Altura's Nightvision Thunderstorm jacket is a very effective, fully featured winter coat that's very usable both on and off the bike. For most riding short of racing it's a great companion, and the day-night visibility is very effective.
- Pros: Very waterproof and windproof, reflective panels very effective, useful venting
- Cons: Not as breathable as some
The Thunderstorm is a full hardshell with taped seams, designed to be fully waterproof. It's a relaxed fit with a minimally dropped tail, so it doesn't look unusual off the bike, and it comes with a removable hood that Altura says is big enough to cover a helmet. I found it a bit tight for that, but it was good as a general purpose hood otherwise, with a cinch cord to keep it secure in windy conditions.
When the weather and the dark evenings draw in, I'm a fan of wearing stuff that's reasonably noticeable, but I'm not a fan of dressing up like a railway operative. The red Nightvision Thunderstorm is right in the sweetspot for me. It's bright enough to be noticeable, doesn't look like workwear, and has a huge expanse of reflective material that isn't obviously reflective. It just looks like a two-tone jacket in the daytime, but at night with car headlights trained on it it's impressively visible from a long way away.
If you prefer a more muted colour scheme then there are teal and charcoal options, and if high-vis is your thing then there's an in-your-face navy/high-vis option. All of them share the same unobtrusive reflective panels.
The Nightvision is supremely waterproof and windproof. All seams are taped, the main zip is waterproof, and there's a storm flap behind it. I took the jacket out in conditions that could reasonably be described as filthy, for several hours, and no water made it inside. The material is windproof too, so stick a chunky baselayer or a winter jersey underneath (or both) and you'll stay plenty warm, too.
Talking of being warm, the Nightvision isn't the most breathable jacket I've ever used, but it's a fairly heavy duty bit of kit and given the thickness of the fabric it's not bad. There are vents under the arms that you can open if you're overheating, which are pretty well protected from the rain when you're riding; you can open up the cuffs too, to encourage a bit more airflow. If you're riding at a hard pace you can make the Nightvision a bit uncomfortable, but at audax/touring pace it performs very well, and it's really more a jacket for that sort of riding, as well as commuting and off-the-bike use.
Practicality is good. You get two front pockets, a chest pocket and a big rear pocket, so there are places to stash your stuff whatever you're doing.
Altura describes the jacket as a relaxed fit, and in terms of sizing it's certainly that. I'm 1.89m and 92kg, and although I'm not as big as I used to be I wouldn't really describe myself as medium-sized, but the medium fits me fine, with room for a jumper or a thick jersey and baselayer underneath. (Ash in the photo is a bit smaller than me.) You're going to need to be pretty big to need a 3XL, and the small one is the only size smaller than this, so if you're small or race-shaped you're probably going to need to look elsewhere if you don't want a baggy fit.
Value is good too – it's a few quid more than what is probably its nearest direct competitor, the dhb Flashlight Force, but you can pay a lot more for this sort of performance.
If you're after a multi-purpose jacket that you can wear on and off the bike, and you like venturing out in foul weather, or after dark, then the Nightvision Thunderstorm is easy to recommend. It's not a jacket for hard riding or an aggressive position, but it's ideal for most other stuff. The waterproofing is excellent and the visibility is too, and you can have it in a range of colours to suit your preference.
Highly waterproof multi-purpose jacket with good visibility for day/night rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Nightvision Thunderstorm 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?
New for the Autumn Winter 2018 season is our flagship colour reflective, relaxed fitting waterproof cycling jacket the Nightvision Thunderstorm.
Designed to protect the cyclist in all-weather conditions while providing additional rider visibility with the added benefit of colour reflective fabric being applied on the upper torso, over the shoulders, on top of the arms and on the lower back area. In addition to the colour reflective technology being used we have also added reflective trim detailing to strategic on bike riding positions further increasing just how visible the Nightvision Thunderstorm jacket is.
The Thunderstorm jacket is also feature packed with the inclusion of a helmet compatible hood that is both removable and colour again being reflective. The design includes strategically placed openings to all pockets with the smaller upper chest pocket being a zippered side entry design ideal for quick access to valuables, the two large hidden zippered torso pockets which can accommodate items such as maps or tourist guides for example there also have reflective trim and tapered design for ease of access. The large lower back traditional rear cargo pocket has a wide single top zippered entry and storm flap cover providing more storage should you need it.
Large velcro adjustable cuffs with fabric tabs can be easily opened and closed when wearing gloves ensuring a tight closure which helps keep out the elements such as wind and rain in this key contact point. The scooped rear design with elasticated hem ensures the jacket remains in place during cycling with underarm zippered vents and a reflective trimmed upper rear back vent channel helps increase the Nightvision Thunderstorm jackets breathability. A fully taped seam construction ensures the jacket is waterproof, with a water-resistant front zipper that has a rear storm flap and rain channel also helps with protection from the elements.
Available in tonal designs for a minimalistic look or in contrasting colours for added daylight visibility the Thunderstorm jacket is proving popular with all types of cyclists that are looking for reflective visibility without compromising in other areas such as breathability, waterproof construction or style.
Also available as part of the Nightvision Thunderstorm collection is the Thunderstorm overshoe and glove which are also available from autumn winter 2018.
It's ideal for the cycle commuter where being seen in all light conditions is essential for rider safety.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
20D 100% Nylon plaid +20D 100% polyester tricot main body fabric
Detachable helmet compatible hood
Upper chest zippered pocket
Rear upper back vents
Two large torso zippered front pockets
One large rear zippered cargo pocket
Colour reflective over shoulder and upper arm fabric
Lower back colour reflective fabric
Zippered underarm venting
Highly visible colour reflective technology for on bike safety
Ample provision for storage
Waterproof and breathable
Sizes up pretty big.
Not cheap at £129.99 but very useful. You can spend a lot more than this...
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washes easily enough; after a couple of washes the fabric still beads okay but will probably need retreating after every few washes for best performance.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Good visibility in all conditions. Very waterproof.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Not as breathable as some.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The nearest direct competitor is probably the dhb Flashlight Force, which is a very similar price.
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
Performance is very good for a pretty wide range of uses, and it's not especially expensive in the grand scheme of things. Overall, it's easy to recommend.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.