Bit nippy out? Windy? Not too sure if it’s t-shirt weather or not? Until now I’ve always just carried my lightweight waterproof with me, wearing it as a windproof even if it’s dry. This has worked pretty well – sweaty on occasion, but effective enough. Consequently, I’ve never really looked into windproof jackets – my waterproof is waterproof and windproof, so why should I bother? So it was that I embarked upon testing the Shewaddywaddy (for men, there’s the Hewaddywaddy – same features, just a slightly different cut and colour range and a slightly less effective naming pun) from Howies: I liked the look of it, but would it really add anything other than yet another item to my riding wardrobe?
Made of lightweight windproof fabric, with thin PrimaLoft panels on the arms and chest, the jacket is fairly fitted – flatteringly so – but with room to move around comfortably. The PrimaLoft panels really do make a difference to the jacket – putting it on feels instantly cosier, and the panels are in the right place to give added warmth on descents. The PrimaLoft also gives the jacket a bit more substance and structure than if it was just the windproof fabric, and I enjoyed the reduced flapping that resulted.
Cuffs are a simple elasticated affair with comfortable soft tape around them, and managed to be just long enough. The back of the jacket is slightly longer than a normal jacket, meaning it keeps you covered while leaning forward and riding, but this is not so long as to look strange off the bike. In fact, I have worn this jacket off the bike almost as much as on the bike – it is so versatile and easy to carry around. One day I wore it for a mountain bike ride, and the next I wore it to the Royal Albert Hall – I don’t think I smelled or looked out of place.
The back also features a single large zipped pocket. While voluminous, I didn’t find this particularly useful as if filled it felt quite bulky, and a single heavier item such as keys or a multitool made the back of the jacket feel a bit saggy and floppy. It was however handy for a smaller lightweight item such as a pair of gloves, although care was needed when zipping it up as the lightweight fabric tended to get zipped into the zip, and then the zip stuck. What this pocket is most handy for is storing the jacket itself. Simply stuff the whole jacket into the pocket and zip it up, and you have a small lightweight pillow for on your travels, or a handy sized package to stow in your ride pack in case you do need that extra layer. There’s even a message printed on it to encourage you to ride. Other little features I appreciated were the reflective strip alongside the front zip, the small reflective detail on the tail of the jacket, and the pull cord at the back of the neck that allows you to make the neck really snug should you need to.
Between the light weight and the handy pack-into-itself bundle, there’s really no excuse for not carrying this on a ride, even if you don’t think you’re going to need it. I’ve worn the Shewaddywaddy in many different scenarios: on a blue skies deep snow day, with just merino baselayer under; on cold camping trips with other bigger coats over the top; for an evening pootle out to the shops; for windy mountain bike rides; and on an evening group ride where the sun set and mechanical after mechanical meant I was both snug and smug as I pulled the jacket out of my pack.
Having worn it almost constantly since I got it, I have also had cause to wash it on quite a few occasions as it has begun to pong after a few rides with just a thin ride jersey under it. Particularly if there’s no wind chill, this jacket is quite warm, so sweating into it is inevitable if you’re tackling a long climb and generating a lot of heat. Shoving it in the washing machine is no problem, and it dries quickly and has come out smelling fresh. The chain oil I got on the sleeve when lifting the bike awkwardly has not washed off however. The only other visible sign of damage is the small reflective Howies logo, most of which came off within the first week or so of me wearing it.
The jacket does not claim to have any waterproof properties, and indeed wearing it in the wet – and particularly being caught in a shower of sleet – bore this out. It is not warm when wet, and in such conditions an alternative jacket is required. On the plus side, if you do get caught out, it will dry quickly.
As I’ve said, the big pocket wasn’t terribly useful, and on a few occasions I wished it had a small chest or arm pocket suitable for holding a credit card or emergency tenner, but otherwise this jacket does as advertised. It’s windproof, it’s lightweight, and the PrimaLoft gives it that extra bit of instant cosiness that is comforting either on the hillside or in the pub after a ride.
Overall: This is now my go to jacket for dry days, both off and on the bike. Light enough to carry just in case, and warm enough to be grateful for if ‘in case’ happens.
Deals On Shewaddywaddy
|by Hannah for 3 months