts out.
Good value at £50.00 ish, but I found the back tended to ride up a bit
on long hauls, leaving the lower back a bit chilly.
Don’t know what to buy next as I will need a replacement once the collar
bone has healed – thinking of trying a Ground Effect Flash Gordon.
Hope this review is helpful.
Adrian (4 assed) Hiley.

IMHO there’s no way of keeping dry. If you wear waterproof, you drown in
sweat, if you don’t, the rain gets you. And IME Gore-Tex simply doesn’t
I concentrate on keeping warm rather than dry by lots of thin layers.

I’ve worn whatever I can get my hands on to stop freezing water getting into
my pits. At the ‘value’ end of the market are bin bags. These are
surprisingly good, just make a head hole and two arm holes and away you go.
They double as mats to dry your shoes on when you get home as well. Pretty
boil-in-the-bag, and can be noisy/flappy/easily damaged though. A bit pants
in fierce winds too.
My main recommendation is the Endura ‘Dakota’ Jacket. I think this retails
for £80. I’ve had mine for 4 years, and it’s knackered now, but lasted
longer than most of my kit.
Breathes really well
Pretty waterproof when new (keep it that way with Tech-Wash)
Looks good on and off bike
Great bike fit (slim, longer arms, low bum)
Full length pit-zips for great ventilation AND YOU CAN ACTUALLY ZIP THEM UP
AND DOWN ON THE FLY. This has bugged me on other jackets.
Quite stack-proof
Adjustable cuffs
Nice fleecy collar
Little nosh pocket in the front.
Laminated proofing comes off after a while – in high wear areas (cuffs,
shoulder strap area if you do a lot of riding with courier bags).
Inner mesh liner gets snagged if you put it on when it/you are damp
Elastic waist adjuster band is fragile
Snot wipes show up on sleeves if you buy a Red one.
Really well designed jacket for price. Top for riding on/off road and for
generally wearing about. Thinking about buying another so must be okay.

My first jacket and still have it [what is it Steve?]
Price: around £50 so not bad.
Breathability: not too good. Gets very wet inside. Big air vents at the arm
pits (zip sometimes problematic) and at the back (not much use when you have
a camelback).
Windproof: good.
Waterproof: good (gets wetter inside!)
Overall: get what you pay for. A good buy if you don’t want to fork out too
much. Feels solid and after loads of falls it is still in good nick. Handy
wee zipped pocket for the mars bar! I’m now looking for another jacket
that’s a bit more breathable but I’m not in a great hurry as the jacket does
the job well enough.

Expensive jacket (bought for £160 in 1998)…is it
worth the dosh?
Yes…simple answer.
Things to like about the jacket;
Feature packed it is crammed with the following stuff:
Single layer gortex with double layer on sleeves and
shoulders. Waterproof for hours and windproof.
Two zipped rear pockets (large)
Retractable flap for keeping you butt dry.
Two way zip
Storm flap
Voluminous chest pocket (can carry a OS map and much
Mesh lined for moisture removal
Detachable hood
Reflective piping on shoulders and sleeves
Pit zips
Tough durable outer keep the rain outside.
Elastic (one handed) drawcords on hem and waist.
Can rollup relatively small (easily strapped to back
of backpack of Camelback.
Things to not like about the jacket.
Cuffs have elastic and velcro fastening??? This limits
how far the sleeves can be rolled up.
You will get hot despite the breathable fabric, even
with the pit zips open. It is not a jacket for summer
Hood does not have a wire brim.
Test environments:-<br.
The worst of the UK’s cold wet wintry weather. On and
off road.
Extreme cold and snow (were talking minus 20 here)
Tropical rainstorms
Mopuntain thunderstorms
Used for commuting and off road jaunts.
Used as a jacket whilst hiking from Scotland to Devon
and the Rockies to the Blue Mountains.
It may be a little bulky but it keeps you dry when
it’s p*ssing down. It has not torn when crashed in.
It keeps me wind free and dry.
For 160 notes it is a great buy one. I reckon will last
me for another 3 years and more.
Not sure if the model has been superceded but I think
you can still buy something very similar from online

Amazon Parrot Shell…£90 in 1998/9<br.
Things to like;
Pertex shell with microfleece liner. windproof,
showerproof and warm (even in 20 below sonwstorms)
Elastic cords at hem and neck.
Side vents with two way zips
Huge rear pockets which can store a waterbottle each
and more.
Front tube pocket (zipped)<br.
Long Neck zip (this is a pullover)
This is a local jacket (local to Chester anyway)
Things not to like;
When reversed you don’t get the pockets
A little bulky to carry (but you can carry it strapped
to a pack or Camelbak.
Test environments:-
The worst of the UK’s cold wet wintry weather. On and
off road.
Extreme cold and snow (were talking minus 20 here)
Tropical rainstorms
Mopuntain thunderstorms
Used for commuting and off road jaunts.
Used as a jacket whilst hiking from Scotland to Devon
and the Rockies to the Blue Mountains.
This is the jacket to use all year round, I carry it
as my emergency raingear and use it in the colder
months as insulation. The reversible nature of the
jacket and the side zips allow wide range of
temperatures to be comfortable…for colder weather
wear the fleece inside, for warmer weather wear the
jacket inside out.
I have been wearing it inside out during my 5am cycle
I love it, I keep wanting to buy a new cold weather
jacket, but each time I do I realize the Amazon has
all the features I need. It is a great value jacket
simple in design but providing effective features.
So with two jackets I have my cycling needs catered
for all year around, and if it’s sunny and hot then I
have no ned for either (wahay!!!)

