The ArroWhere Dark Windproof Shell is a decent piece of kit for those looking to maintain a level of 'stealth' but also be visible in the gloom. It offers good wind protection and some rain resistance, though it isn't as waterproof as some similar style jackets. The zip isn't the best quality, either.
- Pros: Good wind protection, great visibility
- Cons: Zip is fiddly to operate
Arrowhere is a relatively new company from Canada whose products focus on visibility. It has a patent pending on the design of its jackets, which is essentially a big arrow pointing the best direction for motorists to pass. In the case of this Dark Windproof Shell it's to the right, but there are versions pointing to the left for countries where you drive on the right.
The purpose of the Dark Windproof Shell is to be a relatively stealthy looking piece of kit when light isn't shone on it, but then light up like a beacon when it is. This lighting up comes from an arrow on the back measuring roughly rough 45 x 25cm and two smaller arrows on the sleeves. These light up really well when headlights hit them, and despite wearing all black, I never felt that I would be missed by a car.
Arrowhere has created the jacket using a 100% nylon material that's impressively windproof; it hardly let in any, even on the fastest descent on my test route.
There are seven main panels in its construction, two on the front, one on the back and four on the sides, which means there are a few more seams here than you get in some jackets on the market.
Other details include two zippable pockets on the front, and a mesh lining to the collar, which effectively prevents chafing on the neck and helps to draw moisture away from the area.
As you can see from the photos, it has a full-length zip, but this is one of the areas where I would like to see an improvement. It feels more fragile than I would like, though it hasn't failed, and is fiddly to use. There were a number of times when I went to put it on while on the go, only to find that I hadn't quite aligned the teeth properly so I had a zipper pull halfway up my chest but an open zip above and below. It meant I definitely had to stop and make sure I had fully aligned everything exactly and that the material behind the zip didn't get caught in it.
Once on, the jacket has a good level of breathability and I found I didn't 'boil' in it at all, even when using it in slightly more humid conditions. It has a degree of waterproofing and I used it a number of times in drizzle and light rain without issue, but as soon as it began to get a bit heavier it wasn't suitable.
When it's not drizzling or cold it packs down well and fits into a jersey pocket, ready for descents or if the wind begins to get up.
Fit is closer to Italian sizing than US or UK, which is interesting as it comes from a Canadian company. I normally wear a medium for US and UK brands and a large for Italian or performance brands, so the medium I reviewed was big enough, but if I were buying it I would have probably gone for a large.
In terms of value it's a little more expensive than some competitors: £10 more than the Castelli Squadra which comes in at £40, and a fiver more than the £45 Sportful Reflex.
Overall, I'd say once you get this jacket on it does a decent job: it's breathable, windproof and impressively visible for something that is basically a black jacket. It also packs down small and fits easily into a jersey pocket. However, it's the point between these two states – actually putting it on – that Arrowhere needs to improve: the zip is too fiddly for ease of use.
A good jacket on your back, but needs a less fiddly zip
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road.cc test report
Make and model: ArroWhere Dark Viz Windproof Shell
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket is for
It's a wind jacket designed to provide a large amount of visibility in low light.
Arrowhere says: "ArroWhere Dark's Lightweight Jacket – Windproof shell with water-resisting capabilities.
Available in both men's (S-XXXL) and women's (XS-XL) sizes.
The next step in safety fashion. ArroWhere Dark allows the wearer be casual, while remaining safe with the help of the ArroWhere Effect. Dark Viz was designed for the person who wants to wear dark colors, but still increase their safety.
Super light. Easy to wear. Comfortable. You can take it out when you need it and store it when you do not.
ArroWhere's worldwide patented/patent-pending designs help to direct oncoming traffic (especially from behind) around you safely."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
-100% Nylon Windproof shell; water-resistant
-Easy to stow away in jersey pocket or backpack
-ArroWhere worldwide patented/patent-pending designs.
-ArroWhere Arrows on the sleeves.
The majority of the jacket is well made with strong double stitching throughout, but the zip isn't quite up to the same standard.
Good performance, kept the wind off well and withstood light rain.
The material itself is strong and looks likely to last, but after the several times I needed to force the zip back down, I would worry about its longevity.
It's only designed to be water resistant, and kept off rain well until it got particularly heavy.
Decent breathability; at no point did it feel boil-in-a-bag.
The medium size came up smaller than I would expect from a North American brand, so worth sizing up.
Very lightweight and easy to fit in a jersey pocket.
Decent windproofing and some nice touches like the mesh insert on the collar.
Slightly more expensive than other more established brands' similar offerings.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Needs a cold wash or hand wash, so not as easy to care for as some. However, no ill effects after washing.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed well when it was on, but there was a little frustration with doing up the zip.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Windproofing combined with lightweight is always a winner.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The zip needs to be less fiddly. It doesn't feel terribly robust, though it hasn't failed yet.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes – once it was on.
Would you consider buying the jacket? If the zip was improved.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Ditto the above.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's difficult to find fault with the jacket once it's on, but it loses points on the zip, which needed to be precisely aligned or it would just move up without zipping and would frequently get caught in its wind barrier.
About the tester
I usually ride: Mercian King of Mercia or Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc.
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.