The Vaude Men's Strone Jacket is a waterproof designed for cross-country mountain biking and 'moderate' road use, so it's a good bet for gravel riding too. It’s quiet to wear, very light, and easy to stash in a bag or pocket, but while breathability is average, some of the finishing could be better.
At 205g the Men's Strone is a lightweight and slim-fitting jacket with good length sleeves – worth considering if, like me, you struggle to find ones that fit well. The Strone (named for Scottish highland village, presumably) is made from a 2.5 layer Ceplex Green membrane with a soft, almost peach-like outer texture which is very stretchy and follows your body as you hunch over the bars.
Ceplex Green – not to be confused with Soylent Green – is actually made from recycled coffee grounds (25%), and is odour resistant. That's pretty useful on a jacket you may prefer to hose down rather than hot-wash too often.
There are reflective strips front and back and on the underside of each sleeve so your nighttime gravel adventures are covered as well.
Vaude says it cares about the environment, and you could spend a good half hour checking their credentials, but I’ve done it for you. Safe to say you can wear this jacket with a clear conscience.
Vaude claims a waterproof rating of 15,000mm, which means the fabric can withstand a 15 metre-high water column (or hydrostatic head) pressing on it before anything can force its way through. In everyday terms, that’s good for all but the highest-intensity activity.
The Strone performs really well on wet rides of between one and two hours. It has no hood and that’s fine by me – I’ve yet to find a hood I can confidently ride fast in without it restricting my vision. You may feel differently, of course.
As befits a slim close-fitting jacket it zips up close to your neck with soft chin guard. There are no hand or rear pockets, just a large front chest pocket complete with water-resistant zip and zip garage. It’s large enough to swallow a six-inch phone and maybe an energy bar or gel or two, though not much more.
As the 'moderate' road rating for this 'sporty' jacket implies, breathability is not the best under more extreme efforts, and you can end up pretty damp inside despite there being nothing leaking – the vapour coming from you simply can't escape, and condenses instead. Work hard for a while and it builds up to a noticeable wetness.
Vaude chooses to not list a breathability rating for its membranes, citing inconsistent testing procedures and official figures as ‘snapshots’ and impossible to guarantee. It’s a strong line to take, and one which might confuse consumers by simply leaving them in the dark. All you have to go on is Vaude's claim it's 'extremely breathable,' which is itself impossible to guarantee – or even quantify.
There is one last fly in the ointment. The stitching is very neat throughout the jacket, yet is actually coming undone on both cuffs. This is definitely not the quality you expect of a £140 jacket, though Vaude' do offer a two-year 'fair wear' warranty. We'll update this review once we've found a resolution.
What of the competition? The feature-packed Cube AM WS Storm jacket comes with a hood that goes over your helmet for £141, while Alpkit's Gravitas is more breathable than the Strone, 35g lighter, and has a hood too – but costs £160. The Madison Roam is just £80 and fares well, meanwhile, though it's heavy and hot.
The Vaude Strone Jacket is a good waterproof that performs well for all but the most arduous, sweaty rides. The clean looks and slim profile will appeal to gravel riders, as will its low weight and willingness to squash to the size of a water bottle. It can also serve as a fine mountain biking jacket, so long as you don’t want a hood, somewhere to stuff your hands, or to really attack the climbs.
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