Superb jacket, cut like that british classic the Buffalo but in a non-insulated and coolmax lined waterproof fabric. Side zips mean there is nothing to stop the drape of the fabric over the belly section which aids comfort and function. Looks good and works well, need I say more.
John Betterton

I have found my karrimor O2 stretch to be fantastically waterproof, over the past year of riding. In my opinion the ultimate jacket to have with you on upland moors/fells, as if everything goes shit shaped, then you feel confident that you can get home without hypothermia. (call me paranoid, but when youve seen people caught out by a suprise 10 degree temp drop, howling gale and snowstorm, you learn that its better to carry it & not use it, than not have it when needed)

Kieran Foster

Lowe Alpine, Lowe Alpine, Lowe Alpine.
There that’s off my chest! I couldn’t recommend this make more. I have used Lowe alpine for over 6 years now, and they are great. Totally waterproof, totally windproof, incredibly breathable, very light and comfy. They provide an excellent fit and excellent features for a very reasonable price.

I have used them standing on the top of a 6000 metre peak in the Alps in blizzard conditions at -40 degrees C.
I have used them walking in summer showers without sweating!
And of course I have used them on my bike in numerous locations, including Scotland – say no more!
Not once has a Lowe Alpine leaked on me, nor have I ever sweated in one.
Even mountain rescue are now beginning to use them, that must say something for them.
So there you go, get a Lowe Alpine, and get out.
(Although if it rains, whilst on a MTB trip, I would usually rather just get wet that wear any coat!)


Sorry, among my ramblings a couple of days ago about Lowe Alpine coats, I did in fact mean Lowe Alpine Triple Point Ceramic, rather than just any old Lowe Alpine coat. For it is these coats that are both waterproof and breathable. I don’t know if they do a non-triple point ceramic, but if you get one to test make sure it is a triple point ceramic.

For about ten years I used an old pile and pertex number, basically a
Buffalo rip off, it was cheap, cheerful and seemed to work fine in all
sorts of nasty conditions – and it saw plenty.
When it finally expired, about a year ago, I bought a Pace Winteractive,
which has been a revelation.
By comparison with my old jacket it seemed very lightweight, but it keeps
out the wet and I’ve needed to use the ventilation flaps every ride to stop
me boiling. The only slight niggle is that it’s a bit of a faff to get on
and off – but make no mistake, this is a top class bit of kit.
Love and Kisses
Marc Gledhill

My current winter setup is a mixture of 2 jackets…
A 7 year old Pace Ultrafleece – cost about £70 back then and is
superb…except it’s purple!!! And on top of that I use a £25 Penn Sport
waterproof-ish jacket…not breathable at all but keeps me very warm and
dry…I just open the zip on both jackets and that tends to allow me to
breath without getting well sweaty.
I’m after a new jacket so I’ll follow this and use it as my basis for
begging for my birthday!!!
Dick Barton

Best one has to be the Altura Nevis. Genuinely WATERproof (tested in Wales
and French Alps), pit zips, back vents, reflective logos, LED
light loop, drop tail to keep yer rear dry, drawstring collar. 2001
model has velcro cuffs and drawstring waist too.
I went all fashion victim and bought a pimpy, expensive Raceface jacket.
Used it twice in rain, discovered it had the protective properties of
tissue paper, and started borrowing my girlfriends Nevis. Eventually
had to buy one for myself! Half my club (roadie and MTB) own them now
that we’ve had a chance to see them in action.
Its main problem is its too cheap, if it cost 90 quid and had a “cool”
name more people would buy it, but for 50 quid its got to be rubbish,

Race Face Aqualite
Value for money showerproof, that keeps all but the worst showers out – cool
styling, and it survives plenty of scrapes too.
For a full review see www.sussex-mtb.co.uk clothing reviews section.
Robert Doick

Dear Scoop
I arm wrestled this jacket off Roger Dillon for setting up an event for him
in 94.
I wanted a Blueberry one, but after several months I was happy to accept any
The jacket is light, has it’s own stuff sack, has a fold back hood, and a
shock corded drop back, and is still totally waterproof; and I don’t seem to
sweat in it.
It’s perfect!
I still don’t much like the colour, though it is highly visible {Apple
I’m not sure why they changed it; possibly it’s successor was cheaper to
£85, Pertex


Next up in *Jackets

Waterproof Jacket from Pace put to the test