The Endura GV500 Insulated jacket is great. There, all finished, review done and dusted. In all seriousness though, here's why I think it's great; it’s super lightweight, has two handwarmer pockets (one of which it can pack itself into), a double-ended zip and a snug adjustable hood. It offers a warm, windproof layer on very cold dry days, and is an ideal companion for the end of any adventure.
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The GV500 is made using PrimaLoft® Gold Active insulation encased in a lightweight windproof shell designed to keep your core warm. It's not waterproof, although it does feature a water-repellent coating. However, it’s simple enough to throw a shell over the slim design if the weather gets really foul.
For those that are interested, 80% of Primaloft material is made from recycled plastic bottles. Apparently, by 2020, Primaloft will have used 430 million that would have ended up in landfills or worse, the ocean. Being eco is very NOW but outdoor clothing has to perform, so it’s really great to be able to say that the GV500 does.
The GV500 is part of the gravel line from Endura. It is designed to offer a high level of warmth for a low level of bulk either on or stuffed. Weighing in at 266g, the construction is simple with nothing more than the essentials making the cut. The jacket offers a two-way zip closure that comes up really snug under your chin or around your neck depending on how you are wearing the hood. Behind the zip is a wide baffle to help prevent icy drafts from getting in.
The hood is a close-fitting type with a simple elastic adjustable pull system designed for getting the best fit around your head. Keeping with the simple theme, there are no Velcro cuff or hem adjusters. The former is managed by stretch panels around your cuffs. The latter has a silicone gripper which does a better job than expected.
The jacket features front and rear reflective markings. They could be a little larger on the rear, but at least they are there. Unlike the GV500 Shell Jackets, the insulated version is not designed for carrying backpacks, so it doesn't feature silicone wear patches.
The GV500 is one of those items you grab when going out for an early morning gravel ride (psst…you can actually wear it on a mountain bike too), riding to work in freezing conditions or something you stuff in your pack for that cold café stop. You end up packing it into front bags, seat packs, or where needed as it’s so useful to have on or off the bike and makes the perfect post-ride companion.
I tested the medium, which at just shy of 6’ and a with a 40” chest gives a snug fit. I could have gone up a size for a slightly looser fit, but I don’t want to put lots of layers under it, just a base layer and long sleeve is enough. It’s slightly heavier weighing 266g rather than the 245g that Endura claim, but it’s still pretty light and certainly worth its weight and pack size on long rides.
If you find it gets a little too warm (which does happen with our changeable weather) you can choose to do nothing and carry on as the Primaloft Gold material handles moisture really well. It will keep you warm when damp which is essential and it also moves moisture quickly through the fabric, drying quickly once your pace drops or you stop.
You could also lower the zipper and vent from the top. Or, as I have become accustomed to doing, unzipping from the bottom and allowing the jacket to hang behind like a cape. It’s an excellent way of getting rid of excess heat, plus it is simple to pull the zip down and it keeps your arms, shoulders, and top of your chest protected as you ride.
The inside is a very bright safety orange but unfortunately, the main zip is not double-sided so you cannot easily turn it inside out (although I’m sure you could manage in an emergency). The orange side has no pockets, but at least you would be seen as opposed to blending in with the very nice, but super stealthy Action Man green colour. Green not your thing? There are Hot Paprika and Black colourways available too.
Endura GV500 Insulated Jacket | Value & verdict
Jon reviewed the well-priced Polaris Tor Insulated Jacket, weighing in at 255g and available for £75, he gave it a 3.5 due to lack of insulation in the sleeves or hood. Also reviewing the Gore G5 Windstopper Insulated Hooded Jacket that weighed 370g. His verdict? It did an all-around excellent job, but for £320, it was not cycling-specific. Rach really liked the Alpkit Morphosis Hybrid Insulated jacket for £100 giving it 4.5 stars. With a windproof outer shell and a gridded fleece inner construction, it was another jacket meant for outdoor activities rather than cycling.
The GV500 Insulated Jacket is great on and off the bike when it's freezing or low single digits. It's not really designed to work in the wet, although it will shrug off a light shower. Anything heavier and you’ll need an outer shell on top. What it does do is keep you toasty when riding or hanging out after a ride. Plus, it packs down to next to nothing when you need to stow it. Excellent.
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