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The Pas Normal Studios Women's Escapism Stow Away Jacket is a lightweight packable outer and, while it isn't fully waterproof, it beads well in light rain and dries fast. It could be smaller when packed down, but the integrated hood and overall quality impress.
Although the Stow Away Jacket is designed to be used on the bike, I found that it crossed over easily into day wear thanks to its high quality design and understated looks. In fact, it often replaced my usual jacket because it feels so nice to wear – it even fits over the top of my down jacket.
I tested this jacket in a size small, though I'm between an XS and S on the PNS guide, and it gave a relaxed fit that fits in all the right places without any pulling or restriction when on the bike. It does billow out to the back on road rides, though.
The sleeves are a pleasing length, finishing just below the wrist, and the body length is great too; not too short or long. It's elasticated and sits easily on my waist, and doesn't ride up on the bike.
For me the hood is the star feature of this jacket: it's protective yet doesn't get in the way. It is finished to the front with a really high collar, zipping up all the way to just below the nose, which creates a protected feel when weather gets gnarly.
Excuse my blank expression there... boom chish. The hood is cut to keep peripheral vision unobstructed though, and it works – I didn't notice it was there in that sense. It fits under your helmet, and there's a toggle on the back for adjustments (although I didn't need to use it to get a good fit).
This is water-resistant, not waterproof. The DWR treatment beads water away continually in light rain, but there is water penetration (pretty quickly) in heavy rain. It is windproof and very fast drying, though, and I found Pas Normal's claim that it doesn't stick to your skin when wet to be true – at least until it is fully soaked, anyway.
The silky-to-touch ripstop fabric has tiny raised squares to make it stronger, and after two months of heavy use and washing there are zero abrasions or signs of wear. The smooth finish also makes it appealing to wear – some packable jackets can feel like wearing a glorified bag.
The Stow Away jacket packs down into its integrated back pocket, which is zippered on both sides so you can stuff it away fast from inside out. Packed up it is about 17x14cm – not very small, although it still fits in my slim-fit jersey pockets. There is a sewn-in logo which ends up in the centre of the packed-down jacket... it's not functional, but it's a nice touch.
The front of the jacket features a double zip so that you can zip up from the bottom as well for ventilation, and both are finished with a fabric and rubber toggle.
The two main pockets – one on each side – are frankly roomier than you'd ever need or want for riding. The single rear pocket is also roomy but only zippered to the side, which means it's not very accessible on the bike, and it's off-centre too.
At £170 it's very expensive for a water-resistant, rather than waterproof jacket. All the packable waterproofs we've tested lately are at least £40 cheaper. The Pactimo Women's Divide Jacket (now £100) scored well in our test, but you aren't getting the hood with that and there's no rain protection at all.
MAAP's Draft Team Jacket does get DWR and is £130, although again it has no hood and the DWR doesn't actually work that well. The 7Mesh Northwoods Windshell is £130 for what looks to be very similar features to Pas Normal's offering here.
While this oozes quality and style, if you're looking for a tiny-when-packed or flap-free road layer, this is not for you – plus it's hard to ignore the price when you can get a full-on waterproof for the same money. Personally I love this jacket anyway, but really it's best for casual rides, commutes and off-bike use rather than serious or fast rides.
High-quality windproof with effective DWR and integrated hood, but doesn't pack that small and is very pricey
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pas Normal Studios Women's Escapism Stow Away Jacket
Size tested: Small
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?
PNS says: "The Escapism Stow Away Jacket is a lightweight outer layer that delivers exceptional reliability for unpredictable weather. Constructed from a light ripstop fabric, this piece incorporates a subtle gritted internal structure to provide touch points that keep the jacket off the skin and prevent wet-cling. The tightly-knit nylon fibres naturally prevent wind from penetrating the fabric and are highly resistant to tearing and ripping. The jacket is there for you when you need it most and easily packs away into its integrated back pocket when you don't."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
- Ripstop fabric
- Adjustable hood
- Nylon / Polyamide
- Made in Vietnam
This jacket is beautifully made with exceptional attention to detail. Looks built to last and so far no wear or tear (worn and washed heavily for two months).
Weatherproof without getting overly hot.
So far, so good, and the ripstop fabric should help.
Water beads off easily thanks to the DWR treatment.
While PNS don't make any claims about breathability for this jacket, it doesn't feel to retain heat.
Better than other jackets I have tested. It's definitely a casual fit, though, and billows out in the wind.
Spot on for a relaxed fit.
Very good; it's a nice light jacket.
Super-soft fabric feels nice to wear, and the high zip and hood feels cozy in bad weather.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy to wash and dry.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Impressive in bad weather given it's water-resistant (not waterproof), and it's easy to stow away – though it could pack down a bit smaller.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The good looks, fancy zips and high collar.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Could pack down smaller. Oh and the price!
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's expensive – at least £40 more than its recently tested competitors, and up there with the full waterproofs.
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 performs well in light rain, packs neatly away and feels great to wear. You can't get away from that price, though, especially as you can get an actual waterproof for that much.
About the tester
I usually ride: My Scott Foil My best bike is: Oldie but the goldie, CAAD 8
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Triathlon, Audax