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Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: Rab Windveil Jacket

Having your son as a stoker means that you can't ride with worn out bedraggled clothing any more. When he was just 4 years old, Bowen poked his finger in the hole in my bike shorts. Then during the winter bike tour, he told me that my jacket now had holes in it. That jacket, the Pearl Izumi Zephyr, is now out of production, having been replaced by an exceedingly expensive Pearl Izum Elite Barrier. Here's the thing: nice as the Pearl Izumi was, it had several issues: it wasn't waterproof, and it didn't pack into its own little pocket (I had to replace it once because it fell out of my jersey pocket), and now it's expensive too?! Forget it. I decided to broaden my horizons and look for stuff that wasn't necessarily cycling specific.

The Rab Windveil came with exceedingly good reviews, including claims that it was waterproof! The specific model is now out of production, but a coupon code net me free shipping and a sub Pearl Izumi price on campsaver.

On arrival, the material seems much thicker than the Pearl Izumi Zephyr was. It also weighed more, coming in at 136g instead of the 76g the Zephyr weighed. It comes with a hood and zippered pockets, which the Zephyr does not have. The hood would catch wind when cycling, but it also had a little bucket that could be used to roll it up and tuck it away. (In practice, this failed and the hood would catch wind anyway!)

I used it on Saturday's LDT ride. On top of Patterson pass, with strong wind blowing against us, I put it on and rolled down the hill exceeding 37mph. It was fast and when we turned I immediately warmed up, which told me that the jacket did a good job of warmth retention, but I wanted to push it and so kept it on in the sun to see how breathable it was, and almost made it all the way up to the 580 intersection before I got warm enough to stop to shed it.

The zippers and outside pocket don't seem to be very useful for cycling, but I could see using it for hiking/backpacking. The same goes for the hood. I've retired the Pearl Izumi to my clothes drawer as a backup and switched to carrying the Windveil in my handlebar bag, which is an implicit recommendation. It's not ideal by any means, but if it truly is waterproof I think it's a real winner.

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