The Brompton x Protected Species Parka is a stylish waterproof that includes genuinely useful safety cycling features for when you're pedalling that can be handily tucked away for going about other daily activities, though it's missing pockets that are comfortable to ride with when filled, and the drawcords have a habit of bouncing around. The sleeves could be longer, too.
London folding bike specialist Brompton partnered with women's outerwear fashion label Protected Species earlier this year for a range of women's city wear jackets with on-the-bike functionality and off-the-bike style. The classic Parka I have on test extends past your bum and halfway down your legs, while the City rider is a shorter length hip height option.
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A fully female styled waterproof jacket that looks stylish as you go about the city, whether into the office or meeting up with friends at a café or bar, is certainly a welcome arrival.
It's made with a stretchy, knitted, 100% polyester fabric that has plenty of give for shifting into the riding position.
The fit is great across the main body, with room throughout for wearing a warmer layer underneath in the depths of winter without the jacket looking baggy the rest of the time. Adjustable hem drawcords and sleeve cuffs are also included to fine-tune the fit and show off your figure.
However, I found the cords dangle and jingle about when riding, which is a little irritating. I would prefer some way of tucking these away when on the bike.
The cuff adjusters also feature reflective tabs that can be reversed to hide the reflective strip in work or leisure settings. For rear visibility, there's a reflective strip that can also be hidden and revealed easily.
Even though this Parka has the length typical of this style, what's not so typical is its split rear hem, designed for comfort in the saddle without compromising coverage. It does this very nicely, with the longer-than-usual cut unnoticeable when riding casually.
As I've been riding along, my partner has also informed me that sometimes the wind catches the rear flap and the reflective underside is revealed, for even more visibility in low light conditions.
Two generously sized zipped pockets that can easily hold a large smartphone are included down each side at the front. These are great when going about your day, but carrying things in these pockets when riding isn't ideal – the contents bang up against your thigh. Unfortunately, there are no chest pockets or rear pockets which would be more comfortable when riding.
Brompton gives a waterproof rating of 15,000mm thanks to its DWR finish, and with every seam across the jacket being sealed, water effectively beads off in showers and short periods of rain, though I've yet to be caught out in a prolonged downpour.
A high collar also helps keep the elements out well, while the two-way waterproof zipper is useful for regulating your temperature on rides.
The sleeve ends are cut longer on the top side for some slight extra coverage over your hands, but while the rest of the fit is spot on, I found I could do with the sleeves being a little longer. I was left with a ridge of bare skin before my gloves begin, which is obviously not ideal in the rain or cold.
The Parka has a storm flap and stowable hood that's fully adjustable; there are cords either side that you can tighten or loosen, as well as one down the centre at the rear. With these I found I was able to achieve a comfy yet secure fit.
Then when it's not raining, the hood can be neatly tucked away into the zipped collar. I prefer this design over ones that you can fully zip off – it's always there for those times when you get caught out in a shower.
You can choose between classic black or olive green for the Parka, while the City Rider is just available in Burnt Horizon, a pastel red shade. As these jackets are for off the bike use too, a greater choice of colours in both would be good, so you can better match the jacket with your day-to-day style.
Priced at £210, this is expensive, but then again, effective waterproof jackets do tend to be, as do stylish jackets from female fashion labels. It's high, but not unexpected.
Chrome Industries' Women's Storm Salute Commute Jacket costs £189. It's not Parka length like the Brompton, but it still looks smart off the bike and does seem to have better placed pockets for riding with its back cargo pocket.
> Buyer’s Guide: The best casual cycling commuter wear
You can get lighter options for commuting that aren't as stylish, such as Rapha's Women's Commuter Lightweight Jacket. It's breathable and cheaper at £80, but you're missing out on the versatility of being able to take the jacket into smarter settings, as you can the Brompton.
Overall, the Brompton x Protected Species Parka jacket is a wonderfully stylish jacket with useful features such as a handy stowable hood and an adjustable hem drawcord and sleeve cuffs for tailoring the fit, which can also be flipped over for night-time visibility.
