There are a whole bunch of waterproof, cycling specific, jackets to choose from. The numbers and types all claiming to be waterproof and breathable is staggering. The Gore PacLite Jacket is right there at the top of the market and is made from a lightweight type of GoreTex which has the reputation of shifting more water, as perspiration vapour, than any other garment on the planet. GoreTex is at the forefront of waterproof breathable wear being the company to invent this type of fabric.
GoreTex is expensive and PacLite one of the more expensive types due to its light weight and packability. Ideal material for high activity sports like mountain biking where large amounts of perspiration are produced.
FeaturesSo what are the main features of this PacLite jacket?
Straight away you can tell it is a cycling specific jacket with its short front, long back with drop down tail and long arms. The wrist cuffs have Velcro fastening and the full length jacket’s zip has a double storm fold over protection with Velcro fastenings too. No water is going to get in there. The back has massive shoulder/back ventilation which you can put your hand through! The jacket has no lining and it’s inside surface is shiny. Along the lower back is a horizontal zip with a pocket for putting in essential stuff. The neck cuff is high and there is a velcro attachment for a hood at additional cost. The whole thing can pack away into its own integral pocket. There are no other pockets in this garment.
Using the PacLiteThis is a comfortable jacket which is waterproof and the does the job it is supposed to do which I have used for the past 5 years. It is billed as a high activity jacket but I find that I still sweat a lot in this. In the depths of winter it is obviously far less. I struggle in summer rain not to overheat and doesn’t seem to shift that much more water than other jackets I have worn. Removing layers under the jacket, to prevent overheating, is the answer but the jacket becomes very uncomfortable on the arms against the skin, due to the lack of a lining. This type of GoreTex has pretty well no thermal properties, so in the winter after a long hard climb you will very quickly become extremely cold. And this seems to sum it up. Too hot or too cold!
And so I come to that great big “rip” in the back! What is it there for? Well presumably ventilation. With a CamelBak on it is pretty well useless. So you pay for a jacket with a massive hole in? Gore would have done better to produce a jacket with specific ventilation zips under the arms and/or on the main body slightly to the rear, so that the rider can control the temperature much more effectively. And at this price that isn’t too much to ask. I have never used the rear pocket as I can’t get to it without stopping and removing my CamelBak. A vertical zip entry into a pocket would make much more sense. The drop down tail would seem like a good idea for those not using mud guards. But when you sit on it every time you remount, your backside gets very soggy and becomes something else to snag!
The VerdictIt’s a great looking jacket, comfortable, very waterproof, breathable and easily as good as the competition. I would like to see ventilation zips in at this price and a thin lining. A couple of small pockets at the front would also be good and would make this jacket a little more versatile than it is.
Is it worth £145? Absolutely not. There are plenty of other jackets out there for half the price which do just as good a job. This jacket is not twice as good! When I ride in such an expensive jacket, I worry about taking a spill and ripping it!! My last jacket was a Karrimor which I used for over 10 years at half the price and just as good. (but sadly Karrimor is not the company it was). I have to say the packability of this garment is very good.