by Chipps and Singletrack Magazine February 3, 2022 18
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Rab Vapour Rise gets my vote as the best insulated jacket for riding in as it is warm without turning you into a sweaty mess in the way that down does.Two hand pockets, Napoleon pocket, helmet compatible hood and not stupidly expensive either. Sometimes you just have to leave it to the mountaineering kit manufacturers to get it right when it comes to biking gear.
David is spot on – 3 of my group have the rab vapourise ( boys and girls) and all agree that it is great both on and off the bike
VR jackets are great, I’m a big fan, but I’d class it as a softshell rather than insulated
I have both the Alpine and the Summit versions and the latter is a fair bit warmer without being uncomfortably clammy on the bike. I hate down jackets on the bike as they just aren’t suited for riding unless it is absolutely Baltic. The only time I have worn one was on the summit plateau of Ben MacDui.
Mountain Equipment do a Switch Pro jacket with Polartec Alpha which is another cracker as it is designed for ski mountaineering. I have one and love it.
It would be great if bike clothing companies took a leaf out Rab and Mountain Equipment’s book. Design features like under the helmet hoods aren’t great. If I am cold or damp, the last thing I want to do is take my helmet off and try and squeeze a hood in. It’s the same with short cut roadie style jackets which leave your stomach cold when you are off the bike standing up.
If they are charging mountaineering kit prices, the design and quality had to match. Otherwise, you end up paying for an inferior product based on brand image.
I got a Madison DTE for £37… It’s toasty warm, showerproof and packs down tiny. The middle of the back and the hood are a fleecy fabric instead of the quilted style of the front so it doesn’t get sweaty either.
Having re-read the intro I’m not sure where this article is going – jacket to ride in or jacket to survive in when mechanicals, injury, outside cafe / pub mean you need another decent layer? I don’t believe there’s one that does both due to the divergent demands of riding vs not riding.
In winter I’ll usually chuck a tatty old down jacket into my pack that if necessary I can keep on for the slippy, brambly descent from the pub back to my house. So for me the winner here is a cheap down jacket (and ownership of a tumble dryer).
Yeah, I know where you’re coming from. I can only think of one longer ride I’ve done wearing an insulated jacket and that was on the Cairngorm plateau in winter.
Normally, it’s something I’d carry in a bag for stops/pub etc. My long-term go-to has always been the Montane Prism, though I do have an Endura primaloft jacket now too. They also get used for bivvy trips. Normally, the first thing I do when I stop is to put on an insulated jacket and I might leave it on until I set off in the morning 🙂
I got a Madison DTE for £37… It’s toasty warm, showerproof and packs down tiny.
Me too, very impressed with how versatile it is.
jacket to ride in or jacket to survive in when mechanicals, injury, outside cafe / pub mean you need another decent layer? I don’t believe there’s one that does both due to the divergent demands of riding vs not riding
The above-mentioned jacket does a good job of bridging that gap. Much warmer for social or faffy rides where there’s lots of standing around. But still OK for pedaling if you don’t go nuts.
That is a banger of a picture. How about you update your blog soon for those of us who enjoy reading it, i.e. me!
Nailed it in one. Ride jackets and stay warm jackets are two very different beasts. Being perfect for one means compromising for the other.
We need to introduce you to 7mesh Sanny
I’m addicted to my Outflow hoodie
+1 on insulated puffy things are rubbish for riding in.
Mrs_oab has Montane Polartec Alpha that she is loving on cold days – warm without sweaty.
I too carry puffy jacket, buff and hat for stops.
Would have been nice to see an affordable alternative in the test,not all of us can afford these kind of prices
I have the gilet version of this. Would be less good for riding but great for stops
They do one with a hood too
@StuE I’m a big fan of Fjern brand from sportpursuit. There’s loads in the range; I have the Breen jacket which is toasty, shower proof, side venting panels. One for squishing in a camelbak rather than a jersey pocket.
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@sanny – as soon as I do something interesting, I’ll write it up 🙂
I’ve been up to the Arctic in winter a few times riding a fatbike at -20C and below on multi-day, unsupported events. Riding I’d wear a windproof XC ski jacket, a Polartec Alpha gilet and a good base layer – when it got really cold or windy I’d put a shell jacket over the top. At no point did I ride in an insulated jacket as I find they don’t breathe enough / get too sweaty. I put on a down jacket when I stopped.
I have to admit that I am seriously intrigued by what 7Mesh have to offer. I am fortunate enough to have a couple of their waterproof options coming to test but their insulated kit looks mighty fine too. It would be really interesting to see how the likes of their Callaghan hoody or Freeflow jackets stack up. The Outflow looks like a potential option for post ride insulation too.
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