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The Altura Pocket Rocket is the lightest, least frills waterproof jacket in the Altura range. It packs away really small, weighs next to nothing (110 grams for size medium - without stuff sack - 128g with) and is - surprisingly - actually waterproof.
Features include a (non-waterproof) full-length zip, a full-length stormflap, some reflective trim and detailing and thumb-loops. I'm not sure I see the point of the latter, but they didn't get in the way when not in use, so didn't bother me.
The cut is definitely racy/sparse. Looking around the reviews online, you'll see lots of people commenting on how short is in the body. This is so, but it's something you notice when you're not on your bike. Once you're in a riding position, the shape just works. To give you some idea, the zip is 56cm. On most of my similar waterproofs and gilets, the zip is at least 59cm.
Some of that may be to do with the pocket rocket having a low collar. It does let a bit of wind in, which is a bad thing if you're cold, and a good thing if you need a bit of ventilation. The collar isn't tight at all, giving plenty of space for a buff if it's a bit nippy out.
While the fabric is superbly waterproof, it's not the stretchy stuff (not that you can expect that for this price); there is a bit of breathing space in the chest. I don't mind that at all, it means I can use it throughout the year, it easily fits on top of a jersey and a long sleeve shell. Again to give you an idea, I'm 5'11", 38" chest and weigh 78kg or 12st 4lbs (on a good day) and was testing a Medium. I could probably have gotten away with a Small, but don't feel like the jacket is too big, it's certainly not overly flappy.
There are some reflectives: logo detail on front left collar, logo on front left shoulder, logo on right lower back and reflective stripe across lower back. This is definitely detailing rather than masses of reflectives. If you're going to be relying on a jacket to get seen in the dark, I'd go for the Night Vision Flite we reviewed a little while ago.
The jacket has so far stood up well to daily use. The only thing I've noticed is that the zip snags easily on the storm flap. In my view this is a function of having lightweight fabric - I get this on my other similar jackets and gilets too, but it's worth being aware of. Pulling it too hard may well results in a tear (but hasn't yet).
The only thing that would have made the jacket better (while not compromising on weight/pack size) is a silicone gripper hem around the waist stopping the jacket from riding up.
The stuff sack it comes with is more of a fat sausage shape rather than the round shape you get from others, this makes it quite handy to fit in a jersey pocket.
The Altura Pocket Rocket comes in 6 sizes from XS to XXL, in black or in yellow and can be had for under £50 if you shop around online.
Very good lightweight waterproof at a great price
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Make and model: Altura Pocket Rocket Jacket
Size tested: Black/Medium
Tell us what the product 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 say this: "Ultra-light, breathable, waterproof shell with a tiny pack size, the Pocket Rocket offers fantastic low bulk protection from the elements."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Ultra-light, waterproof and breathable 2.5 layer fabric
* Performance fit
* Tiny pack size (stuff sack included)
* Weight 130g (medium)
* Reflective trim
* 100% Nylon
The jacket seems pretty well put together: taped seams, neat stitching and the reflective logos are showing no signs of peeling off (yet).
Surprisingly waterproof for the lightweight construction, surprisingly breathable for the price!
So far I have no evidence to say that the jacket won't go the distance. Due to the snagging zip and the lightweight material it won't stand up to abuse as a more heavyweight jacket. That's the price you pay for light weight / small pack size...
At 110g for size Medium (a full 20g lighter than the manufacturer's claimed weight) its weight is hardly noticeable.
There are lots of comments floating around on the internet about how it's short in the body. While this is true, you notice it most off the bike - while riding it's not an issue at all - in fact my guess is that it's cut like that so that it doesn't bunch up when you are riding a road bike.
The jacket can be had for less than £50 if you shop around online. That to me is incredible value for money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's a great no-frills lightweight waterproof. It does what it says on the tin. Yes, like with all waterproofs, you'll get a bit sweaty if you wear it for a long time, but it's definitely better in this regard than most at this price point.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Its (lack of) weight, its pack size and waterproofness.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A gripper hem at the waist would have been nice. Other features like pockets, under-arm vents etc would be nice too, but personally I wouldn't choose them at the expense of pack size / weight which is the price you'd have to pay.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
At this price point, it's just fantastic value for money. If you're after a no-frills waterproof that's coming with you on every ride and the cut is right for you, look no further.
Age: 32 Height: 1.78m Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: All of them! My best bike is: Cervelo Dual
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, touring, club rides, fixed/singlespeed, Audax