However, you may find the sleeve length a little short, and the drawcords and pocket placement irritating while riding. I'd say it leans more towards being an off the bike jacket than an on the bike one.
Very stylish waterproof with a stowable hood, plenty of adjustability and hideable reflective details, but could do with a chest or rear pocket
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Make and model: Brompton X Protected Species Parka
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?
"Driven by the passion of exploring the city outdoors in true high-performance and unrestrictive comfort, Brompton and Protected Species are linking up to make moving around the city on a bicycle the most stylish part of the day.
The classic Parka in Black is ergonomically cut to perfectly fit and protect the wearer across all her activities whether you need protection from a stormy ride across the city, through to a confident stroll into a bar, café or boardroom. Styled in longer length, the jacket includes a split rear hem allowing for comfort in the saddle without compromising coverage. Highly waterproof, windproof and breathable with every seam sealed; developed using a 4-way knitted stretch fabric for freedom of movement; is creaseless, lightweight, easy-care; and has a DWR finish in addition to the waterproof membrane to ensure water rapidly beads off the jacket for ultimate comfort. When off the bike, simply tucked away all the technical and safety cycling features and remain stylish in your daily worlds."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Material – 100% Polyester (4-way stretch, waterproof rating 15,000mm/H2O, breathability rating 15,000gm/m2, DWR finish)
Style – Long length parka
2-way waterproof zipper allows for additional adjustment
Cuff adjusters with reflective tab. Can be reversed to hide reflective when not required
Rear reflective tab. Can also be hidden when not in use
Storm flap and stowable hood – ergonomically cut, fully adjustable
Adjustable drawcords for perfect fit
High neck coverage to keep out the elements
Secure zipped pockets and soft closure snaps
Premium Brompton x Protected Species branded metal hardware
Colour – Black
Care details - Recommend washing with NIKWAX® TechWash at 30°C per 15 washes to re-proof and keep your jacket performing well
Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
Rate the jacket for performance:
In many ways it's very good – the jacket and hood can be fine-tuned for a flattering and comfy fit, while also having the capacity to fit in a warmer layer underneath come the winter months. It's effectively waterproof, has useful reflective details for riding in low light conditions, and works on a bike while also not looking out of place in a cafe or office.
However, it's not perfect for riding: the sleeves came up short on me, the drawcords bounce round irritatingly while cycling, and the pockets aren't best placed for when you're on a bike.
Rate the jacket for durability:
Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
Really good in my experience so far.
Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
There are no ventilation vents. But this jacket isn't really designed to be breathable for hard rides to the city, it's more suited to a relaxed commute or cycle to the cafe.
Rate the jacket for fit:
Relaxed, so enough room for wearing other layers underneath in the colder months. There's also plenty of scope for tailoring the jacket for a close fit thanks to the adjustable hem drawcord and sleeve cuffs.
Rate the jacket for sizing:
Rate the jacket for weight:
Rate the jacket for comfort:
I like the fit and feel of the jacket, but it's not that comfortable to ride with your pockets filled – it could do with a chest or rear pocket.
Rate the jacket for value:
More expensive than the closest stylish commute jacket I'm aware of, Chrome Industries' Women's Storm Salute Commute Jacket which costs £189.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
All good when machine washed at 30 degrees.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Good for transferring between riding/commuting and going about your day-to-day activities in the city, although it leans more towards the latter. The waist drawcords and front hip pockets bounce against you irritatingly when riding.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The split rear hem which allows you to ride with the longer styled Parka, and that the reflective details can be hidden during off the bike use.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Pocket placement and dangling drawcords.
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
Overall, it's good, but there's room for improvement for cycling. It's wonderfully stylish, the stowable hood is handy, and the adjustable hem drawcord and sleeve cuffs let you tailor the fit and can be flipped over for night-time visibility. However, you may find the sleeves a little short, and the drawcords and pocket placement irritating while riding. I'd say it leans more towards being an off the bike jacket than an on the bike one. If you're happy with that, even with the high price I'd say it's a worthwhile investment given the versatility it has to offer.
Age: 23 Height: 177cm Weight: 62kg
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
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