Given the no-nonsense name – dhb MTB Women’s Lightweight Packable Shell Jacket – you won't be surprised to learn it's just that: a thin and light (off-road) jacket that packs up small enough to lose in the bottom of your backpack. It’s not super waterproof in prolonged rain though, and it can get pretty sweaty, so it's an emergency-only piece of kit.
This packable jacket is a simple piece of kit, and the dark blue polyester fabric is perfect for getting mucky – though there's welcome hot pink flash of colour from the waterproof YKK Aquaguard zip.
The jacket gets a small hood which tucks away into the collar, two overlapping armpit vents and some nice shaping to the elasticated sleeves where they cover the top of your gloves. The seams are taped throughout.
There is also a big chest pocket with an inner headphone port and a low rear pocket too, which is ideal for storing snacks when riding without a backpack.
The cut sits casually between slim and baggy, and it's not out of place on a gravel bike or a mountain bike, making it usefully versatile. I wore a size small (I’m a usual UK dress size 8) and found it came up slightly short. Worse still, it bunches and rides up easily due to the elasticated bottom.
A number of times my jerseys ended up sticking out from under the bottom edge, where they risked getting soaked and wicking water up the body.
The hood isn't quite right either, as it's too small for putting up over a helmet. In fact, it's a little useless unless you're off the bike and have removed your lid.
Wiggle (dhb) says the fabric is both waterproof and breathable, but gives no ratings for the degree of either. I found it stands up well to showers, but during prolonged rain it lets water through, starting at the shoulders.
It also gets pretty sweaty when riding on milder days, which can lead to chills as it all cools off should you have to stop. The jacket does dry quickly though, and for such a lightweight shell it's pretty tough when faced with the mud of a winter mountain bike ride.
This jacket is best for emergency use when quick, sharp showers rear up. It packs down neatly into its own pocket and is perfect for stowing, but I wouldn’t rely on it as a waterproof to keep you dry in the worst weather. I kept mine stuffed into my SWAT downtube for most of the summer, but it's definitely off to the cupboard as it gets wetter and colder into winter.
The jacket is £50 on sale on Wiggle at the moment, which I think is a fair price for a lightweight waterproof. I’d be hard pressed to recommend it at the full £100 retail though, as it's just not up to serving as anything other than an emergency, temporary layer.
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