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Gore Power Trail Insulated (Partial) jacket

This part-insulated version of Gore’s Power Trail jacket mixes their water-repellent Windstopper fabric with strategically-placed PrimaLoft Gold insulation. It puts the weatherproofing and insulation where you need it most, and joins it all up with highly breathable stretch panels. While it warms up quickly as you start riding, it doesn’t let you overheat, so it’s good for stop/start days. The fit is slim but not tight, with a drop hem, and allows complete range of movement, while the snug collar is higher than most. It has two zipped hand pockets and a chest pocket. We like the cut and construction of the sleeves and cuffs, which works perfectly with winter gloves to avoid gapping or bunching. This jacket's outstanding performance means we’ll be wearing it all winter, on and off the bike.

Weight 439g

Price $330

dhb MTB Trail Hooded Softshell jacket

It may be budget-priced, but this softshell is anything but basic. The windproof fabric has a sturdy quality and a DWR finish keeps light rain at bay, while a grid-fleece lining aids wicking and gives an instant ‘ahh’ of cosiness, as well as feeling soft against the skin if you’re in short sleeves (and you really don’t need to layer up much – this is a warm jacket). The cut is casual but becomes more functional on the bike, with a dropped back hem, good sleeve and cuff shape, and soft inner cuff gaiters that seal in warmth. Mesh pocket linings that double as front vents, a waterproof main zip and a drawcord-adjustable hem and hood with a stiffened peak are extra features that add to the overall comfort and wearability. It’s incredibly well priced for a jacket that ticks so many boxes.

Weight 562g

Price $120

Fox Attack Pro Fire jacket

This is the second jacket on test that uses the excellent new Polartec Alpha breathable insulation (we predict a slew of new coats featuring it next year), but what Fox have done here is consider every detail of what makes a jacket MTB-specific, in terms of fit and cut, and worked those in too. The fabric combination alone is complex – stretch softshell panels are used at the sides and under the arms, with Cordura abrasion-resistant reinforcement on the elbows and lightweight ripstop stretch nylon through the rest of body, all DWR treated. This translates to a wind and waterresistant jacket that’s warm enough to wear with just a baselayer underneath at a frosty 4°C but doesn’t overheat at 12°C. This is what Polartec’s Alpha insulation was engineered to do, and it works. But fabrics alone don’t make a jacket. The second part of the equation that makes the Pro Fire so good is its fit. Complete freedom of movement through the shoulders means no cold spots and a jacket you’re hardly awar…

7mesh Strategy jacket

Canada’s 7mesh have quickly earned a reputation for immaculate cuts and close attention to detail. The clean-lined Strategy jacket is made from two different weights of Gore Windstopper and, unusually for a softshell, has taped seams, making it highly weatherproof as well as warm and windproof. Construction quality is amazing – you could wear it inside-out and no one would know. Breathability is helped by lighter panels under the arms and at the back – a combo that really works. The fit is slim but the articulated shoulders and sleeves allow great freedom of movement. This is the holy grail of perfect fit and fabric mix that makes for a superb jacket. We love this for fast XC trails when the riding, and not what we’re wearing, is all we want to think about – and it’s currently reduced to $118.

Weight 301g

Price $297

Mammut Ultimate Light SO Hooded jacket

This is a non-bike-specific style but it’s so beautifully made and fits so well, both on and off the bike, that its versatility becomes the point and makes the price easier to stomach. Made from Gore Windstopper with DWR, it’s windproof, highly water resistant and breathable. We’ve been riding in it with just a baselayer for cold starts and will add a midlayer once things get properly cold. Its understated, stylish looks belie the attention to detail. It has an under-helmet hood, ample pockets (two hand-warmers plus one on the chest), easily grabbable zip-pulls and generous pit-zips to regulate temperature. Thin and light enough to pack into its own pocket, the fabric also has stretch to enhance movement and comfort. The thumb loops are a nice touch, but never quite work on the bike.

Weight 364g

Price $270

Patagonia Levitation Hoody jacket

The first thing that strikes you about the Levitation is that when you move your arms, the body doesn’t shift at all. This makes for a jacket that feels instantly ‘right’ on the bike. The fact that it was originally designed for climbing goes some way to explain the exceptional range of movement, and attention to detail is carried through the rest of its construction. Rubberised zip-pulls, a fleece-lined collar and a zip garage are just some of its features. The slim but roomy cut, well-designed over-helmet hood and cuffs that work well with gloves and push up easily make the Levitation outstanding in terms of comfort. There’s a robust quality to the fabric, which is abrasion as well as wind and water-resistant thanks to a DWR finish, making this a real contender in a multi-activity kit line-up.

Weight 460g

Price $240