by Tom Hill
April 9, 2014
Why take two jackets into heavy showers when this one will do?
There are about as many different approaches to ‘softshell’ as there are jackets, ranging from near-as-damn-it waterproof membranes to old school fleece-and-Pertex.
The Skyline sits at the membrane end of the spectrum, claiming the ‘Artex’ (the fabric’s brand name, not the dodgy 70s textured ceiling finish) itself is waterproof. It has dealt with deluge after deluge during my winter commutes and kept me warm and dry in some frankly horrible conditions that would normally have had me reaching for a proper waterproof shell. When the fabric has eventually been defeated, it has been in the usual spots – at the seams (which aren’t taped) and near bag straps.
The flip side to this water resistance is that the jacket is not as breathable as some lighter weight softshells. Pit zips and a small zip at the back of the neck help immensely to vent moisture and warmth, but when working hard I found myself overheating, especially in the relatively mild winter weather we’ve had this year. Having said that, breathability was no worse than any other membrane-style softshell that I’ve used.The cut is close-fitting and dare I say, ‘roadie’ in style. Cuff zips and a neat offset main zip are nice touches, as are the huge reflective strips down each arm. The chest pocket is just the right size for a smartphone and sports a headphone cable port. My only major gripe is with the rear pockets, which are too shallow and baggy. On the one ride I risked using them to stow the usual essentials, pump, tube, tool and tyre levers all bounced out on a road descent. Not ideal.