The Gore Gore-Tex Paclite Jacket is great. It's light and scrunches easily into a jersey pocket, fits over winter layers and breathes well enough that you never boil inside. There's nothing to seriously criticise – though if you're slim, you can happily size down.
This jacket is very well made, as you might expect from Gore. The seams are all taped, the stitching is small and extremely neat, and impressive details abound – the top of the collar is not a straight line, for instance, but instead shaped to sit perfectly on your neck.
The zip of the Napoleon pocket is waterproof (and hooded at the top), and the pocket itself is large enough for today's comically large phones – I found it quite a comfortable spot for keeping one, too.
The zip on the rear pocket isn't waterproof, but sits under a substantial flap (with a reflective edge) that shields it well. Or well enough, given the pocket itself is a light mesh that's prone to dampening with sweat. This too will take a phone, though obviously it'll need a waterproof case.
The back pocket won't take much more than a phone-sized thing, however, which is a shame. It could easily have run further across your back to let you stuff smaller bits of clothing in. The upside is there's very little extra fabric here to build up heat.
Though easily packable, the Paclite is breathable enough to wear for entire 60-90-minute rides without becoming uncomfortable. I did find it ends up a bit wet inside when you do, but I never felt too hot or wanted to take it off while riding, even in mild winter weather.
The tall, slim, soft-lined collar is very well judged…
…as are the cuffs on the ends of the perfect-length sleeves, which makes this as useful as a windstopper when the cold showers are just threatening.
The cuffs are elasticated underneath and cinched with a Velcro tab on the top, which lets you get a comfortable but draught-free fit that slips easily beneath winter gloves.
I love this bright red – it's highly visible without being overtly 'road safety', though there's a fluoro yellow version if you want that, as well as the usual black option. They all have reflective logos as well as that strip on the rear pocket, and further reflective strips on the side of your wrists.
I found the fit great for road riding – plenty of room for layers, not so much that it flaps – but sized down to a medium when Gore's chart says large. It's not tight on me anywhere, even across the chest (the measurement the sizing is based on), and the sleeves and hems are the perfect length. In large, I think this would have a more 'commuter' feel to it.
This is not a criticism though; it's as it should be. This 'Active' cut is the loosest of Gore's three types (Slim Fit is the, er, slimmest, with Form Fit in between) and aimed very politely at 'a wide range of wearers'.
That's ideal if you're just getting into cycling to build fitness, or need a commuting jacket that can fit over street clothes.
If it's the latter, though, this is an expensive way to go. At £169.99 the Paclite is considerably more than many commuter-style jackets, such as the Altura Nightvision Storm Waterproof at £79.99. That's also very bright, and breathes well enough for commuting, but it's heavier and not nearly as well shaped.
With the sized-down fit I tested, it's closer to the likes of Bioracer's Kaaiman Jacket at £178, though that has no pockets and – like the Altura – a rather wide neck. If you want to go full-on road orientated, you can get Gore-Tex protection in the form of Rapha's Men's Classic Winter Gore-Tex Jacket... and pay £270 for the privilege.
As I said at the start, Gore's Gore-Tex Paclite Jacket is great. With the single meaningful caveat that a slim(ish) road rider can easily size down and still enjoy a great fit, it's a perfectly judged, very comfortable and very effective waterproof that's light enough to be there, in your pocket, whenever you need it.
Great fit, construction and performance – but consider sizing down
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Gore-Tex Paclite Jacket
Size tested: Medium
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?
Gore says: "Extremely light weight and packable wet weather jacket. Durably waterproof and extremely breathable, so you stay dry even when riding hard. Reflective front zip for night time visibility. For those determined to ride in every condition who need to carry wet weather protection where space is critical."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Full length zip with underflap and zipper garage
GORE-TEX PACLITE® Plus product: extremely breathable, ultralight and packable while durably waterproof, windproof and robust
Waterproof zipped back stow pocket
Zip underflap and zipper garage
Close fit high collar
Napoleon pocket with zip
Zip tags for easy opening
This is Gore's 'Active' fit, which is the loosest of its three cuts. I sized down and found the medium perfect for pulling over bulky winter layers, and had no issues with flapping.
The chart recommends a large for me, but medium has room for layers without leaving anything to flap. Arm and tail length remains perfect, too.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy – can take up to 40° in the machine.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Light, comfortable, usefully breathable, good fit, packable, strong colour.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Recommended size veers towards the commuter side of baggy.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's at the upper end of midrange, and appropriately priced for its performance and quality.
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
There's really nothing to complain about with this jacket – it does its job very well. It's very good, and an eight.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,