The Altura Firestorm Waterproof Jacket keeps the rain out and is well made, plus it offers an excellent amount of reflectivity to get you noticed in the dark. The breathability isn't too bad, and it is so lightweight and compact it easily stuffs into a jersey pocket, making it an ideal emergency solution. Its only main drawback is that the tail is a bit short – especially if you're on a drop bar bike.
With a 15,000mm waterproof rating, backed up by taped seams, the Altura will keep the rain out for a long time even when it is absolutely bucketing it down. Water just beads off the fabric as you ride along, with nothing getting through at all.
You are well covered from the elements too, with a tall neck to keep the rain out and extended cuffs that'll make sure there is no gap to allow water to run off and enter your glove even when you're stretched out in the drops.
A neat touch is that the cuffs are angled, giving plenty of coverage on top of your hand while being shorter at the bottom, so it doesn't get trapped between your hand and handlebar.
Breathability is okay for normal riding at a steady pace, but if you are out there on a bit of a mission or working hard on a climb you will start to get a bit damp inside. I never really noticed it while riding, I must admit, only when I got home and removed the Firestorm. There is always a trade-off between waterproofing and breathability, especially at this price point, and it wouldn't necessarily put me off buying the Altura – it's certainly no boil in the bag.
As you'd expect from a jacket of this style, insulation isn't great, although it does keep the wind out well. It has a semi-fitted design which allows a bit of extra room compared with a race cut, so layering beneath it isn't a problem, though that does mean that when you are in a race position there can be a bit of extra material flapping about in the wind.
Another issue with the cut is that the tail isn't dropped anywhere near long enough to keep your lower back covered, especially if you have quite a high saddle to bar drop. It needs to be at least another few inches longer to make sure your jersey isn't exposed.
Also round the back you'll find a pocket you can stuff a few things into if you're going to be wearing the jacket for the whole ride, but mainly it's there for you to fold the jacket into itself for easy storage.
It packs down to the size of a jersey pocket so it's an ideal emergency jacket to pack just in case it should rain. You can keep it stuffed in your commuting pack as well throughout the year.
A neat touch is the reflective print which is pretty subtle in the daylight but when headlights hit it in the dark you get full upper body coverage. For following drivers, it gives off the shape that you are a human in front and your arms are easily picked out when indicating your intentions.
The overall quality is good with tidy stitching throughout, and I found the sizing to be totally in line with most other brands – other than the European ones that tend to come up a bit small. Stick with Altura's size guide and you'll be fine.
Price-wise, at £79.99 it's pretty good value, although Galibier's Tempest Pro, which had a better fit for sitting on a road bike, with waterproofing and breathability about on a par with the Altura, costs £59.30.
There are plenty of more expensive jackets, though, such as the Endura Pro SL Shell Jacket II, which is similar in design and costs £164.99.
Overall, the quality of the Firestorm is good for the money, the fabric works well, and I really like the reflectivity for use in the dark. If the tail was longer and offered more coverage then it would be even better.
Impressive waterproofing makes this packable jersey ideal for rainy emergencies, though the cut could do with a tweak
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Firestorm Waterproof 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?
Altura says, "The Altura Firestorm Waterproof Jacket is an ideal multi-season jacket. Light weight and packable, windproof and waterproof with taped seams perfect for the commuter or road cyclist. The Firestorm jacket is highly reflective with all over tonal reflective print designed to make you highly visible in low light and dark conditions providing greater visibility to other road users in all weathers."
If the rear was longer, to suit the crouched position of a road bike, then it would pretty much cover all of the bases for decent money.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Fully waterproof including taped seams
All over Reflective detailing
Packs away into rear pocket when not in use
Narrow silicone taped hem
15/15 Waterproof and Breathability
Impressive waterproofing, but let down by lack of rear coverage.
A bit relaxed for what most road riders will want, and the rear just isn't cut long enough.
Sizing is fine if you go by the guide on Altura's website. Overall, the sizes are quite realistic to most other brands in the UK.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
It's been through the washing machine a fair few times and there have been no issues.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Impressive waterproofing qualities.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Subtle reflectives during the day but very visible in the dark.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Too short at the back.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Galibier gives it a run for its money, but there are many brands on the market offering much the same performance for a lot more money. Some do have a better shape for drop bar bikes, though.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes, if I was riding with mudguards to keep my lower back dry.
Would you consider buying the jacket? Probably not, purely down to the cut.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? If they wanted a packable waterproof for emergencies then yes, as it's not a bad price.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Overall I'd say it's good, but could be better. There is a lot to like with the way the Firestorm deals with the elements for not a huge amount of money, but the tail could be longer, especially for road cyclists.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!