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There's plenty to like about the Altura Airstream Women's Windproof Jacket. It protects well against windchill without overheating, it includes some nice features, and it packs down small enough to pop in a jersey pocket. It's a bit rustly, but for the money it's a good option.
You can still spend less on a decent windproof – and far more. Check out our guide to the best windproof cycling jackets for our favourites to suit a variety of pockets.
The Airstream is made from a wind-resistant fabric with a DWR (durable water repellent) treatment, with two full-length stretchy mesh panels that run down the sides, and it works well. It's very wind resistant, and offers a good level of water repellency, keeping off even heavy showers.
The mesh side panels won't keep out rain, but their position means the jacket is still a better option than those with a central rear panel made of mesh. It's not a jacket to choose for a ride that's expected to be wet all the way, but it certainly does the job for changeable conditions.
There are reflective accents all over the jacket, too, including piping along the sleeves.
As well as adding stretch into the jacket, those mesh panels also aid breathability and temperature regulation, to balance the potentially sweaty windproof fabric sections. I had no issues with overheating.
The majority of the bottom hem is elasticated and features a silicone gripper, and the cuffs have a soft elasticated panel too, while the collar is backed with a soft mesh lining. It's a nice height, too, and not overtight around a jersey collar without being baggy.
Following the chart on Altura's website, I tested the size 16. The jacket is described as having a 'relaxed fit', and as a high street 14-16 I found the 16 just right to allow for some layering options underneath. While the relaxed fit description applies to the sleeves, the main torso is quite sleek, without being tight, though I would probably have been OK with the 14, too.
Torso length is good, and the gripper and elastic combo at the hem hold things securely.
The single zipped chest pocket is large enough for most smartphones, and doubles as a stuff sack for the jacket when not in use.
The only thing I wasn't that keen on was the two-way front zip. It allows easy access to your rear jersey pockets, which is useful, and it was easy enough to operate with gloves on, thanks to a generous tag, but it didn't run quite smoothly enough to easily manage single-handed on the fly. It feels like the one feature on the jacket that could do with upgrading.
At £60 the Altura Airstream is well priced compared with similar types we've tested.
The dhb Aeron Packable Jacket is also £60 – Jo tested the men's version in 2021 – while the Liv Cefira Superlight Wind Jacket is a little more at £64.99, and the Bontrager Circuit Windshell Jacket (we tested the men's version a while ago) is £89.99.
The Altura does have a slight weight penalty in comparison, but it's possibly a little more robust as a consequence, and you're saving some cash. That said, I'd be happy paying a bit extra for a better quality front zip.
Effective and well-considered windshell at a good price, let down slightly by the quality of the front zip
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Airstream Women's Windproof Jacket
Size tested: 16
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?
It's a lightweight, packable wind shell jacket with added water repellency.
Altura says: "Easy to stow away in your back pocket this lightweight packable shell is ideal for when the weather looks set to change"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
100% nylon with a mini ripstop for extra durability
DWR coating to repel water
Mesh panels for stretch and breathability
Reflective trims for extra visibility
Packs away into zipped chest pocket
2- way front zip for jersey pocket access
Main 1 - 100% Polyamide
Main 2 - 90% Polyester 10% Elastane
Available in sizes 8-18
Machine washable at 30
The main jacket is very well made and the fabrics seem good quality, but it is let down slightly by the quality and less-than-smooth-running of the front zip.
Performed very well.
Early days, but all good so far; the fabrics and construction mean the jacket feels rugged and should last well.
Very showerproof, with the obvious exception of the mesh side panels. Also dries quickly.
The main fabric's lack of breathability is balanced by the highly breathable side mesh panels.
Nicely shaped and offers a good fit for a variety of body shapes thanks to the stretch of the mesh panels and the stretchy grippy hem.
Pretty much spot on as per the online sizing chart.
Not heavy, but not as light as some windproof jackets.
Very comfortable in terms of both fit and weatherproofing.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy to look after and washes well.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
I liked the well-considered features, the sturdiness of the jacket, how effective it was at keeping wind and showers at bay, without overheating, and the versatile fit (thanks to the stretch panels).
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The quality of the front zip lets it down a bit, and it's a bit heavier than some similar jackets.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £60 the Altura Airstream compares well with others we've tested around this price.
The dhb Aeron Packable Jacket is also £60, while the Liv Cefira Superlight Wind Jacket is a little more at £64.99, and the Bontrager Circuit Windshell Jacket is £89.99; both are lighter.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes, very much.
Would you consider buying the jacket? Probably
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Definitely
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a well-considered jacket with good levels of protection, balanced by good breathability, at a good price, and it's not overly heavy or bulky. It's let down a little by that front zip, though.
About the tester
I usually ride: Liv Invite My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.