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The 7Mesh Callaghan jersey is beautifully warm, comfortable and well fitted, but it does come with a hefty price tag and the pockets won't be to everyone's taste. Unlike some it doesn't feature any weatherproofing, but it's ideal for cool, dry rides when it can be paired with just a lightweight baselayer, or used as a mid-layer under a hardshell jacket for wet winter rides.
Like many ‘merino’ jerseys, the Callaghan isn’t 100% cent wool and instead uses a combination of 35% merino and 65% polyester. However, it’s not just a mix of the two throughout: the inner is merino – so you get all of the benefit against your skin – and the outer is polyester, which 7Mesh says increases its durability.
Pulling it on, the cut is fitted without being aggressive, the sleeves are quite long, which I like, and the chest and shoulders hug the skin without any restriction. I'm quite a skinny build and seem to sit on the cusp of small and medium jerseys depending on brand. The Callaghan on test is a medium and there isn't a lot of room underneath it for layers.
Luckily, you won't be needing many layers underneath – the Callaghan jersey is ridiculously warm! I've worn plenty of heavyweight jackets that don't hold in heat as well as this. Weight isn't everything, but at 294g 7Mesh's offering is heavier than the Vulpine Alpine (236g) or Craft ADV (286g) jerseys, and results in a three-season garment tailored more towards the winter end of conditions.
During the last two months of testing there's been a wide range of conditions, from a mild November and a soggy start to December, to some crisp, dry days over Christmas.
In conditions over 10°C, unless it's particularly windy, the warmth from the Callaghan is a little excessive even with just a thin summer baselayer on underneath, but it really comes into its own on cold, dry rides. When paired with a winter baselayer I've been using the Callaghan down to temperatures touching 2°C with no issues, which is just remarkable.
I also noticed that after pushing hard on the way to a café, my riding buddies soon started shivering while seated outside; from past experience I would have been too, but for the Callaghan. It did a wonderful job of keeping in heat, much to the envy of the others.
It isn't advertised as being windproof, though the material and thickness seem to be about 90 per cent of the way there, with a draught only noticeable on the fastest of descents. The collar is tall enough to keep out the elements while not getting in the way in an aero position.
If you do need more protection from the cold then the jersey can be paired easily with a gilet or jacket.
In the wet you'll need a jacket, because anything more than a light drizzle will find its way through, though the jersey is still quite warm even when wet.
With its two huge rear pockets you won't be having a problem transporting extra clothing either. The pockets are unlike any I've come across on a jersey before, with angled openings to aid access and then additional mesh liner pockets to keep contents secure.
The pockets certainly have plenty of storage space, with each one half the width of the back which makes storing winter gloves or clothing very easy. However, for storing a few cereal bars, a pump or multi-tool there's a little too much room and they rattle around.
To prevent this there are the mesh liner pockets which hold things closer to your back, to stop unwanted movement, but they're harder to access while on the move and are much smaller than the main pockets. By the time my phone is in one of them, a pump and multi-tool in the other, I'm still left with CO2, food and other small items bouncing around in the big pockets.
Though the pockets aren't my favourites, it's still a very well put together jersey with a high quality YKK zipper, excellent low-profile seams and silicone gripper around the bottom edge to prevent any unwanted movement.
A zip garage keeps things comfortable up top, and although the sleeves don't have dedicated long cuffs, they're tight enough to slip inside gloves while also being stretchy enough to go over the top.
There are a few reflective accents, too, one at the bottom of the back and one on each sleeve, though I wouldn't have minded a few more, like you get on the Triban LS Merino Touring jersey, but their absence does help the jersey retain a more classic look.
With an rrp of £144.99 the Callaghan jersey is certainly at the premium end of the market, though it's by no means alone. For example, the Vulpine Alpine merino jersey mentioned earlier is only slightly cheaper at £130, and not as warm or thick, though it does have a higher merino content.
If merino isn't really your thing then I recently tested and loved the Gore C5 Thermo jersey (£99.99) which is a similar weight, although not quite as warm.
If your budget doesn't stretch as far as the 7Mesh then the Lusso 50 Shades thermal jacket is another three-season garment that we rated highly and is less than half the price at £69.99.
Overall, the 7Mesh Callaghan is a well-put-together and high-quality jersey which, despite the pocket niggles, is absolutely excellent. It is a lot to spend on a jersey, but on a cold and dry winter's morning you'll be very thankful to have it.
Premium and extremely warm three-season jersey ideal for cold, dry rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: 7Mesh Callaghan Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
7Mesh says: "Worn on its own, with a base layer, or as a mid-layer when paired with a jacket, the Callaghan is a versatile jersey, perfect for fresh road rides or off-season singletrack."
I think it's best suited to cold and dry rides from freezing up to about 12 degrees with either a lightweight or winter baselayer underneath. It's quite windproof but rain will come through, in which case it can be worn under a hardshell jacket resulting in much warmth.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Merino Wool Poly Blend (with a brushed backer for warmth)
35% Merino / 65% Polyester
Fast dry, warm wool.
Two large angled pockets on the back for easy fall/winter access.
Two internal sleeve pockets inside rear pockets to keep your phone secure.
High neck for extra warmth.
Low profile overlock seams
Headphone ports in rear pockets
The polyester should make it more durable than full merino jerseys. It still can get scagged on brambles etc but I've worn it for gravel rides and it's held up just fine.
It's not restrictive at all but it is fitted, suitable for long rides rather than racing.
About right as long as you're prepared for the "trim" fit. Ever so slightly on the small side but with quite long sleeves.
Not the lightest LS jersey but the warmth/weight ratio is seriously impressive.
It's expensive, but if you do lots of sub-12°C rides or want something to wear under a hardshell then you'll get plenty of wear out of it. It's kept me warmer than anything else of this weight that I've tried.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Instructions say to machine wash cold, and I've not had any problems.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well, it's warm and comfortable, the fit is good and the polyester outer should make it more durable than an entirely merino jersey. The pockets are easy to access but they're just too large for anything other than clothing as you can't fit everything in the tighter mesh liner pockets.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Being toasty at cafe stops.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's one of the most expensive long sleeve jerseys out there, but you do get a lot of warmth for your money and it's certainly a quality garment.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The quality is high and it's ridiculously warm, but the price and the pocket design make it a 7 rather than an 8 overall. It's very good but very expensive, and the pockets aren't ideal.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,