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The Gore R3 Women Gore-Tex Active Hooded Jacket is a top quality, stylish and functional garment that will keep you dry whatever you are doing outdoors, without causing you to sweat buckets.
The R3 in the name is a clue that this isn't a cycling-specific jacket. In Gore-speak, R is for running, though Gore suggests this jacket is also 'ideal' for hiking, road cycling and mountain biking. It's not designed for pure roadies; rather, it's good for commuters, knock-about-town riders and tourers if you're coming from a cycling perspective. And it's outstanding when used for its designed purpose.
The Gore-Tex Active fabric is paper-thin with a tactile, matt finish. It washes well following Gore's advice and I haven't used any specially designed products. Although not 'Shakedry' weight, the jacket is still very light and the material moulds and folds to any movement without making any noise. It rolls down pretty small too, so it's a viable option for anyone keen on touring or bikepacking.
I've used the jacket on my road bike, mountain bike, while walking and running. It's ticked all the boxes in every circumstance: windproof, waterproof and breathable. Throughout the entire test period I have not experienced any rain penetrating the jacket. And I wasn't sweating within 10 minutes of setting out – in fact, if I got the baselayers right, I didn't sweat at all on my brisk, rainy commutes.
You're unlikely to be performing max-out efforts and intervals while wearing the jacket – it's just not intended for that kind of riding. It is hands down the best waterproof I have ever tested in terms of breathability.
Running in the jacket certainly did see me working up a sweat, but to be fair I'd be doing that without a waterproof on!
I found the cut spot on, too, and I'd imagine it will suit many as it is not too tight at any single point. It's a feminine cut but is generous enough to get a few decent layers underneath. This is necessary, too, as although the jacket is windproof, it is not insulated. Don't expect it to keep you warm.
The sleeves are a generous length and can be tightened at the half-elasticated cuff if necessary. There's room for a decent sized glove under them.
While it definitely doesn't lack length in the body, because it isn't designed specifically for cycling there isn't much of a 'tail' to protect your lower back if you do opt to make use of it on a bike without mudguards. The best you can do is tighten the baseline hem to keep as much spray out as possible.
The tightening cord is tidily tucked away inside the pockets. You press a toggle that sits inside the hem, pull the elasticated cord as much as you want before releasing the toggle to hold the right tension. It's a great idea to keep the toggle mechanism stitched within the garment so that it doesn't get filled with gritty water and dirt. My only niggle about having the cord in the pocket was that it frequently got tangled up in my bunch of keys.
Gore has used a soft, velvet-like material for the one bit of the jacket that is guaranteed to come into contact with your skin – the collar. I found the collar height just right – any more and it would have been irritating. There is a good 10cm of casing for the zip at the collar, too: however much you choose to zip it up, your neck will be protected from the zip itself. Most of the time I had it fully zipped up – it really helps to keep cold air out.
While I am not always a fan of a hood on a waterproof – they can be oversized and make you feel shut off from the world – I didn't find this one too imposing, even on the bike. When walking, I frequently had it up and found that a woolly hat fitted well under it – in fact, I found it was better with one because it used up the slight excess space (I have a small head!).
On the bike, it sits under the helmet and, depending on your head size, might need a bit of adjusting so that there is absolutely no obscuring of vision. An elasticated cord running round its edge makes it easy to adjust once up: tighten it and pull it through a gently serrated split in a toggle to hold it in place. It's easy to use and extremely effective. I quickly realised that if I wasn't using the hood it was worth pulling the cord tight as it forced the edge of the hood to sit plush against the collar – no chance of water getting in.
Two lateral pockets are a good size with a decent opening. I had no problem fitting in a 6 x 3in smartphone and zipping them up. The tabs on these zips, and the main zip, is a grippy strip of silicone which makes grabbing it with a glove on really easy.
The Active Hooded Jacket is available from XS to XL in a range of six colours, four of which are really vibrant so if visibility is a priority you have a good choice. It has reflective detailing on the forearms and reflective logos in a few places including the tail.
I've washed the jacket several times following the instructions to the letter: delicate cycle, 40 degrees, inside-out and no softener. It's still performing as it did on the first outing. And it's never failed to come out clean – some waterproofs I've had cling to dirt at the cuffs and hems, but the R3 hasn't.
Although £179.99 might seem a little steep, so often with waterproofs it's a matter of 'you get what you pay for'. It looks pretty good value compared with Rapha's Hooded Rain Jacket, a very similar garment in terms of design and intended use that would set you back a further £50. Okay, so Rapha can make most manufacturers look 'cheap', but if you want a waterproof that is not exclusively for use on a bike, then I would say this Gore jacket is worth paying for. If you are an outdoors person you will most definitely get your money's worth.
Exceptional performance and design for anyone who simply enjoys being outside – on two wheels or two feet
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore R3 Women Gore-Tex Active Hooded 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?
Gore tells us, 'this jacket is a great lightweight but fully protective addition to any workout when you're going to get wet.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
*Hem width can be adjusted by cordstopper and elastic drawstring
*Zip underflap and zipper garage
*Lightweight, extremely breathable, waterproof and windproof
*GORE-TEX Active fabric is softer and quieter in use for higher comfort
*Reflective piping on back and sleeves
*Adjustable hood (width and field of vision)
Worth noting that this is based upon activewear use rather than solely on a bike.
Doesn't appear to have any 'weak points'. The material is paper thin but has stood up to plenty of use in the test period. It's something you'd only use when it's raining, so not every day (hopefully!) but looking good so far.
Any waterproof will make you heat up quicker but this is hands down the best I have every used in terms of time and effort to bring on a sweat.
It's cheaper than Gore's Shakedry, and you can use it with a backpack... Rapha's Hooded Rain Jacket is another £50, and while it's £80 more than Rapha's Commuter jacket, from Matt's review of the men's version it doesn't sound like it breathes very well, and the Gore excels on that front.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Came out of a delicate 40 cycle with no softener just fine and continued to perform as it had on day one.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Brilliant. It's not specifically designed for the bike so the lack of tail at the back has to be overlooked really.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Fit, protection and weight/packability.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Definitely
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes, if they want a waterproof for commuting, touring or general wear.
Use this box to explain your overall score
I'm almost tempted to give this 10/10. It's not cheap, but it's worth every penny to stay completely dry when commuting or touring, hiking or walking, or simply getting outside in the Great British weather.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
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, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, getting to grips with off-roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…