The MAAP Block Out Pro Jacket is one for those days when you perhaps wouldn't normally go out on the bike but you have no choice – a big event, race, or even commute forces you out into the relentless rain and wind. It's a super-lightweight, highly weatherproof jacket with an aero cut and reflective elements.
- Pros: Highly effective waterproofing and windproofing, very breathable, excellent race cut, reflective elements
- Cons: Not the most packable, pricey
The Block Out Pro Jacket is packed with technical features, notably the DryTech fabric with a ClimateControl membrane. It's waterproof and windproof while also being stretchy and supple; it's also very breathable, preventing that 'boil in the bag' feeling you get with some rain jackets.
The weatherproofing is remarkably effective. I was 'lucky' enough to test it out in a couple of late-May flash downpours at the Tour of Wessex sportive, and the water beads and runs off very well. The cuffs have elasticated wristbands to form a seal around your arm, and the neck line is high, preventing any water ingress here.
What's more, the neck has a fine fleece lining which both soaks up any water if any does make it in, and prevents your neck coming into contact with the lightweight material, which can feel cool against the skin.
Given how light the jacket is, it does an excellent job at blocking out wind and keeping you warm, with the fabric's breathability preventing you from overheating.
A lightweight garment, this is not one for the deepest of winters, unless as a final over-layer. It is designed more as a race cape, something for when you're riding hard and generating body heat, perhaps with just a jersey and arm warmers on beneath it. While it keeps you 'warm' by keeping the wind off your body, don't expect it to actually warm you – there's no 'weight' or insulation in the jacket, except around the neckline, as mentioned above.
To go with the foul weather protection, MAAP has focused quite heavily on reflectivity, with large logos on either flank and a large reflective dot on the right of the back, which is a good location for catching car headlights (quite fortunate for us in the UK that MAAP is from Australia, where they also drive on the left).
As far as I can tell, these reflective elements work well; they show up as a muted charcoal grey when not reflecting light, which is relatively subtle. Having MAAP in massive writing down the sides of the jacket won't appeal to all, but it's quite stylish lettering.
The cut is slim and close fitting, not like some rain jackets that can end up turning into a parachute with billowing material around the shoulders and arms. There's just enough space around the back to be able to get your hand up the tail of the jacket and into your jersey pockets beneath should you need to, though it's not the easiest of tasks.
I'd say the jacket is perhaps more of a 'put it on and leave it on' garment for those days of constant filthy weather, rather than a 'stow it in the pocket just in case' item, largely because it doesn't pack down all that small. Sure, you can cram it into a jersey pocket but it's a real squeeze, and it totally takes up that pocket (compare this to Castelli's Idro, for example, which folds down as small as a gilet). This is perhaps my only real quibble with the jacket.
That and the fact that all this quality and technology doesn't come cheap; at £226 it's an eye-watering level of investment. However, direct rivals are in much the same ballpark, with the Gore Shakedry, Sportful Stelvio and Castelli Idro all costing £250 or more. These do seem to be more packable, though, so that extra £25 or so could be worth it for the added flexibility.
An excellent foul weather jacket, just a jersey pocket away from being outstanding
road.cc test report
Make and model: MAAP Block Out Pro Jacket
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the jacket is for
MAAP describes the jacket as follows:
'When rain is pouring down, and the wind whistles through the countryside, the MAAP Block Out Pro Jacket provides the protection you need to get out on your bike and keep riding... it is tough, sophisticated, and rooted in performance. The Block Out Jacket provides superior protection against heavy rain and ripping winds. The ClimateControl™ membrane breaths with you as you're riding, retaining and releasing body heat keeping your core body temperature perfectly regulated. Fully welded and thermo taped seams and lycra sleeve cuffs as well as a heavy-duty YKK zip and zip garage at the collar all combine to give you ultimate protection against miserable and wet weather.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
* Fully waterproof and windproof fabric
* 20K Breathable / 20K waterproof internal membrane
* Fully welded and thermo taped seams
* Lightweight, aero fit
* Lycra sleeve cuffs
* Zip garage at collar
* Reflective tape in the back side seams
The jacket is very well made and shows no sign of wear after several rides where it was both worn and scrunched into a jersey pocket. The materials feel top quality.
I rode the jacket in a few light showers, and one brief downpour of monsoon style rain. During both, water beaded off the fabric's surface really well, and none got through it, or around the cuffs and neck.
Windproofing is excellent too, without making you 'boil in the bag' the way some packable jackets can.
The jacket is a nice slim fit and sits tight to the body; it feels quite aero with no flappy fabrics, without being overly tight or restricting.
I typically ride small kit on the top half, and this small fitted well and true to size. It is a slim aero cut, so if you want a roomier garment, size up.
The jacket is super-lightweight and doesn't feel slow or restrictive to wear. It doesn't scrunch down into a pocket quite as well as I'd have hoped though.
The jacket felt comfortable to wear and not overly restricting.
At £225, the jacket is eye-wateringly expensive, though not much different to similar alternatives on the market. It performs a huge distance above cheap packable jackets, and if you're going to be riding a lot in the mountains, where I think it will come in hugely useful, it'll be worth it for the top performance.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The jacket washed well and shows no signs of wear.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The cut and weatherproofing is excellent.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The jacket doesn't fold down quite as much as I'd like. Also, I'm not a huge fan of how the large MAAP logos look, though I appreciate they're there largely to provide a reflective, visible element.
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 overall score
An all-round excellent foul weather jacket, with superb weatherproofing and good visibility. The main letdown is that it doesn't fold down quite as small as I'd like.
About the tester
I usually ride: Giant TCR / Cannondale Supersix My best bike is: Giant TCR
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding