The women's version of the Endura Photon jacket has lots of welcome features and provides full protection from the elements in a light, packable raincoat.
The folks at Endura have adapted their popular Photon jacket for women. The Photon is a versatile offering of a lightweight packable waterproof with fully taped seams. It's available in a range of colours (black, pale aqua, and hi viz yellow), and comes with a handy stuff sack with elastic toggle closure.
I really liked the fabric-style elastic used throughout the jacket. A wide, soft band is incorporated into half of the cuffs, a touch on the back of the neck, and around rear of the hem to the hips. The elastic is definitely a design highlight, offering a good stretch and fit without being constricting, often a problem with waterproof jackets.
As well as being spot on with the collar height, the small elastic insert at the back of the neck gives a comfortably close, yet unrestricted fit - perfect for keeping out the elements. On the hips, the section incorporated on the hem gave a light grip that didn't ride up. I found it refreshingly easy to slip my hands through the sleeves, without the disadvantage of finding the cuffs hanging loose on the wrists.
The fit is pretty relaxed, with plenty of room for layering. The jacket is a good length too, with a dipped hem offering rear coverage. I can't say I noticed much in the way of a flattering feminine cut, but the medium size (equivalent to a standard size 12) fitted me well all round, and it was pleasing to find a jacket with long, unrestricted arms.
A quality zip, complete with an ergonomic sturdy tab easily grabbed with soaking gloves is a real bonus. The zip garage is a much appreciated touch that's sometimes omitted, but it's another tick in the box for the Photon.
There's a storm flap too, to keep out the rain, and both sides of the zip are bordered by thin reflective tramlines.
There are other reflective highlights, though not many; a single dot on each of the forearms/wrists,a thinly outlined logo on the front shoulder, and a couple of stripes on the backs of the shoulders. There's also a very small strip by the hem at the rear. This sounds like a long list, but each is quite small and not terribly confidence inspiring, especially the dots on the arms.
The last feature to mention is the very spacious rear pocket, secured with a zip and outer storm flap. The pocket's material is the same as the rest of jacket, so there's no chance of leakage into the body of the jacket, and valuables inside have thus far remained dry through a few showers.
The Photon keeps the rain out properly thanks to the fully taped seams, but this also means it's not a good choice for hard riding or very warm temperatures, despite the breathable material. I've enjoyed it most as a light jacket for showery days running errands, commuting, or throwing on as a thin windproof layer for a morning jaunt. It had some heavy use over our fairly miserable spring, and I expect it to come into its own in the autumn, and even layered up on faster winter rides.
At a smidge under 170g (add another 10g for the stuff sack), it's light for a fully waterproof jacket, and does pack down easily into its stuff sack. Roughly the size of a slightly enlarged tin of beans, the whole package will just about fit in a rear jersey pocket.
A well thought out waterproof that is both comfortable and functional, and a fair price too. A wise choice for a cross section of riding styles and seasons.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Endura Women's Photon Jacket
Size tested: Meidum
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Ultra Compact 2.5-Layer waterproof breathable fabric
Slimline inner storm flap with wrap over zip guard
Reflective print trims on shoulders and sleeves
Rear pocket with structured bonded opening
Elasticated cuffs, hem and neckline
Complete with mini stuff sack
Contrast YKK zip on rear pocket
It's kept me dry thus far. Breathability is always going to be an issue.
Stitching and zip quality seem excellent.
A generous fit, allowing unrestricted movement in the collar and arms. Sits comfortably on the hips too. As with all waterproofs, you don't want to wear it next to bare skin, but the fabric is pleasant enough to the touch.
There are a few cheaper options, there are definitely more expensive options - £70 is in part getting you the Endura brand, but there's quality and design to consider.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The relaxed fit indicates its not for race pace - and it works very well to keep the elements out whilst keeping heat under control if your riding steady.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The elastic fitting and generous back pocket. Nice to see a few colour choices too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
As someone who rides a lot at night, the lack of decent reflective elements was a put off.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, but I would probably look elsewhere for riding at night.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably.
About the tester
I usually ride: Van Nicholas Mistral My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, audax