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UK brand Vulpine has been making high quality kit for years now, and although not directly related to out-and-out performance cycling, its Ultralight Quilted Thermal Jacket is a fantastic garment for quick rides to the pub and doing the dreaded shopping trips around town.
Picking up the Ultralight Jacket at road.cc towers, I thought I would need far longer than the standard month allocated for testing as it wasn't my usual 'performance cycling' choice of kit. What actually happened is the opposite. Give or take the odd item, this is the most frequently used piece of kit I've ever tested. I've worn it pretty much every day at some point for the last month and a bit. Whether it's been riding down to the pub at the end of the working week, or heading out to buy lunch at work, this jacket has been a constant go-to.
The quilted material is excellent for keeping you warm – good enough that if you wear it on a warmer day you'll get quite sweaty quite quickly. But that's not what this jacket is designed for – it's for properly chilly conditions.
The cut of the jacket suits my proportions (75kg, and a smidge over 6ft tall – 183cm to be metrically precise) really well off the bike. The cuffs are tight enough to keep a cold breeze out, while being wide enough not to be constrictive, and the collar is much the same with the zipper done all the way up.
On the bike, the sleeves ride up a little and the back doesn't cover your bum as well as your standard 'proper' cycling jacket. But again, that's not really the point of this jacket, so I can't mark it down for that.
I don't want to sound overly gushy, though. The Ultralight is a great bit of kit, but it's not perfect. It doesn't stand up to anything more than a light drizzle very well, but Vulpine makes that clear on its website. What isn't mentioned is that both the main and pocket zippers can catch and jam on the surrounding material quite easily. These two points are really the only places I can mark this jacket down. It's been a great bit of kit to wear and ride in, and I would happily buy it with my own hard-earned.
The price is high, but if I consider how much I've used this jacket over the last month and a bit, I really think that it's worth it. Pretty much any time I've needed to go outside I've put it on, and as such I think that a penny under 170 quid works out as pretty good value.
The perfect jacket for riding to the pub and walking around town in chilly weather
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Make and model: Vulpine Mens Ultralight Quilted Thermal Jacket
Size tested: Small, Petrol
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?
Vulpine says: "An ultra lightweight, cold weather solution that provides effective breathable insulation. The outer fabric is water resistant and, if you're caught in prolonged torrential rain, it dries extremely quickly whilst still keeping you warm. We've added a snug high collar, bag-strap-proof shoulder panels and handy rear phone pocket. There are also two zipped front pockets and a hidden internal pocket to fulfil all your storage needs. Ride to work in a frost, throw in your bag at work, then throw on as the temperature plummets again. So cosy it should be illegal (it isn't)."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Again from Vulpine:
Incredibly Warm with Primaloft Gold grade fill
Windproof and water resistant againt light rain, drizzle and road spray
Superb warmth to weight ratio
Tough shoulder panel for use with backpack
The zips can catch and jam occasionally but that's the only place I can fault this jacket.
Has held up well during the test period, no reason to suspect it won't continue in that vein.
It's a jacket designed to be used in situations where weight isn't really an issue, but it's pretty light nonetheless.
Very comfortable. It's become my go-to jacket for the weekly pub meet.
Expensive for sure, but not crazily so. I'd probably buy it if I had a flush month.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The warmth and the comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The zips catching on the fabric is a bit annoying.
Did you enjoy using the product? Absolutely
Would you consider buying the product? Probably
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they needed a casual/pub jacket, yes.
Age: 23 Height: 182cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: Kinesis Pro6 My best bike is: The first steel bike I made
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking