A lightweight jacket/gilet combo is a godsend for year round use, and the Pearl Izumi Women's Elite Escape Convertible Jacket combines low weight, a compact pack size and good levels of protection in a performance fit. Check the sizing though – it's a slim fit.
Available in two extremely visible colours, this lightweight top is great for being seen while keeping dry and warm. As it has zip-off sleeves that are part of a bolero-type affair that fastens to the main jacket with Velcro, it's ideal for mild or changeable days too.
> Find your nearest dealer here
It's made from a very light 100% polyester fabric – Pearl Izumi call it ELITE Barrier – that's windproof and water repellent. It packs down very small and just about fits into a jersey pocket, or it can be rolled into its own zipped pocket (which also has a strap for fixing it to the bike).
The rear pocket has a mesh lining and reflective trim, while the two side zip pockets are also mesh lined and useful as extra ventilation. The sleeve section also has mesh ventilation where it fastens to the shoulders.
Elasticated wrists help keep out wind and water, and there's a gripper at the softly elasticated hem for a secure fit. The front zip has a storm flap and a glove-friendly zip pull.
I found it a neat, close fit (it's not the right size for the model in the pics) – streamlined and athletic, rather than the 'semi form fit' Pearl Izumi claims. If you're borderline on sizing, or want space for winter layers, consider going up a size.
That said, the contoured fit is flap-free and great for performance, and there's good length in the torso and sleeves. The fabric hits the sweet spot of windproofing and breathability, and I never overheated even when working hard – something I put down, at least in part, to the ventilated shoulder section.
The water repellency is reliable and effective, even in heavy rain, although a dedicated waterproof obviously outperforms it at the expense of extra heat and weight.
The sleeve section removes and attaches reasonably quickly and easily, but the tiny zips are a little too fiddly and flimsy-feeling for on-the-fly attachment. Once off, the sleeves stash easily in a rear pocket, and if you take it all off it's small and light enough to easily stow. The low weight, handy packsize and high visibility meant it very quickly became my iffy weather garment of choice.
Convertible jackets are thin on the ground, so it's no great surprise this looks expensive for a windproof and water repellent jacket. However, if you look at it as a lightweight performance jacket AND gilet, it's a much more palatable price, and actually very good value.
> 29 of the best winter cycling jackets - stay warm and dry when it's cold and wet
It compares favourably with the Ashmei Men's Cycle Emergency Jacket and the Assos Mille GT Clima Jacket Evo, as well as cheaper jackets combined with cheap gilets such as the Liv Delphin Rain Jacket and Endura Pro SL Lite Gilet II. For a two-in-one protective garment, it's great value.
What's more, at the time of writing Pearl Izumi is selling it discounted at £69.99.
The Pearl Izumi Women's Elite Escape Barrier Convertible Jacket works really well. It's light, versatile and very useable, and the slim fit is aero yet unrestrictive. You may need to size up if you're on the cusp, and some care is needed with the tiny sleeve zips, but beyond that it's a cracking choice and great value.
Versatile and protective lightweight weatherproof jacket AND gilet – and worth the cost
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
Make and model: Pearl Izumi Womens Elite Escape Convertible Jacket
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?
Pearl Izumi says, "Versatile like no other, this jacket can easily convert into a vest mid-ride, or even stuff into itself and, using an integrated strap, be stored directly on your bike."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
100% polyester windproof and water repellent ELITE Barrier fabric
Two zipped mesh-lined side pockets
Rear zipped mesh-lined lumbar pocket with strap to fasten jacket to bike if desired
Zip-off sleeve yoke
Converts to lightweight gilet with mesh panel at shoulders
Elasticated cuffs and hem
Available in sizes S-XL
Machine washable at 30
Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
Fabric is high quality, though sleeve zips are very lightweight and feel a little fiddly and flimsy.
Rate the jacket for performance:
Performs very well as a windproof and water repellent jacket, and also as a gilet.
Rate the jacket for durability:
Pretty tough and should last well, although sleeve zips could be a long-term weak point.
Delivers excellent levels of wind protection and keeps water (even heavy rain) out for reasonable periods.
Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
Surprisingly breathable for a windproof jacket. Creates little overheating.
Rate the jacket for fit:
Neat and contoured with good torso and sleeve length.
Rate the jacket for sizing:
Comes up small – if you're borderline on sizes, or wear a lot of layers, consider sizing up.
Rate the jacket for weight:
Very lightweight and packable.
Rate the jacket for comfort:
Rate the jacket for value:
Worth the investment for its versatility and performance.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washes very well at 30 degrees, easy to look after.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Effective and versatile.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Style, versatility, weight and pack size.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Fiddly zip fastenings for sleeves, price.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's more expensive than most convertible jackets, but very highly specced and higher performance too. Functioning as both a lightweight performance jacket AND gilet, it's actually very good value. It compares favourably with the Ashmei Men's Cycle Emergency Jacket and the Assos Mille GT Clima Jacket Evo, as well as with cheaper jackets and separate gilets such as the Liv Delphin Rain Jacket and Endura Pro SL Lite Gilet II.
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
This is a light, well-made and well-considered jacket that works really well in either form. It's very versatile, comfortable and an easy eight.
Age: 43 Height: 1.65m Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
IMHO there is a huge issue that we seem to allow that argument (nobody got hurt) in some cases for criminal liability...
World Nude Cycling Day could be the real test...
I'm struggling to see the justification now (if there ever was one) for having separate categories of offence for injuries/deaths caused using a...
But for safety they'd need to replace your eyes entirely. To get a view using the goggles you need your eyes. However from today's sad reports it...
A wealthy driver in Finland's Aaland Islands has been fined over €120,000 for speeding...
Look into my eyes.... you will buy into the Apple ecosystem... Ok they're not my real eyes (or hers!).
Agree about the annoyance of replacing entire cassettes due to a few worn sprockets but it's been that way for a long time. ...
On the club ride on Sunday one of the riders lost her front mech changing. At the coffee stop I had a look. First I thought it had slipped down the...
Feet are not aerooooo, duh.
I don't think so, Vel have DT Swiss hubs, Hunt don't use those.