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Altura's Nightvision Storm Women's Waterproof Jacket is a great addition to a regular commuter's wardrobe. It offers good protection against the wind and rain without causing excessive overheating, and the reflective detailing and storage options are well thought out, practical and functional.
The Nightvision Storm is a new addition to Altura's urban commuter range. It's a home-to-workplace practical bit of kit that performs well and looks good both on and off the bike. I've used it for commuting, shopping trips, general errands and meeting up with friends. I've struggled to fault it from this perspective, both on and off the bike.
The jacket is a relaxed fit, gently shaped for the female form. Following Altura's sizing guide I opted for a size 10 which fits perfectly: plenty of breathing room inside, without making me look like a sack of spuds. I can happily fit plenty of layers under it without feeling like it's starting to be overstretched on the bike.
Sleeve length is generous – even leant over on a road bike, they don't come up short – and Velcro adjusters allow you to secure the cuffs over a glove, keeping draughts at bay.
The neck line is very high and has a toggle at the rear to tighten it if necessary. I have rarely zipped it right up – the temperatures haven't dipped enough to warrant it – but the few times I have, it has kept the cold air out. My neck wasn't irritated either, as there's a zipper garage to prevent this.
A section of soft, suede-like fabric is just enough to take off the coldness of the waterproof fabric, though I'd hardly call it cosy. There's sufficient room to fit a scarf or neckwarmer under the collar if you like a more cosy feel.
There's decent length in the jacket and a slight dip at the rear to protect your lower back if your mudguards fall a little short.
A toggle-operated cord tightens the lower hem and is easy to access and use – you can adjust it from the underside of the jacket or from inside the pocket.
Altura claims a 10k waterproof rating on the Nightvision, which is lower than the higher priced Typhoon (there's a review of the women's version coming – Shaun tested the men's recently), Tornado and Hurricane, which are all 15k, but I was still impressed by its performance in persistent rain.
For rides of up to 45 minutes it kept out every drop, and continued to do so when I pulled it on a short while later to ride again. It's a pretty thin fabric and I could shake off the worst of the rain when I took it off, which certainly helps with continued performance.
Breathability is surprisingly good, too. While I'm not setting any records when I commute/knock about town, I'm not averse to pressing on if I'm running late or if I'm wanting to generate some heat. I never once felt like I was overheating in the Nightvision. The compromise is that it doesn't offer much protection from biting temperatures. However, as I said, there's room under the jacket for layers – you're going to need them as the temperatures drop.
Overheating might be more of an issue if you're using the jacket in milder temperatures. In this case, it's good to know that there are vents at the rear and zipped ones under the arms, all of which are great for encouraging airflow if you are starting to feel sweaty. Naturally, unzipping at the front helps too, though the jacket is prone to 'blowing' up because of its relaxed fit. A substantial zip guard protects clothing underneath, and goes some way to keeping out draughts too.
Altura has incorporated plenty of zipped storage options. At the front, there are two roomy hand pockets and one rather small chest pocket.
The best one is at the rear. Not only is it big, but the lateral zip (okay, maybe not so great if you are left-handed) is unbelievably easy to open and access. Just remember to zip it up or you risk losing whatever is in there.
All the zips are smooth running and have sizeable toggles attached to lengthy cords, which makes locating, gripping and using them easy, even with gloved hands.
The reflective detailing is exceptionally striking under headlights and has been placed well: shoulders, arms and sides... basically, the parts that won't be covered by a rucksack but will be most exposed when you are in a riding position. While it's effective at night, the detailing is not overstated. The jacket certainly doesn't scream cyclist and I've had as much use out of it off the bike as I have on.
If navy is too dark for your liking in daylight hours, Altura offers teal or high-vis yellow, which should certainly get you noticed.
For £79.99, the Nightvision Storm is good value, especially given its versatility. It outperforms Rapha's £80 Commuter Jacket where waterproofing is concerned, and comes in a lot cheaper – and more visible – than Liv's £125 Energize.
If you want a quality, functional, reliable commuter jacket, the Nightvision Storm is a great choice: it will protect you from the elements both on and off the bike, without breaking the bank.
Very good practical jacket for riding to work (and elsewhere) whatever the weather, at an affordable price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Nightvision Storm Women's Waterproof Jacket
Size tested: 10
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: 'The Nightvision Storm Jacket has an injection of our unique reflective print design that has been used successfully in our Nightvision Commuter range. The 'Silver Reflective' print will illuminate key areas of the body increasing visibility whilst maintaining breathability and comfort. The waterproof fabric, taped seams and fleece lined collar will keep you dry and snug whilst a variety of storage pockets let you keep essentials close to hand.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
-Silver reflective print
-Fully waterproof including taped seams
-10K/10K waterproof and breathability
-Underarm and back vents
-Two hand pockets, chest and back pockets
-Fleece lined collar
Won't keep you warm on the coldest of winter days, other than that, great.
Early days, but no concerns.
Relaxed fit as claimed. Plenty of room underneath it for winter layering.
True to size.
What you'd expect from a functional, commuter garment.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Dark colour doesn't tend to show up much dirt and, to date, performance hasn't been affected by washing on a cold cycle.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Brilliant for short commutes and rides in grim or dark conditions.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Pretty much everything. The rear pocket is a particular highlight for me.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Very reasonably priced for what you are getting. Rapha's Commuting Jacket is the same price and won't keep you dry for long, while jackets with higher waterproof ratings from Gore, Findra and Showers Pass are well in excess of £100.
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
It's a very good jacket for any regular commuter or those who might rely more heavily on a bike than a car for day-to-day transport; it's comfortable, it protects against the elements, it offers good storage options and it will get you noticed at night. All of this applies both on and off the bike.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…