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The 7mesh Skypilot Jacket – Women is an impressively light, breathable and packable layer for the protection it provides. If you have deep pockets it's a great investment for commuting and off-road adventures, particularly multi-day trips – the hood is good off the bike, and it has a well-judged relaxed fit. That hood is a little frustrating while riding, though, and it's pretty expensive.
The Skypilot is made with Gore-Tex's Active three-layer fabric, which gives light, breathable protection and a 28,000mm waterproof rating. Gore doesn't put a number on how breathable this fabric is, but it very effectively kept me dry in heavy rain, and also blocks out the wind.
Despite its lightness, Gore guarantees the waterproofness will reliably hold up for the life of the jacket, and it's certainly proving robust so far – it has withstood brushes against foliage, which often cannot be avoided on the trials.
The inner face is surprisingly soft for a rain jacket, so I'd happily wear it with a short-sleeve first layer, which nicely extends its use. And as it's also incredibly breathable for the water protection it provides, I could wear on mild days and push up the climbs just fine.
There isn't any stretch to the fabric so its comfortable, unrestrictive nature is all down to the well-judged cut of 7mesh's 'relaxed fit'. It's designed to help with layering as well as easy movement both on and off the bike. It's very well executed – the jacket isn't overly roomy or too tight in any area.
A significantly dropped tail provides good defence from spray, and it's cut fairly long at the front too for protection in upright positions. It doesn't look out of place off the bike either. It does bunch up slightly when hunched in a more aggressive riding positions, but not excessively so.
Drawcords on both hips help keep the jacket in place and sitting close.
The long arms certainly ensure your wrists are covered. Elasticated cuffs make this jacket quick to take off; it's a touch gappy for my narrow wrists, but then it also fits over the top of bulky gloves to effectively keep the rain out.
You get two zippered hand pockets at the front, which works really well for campsite evenings, for example. I found the zips a little stiff and struggled to quickly open them on the move, but they are handily watertight.
With none on the back, there aren't any pockets on this jacket that I'd use while actually riding. That said, as it's a lightweight packable layer for throwing on top, you'll likely be wearing something else that has pockets anyway. In short, I didn't really miss having the usual three on the back.
In a size small this is an impressively light 240g, and it packs small too given the amount of protection it provides – you do have to put in a little bit of effort rolling it up for a jersey pocket, but it'll go, and it's easy enough to stash in a bar bag. It doesn't stash into a pocket of its own, though.
The hood is designed to fit over a helmet and has three-way draw cords for plenty of adjustment – the hood doesn't fully come over the helmet in my experience, but nevertheless provides some defence, and certainly protects my neck.
I can't say I found myself using it much when it did start chucking it down on the trails - I'm happy to sacrifice my head getting wet over the way a hood tends to restrict movement and your field of view. With it down, though, it collects water...
Off the bike, in the evenings on a multi-day bikepacking trip for example, it's certainly useful having the hood. The Skypilot is subtly styled and so doesn't look out of place off the bike either – it's available in this Thyme green, as well as the dark blue Crowberry.
If I could unzip or tuck the hood away I'd be inclined to wear the Skypilot for long steady rides on the road too. But then, the reflective logos on each sleeve and at the top of the back are fairly small too – I would prefer these to be a little larger for a rain jacket. As it is, it's confined to mixed off-road adventures, at least for me.
At £300, this is at the pricey end for a waterproof, even for one built with Gore's impressive Active three-layer fabric.
The Rapha Men's Pro Team Gore-Tex Rain Jacket (also available in a female-specific cut) is made of the same fabric, but costs quite a bit less at £220. It's aimed more at racer types though, and while the close fit is comfortable on the bike, he found the cuffs tricky to get on and off on those days where the rain comes and goes.
That's not to say the Skypilot is alone at the £300 mark, however. Castelli's Idro 3 Women's Jacket uses the Gore-Tex's light and very packable Shakedry fabric, and costs £300 too.
Given the cost it's worth noting that 7mesh has a Crash Replacement Policy, and will repair or replace damaged garments 'at their discretion.'
This is a very high quality jacket that's completely water and windproof, yet still packs down to a convenient size. The comfy relaxed fit makes it versatile off the bike too, and it's easy to remove if the rain does clear off. The hood's permanent presence can be an irritation, though.
Highly breathable and durable relaxed waterproof that's light and packable, though the hood can niggle
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road.cc test report
Make and model: 7mesh Skypilot Jacket - Women
Size tested: Small
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?
7mesh says: "The pinnacle of lightweight, weatherproof protection, Skypilot delivers best-in-class breathability wherever the trails take you."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Body: GORE-TEX Active 3L, 30d 100% nylon plain weave, C-Knit backer
Front zip: #3 Watertight Vislon
Over the helmet hood with 3-way draw cords
Watertight zippered hand pockets
Drop back hem
Hem draw cord
13mm taped seams
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
This has very specific washing instructions to ensure the waterproofing lasts. Make sure to follow them!
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Fantastic for commuting or off-road adventures, including multi-day ones. It fits well throughout and the elasticated cuffs ensure it's easy to take on and off, and it provides plenty of protection but packs down usefully small.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Strong durable waterproof protection (DWR) and excellent breathability delivered by a jacket that's still packable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The hood can't be packed away or removed, and I'd prefer larger reflectives – it's a rain jacket, the day will be dull!
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £300 it's very expensive, even for a jacket that makes use of the same 'Active' fabric. The Rapha Men's Pro Team Gore-Tex Rain Jacket, for instance, is £220.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes, if on a discount
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a high quality jacket that's totally waterproof and highly breathable, and while it's robust it still packs down to a convenient size. The hood provides some extra protection, but as there's no way of packing it away or zipping it off, water can pool inside... with that fixed it would score higher.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road bike My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Gravel riding, indoor turbo and rollers, track