The Galibier Mistral Pro is a warm softshell jacket that offers plenty of protection from unfriendly weather at a bargain price.
- Pros: Windproof, water resistant, inexpensive
- Cons: DWR treatment will need reapplying (as usual)
I reviewed the Galibier Mistral (minus the Pro suffix) a couple of years ago and was very impressed. The Mistral Pro is a similar proposition in that it's designed to protect you from wind and rain, but it's more hardcore!
This is a really impressive jacket for winter and cooler spring/autumn rides. I've been using it comfortably in temperatures as low as 0°C and up to about 10°C. Any warmer than that and you'll probably start to overheat, depending on how cool you run and how hard you ride.
Okay, so what do we have here? The Mistral Pro is made from quite a thick and fleecy polyester fabric with a brushed inner face and a waterproof ePTFE membrane hidden away inside. The outer face of the fabric has a DWR (durable water repellent) finish to encourage water to bead up and flow away rather than soak in. I'll come back to how this fabric performs in a mo.
The Mistral Pro has a dual-layer front. Open the offset front zip of the outer and there's an inner section, also zipped, the two halves of which extend just to the sides of the jacket – they don't continue around the back. Make sense? This inner section is made from a Roubaix-type fabric, a lot like you might find used in winter tights.
The Mistral Pro performs really, really well. No wind at all gets in through the fabric while a tall, close-fitting collar, double cuff and elasticated waistband mean there's no danger of cold air wafting in uninvited. This means that you can stay warm and comfortable even on very cold rides in the depths of winter.
As mentioned, the main fabric has a waterproof membrane to stop the rain getting through although, in common with most softshells, there's no seam sealing so heavy rain can worm its way in. If it's likely to start hoofing down you'll need a waterproof shell in your pocket, but for most other conditions, including light rain, the Mistral Pro will see you right. I had a 45-minute ride into the office yesterday morning, for example, where it rained for 15 minutes at the start and 10 minutes at the end, and I was perfectly dry inside.
The Mistral Pro is reasonably breathable although, inevitably, the internal atmosphere can get sticky when you hit a long climb or things get tasty on a group ride. The double-layer front gives you options here. You can open the outer zip a little to let some fresh air in without freezing your chest; you can open the outer zip fully and leave the inner done up for more ventilation without the jacket going completely AWOL in the wind; or you can open both the outer and the inner fully for maximum cooling. The point is, you get plenty of adjustment options to suit the temperature and the terrain you're riding.
You get three deep and roomy pockets around the back plus a zipped waterproof one that's large enough to take your mobile phone and a wallet. Plenty of reflective trim back there aids visibility.
The cut is slim enough to avoid flapping – a pet hate of mine – with enough stretch in the fabric ensuring that the Mistral won't feel uncomfortable even if you're a few pounds over race weight.
And so to the price... £79.55? Wow! Being a spoilt rotten cycling journalist, I don't necessarily know the price of everything I'm reviewing until I've used it for a few weeks and it's time to do the write up. I was expecting the Mistral Pro to be considerably more expensive than it actually is. The Sportful Giara softshell jacket that Dave Arthur reviewed recently was £120, for instance, and the dhb Aeron Women's Full Protection Softshell was £110. The Mistral Pro is a bit of a bargain.
Overall, this jacket puts in a really strong performance. It's windproof and it'll keep out even prolonged showers, helping you to stay warm and comfortable on everything from cool spring/autumn days to deepest winter. Add in the fact that it comes at a highly reasonable price and the Mistral Pro is an attractive proposition.
A well-made softshell jacket that'll keep you warm and comfortable in cool, cold and wet conditions – a bargain price too
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Galibier Mistral Pro Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket is for
It's for cool and cold riding.
Galibier says, "The goal of our Mistral garment range, is to keep the rider warm, regardless if it is cold, raining or driving wind. The Mistral Pro will give you complete body protection from the worst weather.
"We aimed to make the 'Pro' also a versatile, deep winter garment, to permit the rider to regulate their temperature as the conditions change.
"We have offset the zip to prevent zip overlapping zip bulk and provide smooth venting. Unzipping the outer layer, by 5 or 10 cm permits indirect air entry to keep the core at your chosen temperature as we have added a dual-layer front to the garment. The outer membrane can be unzipped completely, when the body is working hardest - but the inner, insulating layer remains closed, preventing drafts or chills.
"The main membrane material has a brushed inner fabric, making it warmer than the conventional Mistral Jacket and we have also added a waterproof, phone pocket in this Pro version.
"The three layer, German membrane fabric which was designed for military use, has been DWR treated for better water shedding. There are lots of soft shell fabrics out there. The goal of this jacket is to keep you warm while riding in ALL conditions. Driving rain or strong north winds, your chest will be free from chills."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
There's an ePTFE (expanded polytetrafluoroethylene) membrane sandwiched in the main fabric. This allows waterproofing while allowing sweat/moisture vapour to escape out.
It's well made and the dual-layer front works well to offer you a range of temperature regulation options.
It is designed to keep you warm and comfortable in testing conditions, and it succeeds.
It's looking good so far. There are a couple of Velcro tabs that hold the flap across the front of the zip in place. These don't snag the fabric of the jacket but make sure they're covered when you sling the Mistral Pro in the wash to protect other clothes.
The fabric is waterproof but the seams aren't sealed so the garment as a whole is only water resistant, like most softshells. That said, it has to rain for a long time before water starts seeping in.
You can get sweaty in here, but the dual layer front offers a few different ways to control the internal temperature.
I really like the cut. It's slim enough to avoid flapping with enough stretch in the fabric to keep everything comfortable.
I'd say it sized a little large. I sometimes take a medium, usually a large. I've been using a medium here and it has fitted well although I could have done with a little more length in the body, so perhaps a large would have been better.
I'm not too fussed about weight in a winter jacket, to be honest.
It's very comfortable.
Galibier could easily charge quite a bit more for this.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
It goes in the machine at 30°C and comes out fine. I've been turning it inside out to make sure the Velcro tabs don't catch on other washing.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It does its job really well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The warmth on offer.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
There's nothing that has grated here.
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 overall score
I think that a strong performance in a variety of conditions plus a very reasonable price get the Mistral Pro a 9 overall.
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 worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, 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 past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.