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Chapeau! Red Echelon Jacket



A really well thought out, packable design that keeps out the elements

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Chapeau! Red Echelon Jacket brings together some really nice features combined with good performance and an excellent fit, even if it looks a little Star Trek-y.

One of the key points of judgement for the Red Echelon, as with any other jacket, is how well it performs in bad conditions. Luckily, testing in the UK in December means it's been put through its paces.

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In terms of windproofing it works really well, with Chapeau! choosing a fabric that kept even the fiercest wind off. I was really surprised by how effective it was, simply because it is so thin – it can't be thicker than a regular sheet of A4 paper, but managed to keep the wind off even in the freezing cold. It is genuinely impressive.

Chapeau Red Echelon Jacket - riding.jpg

It is worth noting that the jacket is not an all-out waterproof, with Chapeau! describing it as showerproof. Despite this, the seams are taped throughout and the cuffs slightly elasticated to keep rain and draughts out. I used it in a variety of conditions and rain intensities, though not quite torrential, and despite the jacket not being claimed as a waterproof, it held up well with nothing getting through.

Chapeau Red Echelon Jacket - collar.jpg

The fit isn't quite racing cut, but it's certainly closer to racing than casual. The diagonal YKK zip works well both at keeping things out (it's a taped zip) and keeping everything in place. It is worth noting that because of the thickness of the material I was wary of catching the material in the zip, especially when stowing it into its pack.

The jacket has one of the longest backs I've seen in a while, something I really like as it gives plenty of coverage but also allows you to stuff your jersey pockets underneath. There are also drawstrings around the hem at the back, which allows for a certain degree of adjustability, also a nice touch.

Chapeau Red Echelon Jacket - back.jpg

When not needed, the jacket packs into its own pocket, a nice idea. It makes packing it down to fit into a jersey pocket easy, although it ends up about the same size as most jersey pockets, so can require a little bit of reforming to fit properly.

Chapeau Red Echelon Jacket - pocket.jpg

I think it's a good looking jacket, although this shade of red, combined with the black cuffs, is a little reminiscent of Star Trek... It's available in blue too. At the rear there are some reflective elements that do their job well, and there are other nice little touches too, such as the patterned inside, which pulls everything together nicely; it's not necessary at all, but shows the attention to detail.

> Check out our guide to the best winter cycling jackets

At £149.99 it's not a cheap buy, but it's in line with other high quality, high performance jackets, and if you are looking in this price range, I'm sure you won't be disappointed. I was really impressed with it, from the material choice and performance to the pattern on the inside. And it's currently available at half price...


A really well thought out, packable design that keeps out the elements

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Make and model: Chapeau! Red Echelon Jacket

Size tested: Large

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?

A high quality jacket that can be left in a jersey pocket or used to protect against the elements.

Chapeau! says: 'Lightweight and packable this slim fitting windproof jacket is just the item to reach for to add that extra layer of protection.'

An accurate description, it manages to both fit in the pocket and protect from the worst of the weather.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?

Slim fitting

Lightweight (177g for a size medium)



Packs into own pocket

Reflective detailing

Breathable stretch fabric

Taped seams

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:

Really well made, with taped seams, and there's even a pattern to the inside of the fabric.

Rate the jacket for performance:

Performed really well throughout the review period.

Rate the jacket for durability:

Seems well made and even though the material is thin it feels like it'll last – if you keep it out of the zip.

Rate the jacket for waterproofing, based on the manufacturer's rating:

Only meant to be showerproof, but nothing got through while I was wearing it.

Rate the jacket for breathability, based on the manufacturer's rating:

Didn't ever feel like I was overheating or too sweaty while wearing it.

Rate the jacket for fit:

Really nicely fitted, complete with long back which adds protection and allows for full jersey pockets too.

Rate the jacket for sizing:

The large size tested fitted exactly as I would have expected.

Rate the jacket for weight:

Nice and lightweight thanks to the good material choice.

Rate the jacket for comfort:
Rate the jacket for value:

It is expensive, but around the price I would have expected.

How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Easy; wipes clean when needed.

Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well, it packed down nicely and, most importantly, kept the elements out.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

The fit and extra long back.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

Nothing major.

Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes

Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes

Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

It's a really well made, well designed and innovative jacket that performed superbly throughout the review. Not cheap, but worth the money and does enough in my opinion to warrant a 9.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 27  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

George spends his days helping companies deal with their cycling commuting challenges with his company Cycling for Work. He has been writing for since 2014. 

When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects. 

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