January 16, 2017
£350 is a lot of money, so Tom investigates to find out whether you should spend it on the Gore One GTX waterproof cycling jacket.
Let’s get the inevitable discussion point out of the way… the Gore One GTX Pro jacket is expensive. VERY expensive. £350 expensive. BUT, having lived and worked in the outdoors for a few decades now, I have learnt that when it comes to outerwear and protection from the elements, yet not wanting to ‘boil in the bag’, one gets what they pay for.
So, is this jacket worth £350?
This jacket is part of the Gore-Tex Pro range which is “engineered for the extreme’”, a claim I was really wanting to put to the test. The winter, so far, in Scotland has been weirdly mild which has been perfect for riding in this jacket as it has meant mud, grit and sweat as opposed to dry and cold.
As soon as I took the Gore One GTX Pro jacket out of the cellophane wrapper the quality was evident. Compared to many jackets that I have seen, and used, the outer surface has a very durable and robust feel to it. I often ride with a back pack, and thusly wear on the shoulders and lower back happens quickly due to the sandpaper rubbing effect that occurs as mud and grit gets sandwiched between the jacket and pack. So far, after many rides, a lot of mud and no washing of the jacket, there is not a single sign of premature wear.
Likewise, the jacket has been scratched by tree branches, had a mad springer spaniel jump up and drag it’s claws down it and experienced inadvertent abrasions with the ground yet it has shrugged it all off in its path. Marketing claim #1, “engineered with added durability to withstand abrasion in rugged environments while protecting against extreme and unpredictable conditions” – tick.
With the fabric durability comes a slight compromise; it is not the lightest or most packable jacket on the market but I will counter that in that it is not being sold as such. Marketing #2; “the Gore Pro fabric uses patent-pending, multi-layer ePTFE membrane system combined with Micro Grid Gore Backer technology that reduces internal snag resistance and enhances garment breathability“. How’s that for a dinner party one-liner?
Anyway, wearing this jacket in temperature ranges from -2°C to 12°C, I have only ever needed a base layer underneath. The ability to cut out any breeze is outstanding. Even with perspiration occurring, chilling because of the wind was simply not a factor. As it gets warmer, any jacket will struggle to effectively shift all the moisture of a sweating adult. In order to address heat build up, the Gore One GTX Pro also has two huge side venting zips to allow air circulation around the body. Simple, yet effective. Performance against marketing claim #2 – tick.
I hate hoods. They create noise, can restrict your view when turning your head but most annoyingly they can flap around behind you and act like an airbrake on a jet plane. I also understand there is a time and a place for hoods and hunkering down at the top of a mountain in bleak conditions waiting for a shower to pass through is one of them. Somehow, this hood does none of those annoying things. Due to the heavier weight of the material it simply sits tucked behind your neck, offering a bit of protection from any breeze until the moment you need it.
The only problem is that it doesn’t fit over a helmet. The cut of the jacket is quite slim so trying to pull the hood all the way over the helmet it starts cutting into the armpits. Under the helmet, no problems, but it then isn’t the most comfortable. A disappointment but for me certainly not a deal breaker as the only time I use a hood is absolute necessity and then I will probably be hiding from the elements as much as possible so the helmet can come off.
Black is not everyone’s shade / colour choice; I am personally not a fan of the euro fluro that seems to have encompassed the mountain bike market in the past 18 months, so a nice subtle black, with effective reflective patches in key areas and minimalist branding is quite refreshing. That said, the GTX Pro is not shy of features. The jacket has two front zipped pockets, a zipped chest pocket ideal for a mobile phone or suchlike, a lovely high and fleece-lined collar, zip garages and a storable drop tail that can keep your derrière that bit cleaner.
The great thing about this jacket is it will work in so many situations. Whether it’s a quick blast, or a huge all day mountain epic, this is a jacket that stands up in all seasons. I can honestly say I have abused this jacket; it has no care or attention, gets covered in mud, has been rinsed and washed, and yet still repels water like it is brand new and doesn’t mean I end up in a sweaty mess at the end of a ride. I have also used it to walk the dog, hike in the hills and I can imagine it would also be a fantastic outer jacket for snow sports. With the Gore ‘Guaranteed to Keep You Dry Promise’ if you aren’t impressed they will replace it or refund you – I don’t think they will see many of these back under that!
A jacket is a jacket right, and what jacket is worth £350? This one. This jacket is one I am convinced will last, as the marketing claim, for a very long time. If it lasts three winters as muddy and as abrasive as the current Scottish one that’s just over £100 a year and suddenly that doesn’t sound as bad for performance as good as this. It is also far more versatile than just a jacket for biking so once again, if you have multiple jackets for multiple activities, this is one that can do it all and brings that unit price down as coat hanging space becomes greater. I have been overwhelmingly impressed with the performance of this jacket, the hood is a minor personal niggle; the price is purely reflective of the technologies, performance and you-get-what-you-pay-for.