It took me while to figure out what this jacket – or is it a jersey? – was for. Is it for riding in? Or for sitting in the cafe afterwards? Is it for roadies, or mountain bikers? Does it have a place in my wardrobe, or not?
It looks and feels great. It’s a subtle black and grey design, with very little by way of reflective detailing and no bright colour panel (although you can get it in pink if you prefer). It’s all quite ninja. I really like the high collar that’s almost like a snood – it feels cosy when zipped right up, and thanks to the hidden magnets inside the tips it becomes a non-flappy collar should you want to unzip a little. The cuffs are double thickness and made of a nice soft stretchy fabric, and the length of them adds to the soft and cosy feel.
The bottom of this jacket/jersey has more of the same soft and stretchy fabric, and there’s a small rear zipped pocket hidden round the back, the right size for a key or bank card. The front of the jacket features two more pockets, positioned so you could put your hands in them if you wanted, or open them for a little ventilation.
The body of the jacket is made from Windstopper fabric in two slightly different shades – more grey on the body and black on the arms – and has a fabric finish on the inside that is soft against the skin. It’s quite a soft and flexible Windstopper fabric – not at all stiff and bulky – so it is comfortable and lightweight to wear. Pink is not quite absent from this stylish offering – the fabric linings to the pocket are pink, and there’s an embroidered pink cross on each pocket and a star on one cuff.
So it’s Windstopper, and it’s quite snugly cut, and it’s soft against the skin…so it’s a jersey? Well, it can be – although I recommend a baselayer as I found it got a bit sticky in there once I worked up a bit of heat. But it’s sold as a jacket? Well, it is, but it’s not roomy enough to fit over any bulky layers – at least mine in a size 38 wasn’t. It’s also quite short in the body, so putting it over things tended to result in any underneath layers sticking out. I kept trying it out in various combinations, and did eventually strike on conditions where this top was just right.
First up, summer commutes. Those days when the mornings are still cool, but by the time you head home the air is warm and the sun is out. A summer jersey under this top in the morning was just right, and then the Gore top packed easily and lightly away in my pack for the ride home. The other circumstances this top was just right for were cold, dry days in spring and autumn. Days that are too cold for just a jersey and gilet, but not actually wet.
A merino layer or two underneath and the Windstopper fabric and cosy cuffs and collar really kept the chills at bay without me stewing in my own juices. Stop, and I’d want another layer, but for while you’re pedalling and generating heat – on an XC ride maybe – this was just right. The short back meant that in an extended drop-bar position it wasn’t so good, but for a more upright position, or with a bibshort layer underneath to prevent any gaps, I felt cosy without adding a lot of bulk.
It’s also water repellent enough to handle a few splashes from the trail or even a light drizzle. On rides where previously I’d have worn a waterproof for added warmth and wind protection, this top has been handy, and more breathable than a waterproof option.
So it does have its place, but it’s not cheap for a jersey/jacket that in many instances could be swapped for a gilet and thermal arm warmers. But it is convenient, easy to throw on, and I’ve found myself reaching for it again now that the wet winter months are (hopefully) behind us.
A nice-to-have luxury rather than an essential wardrobe item, the Gore Power Trail Windstopper Jacket is ideally suited to cool and dry spring mornings. It’s lightweight and packable, so unless the forecast calls for a downpour, this is a good item to stow in the bottom of your riding pack. I would like to see a more pronounced dropped tail at the back, along with slightly longer sleeves too. Otherwise it’s made to the typically high standards of a product wearing the Gore brand name, and the fabric feels lovely and offers good wind protection.
|Product:||Power Trail Lady Windstopper Softshell Jacket|
|Tested:||by Hannah for 10 months|