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Lightweight, packable and very breathable, the latest Gore-Tex makes a good first impression

Here it is then, Gore-Tex’s brand new One Active waterproof jacket, its latest weapon in the battle against the rain.

Gore-Tex has been continually developing its range of fabrics over the years, and its Windstopper (windproof and water-resistant) and Active (waterproof) fabrics are commonplace in the cycle clothing market, with many clothing labels making use of the company’s fabrics.

Related: Gore-Tex Active waterproof fabric gets lighter and more breathable

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One Active is its latest fabric. It has completely redesigned its previous Active waterproof fabric with a new manufacturing process that creates a lighter, more breathable and packable waterproof jacket.

Fundamental to the new fabric is what the company calls a “Permanent Beading Surface”, which replaces the durable water repellent (DWR) treatment that was previously used. It has allowed Gore to reduce the fabric construction down from three to two layers, so it's lighter and more packable while retaining the required waterproof levels.

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“Uniquely designed, the technology eliminates the face fabric, preventing absorption of water in order to maintain comfort during high aerobic activities. Garments will retain these attributes during use, wearers will not experience the chilling effect that can result from a wetted out face fabric, and a few quick shakes of the garment will render the surface dry. The excellent balance of protection and comfort allows the wearer to leave the garment on – rain or shine,” says the company.

The new development ensures the jacket is waterproof and windproof, like the previous Active fabric, but because it’s now just two layers, it’s a much lighter jacket - it weighs just 130g. That compares to 208g for a Gore Active jacket we tested a little while ago. 

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It’s not bristling with details, but there are the essentials. These include a zipped chest pocket which doubles as a stowaway pouch, a dropped tail, elasticated waistband and cuffs, and a full-length zipper with a small zip garage to prevent irritation of the neck. There are a some reflective details as well.

All those advances don’t come cheap, mind. The list price is £219.99. Another limitation is that it’s currently only available in this one colour. That’s due to the manufacturing process of the fabric, but it hopes to be able to offer a wider range of colours in the future. We’d expect to see this material rolled out to more jackets and price points before too long as well. Other clothing brands will be using this new fabric soon as well, so there will be more choice available eventually. 

First ride impressions

Gore sent me a jacket for review a few days ago and I’ve been able to get in a few rides with the new jacket, and as luck would have it, the weather has been ideal for testing wet weather clothing the past few days. I’ll be posting a full review once I’ve thoroughly tested, but for now here are some very brief first impressions. 

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My first experience using the new jacket came during a ride home from the club chain gang. The weather had been horrid, strong winds and the threat of rain and hail. I had been wearing a long sleeve base layer and softshell jacket throughout the chain gang. I was a perfect temperature. For the ride home, the heavens opened and a rather cold rain/slush was now falling heavily. Wearing the jacket for the ride home, it kept me completely dry and protected from the wind.

That’s the minimum of expectations for a Gore waterproof jacket in the wind and rain. But what really struck me was how breathable it was. Despite the three layers I was now wearing, and the brisk pace I was riding at, I didn’t immediately overheat, and all the way home it just kept my temperature nicely regulated. 

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And then there is the lack of bulk. It feels like wearing a jacket made of cling film, it’s that light. I’ve worn windproof jackets that have a similar level of weightlessness, but I’ve never come across a waterproof jacket that feels this way. They’re usually bulky and restrict movement. It’s also a quiet jacket, none of that annoying rustling noise sound some waterproofs make.

- Buyer’s guide: The best waterproof cycling jackets

The fit is similarly excellent. I’m wearing a size small and it fits like it has been tailored for me. Elasticated cuffs provide a good seal around the wrists and the dropped tail wraps provide good lower back and bum coverage. There is no excess fabric to flap in the wind.

And yes it packs down very small. You can easily roll it up very tightly, and it takes up half a jacket pocket. There’s no excuse not to carry it with you any on a ride when the weather is looking a bit dodgy.

The One Gore-Tex Active Bike Jacket is available in five sizes (S-XXL) and is available now from www.goreapparel.co.uk

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.