The Altura Podium Night Vision Waterproof Jacket is a bit of a gem: a slim-fitting jacket that provides very good waterproofing and packs down small enough to stow easily in a rear pocket.
When you think of Altura you probably think of commuter-type products, but the UK brand also has a full sports-orientated range these days, and the Podium waterproof jacket falls well within that category.
First things first: how waterproof is it? Well, Altura says the fabrics it uses (mainly nylon with stretchy polyester panels) have a waterproof rating of 7,000mm. That means this jacket should be able to withstand moderate rain, and that has been my experience. Water doesn't get through in this type of condition. The zip isn't waterproof but it has a storm flap behind it that does a pretty good job of stopping water seeping through.
There was one gap of about 0.5cm in the seam taping around one of the shoulders of our review sample, and after several washes a small area of tape has puckered a tiny amount, but on the whole the taping is good and it looks like the Podium will continue keeping the rain out for a long time.
Of course, a bin bag would stop the rain if you didn't mind getting incredibly sweaty inside; breathability is equally important, and the Podium does well on that score. Altura says that it has a breathability rating of 20,000g, which is high. You don't get any vents here, other than the front zip – Altura has clearly tried to keep the bulk down – so your ability to control the internal atmosphere is limited in that way, but the Podium's fabrics do allow plenty of damp vapour to escape so you stay comfortable.
The thing I like most about the Podium is the cut. Altura calls it a 'performance fit' and I found it to be pretty close (that's not me in the photos). I really don't get on with big, bulky jackets – they flap about and water gets caught in the folds – but this one is slim in both the body and the arms. That could be uncomfortable but for the fact that Altura has included stretchy panels around the shoulders and the tops of the arms – the bits you're likely to bend.
The jacket is cut fairly short at the front so it doesn't ruck up when you bend forward on your bike, while the cuffs are made from a stretchy tape like you often find at the ends of shorts' legs, so you get a close and comfortable fit. They're not waterproof, though, so you need to position them carefully if you want to avoid getting damp wrists and hands.
I certainly found the sleeves long enough, and the same goes for the tail, which provides good protection from road spray if you're riding without mudguards.
The Podium folds easily into its own zipped rear pocket, and once packed down it takes up most of the space in a jersey pocket.
I found it a really good option on days when there's the possibility of getting caught in showers. If you're going to get wall-to-wall rain on your ride you might want something a bit more hardcore and with vents you can adjust, but this is just the job for slinging in your pocket and bringing out as and when it's needed.
Being a Night Vision product, this version of the Podium provides 360-degree reflectivity. If you want something more subtle, the Podium is available at the same price with less reflective print. Both options are available in more muted colours too.
Ergonomic jacket that provides excellent protection from wet weather and packs down small
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Podium Night Vision Waterproof Jacket
Size tested: Medium, Black/Green
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 says, "Waterproof, windproof and highly breathable with 360° NV Technology in a Performance Fit. Targetted at the rider who needs guaranteed protection in a jacket that packs light and tight."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Altura lists these features:
* Altura Shield technology is engineered to provide protection from wind and water, whilst still offering high levels of breathability
* Altura NightVison technology offers superior retroreflectivity
* NV360° performance offers 360 degree reflectivity for maximum dark light visibility
* Winter cuff construction offers enhanced insulation and warmth through an engineered cuff extension
* ErgoFit 3D patterning engineered for a more comfortable riding position
* Packaway function
* Performance Fit
Main: 100% Nylon / Contrast: 100% Polyester
Waterproof Rating: 7,000
Breathability Rating: 20,000
The seam taping is good but not exceptional. Everything else is very well done.
It's lightweight for something that offers this level of waterproofing.
Good breathability and well-placed stretchy panels make for a high level of comfort.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It keeps light and moderate rain out very well and offers good breathability.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The cut. It's slim without being too tight, so there's no annoying flapping.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The bright green/yellow look doesn't really do it for me. I'd go for another colour.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes (in a different colour!)
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
This is a gem of a jacket, at its best for stowing away in a jersey pocket to be brought out when it starts to rain. You can buy cheaper but the level of weatherproofing you get here makes it worth every penny.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.