Gore H5 Gore Windstopper Insulated Hooded Jacket review £320.00
High quality cold weather jacket that's very versatile but also really rather pricey
Feb 3 2019
Impressively warm with minimal bulk and easy packability
Windstopper shell deals with all but heavy rain
Very versatile for multi-sports types or the pub
It's not cheap
UK conditions are rarely cold enough to really need it
You regularly ride in really chilly but not too soggy conditions and don't mind splashing the cash on a quality jacket
Gore's H5 Windstopper Insulated jacket is a high-quality bit of kit that offers warmth and water resistance as well as being multi-sport versatile, but the asking price might be a bit steep considering it excels in conditions not that often seen in the UK, namely extremely cold and generally dry.
The jacket - actually part of Gore's hiking range but also meant for cycling and running - marries Gore's windproof and water-resistant outer Windstopper shell to a layer of synthetic Polartec Alpha insulation. The former is highly effective at cutting out wind chill and works well in light rain, though it's not quite a substitute for a proper hardshell when it really pours down. The latter is a lightweight layer of lofted fibres attached to a mesh core, meaning the insulation doesn't shift around the jacket and is also said to help better regulate temperature and humidity inside the jacket.
The jacket has a decently slim and athletic cut with seamless sides and shoulders to help it work well with backpacks. There's also a close-fitting hood which has a rather neat integrated neck warmer/face cover built into it. The cuffs are pretty neat too, with the inner half having a fairly long stretch panel that holds it in place without any gap or tight spots.
The elasticated waist at the back of the jacket is dropped slightly and works well on the bike to keep from riding up too, with the drawcords living inside the two long zipped side pockets to keep them out of the way, though the lack of a Napoleon pocket on the chest can be a faff if you're wearing a pack. It's also possible to pack it away into a pocket, which means it's extremely easy to stow if you're off bikepacking or similar too.
Despite the low bulk of the jacket, it's highly effective at keeping you warm. I used it on freezing cold days with a normal base layer and it was more than warm enough - if anything slightly too warm with a Helly Hansen. It wicks sweat away and modulates temperature impressively well though, even if you wear it next to bare skin, so unlike a lot of insulating layers, you don't need to take it off as soon as you start putting in a bit of effort and get warm.
All in all, this is a superb bit of kit if you regularly ride in very cold but non-torrentially rainy conditions or need a cosy but versatile jack for bikepacking trips. However, while the materials and construction are top notch, the fact that UK winter conditions are generally very soggy but not actually that cold (Scotland excepted) means that this is a quite a niche prospect and an expensive one too, though I have been wearing it quite a lot off the bike.
I've been hugely glad to have it when It's been cold enough to justify it, but I suspect most riders would be better off investing such a big chunk of cash in a traditional hard shell waterproof for the soggy days and looking at layering up with one of Gore's uninsulated Windstopper outer layers when it's drier and colder.
Jon was previously the editor here at off.road.cc. Whether it's big days out on the gravel bike or hurtling down technical singletracks, if it's got two wheels and can be ridden on dirt, then he's into it. He's previously been technical editor at BikeRadar.com, editor at What Mountain Bike Magazine and also web editor at Singletrackworld.co.uk. Yes, he's been around the houses.