Looking for a Winter Jacket

October has come and the rain has arrived. I’ve had a yellow waterproof-breathable for three years now. It’s served me well, but its waterproofness seems to have waned.

So, now I’m looking for a new jacket.

Some things I noticed already: The weekend after the first rains, MEC is nearly sold out of their bike jackets. I guess some other people noticed that their jackets weren’t holding up anymore.

So I headed to on the Rivet and tried some of the models there.

Some of the criteria I’m looking for:

– waterproof: yes, it does rain quite a bit in Vancouver, so even though my commute isn’t that far (9km) I do want to start dry. To achieve this, I couple the jacket with Gore rainpants and booties over my shoes. Colder weather will bring out the gloves as well.

– breathable: yes, absolutely. I do sweat easily, especially on the way to the office when I’ve got some uphills. With ¬†my current jacket, I can’t quite tell whether my sweating or the not-quite-waterproofness is producing more moisture inside the jacket.

– shape: I do want this relatively snug rather than airy. My previous jacket makes a funny fold on my upper arm, so if I could avoid that…

– visibility: really important! There seems to be a continuum from the construction worker’s safety vest (bright colour and lots of reflectors) to the elegant incognito black hipster jacket. I would prefer to err on the side of the safety vest as so much of my jacket-wearing days are grey if not downright dark. Why would I want to adorn my bike with various lights, but then wear an invisibility cloak? It seems, however, that any of the current fashionable jackets err on the side of the invisibility cloak.

– zipper: obviously, as waterproof as possible. If possible, I would like a double-zipper so that I can open the zipper a bit at the bottom, but keep the jacket from flapping. For the same reason, so velcro over the zipper is also nice.

– iPod/cell phone pocket: no, thanks! I don’t own a mobile and never listen to music on the bike

– pockets: yes, it’s nice to have a place to stash keys, bike lights, etc.

– cuffs: tight, though I’m agnostic whether this is just a tight cut or some kind of velcro closure

– collar: tight as I don’t want water running in

– pit zippers: I do sweat easily and I thus find pit zippers very useful for not overheating while riding in a (somewhat heavy) jacket. I suppose if a jacket was REALLY breathable, I’d forego the pit ventilation happily, but I’d have to wear it to believe it…

– hood: no, thanks!

– tail: yes, definitely!