Giro Primaloft Insulated Vest – review

Strong thermal qualities with tons of storage, though it's not cheap

During autumn I always find that the point where you need to move up from simple windproofing to full-on insulation is a difficult one to gauge. Fortunately, there are bits of kit that help fill that void, and Giro’s Primaloft Insulated Vest is one of those.

The vest is part of Giro’s ‘New Road’ range, kit designed to be wearable on and off the bike, the sort of stuff you can wear for a ride into town, and then walk around town in without feeling out of place. Because of that, fit is relaxed and I could definitely wear it off the bike…if it was a different colour, that is. On a serious note, though, it doesn’t feel bulky or uncomfortable in any riding positions , making it adaptable for a wide variety of rides.

The vest is made from a lightweight Pertex Quantum fabric and packed with Primaloft, a super-light synthetic layer of insulation which means the gilet is very low bulk and can be packed down nice and small into a jersey pocket. This packability is certainly a big positive, and when combined with its thermal qualities it means you can wear it out early morning when it’s cold, then take it off and store it later when you start to warm up. The level of insulation is pretty impressive thanks to this innovative filling, and my torso defiantly felt warmer than my arms, which were only clad in standard arm warmers.

It even managed to perform well in the rain, keeping me pretty dry (on the body, at least) despite water resistance not being one of the touted abilities. It’s by no means waterproof, though, so don’t expect miracles if you go out in a downpour.

Probably my favourite element of this vest, though, is the storage. Nine pockets (yes, nine!) provide a huge amount of space for everything you could possibly want on a long ride. At the front, there are two large external pockets and three smaller internal pockets. On top of that, there are four more pockets on the back: one large zipped pocket that has three standard jersey-style pockets on the inside. It means you can start a ride with arm warmers, knee warmers, a skull cap, gloves and loads more, but ride home in short sleeves if you want.

This design at the back is made possible due to a mesh inside the rear of the vest which also helps to keep the less breathable external layer away from your back, decreasing sweating as a result. It also makes it very comfortable to wear and means that there is less movement and potential static build up.

There are a couple of minor issues with the vest, though, the first being the price which, as £130, is much higher than most people will want to spend on a gilet. Even though it’s one of the best I’ve used, and comes to the table with a lot more features than many other gilets, it is top-end pricing for gilet.

The second issue is that the material occasionally gets caught in the zip which, although not a huge problem, is rather irritating. The Pertex Quantum fabric is rugged and hasn’t been damaged by this so far, but over time it could be an issue and it sure is annoying.


Other than those small gripes, this is a genuinely excellent gilet to use in changeable conditions. It’s one of those rare bits of kit that I’ve really enjoyed wearing, and will continue to use all the way through into winter.


– Insulating, keeps you warm
– Packs away small enough to fit in a jersey pocket
– Ample storage


– Price is pretty high
– Material occasionally catches in zip


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