The updated Fox Racing Ranger jacket offers excellent weather protection and great breathability. The fit is ideal for off-road riding and relaxed enough not to look out of place off the bike, but the large fixed hood might not be everyone's cup of tea.
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The Ranger jacket now features a 3-layer (3L) fabric for the construction, which should offer both improved weather-proofing and vastly improved breathability. With waterproof fabrics, the key stats are the millimetres of water that a fabric can withstand before water seeps through. Fox says the Ranger 3L is 10,000mm for waterproof rating, which, in theory, means you would need a water column 10 metres high for the pressure to be great enough for water to start coming through, which is reasonably high.
Where the new 3-layer fabric really improves over the previous version is breathability, offering 10,000g/m² in comparison to the previous version at 3,000g/m². This makes the jacket far better at coping with heat generated while riding and keeps you drier on the inside, not just the outside.
Compared to other brands, these stats are good but a long way off industry-leading standards. The Leatt DBX 5.0 all-mountain jacket that Liam tested and loved, for example, offers a 30,000 mm waterproof rating & 23,000g/m² for breathability.
Fox Racing Ranger 3L Jacket | Fit & Sizing
I found the fit on the Ranger jacket to be excellent, with a slim enough fit that ensures no flapping when riding. There's a slight dropped back and some extra length in the arms to make it work in a general mountain biking position. It's true to the Fox size guide, which for me meant enough space beneath it to wear an extra layer for warmth. It is relaxed enough to wear casually off the bike, unlike more road-focused jackets with a high front that only works when riding.
Their range of sizes is good, from XS to 2XL available. I have an 86cm (34 inches) chest and 168cm tall (or perhaps that should be 168cm short?), the XS was recommended, and the fit was perfect. I really liked the Gold colour tested, but if it is a little too bright for your taste, it is also available in black and sage green.
The waist section and the hood feature elastic cords to fine-tune the fit, and both areas are easy to adjust. The toggles in the hood are completely hidden, which means you shouldn't get any cord or toggle knocking your face while riding.
The only element of the fit that I did not like was the elasticated cuffs. While I far prefer elastic to a velcro strap, they were too tight with not enough stretch. This made the jacket more difficult to get on and off, especially when wearing gloves and even more so if you wear a watch.
Fox Racing Ranger 3L Jacket | Features
The Ranger features two front hand pockets, plus a chest pocket. The zips are water-resistant, and the outside uses the same 3-layer fabric. The inside of the hand pockets are mesh-lined, so they may let some moisture in, either from any water that might come in through the head or waist. Because of this, it would be wise not to keep anything that could be damaged by water/moisture inside them. The right-hand pocket also features a secret hide-away section, which could be useful for keeping smaller items and preventing them from bouncing around while riding. The chest pocket is fully lined, so it should be more weather-proof but much smaller in size, and I was only just able to fit a mid-sized smartphone within it.
Other features on the jacket are excellent, including the waterproof main zip and puller, which might seem basic, but the lightweight tied cord allows easy opening and closure with no flap when riding. One slightly odd point to note is that the zip on the male fit is backwards and closes as a female zip usually would. Jessica is currently testing the female fit, which has the zip aligned as expected. This seems to be something Fox does throughout the range, not just on the Ranger jacket. It doesn't affect performance, and I found myself getting used to it fairly quickly.
The non-removable hood might divide opinions. It's generously sized in addition to the high front that gives great protection, and it was large enough to pull over every helmet I had. The Ranger is far from the only jacket to have a fixed hood, and it seems quite common for this style of jacket. Personally, I prefer not using a hood, even when it is raining heavily and with no way of removing, rolling or securing it; the hood can blow out like a parachute while riding.
In the rain and in poor weather, the jacket performed as well as you might hope, especially when new with the DWR coating beading the water off. It will wear off as with any jacket or fabric with a DWR coating. After some use, with a backpack, the shoulder area was the first to lose the water beading, followed by the forearms. It did still keep the rain out, and general weather-proofing was excellent all-around.
Fox Racing Ranger 3L Jacket | Value & verdict
The Fox Racing Ranger 3L retails at £200, which makes it a premium buy and at this price, I'd have hoped for absolute perfection. It is a little less than the Endura MT500 at £230, a jacket Liam reviewed and praised recently, packed with features, although still no way of managing the hood. Despite high rated fabrics, the Leatt DBX 5.0 is less at £190, and Liam scored it a perfect 5/5. The Ranger might perform well, but at £200, I think it is quite steeply-priced and harder to justify. At the time of writing, you can get it direct from Fox Racing in a few sizes for £130, making it a far more attractive option.
Overall, the Fox Racing Ranger 3L jacket did what it was designed to do well. It kept me dry from the inside and outside despite being used in some heavy rain. It isn't quite as packed with features or pockets as some other brands, but the fabric works well, and for me, that is the biggest factor. The backwards zip is quirky, and the only negatives are tight elastic cuffs and a hood that is not removable or stow-able, but it may not be a factor for everyone.
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