The Polaris Shield windproof jacket has been my trusty companion in the turbulent weather we've been having. It's a lot more waterproof than its name suggests, and it packs down nice and small.
It's pretty minimal; my scales report a mere 125 grams for the size large tested. You don't get any pockets, but there is a drawcord at the hem and the collar. You get thumb loops on the sleeves, which seem to come on most jackets of this type. They are pointless in my opinion, but others might find them useful.
Rohan certainly couldn't be considered Johnny-come-latelys in the outdoor clothing field, but cycling apparel is a new direction for them. This Elite Stormer jacket manages to be light, breathable and waterproof – normally you have to pick two – and is certainly packs in some high performance to justify the £195 price tag. It does come up slightly odd in the fit department though.
At first glance the Aqualite Extreme looks like a very promising cycling specific waterproof jacket, especially for commuter duties. It's extremely light, packs down small and comes in a fairly violent shade of hi-viz pink that'll certainly get you noticed. It has a good collection of features and it's not expensive.
As you can see – you didn't miss the photo above? – the Madison Stellar II commuter jacket is black. It's also available in red or hi-vis yellow if you think black makes you invisible. I don't think it does. Visibility is about contrast; the worst colour for a cycling jacket would be dull grey, the colour of concrete, old tarmac or a British sky. Black is quite visible in good light. And at night, the Stellar II shines as brightly in headlights as its name suggests by virtue of its copious reflective panels.
Campagnolo clothing is divided into three main types - Challenge, Tech-Motion and Heritage - and this Flame 50/50 jacket comes in the Challenge department, meaning it's designed for winter weather conditions. But for this jacket, that means winter conditions that aren't too wet and not totally freezing either.
The Howies Brenin jacket has left me somewhat torn. Objectively £100 is a lot to pay for a featherweight polyester shell that feels as if it will rip come the first skirmish with a vindictive bramble. On the flip side, it's been the most comfortable jacket I've ever used, with superb moisture management that keeps tempo with increasingly spirited efforts.
Georgia in Dublin's Hustle and Bustle Jacket is a love or hate piece of cycling kit. If you love it, it's a truly innovative design, that looks a bit different and raises the spirits, whilst still managing to be functional and technical cycle wear. Or you'll hate it. It's a fact.
In an arena where increasingly the sky seems to be the limit for price the Altura Blitz, a fully waterproof, lightweight, cycling specific jacket for £59.99, has got to be worthy of serious consideration. And it's purple.
'Ground crew to the rescue' was my initial reaction clapping eyes on LEDwear's Aurora jacket. Billed, as 'multi activity' cut and sizing are on the Aurora are more relaxed than I've come to expect from more cycling specific jackets and while it includes some genuinely nice touches (the ability to go in the washing machine once the shell starts looking and smelling bad certainly gets my vote) pit zips where you'd expect hip pockets is a missed opportunity and compromises climate control to boot.
The Normandie jacket is part of Campagnolo's 'Heritage Collection' which according to the Italian cycling deities is their range of clothing for the perfect harmony between past and future, tradition and innovation, the cyclist, the bike and his surroundings. Despite all that it's a very simple jacket, in essence it's just an extremely technical fleece unembarrassed by a glut of features; pockets are limited to two zipped front ones that are large enough to stuff chilly hands in when casually strolling about town, or for putting lock-keys and gloves in.