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Pactimo's Cascade jacket is a good quality top for dry winter rides, keeping you nice and toasty even when it's proper cold out. It works well paired with a long sleeve base layer but equally it's plenty comfortable enough to use on its own.
The Cascade is a three-layer affair. On the outside there's a fairly weighty polyester, and the inside is a stretchy fleece that "removes moisture efficiently and has superior breathing ability" according to its makers, Milano. In between the two – but only on the leading edges of the jacket, so the chest and the front of the arms – that's a Climabloc™ windproof membrane to keep you from getting chilly. A high collar and shaped cuffs, designed to "make a seamless connection to your gloves", keep the chills out.
At the back there's a single waterproof pocket for stashing stuff in, and a pronounced drop tail to cover you up when you're tucking in to avoid a chilly winter headwind. There isn't masses of reflective but what there is is well-placed: on the shoulders, a flash on the sleeve that can be seen from the front or the rear when you're signalling, and some details on the lower back.
The full fleece lining makes this a comfy top to wear next to the skin, and the lining does a pretty decent job of wicking sweat away from your skin. It does seem to work better with a base layer, though, and realistically if you're dragging this jacket out of the cupboard it's cold enough to warrant one. When you're out on the bike the windproofing is pretty effective, although sticking a thin gilet over the top makes things noticeably warmer, so some chilly air is probably getting in round the unprotected sides. The fit is very good and sizing is sensible; the large sample was a snug fit on my 93kg frame. Sizes up to 3XL are available.
If you're out and it's cold and dry, then the Cascade is a very good training jacket. On its own it served me well down to about 8°C and below that a baselayer underneath kept me plenty warm on faster rides. Adding a race gilet over the top means it can cope with even colder weather. Pactimo rate it to just below freezing and that's probably about its limit, even with a base layer underneath and vest on top. The neck keeps out most chilly gusts and the cuffs, although they feel a bit scratchy at first due to their laser-cut edge, work very well.
It's not a top designed for long, wet rides and to be honest it suffers in prolonged rain. The fleece lining and the windstopper panels help to keep you warm but the Cascade quickly gets wet and because there's a lot of fabric it tends to stay that way. If it was cold with the possibility of rain you could wear it and sling a waterproof shell on over the top, but one issue with the Cascade is that there's just a single pocket at the rear. It's a fairly big pocket, but not as big as three proper jersey pockets and you struggle to get a phone, tools, tube and a packable jacket in there. Also, you can't organise your stuff. Having said that, pairing it with a thin showerproof gilet will get you through most rides, and there's room for that out back.
It's a durable jacket and the tough outer layer is wearing and washing well; Pactimo recommend a hand wash but I only noticed that after it'd been through the machine about four times on a cool cycle, with no ill effects. The fleece does a better job than some synthetics of resisting odours, too, so it's not a top you necessarily have to wash after every ride if you're commuting in it.
Overall this is a good quality winter layer. Being designed in Colorado, with its reasonably stable and predictable climate, it's not surprising that the Cascade is best for cold, settled winter days. When the weather gets a bit more changeable then it's not quite as useful on its own, and the limited storage space makes it more difficult to pair it with a waterproof outer layer. If you're likely to be dodging the rain over winter then it's an excellent choice as a training or general riding jacket.
Good cold-weather jersey for dry rides, could do with a bit more pocket space
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Make and model: Pactimo Cascade Jacket Men's
Size tested: Large
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?
Neither snow, nor rain, nor sleet...' Pactimo's Cascade jacket makes sure nothing keeps you from your appointed ride - no matter what the weather.
All leading edges and front panels are protected by Climabloc™, a wind and waterproof laminated membrane fabric, making even those cold days a good day to be on your bike. Milano's technical all-way stretch fleece is strategically positioned to maximize both warmth and breathability. Aerodynamic ergo cuffs firmly seal out cold and moisture without binding and make a seamless connection to your gloves. Extra high collar also keeps the cold out. Rear pocket is 100% waterproof. Strategically placed reflective trim provides 360° safety. Other details include a full front zip with wind flap and zipper garage.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Wind & water resistant front
Italian Milano fleece back
360° reflective trim
Large waterproof, zippered rear pocket
Easy grab zipper pulls for use with gloves
Cold weather gear - good for rides down to 30°
Very nicely made, feels like a quality garment
Good in the cold and works well as a single layer when it's slightly warmer. Best when it's dry.
Wearing and washing well.
Good weight for winter.
Fleece lining makes it cosy.
Not cheap but a good quality top that'll last.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Nicely made, comfortable, warm.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Could do with more pocket space.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 42 Height: 190cm Weight: 100kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.