7Mesh’s Chilco Anorak is part of the brand’s new WTV range that makes use of some interesting thermo-regulating tech. It’s comfortable, impressively versatile and it fits well, making it one of the best mountain bike jackets for off-road riding, but it does come at a price.
7Mesh Chilco Anorak - Technical Details
While it appears featureless at first glance, the Chilco Anorak actually comes filled with cool tech. This garment is built very similarly to your average hoodie but with an anorak-type zip at the chest, a hood that can fit over a helmet, and a double-zipped front pocket.
What’s special about this anorak is the WTV (Wind, Thermal, Ventilation) fabric that 7Mesh has developed. It’s a high loft fabric made up of a woven exterior and soft, fluffy interior. The aim of this combination is that the exterior forms a breathable wind layer while the interior keeps heat inside, creating a balance of breathability and insulation.
The Chilco Anorak is available in four sizes ranging from S to XL, and in three colours: blue, black and honey (tested).
7Mesh Chilco Anorak - Performance
For testing, I got the Chilco Anorak in a medium and it was generous without being too large. It’s certainly casual but the rear is lengthy enough to cover against any spray and the fit is comfortable on and off of the bike.
Upon wearing the anorak for the first time as a bit of a tester, it was immediately clear how warm it could get, and to be honest, this initial experience lead me to keep it shelved until it got really cold. However, when I pulled it out towards the end of the summer, the Chilco’s ability (or prowess, should I say) to regulate body temperature was clear. Even when it was perhaps a bit warm for what seemed like a heavy-duty winter warmer, it kept me comfortable.
On the bike is where WTV proved to be worth its weight in gold. When cranking up extended climbs, things did get toasty but not uncomfortably so. This is even with a strong breeze to contend with so the insulation definitely did its job. But standing still on top of the hill, the Chilco let cool air through, lowering the temperature. I will admit that the hilltop was exposed to a particularly harsh wind and I wasn't moving to generate any warmth, but while chilly, I was still content.
But when the descents rolled in, coupled with more wind and a rise in body temp, I had absolutely no complaints with WTV’s clear ability to effectively regulate heat. However, it wasn’t 100% effective at expelling moisture as I could feel dampness around the elbows when things got properly sweaty.
This top is effective in a range of temperatures. It’s not just the coldest conditions where it’s useful, but also those beginning of autumn, and mid-spring temperatures where it competently keeps you from overheating or being cold.
While it’s not stated on the website, the Chilco Anorak does fend off water and rain. I can’t say much about its ability to keep heavy downpours at bay, but during light sprinklings of rain, it kept me perfectly dry.
The front pocket is vast but needs improvement and some kind of internal storage. When tackling more challenging terrain, whatever is inside is free to float about, so a method of keeping bits and bobs better confined would help.
7Mesh says the hood can fit over a helmet, and it definitely can, but I wouldn’t want to ride with it up because it’s very snug. It’s a useful feature though, especially when the temperatures get particularly low as it keeps warmth from escaping, especially when standing about. The quarter-length zip offers more than enough space for a helmet, meaning you can remove the anorak without taking off your helmet.
7Mesh Chilco Anorak - Verdict
The 7Mesh Chilco Anorak will cost you £170. It is a rather tall asking price, but then again, the effective WTV tech is not only unique to 7Mesh, but if you ride through colder months, it’s money well spent.
But compared to, for example, Royal Racing’s Quantum Tech Hoody, which is priced very competitively at £80, 7Mesh’s price is definitely at the upper end. While the Quantum Tech Hoody is similar and offers temperature-regulating features with a breathable fleece interior, it’s not quite as effective as the Chilco Anorak.
While there’s no getting past its steep asking price, the 7Mesh Chilco Anorak with WTV tech does a commendable job of regulating temperature and offering a smidge of weather resistance. Its relaxed cut is effective on the bike, but casual enough to wear off the bike too.