The Endura Pakagilet II rolls to the size of a clenched fist and weighs less than your phone. With some decent tech features and affordable pricing, it's a solid option for keeping warm in changeable conditions. The fit could be better, though.
- Pros: Super-light, tiny, very windproof, breathable
- Cons: Fit around the shoulders
In our guide to the best gilets we highlight the fact that it's possible to spend nearly an order of magnitude more on one gilet than another, and that, ideally, you need more than one if you are riding variable routes in variable conditions.
The Pakagilet II strikes me as one for the warmer end of the weather spectrum, where you are highly likely to remove or replace the gilet depending on terrain or temperature. It's not the layer you'd add to lift a jersey-and-baselayer combo into Arctic-performance territory – there are thicker, warmer gilets for that, made from necessarily thicker, bulkier materials. Where the Pakagilet II excels is in its stored size and weight. It's tiny – I've eaten sausage rolls larger than this gilet – and at 83g, super-light.
Many gilets are simple vests, with few technical features to speak of – features generally mean bulk and weight. The Pakagilet includes a number of reflective elements – down the length of the zip, and stripes on the shoulders and lower back – and it's available in three colours: the tested red, plus high-vis yellow and stealthy black.
The main feature is the slash across the rear, just below the mesh back. Measuring 7in wide, it allows you to reach into any jersey pocket to retrieve or stash items without having to pull the gilet up. It has a flap over it so as to hide the slash and prevent any unsightly billowing at speed.
The zip is backed by a fairly-rigid wind flap, removing the risk of snagging the zip when doing it up one-handed. There's no zip garage, but it didn't irritate my neck when done up.
The neck was perfectly snug on me, measuring 14in in a size medium (it's not me in the pics). The elasticated armholes were likewise snug, but there was a slight excess of fabric for my 38in chest and 34in waist. I'm somewhere on the cusp between small and medium. Length-wise it was fine, coming down quite low at the rear to almost cover my derriere, thus providing some protection from road spray.
The slightly excess of fabric led to the only drawback I could find with the Pakagilet: for my frame and in size medium, there was enough loose fabric around the shoulders to set up a near-constant high-frequency flapping at any decent lick. This may be a harsh criticism for a design that may work perfectly for other body shapes, so perhaps order from a retailer with a good returns policy and do a non-sweaty test ride with tags left attached. Me being on the cusp between small and medium probably didn't help.
The raison d'être of a gilet is to keep the wind off, and the Pakagilet II delivered. Nothing got through the chest panel, and with plenty of ventilation from the mesh back you could work as hard as you liked. It took a prolonged climb in the lee of a hill to force a disrobing, fortunately with the über-scrunchability it's easy enough to stuff into a pocket one-handed and retrieve as you crest the summit ready for the blast back down. Some gilets require folding and rolling in order to stow neatly in a jersey pocket, so the Pakagilet II wins here.
My immediate comparison is with the Lusso Stripes gilet, which is bulkier, over twice the price and 33g heavier. The Lusso Stripes happened to fit me better around the shoulders/chest, making it a more likely contender for an all-day wearable, but the low bulk of the Pakagilet II is a serious bonus.
For a low-cost, super-light, stuff-unstuff solution to wind protection, and bearing in mind the possible fit-specific flapping, you should put the Endura Pakagilet II high on your shortlist for multi-condition protection.
Super-compact and light with nice features, it's a great gilet only let down for me by a sub-optimal fit
road.cc test report
Make and model: Endura Pakagilet II
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It's for people on a budget wanting a super-small and light windproof gilet.
Endura describes it as an 'Ultra Packable Windproof'.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Endura lists these features:
Ultra lightweight and windproof ripstop fabric
Back mesh panel
Reflective trims on shoulders, rear and front zip
Elasticated armholes, rear neck and hem
Jersey pocket access flap
Tiny pack size, stuff sack included
Warm, but on me, flappy.
Loose fabric around the shoulders on me.
With a 34in waist and 38in chest, I could go either small or medium. Going smaller would probably mean less flap.
It's almost not there.
For the features and price, it's a cracking buy.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Still looks like new.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Well, apart from the flappiness.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The rear slash, it worked brilliantly.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The upper chest-shoulder fit.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, with the warning to try on a fast ride before committing.
Use this box to explain your score
It's very good value and does a great job of keeping out the wind, and you warm. Beware the potential for flappiness if you don't get the fit quite right – otherwise, a very good buy.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling