Just in time for Vancouver’s “Bike to Work Week” I’ve decided that I didn’t want to wait any longer and get wait in my old winter/rain jacket.
On the expert advice of Karen (on the Rivet), I bought a Gore Oxygen GT AS. The main selling point (beyond the advice and reports of other happy commuters) was the lightness, waterproofness and breathability of the fabric, Active Gore-Tex.
My main doubts and criteria not fulfilled that I was looking for: double-zipper, some kind of pocket, pit zipper, velcro closures, many reflective patches.
I was delighted to see “Engineered in Germany” stamped in the jacket and the “Made in Turkey” is just fine with me as well.
So, early Monday morning and lo and behold it’s raining (this is Vancouver in almost-November after all). Over the weekends I saw some reports from German football (Bayern finally lost) that featured games in snow already and parts of Canada have had snow for weeks now, of course, so not complaining too much about the rain. It was welcome today in any case as it gave me an opportunity to wear the new jacket.
Here are impressions from the first ride:
- the jacket is obviously super light. Really quite amazing compared to my previous jacket.
- The snug cut makes it feel even more like you’re just standing there in a t-shirt and I was wondering whether that would be a good thing.
- Speaking of the cut, this is the only garment I own, I think, that is an XXL. Seems like they got the sizing scale slightly wrong.
- The main zipper tab is fairly small, so best to zip up before putting on the gloves.
- The cuffs stretch very nicely across the (gloved) back of the hand, this seems like a really good fit.
- The grey letter on the sleeve (supposedly this is reflective despite the grey colour) turns up on the arm so even if it is very reflective, it won’t do much good except for to warn helicopters with searchlights, perhaps.
- The tail stretches nicely down across the bum, both standing but even more so sitting.
- When sitting on the bike, the fit is really good! Tight in all the right places, but not pulling. Quite a surprise as I was skeptical initially.
- You notice how good the fit is when you sit up straight (“Look, ma, no hands!”) and the cut is no longer ideal.
- I’m not fond looking at black sleeves (in this grey, semi-dark morning), but am somewhat reassured by the red of the main body of the jacket (unfortunately, green was sold out).
- One of the best things about jacket/fit is the collar. It has a stretchy part in the back that goes up the neck a little and this certainly seems to work well. No cold air coming in at the collar, nor rain, but at the same time it feels much less tight (when turning the head) than my previous jacket.
- The only iffy spot in the fit: the jacket is quite short. Of course, that means it’s nicely out of the way at the hips, but I thought I felt a bit of a draft of air coming in on my sides, heading for kidney areas. Remember, as a German, I’m particularly susceptible to drafts.
- Water pearls in very small beads on the fabric.
- The zipper for the cuffs is placed just right, down on the inside where you could keep it open for the intended venting function.
- Now, the big questions: waterproof? Yes, absolutely. It wasn’t a severe downpour, but for part of the right it did rain hard.
- Breathability: hm… Definitely a bit moist on should blades, pecs, pits. But, admittedly, I wore one layer to think underneath, a thicker merino layer, rather than the lighter layer that would have been more appropriate, but is in the wash. So no verdict on that quite yet, just some doubts.
- Arrived at work, the water shook off and I am not at all worried about putting on a clammy jacket late this afternoon.