�Up there with the best: a performance jacket that does a great job in the wet and cold. Hard to beat for technical performance at this price.�
Recently, David has pulled a 'reverse roadie' and upped his mileage for Winter season. All was well with temperatures still heading north of 15 Celsius and dry, but it was only a matter of time before fortunes changed. It was time to don the trusty Vapour Jacket from Altura and arrive at work not looking like he had swum across Rutland Water.
�As the first 'proper' wet weather of the winter washes across the country, and the temperatures start to drop away, I've been out testing the Altura Vapour Jacket. From weekend club rides to the punishment of the daily commute, this is a performance jacket that does a great job in the wet and cold conditions many of us will be acing in the months ahead, and, frankly, it surpassed my expectations. Lightweight, highly breathable, waterproof and sporting a stretch fit that is both snug and efficient it's going to be hard to beat for technical performance at this price. I've worn a good number of different road jackets through the years, and in some testing conditions, and this is right up there with the best.
On the road - ????? 5/5
At Rutland our Sunday road rides get us out on the local lanes, zipping along with guys from our Company who have represented their country and ridden in pro-teams on the continent in recent years. They take it easy on us mortals, but, as the heavens opened this Sunday, it was a great chance to see how the Vapour performed when going full gas.
Those used to Altura's rightly famed commuter wear will be most struck by the close cut, the stretch-fit providing a race ready profile. No flapping cape this! Indeed the look and feel, from the membrane inner, was that of a genuine top-end road garment. All-in-all, completely in keeping with my weekend ride, a Giant Defy Advanced SL .Morale suitably boosted, I set off with the team just as the rain hammered down. The elastic cuffs, no Velcro here, and long fit back kept the spray out and, a couple of hours of rain lashing later, I was still completely dry.
Out of the saddle on the climbs around Rutland, even when attempting to keep Hector and Uldis in view, the breathability on top of a thermal base layer and jersey was excellent. The lads in store had tried to explain how this jacket is five times more breathable than comparable garments at this price point, but while trying to quickly grab my energy bars and get out with the group it had all passed me by a bit - all I can say is that, in practice, you don't sweat up anywhere near the rate of the standard sub-£100 jacket.
Not that it did stop raining on this first ride, but, if it had, the Vapour's lightweight minimalism means it can easily be packed away into a back pocket, just like my gilet, which might now be packed away until Spring *unhappy face symbol thing*. So, an unqualified hit on the road run, but what about the bulk of my winter riding, the daily commute?
Coping with a cold commute - ????? 4.5/5
Off the Defy and onto the AWOL, and the weather had conspired to produce a perfect demo week for the jacket: not much rain this week, but some cold, frosty starts for the first time this winter. My commute is a pleasant 8 miles, a rural mix of sharp climbs and twisting descents. The first couple of days I was too rushed to find my overshoes, and my feet were freezing in the morning fog, but my body was kept plenty warm enough by the windproof 2.5 layer material.
In terms of functionality, I found the laser-cut inside chest pocket a nice touch, the perfect size for an iPhone. The downside of this location for the phone is it's way too easy to count all the emails that have arrived before I've reached my desk! Ah well, it's easy to get to for some of these photos of our beautiful countryside up here. The rear-pocket also has a waterproof zip.
While the Vapour does have hi-vis reflective detail, it's obviously not as shouty as a luminous yellow number, so if high visibility is key for you, the Altura Night Vision range would be a better option.
All considered, out on the road I found the design to be thoughtful and functional, always feeling I was in a thoughtfully engineered piece of kit, be it pushing my bike fast at the weekend or engaged in the more pragmatic business of getting in and out of work. The top-end experience comes at a price which, for me, can only be explained by the Altura logo being on the material instead of a more recognised brand when it comes to 'performance'. However, as it genuinely delivers top-end performance, I'd absolutely recommend it to anyone who isn't put off by a bit of the wet stuff, whatever your winter riding demands.�
ALTURA VAPOUR JACKET - TEST REPORT
Make and model: Altura Vapour jacket, black
Size tested: Medium
Who's the product aimed at?
A versatile jacket with a close, performance fit. Best for road cyclists and commuters, or anyone planning to keep riding through the cold and wet this winter
Key technical features:
� Breathable, 2.5 layer stretch fabric
� Close, performance fit
� Rear zip pocket
� Chest phone pouch
� Reflective detail
Overall rating: ????? 4.5 / 5
About the rider:
David has ridden on the road extensively in the UK and Spain, though his main cycling passion and accomplishments lie in long distance touring where his kit has literally been tested to destruction in extreme conditions around the world. He rides a Giant Defy Advanced SL1 and a Specialized AWOL Comp.