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Altura's Icon Rocket Men's Packable Jacket is the ideal emergency companion in changeable weather. It's windproof, water resistant, light and packs down easily into a pocket or bag, plus you get a choice of colours. One omission is a zip garage, and it really needs one.
The Icon Rocket is made using Pertex Quantum fabric, which is windproof, very lightweight and has a DWR (durable water repellent) coating.
Looking at Pertex's website, Quantum is usually used over insulation, being a lightweight outer layer that allows the insulation to loft. Here there is no insulation, but that doesn't matter as the jacket works really well as a layer on its own, blocking the wind impressively while still doing well on the breathability front.
The Rocket is a jacket that spent plenty of time in the frame bag on my gravel bike. My main testing route is very exposed, and the weather can change very quickly.
Most of the time I used it as an emergency rain jacket, as the DWR coating works very well. In light rain and drizzle, it'll keep the water at bay for around an hour, and you are looking at around half an hour in heavier stuff.
Below 10°C I'd keep it zipped up as the breathability can cope with fast paced riding without becoming overly clammy with a jersey and mesh baselayer underneath. Anything above that and I found the same setup a little warm, but even riding with it unzipped it still keeps your shoulders, arms and back dry – the bits exposed to the rain, basically.
The shape works well on the bike. You get plenty of length in the arms along with elasticated cuffs that sit snugly and stop draughts from getting in. It does mean that if you are wearing gloves then rainwater will run down the arm into your gloves rather than over the outside, like with jackets that have roomier cuffs. Both designs have their advantages, though.
The tail is dropped but not massively, though you still get a decent amount of coverage when stretched out on the bike.
Up at the top you get a very tall collar with a close fit, which is great for stopping the wind getting in, but even though there's a baffle behind it the zip could still do with a cover or 'garage' to stop it rubbing on your neck.
One thing that Altura knows how to do well is reflectives, thanks to its Night Vision range, and they've been incorporated here on the Icon Rocket.
The front panels, shoulders and entire rear panel use subtle reflectives that you can barely see in daylight, but in the darkness create a huge platform under the glare of approaching headlights.
Adding to the 'be seen' theme, other than this grey version you can also get the jacket in dark blue, and a bright yellow for use on dull days.
It comes up true to Altura's sizing guide, and is more 'realistic' for the UK market than some. Altura says the cut is semi-fitted, which is true. It fits closely where it needs to, to stop material flapping, but isn't overly tight so you don't need to have the body of a racer.
The quality is good, too, with a neat finish throughout, and you are getting a material that is showing to be very robust, standing up to any rubbing from a rucksack or being snagged on brambles when riding away from the road.
Altura has this priced at £80, which compares well with the Pearl Izumi Zephrr Barrier jacket at £99.99. They do a similar job, but while the Pearl Izumi uses PI Dry technology, where the individual fibres are coated rather than the finished garment (meaning the DWR coating won't wash off), I haven't noticed that the Altura is losing any of its protection.
The Altura is certainly better than the Pro-Vision Piccolo Rain Jacket which offered no water resistance whatsoever, though it is only half the price.
Stick a zip garage on it and the Icon Rocket is pretty much there. Good water and wind resistance makes it a great choice for a weatherproof jacket whether in an emergency or not. The biggest benefit for me, though, is that huge amount of reflectivity. It's a really good option, overall.
Handy lightweight packable jacket that performs well against the elements
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Icon Rocket Mens Packable Jacket
Size tested: Large
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?
Altura says, "A back pocket or bar bag essential when the weather is changeable and unpredictable. The Icon Rocket Packable Jacket is designed to keep the showers at bay and protect from the wind thanks to a Pertex® Quantum fabric. A large area of reflectivity helps to keep you visible in lower light conditions for added safety on the road."
It works well against the wind and rain, plus you get a lot of reflectivity.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
- Pertex® Quantum windproof fabric
- Durable water-repellent coating
- Packable into side pocket
- Large area of reflective print
- Shaped cuff
The sizing is spot on with Altura's guide and realistic for the UK population.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I followed Altura's recommendations and had no issues.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Easy to stash in a pocket and works well against rough weather.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Impressive amount of reflectives.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
No zip garage.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's well priced against some good jackets, like the Pearl Izumi mentioned in the review.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The water resistance and windblocking properties are impressive for such a lightweight jacket, and it is well made too. It just could do with a zip garage.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
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, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!