As Billy Connolly once said: 'There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing, so get yourself a sexy raincoat and live a little.' Could the Mission Workshop Orion jacket be the wet dream you are after?
Mission Workshop are best known for their high quality, robust backpacks and messenger bags favoured by couriers and those people who spend a lot of time exposed to harsh weather, day in, day out. They have put the same philosophy of providing tough, well performing design and quality of materials to their garments and this is their waterproof jacket built to that philosophy.
The jacket is slim fitting, giving a profile close to your figure. A medium is comparable to a medium T-shirt but the material is elastic enough not to restrict your movement if you choose to slip on a few extra layers underneath. If you are planning on using this as a casual jacket I would suggest going up a size so that you can fit a big jumper under it during the winter months.
The arms are long and the sleeves are articulated, which gives you the freedom of movement to swing your arms about without the sleeves riding up exposing your wrists like something you have outgrown. The back of the jacket has a dropped tail but not an exaggerated one; enough to protect your bum yet not so long you could wear it with a bow tie.
This jacket looks good, it is understated in black, and subtle with no large branding, just a dark grey screen printed tiny logo by the left wrist. Very stealth. I feel like I should be delivering some Cadbury's Milk Tray when I put this on.
The collar isn't particularly high but is tall enough to stop any draught chanelling down your neck. The inside of the collar is lined with a very soft fabric to alleviate any irritation and it does just that.
Poppers on the collar attach the hood which has a good shape with a small peak that does a good job of keeping lashing rain out of your face. When it's up it does restrict your vision to pretty much looking straight forward which isn't advisable when riding on the road.
The hood is pretty much redundant when using this as a cycling jacket and can be removed for improved aerodynamics or if you think it looks better without it. It's nice to have nevertheless, because it makes this jacket functional for other outdoor activities in grotty weather.
A zipped pocket on the rear, like a kangaroo pouch but accessed only from the left side, is a nice addition. Although I am right handed it doesn't take much to remember which side the pocket entry is.
Two hand pockets on the front of the jacket stay flat and unobtrusive when empty and are sealed with high quality YKK waterproof zips.
This cycling waterproof has more pockets than most. There is another pocket on the front left breast which is handy for slim items like your phone and there is yet another inside pocket on the opposite side to take your media device, with a neat little hole to thread the headphones lead. The pockets add useful detail and don't disturb the aesthetic, although filling them all up at once would look daft: get a bag.
The fabric used for this jacket is c_change from Swiss company Schoeller. It feels like a soft shell and has a four-way stretch that offers great freedom of movement even if you have put one too many layers on underneath and now look like a negative image of the Michelin man. It works a bit like Gore-Tex in that it mechanically regulates moisture going in or out but this fabric also changes with temperature. Here is some of the spiel lifted from their website:
"c_change copies the similar effect of a fir cone opening and closing in response to different weather conditions. The c_change™-membrane reacts to different prevailing conditions. In doing so, not only temperature but also air and body moisture are balanced out. At high temperatures, or during aerobic activity, the structure of the c_change™-membrane opens as body moisture levels rise. Excess heat can escape to the outside air. Due to the lower level of body moisture development in cold weather or during inactive periods, the structure of the membrane condenses, retaining the heat directly on the body."
That all sounds impressive and it actually delivers. I will go as far as to say that it is bloody amazing. I am a hot sweaty person when I put some effort on the pedals. I usually wear a windproof instead of a waterproof as I get wetter from the steam coming off me than the rain coming though the fabric of the jacket.
The Orion jacket is claimed to be waterproof as is, all the seams are taped and the zips are waterproof. When things do begin to heat up, a large waterproof zip under each armpit can be opened which helps deliver scoops of air to your sweaty pits. Oddly there is no mesh behind the open aperture giving the appearance of it just being a hole; also, a mesh can help keep that hole's shape.
It is pretty expensive but the level of performance and the good fit makes it top class. It might seem odd to be getting excited by an anorak but this one enables you to keep smiling even when rain is coming down in rods. It makes me feel like I am unstoppable and my brakes often join me in this feeling during periods of heavy wetness.
The one thing this jacket is missing are any reflective bits; it has none which is remiss for an urban jacket. But that's what lights are for, right?
If you want to live a little, this is a sexy rain coat that help you get out and enjoy wet weather.
A well performing breathable waterproof jacket that looks as good as it works.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Mission Workshop Orion Waterproof Riding Jacket
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?
"the Orion jacket is the perfect waterproof jacket for an exceptionally wide range of environments." - I have worn it snowboarding, cycling, boating and walking in some disgusting weather and I can report back that it is waterproof.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
c_change fabric-the bionic climate membrane
c_change is a wind and waterproof membrane
Slightly longer at the back
internal ported media pocket
external chest pocket
front-zipped hand pockets
touring style zippered rear pocket
removable snap-off hood
Arm pit-zip ventilation
Made in Canada
Top notch, taped seams, no loose threads, no signs of degradation after testing.
Currently one of the best performing waterproofs.
I didn't detect any areas where the performance decreased during testing.
The 4 way stretch makes this jacket fit and feel like a soft shell.
Performance comes at a price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I think it is important for a waterproof to do what it says. This does.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The slim fit, the stretch and texture of the fabric and the fact it is waterproof.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The armpit vent are just open holes, I would like to see some mesh maybe..
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes .
Would you recommend the product to a friend? To more than just my biking friends.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
If I was an anorak, I would be happy to be this one.
About the tester
I usually ride: Bike that I am testing at the time My best bike is: Condor Pista fixed. Kinesis Convert 2 geared work horse, Look KG241 skinny whippet
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed, bare back