I've been testing kit from budget online sellers Tenn recently and while I've been really impressed with the jersey I've reviewed, the gloves were lacking in quality and performance. This lightweight Tenn Outdoors Cycling Gilet is somewhere in the middle. Finish and quality aren't top notch, but it performs well and at £17 on Amazon (ignore the RRP) it's about as cheap as you'll find.
A gilet is one of those bits of kit that you might never bother with, until you try one. It keeps enough chill off your chest to maintain core temperature, but doesn't stifle or restrict in the same way as a full jacket. I got very excited by the Endura Convert jacket that I tested last year and the Tenn gilet is a lighter, standalone item that you can carry around in a pocket. Not as sturdy or waterproof as the Endura, but more practical in other ways.
It's made from a very light and thin fabric ('technical nylon' apparently) which means you can tuck it into the rear pocket and stash it away when not needed. Tenn say it's showerproof, which is probably being a little generous. Getting home after a moist commute I found my front slightly damp, but really I wasn't too bothered. The fabric does do a pretty good job of stopping the wind, so even if your front gets damp, you shouldn't catch a chill. There are a few reflective bits, just enough to be useful, and a rear pocket (the same one the gilet stuffs into for storage). It's not very deep and doesn't zip, so be careful what you put in it.
I took it on a long audax and having an extra layer that fell short of a full waterproof was a real bonus. The only complaint I have is that the zip is a bog-standard item and readily snags up in the light backing fabric unless you take a bit of care, tricky if you like to adjust your ventilation as you ride. A chunkier zip, or stiffer backing fabric would solve this but then, you are only paying £17.
Fit was generous but not too billowy, ideal for tourists, commuters and audaxers. Racers might find it a little too flappy though.
If you've not experienced the joy of a gilet, this is about as cheap as you'll get and it's well worth the money.
Basic but useful and a decent price for a versatile item of technical bike clothing.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Tenn Outdoors Cycling Gilet
Size tested: Medium, Black
"This cycling-specific ultra lightweight gilet is the ideal solution to keep you comfortable whilst riding when the conditions change, it can be stowed away in a pocket and brought out when a shower hits."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
'Technical nylon fabric'
Mesh underarm ventilation
Construction quality was where I thought the weak point would be on Tenn stuff but I couldn't find any fault with the gilet.
Definitely keeps the wind off. Not quite so great in wet weather though.
Weighs almost nothing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
VFM, good performance.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Snaggy zip was a pain.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Basic, but decent performance and a bargain. What's not to like?
About the tester
Age: 42 Height: 5' 8 Weight: er....85kg
I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop, Dawes Century SE, Carlton Corsa My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax and long distance solo rides