Cycle clothing is a personal evolution: the more I ride, the more I refine what I wear.
My kit faces survival of the fitted-est: bad purchases are relegated to the Ebay pile and my favourites are worn to death.
The Sportful Hotpack Ultralight Jacket, one weighing a scant 50 grams, offers a great fit. I’m 6’3″ and the large size is close to perfect. The body is long, and the arms and collar are tight, but not restrictive. The material moves well and the cut allows it to do so, despite being close. Reinforced, stretchy cuffs and a robust zip are further evidence of a well-made garment.
The close fit might be a contributing factor to the Hotpack Ultralight Jacket’s ability to retain heat, something I found it did a little too well as a naturally warm-blooded rider who somehow manages to get by with far fewer layers and thinner clothing than my riding partners.
Wearing the jacket from ‘cold’, i.e. from leaving the house, its ventilation worked well. Experienced when already up to temperature, however, typically when the heavens opened half-way through a ride, prompting me to pull on the jacket for the first time, I needed about 20 minutes before my body temperature equalised.
I tested the jacket in drizzle and light to medium rain and some pretty strong winds. It proved to be a very efficient wind barrier, effectively blocking all wind chill. Rain is absorbed into the outer side of the material, but little or no moisture transferred to the inside of the jacket. It remained comfortable and light even when wet.
The Hotpack Ultra Light Jacket soon found its way into the middle pocket on the rear of my jersey for every ride. It squashes so small that a pair of gloves can comfortably fit in the same pocket, and it is so light, it is unnoticeable. The lack of weight and bulk should carry its own warning: it once leapt from my jersey pocket as I hit a bump, and a motorist flagged me down to tell me I had dropped it.
The jacket has survived our recent ‘Ice Age’ and will become a permanent fixture on long and or wet rides. I’m yet to test its versatility in warmer climates (I’ve yet to experience any during the test period) but I like it enough to consider it worthy of the space in my pocket.