Altura's Pocket Rocket waterproof jacket is intended for those days when you peer out of the window at the sky, and you're just not sure about the chances of staying dry. It does the job petty well, but it would be nice to see a couple more features to justify the high price.
The jacket itself is extremely lightweight - 140 grams on the road.cc balance of truth - and packs down to a size that means you won't have an uncomfortable bulge pressing into your back when it isn't required. The fabric reminds me of that you get on the outside of a tent, that is to say very little stretch to it but quite tough, and waterproof.
The Pocket Rocket is certainly waterproof. It racked up a number of frequent flyer miles in my central jersey pocket for a most of March and on the occasions that I was caught out, my jersey underneath remained more than acceptably dry.
When it comes to putting on the jacket, a stop at the side of the road was required. The zip is a bit small to locate on the move, and there is also a piece of fabric sitting behind the zipper that stops water ingress that can quite easily catch on the zipper teeth. I quite like to have a jacket i can put on while on the bike, but this jacket would need a still day and a long stretch of straight road to be confident in getting it on.
Altura do not state anywhere that the Pocket Rocket is windproof, and in high winds it certainly won't help much, but I found that in slight breezes it actually performed surprisingly well.
The other big factor with a garment such as this is always breathability. It's all very well keeping the rain off your body but you can end up just as wet on the inside if a jacket doesn't breathe well. I found Altura's fabric choice to be ok - not the most breathable of jackets I've used though.
For those who are keen on visibility, the jacket does have some reflectivity on both arms, as well as above your backside, and high-vis yellow is also a colour option. Speaking of the back of the jacket, there is a small zipped pocket, large enough for a phone or some flapjack. I didn't test this pocket out with my smartphone, but if I were not running mudguards I'd be wary of using it, as that location is wheel-spray central.
Altura suggest that you don't wash this jacket, as it will damage the waterproof properties of the fabric. That's a bit annoying if you end up riding in really mucky conditions.
The fit of the large size provided for this test was not too bad - in all honesty, I could have probably got away with the medium - but there was quite a bit of flapping around in high winds/on fast descents. The sleeve cuffs have loopholes for your thumbs to ensure good overlap with your gloves, and there is an elasticated waist to aid in keeping the wind out. Altura have opted not to add in a drawstring for the waist, and I think that is a shame as it would really help in tuning the jacket to your own body shape.
At 70 quid, the Altura is considerably more expensive than your average 'shove it in a pocket' jacket. While the increased breathability and breezeproofness is better than many others I've used, I'm not sure this justifies the £70 price tag.
Overall the Altura Pocket Rocket has been a staple resident within my jersey pockets during changeable days of spring, and when I have had to call upon it, it has stood up to the rain and wind well. It could perhaps do with a couple of additional features to make it a jacket I'd be happy to wear for periods longer than just a quick shower.
Decent jacket that will keep you dry in a sudden downpour, but perhaps missing a few features
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Pocket Rocket Waterproof Jacket
Size tested: Large, Blue
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?
A new panel design and additional features ensure the pocket rocket continues as a lightweight perennial favourite.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Again, from Altura:
Lightweight, waterproof and breathable 2.5 layer fabric
Packs in to rear pocket
Improved fit and additional reflective trim
Not bad overall, but I would have liked an drawstring waist and a zipper that was not quite so easy to catch on the inner material.
Kept me dry in downpours without turning me into Uncle Ben's boil in the bag rice.
No durability issues.
Cheaper jackets are available, albeit probably with less capability. However I don't think this makes the Pocket Rocket worth 70 quid.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The lightness and the waterproofing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Price was a bit high and I would hope for a drawstring waist.
Did you enjoy using the product? Mostly yes.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not.
About the tester
Age: 21 Height: 182cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: On-One Carbon Whippet Single Speed MTB/Kinesis Pro6 My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,