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Howies Outback Jacket Review

08:45 14th October 2013 by James McKnight @JamesMcKnighty
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The Outback jacket from howies is a stylish softshell perfect for autumn’s changeable weather.

Howies Outback jacket.

Howies Outback jacket.

As the autumn riding season takes over, the potential choices for kit each and every time you head out the door on your bike is going to be as varied as the weather. It’s going to rain a bit, it’s going to be a tad chilly, and the wind will likely pick up. That jacket you bought for torrential downpours last winter is going to make you sweaty and overheat, whereas wearing too few layers without an external barrier to the elements will leave you cold, tired and not-so-keen for the next ride. That’s where softshell jackets come in, and the Outback from howies fits in to that category nicely.

Howies Outback jacket

Photos: Ben Winder

The Outback was so popular in the early part of 2013 that the company sold out and have only recently taken delivery of the new stock – popularity is surely testament to a great product? The jacket is soft, comfortable, stretchy and looks good too.

A word used regularly in howies’ blurb about the Outback is ‘dry’ – the name of the game for windy autumn riding and important from the inside as well as the outside. The jacket’s Merino wool inner and Schoeller 3Dry outer materials do a good job of ensuring that; the natural wool is famed for its sweat wicking properties and the outer Schoeller material keeps light showers where they belong on the outside.

The 3X Dry fabric keeps out light showers, but this isn't a full-on waterproof.

The 3Dry fabric keeps out light showers, but this isn’t a full-on waterproof.

One thing the Outback won’t do is to keep you dry in heavy rain, but howies never hint that it will. It’s definitely ‘water resistant’ as opposed to fully waterproof, but that’s what you get with a softshell and ultimately not what you are looking for in an autumn weather garment. It also has a ‘dirt resistant finish’ – although having ridden in the recent slop around our base in Monmouth we are a little sceptical of that particular claim.

On the bike the Outback does everything it needs to. It is certainly comfortable thanks to the stretchy material – that’s 6% spandex, 20% wool, 74% Polyamide incidentally – and it’s a nice cut, which hugs the body but not to the extent of ever feeling ‘tight’. The sleeves are a good length too – not so short that they’ll ride up the arm but also not long enough to be baggy. We’ve ridden some softshells that are far too hot for anything but the coldest weather – not autumn conditions – but this isn’t one of those, once again the word ‘comfortable’ comes to mind as it keeps you warm and safe from the elements but not to the point of overheating. You can tell that your money, admittedly a substantial amount at £135, is paying for quality design.

Three pockets, all zippered, one on the chest and two hand pockets.

Three pockets, all zippered, one on the chest and two hand pockets.

Features-wise this is a simple softshell, without any optional venting and no rear pockets. It does however have two zippered hand pockets and a chest pocket with internal headphone port to keep your tunes rocking and motivation levels high.

It looks good enough to be worn casually too.

Verdict

As howies word it, it’s a ‘weatherproof’ jacket that will keep you warm and comfy during days out on the bike in changeable weather. It’s a nice bit of kit.

Price: £135
More information: Howies Outback jacket

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