Chapeau Echelon jacket - review - Road Cycling UK

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Jackets

Chapeau Echelon jacket – review

Stylish lightweight shell for that outermost protective layer when it’s needed

Winter clothing ensembles are often difficult to get right. You can quickly find, on leaving the house, you’ve under or overdressed without the flexibility to adjust – you’re committed, and simply need to endure. That’s where Chapeau’s Echelon Jacket comes in, as an outer layer you can choose to start your ride with or equally keep it stashed away in a pocket.

It leads itself on its packability, which is certainly good, fitting in medium-sized pockets and larger, while it provides performance that belies its size.

When you wear the Echelon jacket, you could easily fool yourself into thinking you’re wearing a jacket designed to be worn permanently, such is the quality of the finish and fabric. It’s constructed from a stretchy, windproof material that’s been subjected to a DWR water repellent treatment, so it’s got that weatherproof feel despite being so lightweight.

The Chapeau Echelon jersey provides performance that belies its compact size

It does a great job of fending off cool-to-cold winds (although there are no thermal properties here, so in really cold weather you’ll need to pair it with winter layers of your choosing), while when subjected to showers it’s very good ensuring water beads off water.

  • Specification

  • Price: £134.99
  • Sizes: S-XXL
  • Size tested: M
  • Colours: Black; red
  • Website: Chapeau!

Tested in repeated heavy showers, I found it to remain quite hardy and resilient. No, it’s not the last word in all-out waterproofness – you’ll want some form of hardshell for that – but for showers it’s able to create that vital layer you need to protect your core layers inside.

Internally there are quality taped seams to help keep water out, while the overall fabric is quite breathable in cool conditions too. When the temperature rises close to the teens, you begin to notice a little moisture build up in the arms (at least I did, running hot as I do), but in cold single figures, combined with a quality winter jersey, I was impressed with the comfort I had.

Remember, this is a shell that’s designed to protect in a pinch, so the neckline is cut to stop draughts getting in, while the waterproofed zip is offset significantly to help with both comfort at the neck and to try and keep the wind out.

The double cuffs, which sit reassuringly close to the skin, are comfortable and stop air and water ingress, while they also manage to feel low profile with enough length for longer arm spans.

The medium size is well cut on the whole but a touch tight on my swimmer’s shoulders – I could arguably do with a large for maximum comfort in that area – but around the waist it’s perfect and features an elongated rear (complete with draw cord adjustment) for added splash protection. Size-wise, I generally fall between a medium and a large, while the model wearing the jacket in the pictures typically wears a medium and the Echelon verges on being a touch too big.

A generously elongated rear adds extra splash protection

Additional details include a zipped side pocket on the right flank, while you also get a stylish reflective design on both sides. On top of that there’s understated and classical branding on the upper back as well as Chapeau’s bowler hat logo on the left breast.

I always make sure I take care of technical jackets, so have tactically avoided washing it after every ride (long or short) and treated it with Nikwax Tech Wash to retain the quality of the DWR treatment once when it got dirty. I’ve found that it’s a quality finish that performs like it did when it was fresh out the pack, while the rest of the jacket seems especially well-made.

Chapeau Echelon jacket (Pic: Mike Brindley/Factory Media)
Chapeau Echelon jacket (Pic: Mike Brindley/Factory Media)
Chapeau Echelon jacket (Pic: Mike Brindley/Factory Media)

Conclusion

The most important thing about the Echelon Jacket is that it’s a flexible item – stowable when you need it to be and hardy enough for showers and windy conditions when you don’t want to be stuck riding a hardshell-style outer layer. Oh, and it looks great too.

Pros

  • Windproof
  • Water repellenant
  • Cut and fit
  • Very compact
  • Style

Cons

  • Breathability suffers in milder temperatures

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