The Winter Jacket Dilemma: Layering Like an Onion and Sweating Like One

After four years at the forefront of the wintry battle against the elements, my current altura react jacket is nearing the end of its serviceable life. I’m in two minds:

1. Replace with another Altura React, probably the ‘attack’, a slightly loose fitting but absolutely brilliant jacket that is suitable for all weathers and can become the number one winter garment.

2. Opt for a form-fit softshell or similar and carry a pack down rain jacket for emergencies.

Option 2 leans towards a winter training schedule with a race cut on the jacket. Option 1 prioritises slower commuting miles. Option 1 is better insofar as one jacket should just about do everything. Option 2 is better insofar as is is more appropriate for long and relatively fast winter rides.

I figured because the readers of this blog have such informed opinions about mudguards you might also be able to wade in and help me choose which to go for.

In the meantime I have been marvelling at the speed with which the riders in this video encounter the arenberg trench.

20 thoughts on “The Winter Jacket Dilemma: Layering Like an Onion and Sweating Like One

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  1. only one way to col chap LE COL……………and Yantos latest offerring is highly reflective if you wanna try I have several jacket styles but you will need a small for sure probably be able to get you a deal via Yanto if you know what you want. You will only need a base layer underneath in the harshest of weathers

  2. I’ve commuted 25 years all-season without ever using option 1. Can’t really see the point of wearing a thick layer. Lots of thin ones with long zips work best for me.

    And when it gets really cold I just put my GoreTex jacket over the top of everything. And when it gets really really cold I add a thin balaclava, err and tin foil between shoes and overshoes. 22 miles at -4C, no problem.

  3. I bought one of these this year PJ –

    Having the leave the house mid-torrential downpour was my main concern when commuting…it’s not like you can wait an hour for it to clear. But this is very much a combo of Opt 1 and 2 as it’s super breathable, and not too flappy, but extremely waterproof. Not cheap mind but it’s served me well already.

    1. I went for the closer fitting version of the Gore Kieran has. The Oxygen active shell. Also not cheap but good. It’s a bit too close and bike shaped (articulated with massive drop tail ) for regular use so ended up having to buy something else too.

      The commuting and everyday jacket is the one you can’t be without in the British winters. If I was doing it again I’d buy a good everyday jacket and a cheap thin packable waterproof to layer in emergencies for longer “leisure” rides.

      Or just put question on twitter and you’ll soon have some company from Cambridge trying to flog you a red rubber cape and sowester.

      1. Or if you need something that works on the bike and looks ok for regular use then there’s that company who do those stylish jackets? I forget the name but think you’ve mentioned your love of them before? /// ahem. cough — (Rapha) cough.

      2. *Also not cheap but good. It’s a bit too close and bike shaped (articulated with massive drop tail ) for regular use so ended up having to buy something else too.*
        eh? can you explain further? surely these are the requisites for a half decent cycling jacket? I only ask because I’m on the verge of pulling the trigger on one of these, especially after my Gore Xenon SO jacket ( failed in the hour commute to work in yesterday morning’s exceptional downpour.
        Though it might be worth finding out what the BSCC club captain uses as the sight of him powering up the Bath Rd in tonight’s even more exceptional downpour was very impressive. Made me feel slightly inadequate for turning back tonight and getting a lift home from a colleague, albeit because the Over/Almondsbury lane was blocked by a fallen tree from the 40mph winds and flooded in three places…. Excuses, excuses…

      3. The BSCC club captain is an impressive sight in all weathers, powering across bristol like an unstoppable ocean liner, cars and trucks rolling violently in his slipstream as he bags another strava segment without so much as a bead of sweat upon his unfurrowed brow.

  4. @Mr Man. Exactly.

    Not so good for “regular use” means you get odd looks in the pub and other parents in the school playground wonder why you look like a penguin from Tron.

    On the bike it is great. Long tail is very welcome. Decent Gore Tex waterproofness (same material as the ones PJ and Kieran have) and packs down small enough to wedge in a jersey pocket.

    1. Thanks for the reply. I didn’t realise “regular use” meant off the bike. My kids are grown up and I look like a sex god in tight cycling no issues there. Oxygen in the lead at the moment but awaiting the review of the Path…

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