Being one of nature's cold people, I was unprepared for the level of warmth provided by the Vulpine Ultralight Quilted Thermal Jacket. This jacket managed to stave off -3 °C mornings and left me opening the zip.
In surveys safety is singled out as one of the main reasons women cycle less than men. For me it's not that, it's comfort. I hate being cold, wet or generally uncomfortable when riding. Therefore, any clothing that gets me out for longer on my bike is A Good Thing.
Everything about this jacket has been designed for comfort. From the fleece lined pockets (mmm) and collar which both approximate a moleskin level of fine fleece comfort, to the eminently strokable outer layer. The where-you'd-find-them-on-a-non-cycling-jacket pockets have little leather pull tags, and there are additional pockets inside the chest and on the rear. The cuffs are soft and stretchy, though they're not at all water-resistant so you will need to pop some long gloves on over them if it is chucking it down outside.
The main material is silky smooth and I have been very worried about snagging it, though that worry has been unfounded as yet. Some of the threads on the quilting have snagged, but nothing that is noticable unless you are looking for them. The tougher shoulder material goes some way to offset any delicateness, as this gives additional protection from bag straps and the like.
It is an expensive jacket, but I've been wearing mine daily so the cost per wear is on the decrease. It's the gold standard Primaloft filling which really bumps up the price, but the trade off is a light as a feather slim jacket, as warm as anything you will find in the Ski section of Sports R Us.
You are also paying for the cut. I was pretty concerned about the Michelin Man effect with what is effectively a bike-specific quilted bomber jacket. I worried needlessly. The cut is excellent - figure-skimming and flattering, so even the XL jacket pulled off tasteful not tyre-like.
It has a slightly lower cut back, but this is not a jacket for speeding along in the drops: you'd overheat in seconds. This is a jacket for cycling to work in, then the pub, and then taking the dog for a once round the park in. Normal life, in fact, including being on a bike.
When dirty, the Ultralight can be thrown in the machine, unlike the down equivalents, and the quilting keeps all the Primaloft filling exactly where it is supposed to be. While it's not billed as a waterproof coat, taking it out of the wash shows just how quickly this jacket dries out again after a "30 degree, wash with similar colours" downpour. The cuffs stay wet longest; a quicker-drying fabric here would be nice.
The Ultralight comes in Charcoal grey (tested) and Dutch orange for those who prefer their clothing cheerier. Regular readers will know I love the grey. I would have expected a discreet reflective along the hem or zip, especially as this is a jacket for riding in poor conditions.
Wear-it-everyday jacket that's also great to cycle in when it's cold
road.cc test report
Make and model: Vulpine Women's Ultralight Quilted Thermal Jacket
Size tested: XL
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 Ultralight Quilted Thermal Jacket is a high performance cool weather solution that insulates you from the elements. We've built it around Primaloft Gold, a filling that is extremely light weight for the degree of insulation it offers and is very breathable. The outer layer is water resistant against snow, showers and drizzle, but if you get caught in torrential rain, it dries extremely quickly.
Details include two zipped hand pockets, an internal zipped chest pocket to store valuables in, and an easily accessible smart phone rear pocket. The neck is cut high and cosy against snow and wind. The shoulders are cut from tough water resistant fabric to take the abuse of backpack straps.
This is a heavy use garment that we have been using for everything from lounging outside the pub on chilly days, getting blasted with Autumn leaves, to freezing fog mountain descents.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Extremely lightweight thermal protection
Primaloft Gold (highest quality) grade fill
Water resistant against light rain, drizzle and road spray
Front zip hand pockets
Front zip internal chest pocket
Rear open smartphone/food pocket
Tough shoulder panel for use with backpack
Soft cotton ribbed cuffs
Well designed and cut. Usual Vulpine attention to detail.
I couldn't have been warmer if you'd tied an arctic fox to each arm and toasted me like a marshmallow.
A little worried about the propensity for the stitching to catch.
Very light for the degree of warmth.
10/10 says it all. Sometimes I don't take this jacket off all day.
Cost per wear, ladies!
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It kept me very warm.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The comfort factor.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of any reflective features.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes (if they could afford it).
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 5'7 Weight: size 16
I usually ride: Trek 7.5 WSD My best bike is: Turquoise Cruiser
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Novice
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, Leisure