The Altura Nevis III men's waterproof jacket is a decent option for commuting and general riding that won't break the bank. It also looks neutral enough off the bike and lends itself well to other outdoor activities.
Using Shield technology, which basically boils down to our old friend polyester, the outer is described as windproof and waterproof. In real terms that means it can withstand a seriously heavy downpour, and I've never suffered in cold, blustery winds. Rain simply beads up and rolls off before it can sneak inside. Seams are taped, and flaps around the zippers and pockets also do an excellent job of keeping it from finding a way in.
Inside, we have a fleece-lined collar to keep this area warm and the wet stuff out. Like most budget polyesters, the jacket features a mesh type lining, which serves to assist trafficking of sweat while protecting the outer layer against premature wear.
Discreet but generous venting across the shoulders and sides helps, but I wasn't surprised to find myself slightly damp around the lower back and pits after 25 minutes' concerted effort, although I never felt boiled in the bag, even when hustling home at 95rpm on some very mild October evenings.
Occasional outings on green lanes and trail cut-throughs suggest the outer shell is pretty hardy, and everything washes nicely at 30 degrees.
Before I go much further, a quick word about sizing and cut. Altura describes the Nevis III as a relaxed fit, which shouldn't be interpreted as baggy, just less tailored than its justly popular Night Vision. User-friendly drawcords mean it's easily adjusted to taste and layers.
Altura kit tends to come up a little large, so no surprise that the medium fitted my own frame perfectly and, though easily dismissed as clever marketing, its ErgoFit 3D Patterning seems to live up to its hype: long enough at the back and arms and unrestricted around the shoulders. Hunkered low on the drops, battling headwinds at 30mph, there's sufficient protection for the lower back and no tendency to flap noisily.
Velcro cuffs continue the tailored theme and slip neatly over most winter gloves for a seamless, weather cheating overlap.
Pockets are another feature that should never be overlooked. The Nevis has three, all well proportioned. A nelson for your tech/other valuables, two at the hip – great for keys and parking the hands when mooching around, and the time-honoured 'poacher's pocket' at the rear. This will swallow a pair of gloves, midi pump, spare tube and similar nick-nacks without feeling overburdened.
Clever Scotchlite detailing here and at other select points bring the jacket to life at a sensible distance when graced by street and vehicle lighting. This is very welcome regardless of the colour but especially when black's involved.
Ultimately, there are some limitations I've come to expect from this end of the market, but nonetheless the Nevis III is a well thought out jacket. For short to relatively long commutes with the mercury ranging between 8 and 15 degrees and general riding between 15 and 20mph, everything has worked in good proportion. Its chameleon characteristics mean it works with Lycra longs, bike-specific commuter/mountain bike trousers and casual chinos or jeans, and the more relaxed fit is a bonus if you also want it to earn its keep off the bike.
Competent budget jacket for commuting and general outdoor use
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Nevis III Waterproof Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket 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: "The Nevis offers excellent protection in wet conditions, with a water repellant zipper and a looser fit."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
* Altura Shield™ technology is engineered to provide protection from wind and water whilst still offering high levels of breathability
* Altura ErgoFit™ 3D patterning engineered for a more comfortable riding position
* Altura Draft Venting ™ strategically located venting zones allow for enhanced breathability and thermoregulation whilst in the riding position
* Strategically located retroreflective trims for increased visibility
* Zippered chest pockets and two front hand pockets
* Rear storage pocket
* Relaxed Fit
Seems rugged in the everyday sense and several weeks' testing confirms it doubles as a decent jacket for walking and other more general outdoor use.
Moisture wicking takes a little while to kick in. That said, I've never felt uncomfortably warm, let alone "boiled in the bag" during 15-mile round trips at a steady 18-20mph tempo.
Relaxed fit looks great off the bike but is still practical when hunkering low on the drops and battling a cold and rainy night.
As a rough rule of thumb, Altura tends to be generous so go a size smaller than your default. With this in mind, I wasn't surprised to find medium was perfect for my 1.81m frame.
Nice fit and reasonable inner climate, no matter what the weather was doing. However, breathability wasn't on par with more sophisticated fabrics.
Competitively priced relative to performance and design brief.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy, like most technical fabrics; just avoid biological detergents and fabric conditions.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Nevis III is a decent budget option for commuting and general riding at a more moderate pace. Weather resistance and temperature regulation are what I'd expect from this end of the market. Lowering the main zipper and pits certainly helps airflow without compromising protection from the elements. The stealth reflectives are really well positioned, offering some additional security after dark without looking out of place in offices or just mooching around town. Well conceived pockets are extremely practical and add to the non-bike civilian feel.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Decent cut, reasonable performance, good detailing – pockets etc – means it doubles as a useful everyday outdoor jacket.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Nothing in particular given the design brief.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Possibly
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's a decent enough jacket for commuting and other outdoor activities, with some limitations as expected at this price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)