Race Face Aquanot jacket
- Race Face Aquanot jacket
- 01752 313 253
If there's one thing you need in a UK winter, it's a decent jacket. In fact, often that's a requirement not limited to winter, but jackets like Race Face's Aquanot are most at home when it's wet and cold and you're going to need to put a jacket on when you set off and keep it on until you get back.
For this isn't a lightweight, pack-down-small, showerproof, ooh-it's-a-bit-nippy-at-the-top-of-this-hill jacket. It's a jacket to wear when it's raining and properly cold. It's quite hefty, it's fully waterproof with sealed seams, it's got a full lining and enough features to trouble the capacity of even the finest feature-waving stick.
From the top, we've got an upright, fleece-lined collar, a double-ended full-length front zip and storm flap, double-ended pit zips running from elbow to waist, Velcro wrist closures, a pair of front pockets, a large rear pocket with a vertical zip each side, an elastic waist drawcord with one-handed pulls both sides and about twenty feet of reflective piping... One thing you don't get is the Cordura reinforcement of previous years. That's the province of RF's Freeride jacket, a similar but more reinforced garment, while the Aquanot is slightly repositioned into the commuter/epic XC market.
There's plenty of attention to detail, with a neat little reflective Race Face logo on the back of the collar, easy-to-grasp zip pulls everywhere and everything positioned sensibly, like the low-slung back pocket that sits lower than your pack.
The fit is, as you'd expect, bike-friendly in a short front/long back way, but it's not so extreme that you reveal a draughty gap when you get off the bike and stand up straight. It's loose enough to have room for as many extra layers as you're ever likely to need underneath without being baggy.
In use, it's kept us dry for the last couple of months. As is usually the way with sturdy waterproof jackets it can get rather warm, but generally we found enough ventilation options to keep things under control. On a couple of warm, wet rides things got pretty sweaty, but that's thermodynamics for you - doesn't matter how breathable or well ventilated your jacket, if it's as warm out as in it's not going to work.
For this type of jacket the Aquanot actually packs fairly small, but it's still not all that compact when stowed - it's big pack or bungee cord time. That's not really what it's all about, though. If you're not sure if it's going to rain or not, you'll probably want to carry something lighter. If it's definitely going to rain or it's already raining, this is your jacket...
| Verdict |
It might have lost the Cordura, but this is still a sturdy garment. We've worn it nearly every ride for the last couple of months and it's nearly as good as new (one plastic zip-pull tab fell off, but went back on again). If you're into crashing, take a look at the Freeride, but for everyone else it's hard to find fault with this.
First published on bikemagic January 2003.