We were impressed by the Vulpine Harrington Rain Jacket reviewed last month so called in two further pieces from the London-based brand – the Softshell Jacket and Cotton Visibility Gilet – to see if the same quality extends across the range.
First, a quick recap: Vulpine was founded by Nick Hussey in spring 2012. The casual cycle clothing market is growing quickly, with a number of new brands popping up, and Vulpine have carved out a niche for stylish garments you will, in their words, “want to wear for your ride and destination” – or, in essence, clothing which looks as good off the bike as on it.
The Softshell Jacket is at the heart of the range and is a mid-weight piece made from a dual-layer fabric with a shower and wind resistant outer that’s bonded to a lightweight fleece inner. While the Harrington Rain Jacket (reviewed here) is designed for riding in heavy rain, the Softshell Jacket is better suited to drizzle and light rain.
Vulpine say the jacket is designed for “cool to mild conditions” and that’s reflected in the weight of the piece, which is far lighter than, say, the type of softshell you’d pull out of the wardrobe on a freezing cold winter’s day.
The styling is typical Vulpine, with crisp lines and British-inspired tailoring, and it’s a very stylish piece, whether it be for cycling or otherwise. The pockets are lined with Vulpine’s signature green, which also features heavily on the inside of the jacket, which, by the way, is impeccably finished.
Vulpine pride themselves on attention to detail and the jacket’s awash with features. The two front pockets and collar have magnetic closures, while there are three pockets at the rear: one open, one with a flap held in place by another magnetic closure and one zipped pocket for valuables. The zips are finished with leather tabs with the Vulpine logo.
There’s also a reflective rear light loop, while other subtle safety features include reflective shoulder strips and reflective fold-back cuffs. Meanwhile, out back there’s a foldaway splash guard (secured, you guessed it, by a magnetic closure) to protect your rear end when the road is wet, decorated with a large and reflective Vulpine logo.
The cut reflects Vulpine’s ambition for this to be a jacket to be worn both on the ride to the pub, and while sinking a beer at the bar. It’s a subtle cyclist’s fit, with a slightly dropped tail and adjustable hem, although an early test ride suggests the sleeve are perhaps a little short.
We’ll be testing the jacket more extensively on the morning commute (and on those trips to the pub), when there’s still a chill in the air well into spring, but we’re also sure of a few more freezing days yet and the jacket’s roomy enough for a layer or two underneath.
The Vulpine Softshell Jacket is available in black only, in five sizes from S to XXL, and with a retail price of £160.
Cotton Visibility Gilet
The Cotton Visibility Gilet is Vulpine’s take on hi-vis, using the company’s signature green over the garish fluoro of typical commuter fare.
The gilet is, as the name suggests, made from cotton – but not any old cotton. It’s the same ‘Epic Cotton’ as used on the impressive Harrington Rain Jacket, which was both waterproof and breathable. We’ll await with interest to see if the Cotton Visibility Gilet shares the same qualities.
Besides from being green, the gilet has a number of additional hi-vis features, including a generous amount of Scotchlite reflective trim, reflective zip seams and a reflective light loop on the rear. Meanwhile, the back of the gilet is predominately made from a mesh material, while there’s a foldaway rear splashguard and three vertical pockets. At the other end, the gilet has a high collar secured by a magnetic closure.
Like the Softshell Jacket, the gilet’s fit is more relaxed than the cycling clothing you’d pull on for a club run. “Our garments are not skin tight,” reads the Vulpine website. “So they’ll be closer to the fit of your work and leisure wardrobe, not your tight lycra gear.” The gilet, therefore, is sized to go over a light top or lightweight jacket.
The Vulpine Cotton Visibility Gilet is available in five sizes from S to XXL and costs £95. We’ll be testing it alongside the Softshell Jacket over the weeks ahead and will report back with our findings.