Altura's Microlite Showerproof jacket is designed to be packed down and carried for emergency use. It is a simple, single skin waterproof jacket more suited to light showers than prolonged downpours.
It is certainly light, and packs down to a size that easily fits into the back of a cycling jersey. I was using the medium size and there wasn't any room in the pocket for anything else, but that didn't strike me as unreasonable given I was carrying a jacket.
The jacket isn't loaded with a vast variety of features – it is simply cut, with a low collar and elasticated waist and wrists. The zipped pocket in the back is useful (easily large enough for a mini-pump, food, mobile phone and the like), and there are small reflective highlights to the front zip, rear pocket and chest.
The main front zip is quite small, with a toggle and zip cover at the collar. It's small enough to be fiddly with cold hands, but not impossible to use. At the wrists there are small thumb-loops, which are a nice touch, and work well without causing any discomfort.
The jacket is effective for a lightweight single membrane type, resisting light rain comfortably. Even heavier showers didn't seem to soak through to the arms and jersey beneath. It is moderately windproof, too, which is a help in inclement conditions, but it isn't a substitute for a proper waterproof in poor weather.
Being a simple lightweight jacket it's not designed with breathability in mind, but I didn't find it got too tropical inside the jacket – certainly better than other, similar jackets I've used. I did notice that on warmer days when I was already quite warmed up then it did become less pleasant, but I didn't think this was unexpected with a pack-down showerproof.
It works well at the job I'd expect it to do, though, and is a handy size when packed down. It doesn't seem to weigh much, or be terribly bulky when packed, and is effective when called upon. At £40 it's not bad value, and performs better than some of the more budget showerproofs I've used in the past.
It's available in three colours: black, red and yellow.
Simple lightweight waterproof jacket that is effective at repelling light rain and some heavier showers
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Make and model: Altura Microlite Showerproof jacket
Size tested: Medium, Red
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?
Altura say: 'Amazingly lightweight emergency showerproof shell with built in rear pack pocket'
They don't make grandiose claims, and the description isn't too far from the truth.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Zipped rear pocket, elasticated waist and cuffs, and thumb loops at the wrists are a nice touch. Single-skin waterproof material.
It seems well enough made, and there were no signs of the jacket losing it's waterproofing, or seams giving way. It has dealt with being thoughtlessly stuffed into a jersey pocket very well.
Repelled most of the water that fell on it, and in the main didn't develop tropical conditions inside.
No evidence of it losing any waterproofness. The seams, zips and elastic have all survived intact. The reflective highlights haven't delaminated. It has spent a lot of time squashed unceremoniously into a jersey pocked and it has coped well.
The medium was sized well enough to be comfortable, although probably for summer use as I don't think it would fit over thicker clothing. It isn't particularly 'fitted' but I don't think that is a major issue.
The RRP is £40 and there are many similar jackets out there that will be cheaper. My experience with those isn't as positive as this one, but the price is probably still a touch on the high side for what it is.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It keeps the wind and rain off, up to a level expected of simple, light, jackets.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Performance in light rain was very good, and the thumb loops were a nice touch.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I would have like a little pack-down pocket, or possibly a little vent in the back to help reduce any hot air build-up from inside.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 37 Height: 182cm Weight: 69kg
I usually ride: Specialized Allez Sport 2008 My best bike is: Moda Tempo 2010
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, Triathlon