If you were considering a new jacket for city riding that wouldn’t leave you feeling self-concious in the pub after work, would you consider Vulpine’s new Harrington Rain Jacket? What are its credentials?
Vulpine is clearly a design-focused company, and the Harrington embodies a typically understated British design aesthetic. Vulpine’s original cotton rain jacket has been established for some time now, and most riders I’ve talked to fall in to two camps: those that prefer the slightly more muted looks of the original, and those that prefer the more colourful editions in the Harrington. Personally, I’m in the latter camp and like the accent on technical features.
We tested the charcoal version, which has green zippers, buttons, and a couple of discrete logos on the back of the jacket. Regular commuters will be happy with reflective taping on the cuffs, rear pocket and button tighteners. It may not be quite as discrete as the Rapha City jacket with its reversible cuff tapes, which can be worn with reflective side facing in, or out, but is still a subtle solution.
Pockets at the front are capacious as well as taped and secure, and there is also button pocket and a magnetic rear pocket, which is very well thought out: nicely lined with enough room for a mobile phone, energy bars, or a thick pair of gloves. Vents at the back help with airflow, and are designed in such away that the rain can’t get in. At a push you could also get an extra water bottle inside the jacket as the lined front pocket are attached firmly to the hem of the jacket.
Early impressions indicated a jacket laden with technical features. An early outing in heavy rain proved its credentials in this regard. In short, I remained totally dry. Made from a fabric containing silicone-coated cotton fibres (“Epic Cotton”), it proved very breathable. We’re not sure that any jacket can be totally rainproof, but our experience of the Vulpine Harrington was that it kept out all that a wet London winter could throw at it, including lorry spray! Caring for the jacket proved easy, requiring no more than a machine wash, sans conditioner. Vulpine say the Harrington is apparently good for over 200 washes, without any need for any special treatment or waxing. This makes it very practical for daily use.
Extra breathability comes at a cost to warmth, and during the freezing temperatures of December and January I reached for warmer garments in my collection. With correct layering, it would be possible to wear it from early autumn right the way through to late spring.
The Harrington also has a great collar, high and well-fitted, that quickly snapped closed with magnetic fastenings. It works really well if you are in a hurry, or get caught out in a freak downpour.
Overall, I have to say that I was impressed with the jacket. The fit was close, neither billowing or tailored for racing snakes. It looks good enough to wear to a business meeting, or to have a drink with your mates in a bar. It keeps the wet out for city riding and compared to its competitors, it represents good value.
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL