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The Altura Icon Rocket Insulated Men’s Gilet looks smart, fits well and proves usefully warm – plus it easily rolls up for storage in a jersey pocket. The rear pocket could be better, and so could the reflective detailing, but at least there's a brighter version too. Assuming you like lime green...
This uses a breathable Pertex Quantum windproof fabric, and adds a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish applied to give a measure of water resistance. Quantum means 'amount' in Latin, and in this case, I take it to mean the small amount of space it takes up – it's very packable, despite the warming microfleece liner up the front and neck.
It's intended as an early morning or early season layer, and I think it does a very good job of fulfilling this brief.
The V-shaped front looks really smart. The toggled, water resistant two-way zip allows can be opened from the bottom up, allowing access to pockets in a jersey underneath. Handy.
Also, the fleece-lined collar is very cosy and comes up to chin height, which I really like. There is no zip garage, but I didn't experience any chafing, and it kept the worst of October and early November chills at bay.
I tested a large, and found the fit for my 42 inch chest spot on, with no flappiness.
The outer and microfleece inner lining is well stitched together, with just a few loose threads where the panels have been cut. It's durable though: I crashed during testing after slipping on diesel, and didn't mark the fabric.
The DWR doesn't make this completely waterproof, but it does keep rain out for a... quantum of time. I found this quantum to be 'about two hours' in light rain, after which water starts to seep through. It isn't totally windproof either, so I found it best between around 8-14°C. Lower than that and the front gets too chilly for me.
On the other hand, all this means it lets out the heat when working hard, and I never once got too hot and bothered.
The Icon has a single rear pocket, with a zip on the right, and can stuff away into it. At only 164 grams it's impressively light, and I didn't really notice I was carrying it. Considering the fleecy lining that's quite impressive.
It's also possible to store a few things in the rear pocket, though it's a very thin mesh fabric, so I would stay light and cheap – gels or cereal bars. It's not something I would entrust a precious phone or credit cards to.
Unfortunately, I found the zip very fiddly and almost impossible to use on the go, which could be awkward when you're stashing food. Some regular top-opening pockets would be a welcome addition in future.
There are a couple of small reflective patches and logos on the back, and they seem unbothered by weather or washing. I wished for a few more/larger patches to really make me stand out as this 'Carbon' colour is the same as UK tarmac... so not as visible as I would like.
There is a lime green version if you're not keen on the stealth look, but that's it for colour choice.
At £60 the Altura Icon Rocket sits somewhere in the middle of the spectrum for the spec. For instance, the dhb Aeron Polartech Alpha has similar fleecy lining, a DWR coating, and a comparable close fit, but it's considerably more at £100. On the other hand, it has good top-opening pockets and a large amount of fluoro for visibility.
At the cheaper end, Dave found the Galibier Izoard Quilted Gilet very effective with its insulated lining front and rear, DWR coating and several pockets. It's only just about packable, but only £48.25.
If you don't care about packability at all, the Lomo Thermal also features a fleece lining, good pockets and reflective detailing. It's relatively heavy and won't go in a pocket if you get hot, but it's bargain basement cheap – only £21.
I really like the Altura Icon Rocket. It looks smart, fits well and stashes away easily, too. Although not fully wind or waterproof, it's very comfortable and a great choice for spring and autumn use.
Comfy fleece lining and wind/water resistant outer prove perfect for spring and summer, and it's highly packable to boot
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Icon Rocket Insulated Men's Gilet
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Altura says this is a "Lightweight Pertex gilet to keep you warm and comfortable ... Your perfect early morning or early season outer layer."
"Weight is kept to a minimum in this handy lightweight insulated gilet thanks to the Pertex Quantum windproof fabric. Paired with a thermal fleece layer around the chest and lower back to ensure core warmth in the cooler conditions and changing seasons."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Pertex Quantum windproof fabric
- Thermal fleece fabric on chest and lower back
- Durable water-repellent coating
- Fleece lined collar
- Dual ended water-resistant zip
- Stretch back panel
- Rear zip pocket
- Reflective detailing
- Toggled zips
I actually crashed my bike in this on some diesel, and it didn't suffer any ill effects at all – the Pertex fabric is stronger than it feels. I'm sure it will last a good few years.
It is semi-fitted cut, and my recommended size large gave a good fit. I could still get a baselayer and fairly thick long-sleeve jersey underneath.
Just right – no flappiness anywhere.
164 grams for a fleece-lined thermal gilet is good. Even packed into a pocket it's barely noticeable.
Not completely windproof, but it does take the edge off a cold morning or evening, and is ideal for hard riding.
For a light, packable but thermal gilet, it's decent value.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
30° sports washes are fine.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well: it's breathable and usefully warm for days around 8-14°C. The DWR coating kept me fairly dry in two hours of light rain.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Smart looks, good fit, snug fleece lining, warm yet packable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Rear mesh pocket with fiddly zip, not that visible in the dark.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £60 the Altura Icon Rocket sits somewhere in the middle of the spectrum for the spec. For instance, the dhb Aeron Polartech Alpha has similar fleecey lining, a DWR coating, and a comparable close fit, but it's considerably more at £100. On the other hand, it has good top-opening pockets and a large amount of fluoro for visibility.
At the cheaper end, Dave found the Galibier Izoard Quilted Gilet very effective with its insulated lining front and rear, DWR coating and several pockets. It's only just about packable, but only £48.
If you don't care about packability at all, the Lomo Thermal also features a fleece lining, good pockets and reflective detailing. It's relatively heavy and won't go in a pocket if you get hot, but it's bargain basement cheap - only £21.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes – the green one for better visibility
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It looks very smart, fits really well, and largely kept me toasty warm. Even with the fleecy lining it folds up very small. The rear pocket and visibility could be better, but it's available in a brighter colour option at least, so eight out of ten is deserving.
About the tester
I usually ride: GT Grade My best bike is: Boardman ASR 8.9
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, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Zwifting