Altura night vision flite jacket – long term review

I’ve been using this Altura night vision jacket for over a year. I received it last year as a free product for review.

altura-night-flite-tejvan

In summary: it is an excellent light weight / breathable jacket, that you can keep in back pocket or saddle bag. Even after consistent rain for an hour, you stay relatively dry and warm, yet you don’t sweat excessively.

altura-nightvis-flite-jacket-11-med

The first downside to the jacket, is that in my case the zip didn’t work. I can’t undo it, without a long time of frustrating tugging and pulling. I have to leave zipped up, and just put over my head. On noting this flaw in the product, I mentioned to the Altura rep, who sent the jacket in the first place. He replied by saying, ‘OK, please don’t mention in your review.’  I never heard anything else, like perhaps a replacement jacket. It wasn’t exactly  the most amazing piece of marketing strategy and customer care.

In fairness, I think I was unlucky. Looking at other online reviews, I’ve not noticed anyone else complain about a broken zip. Perhaps if you had bought a jacket, you would have got better after sales service. The bizarre thing is I keep thinking the jacket is so good, it’s worth buying one just to get one with a working zip, but in the end it doesn’t seem worth the £70 just for jacket with a working zip so I use this good jacket which needs unorthodox putting on. It means I have to stop to put it on, but to be honest I’m no good at putting on jackets whilst cycling – like the pros anyway.

Sizing

I chose a size L because I’m tall, (6ft 3″) and have long legs. I’m as thin as the proverbial hill climb whippet (36″ chest maybe) so it is inevitably baggy. But, it’s not too bad, I’ve usually got quite a few layers underneath anyway. It does make a difference having a waterproof jacket which goes down just past your wrists. Helps to keep your hands warm. I like it because it seems designed for the racing position. It’s a little on the short side when standing up, but quite good in position.

Waterproofing and breathability

When looking for a waterproof jacket, there seems to be a three way trade off

  1. Price
  2. Waterproofing
  3. Breathability

To score highly on both 2 and 3, you need to pay a lot. At £70, this jacket is quite expensive for a small fold away jacket, but it offers an excellent combination of waterproofing and breathability. This is definitely a proper waterproof jacket (as opposed to ‘water resistant’) I’ve been out in some heavy rain, and feel securely protected from the worst of the weather. But, it’s never too hot, and you can go as hard as you like up hills without becoming excessively sweaty.

The other thing I like about the flite version, is that you can pack it up small. It weighs only 140grams for a medium size. I keep it in a saddle bag, so I never have to worry about getting caught out in a deluge. It has pretty good wind-proofing, should it get cold and you need an extra layer.

The more common Altura Night Vision or Altura Night Vision Evo is that much more bulky and won’t fit into a back pocket. The standard Night vision has 2 layers (outer nylon and inner mesh). This makes it warmer, but less minimalistic. For commuting, I would choose the standard Night Vision, but for training, I prefer the lighter Flite version

Design

I don’t think anyone buys a waterproof jacket to rate highly in the style stakes. But, it looks fine, does the job and could be best described as neat. There are reflective stripes to help visibility, though I would probably prefer the yellow jacket if I was buying.

Conclusion

It’s completely waterproof, breathable and very easy to pack. It’s really hard to think of what else you could need for a rain jacket. I’ve had quite a few £30 – £40 water resistant shell jackets. But, have always been dissappointed with these. They soon leak, and you wonder if it was worth stopping to put it on anyway. If I’d paid money for it, I’d be much less forgiving about the broken zip. But, if I’d paid money I presume I would have got a replacement.

One thing is that it does not seem so easy to buy compared to the ordinary Night Vision.

Buying online Flite version

Altura Night Vision (2 layer version)

 

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5 Responses to Altura night vision flite jacket – long term review

  1. Martin January 9, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

    Nice review, i agree with you about the zips, i have just gone back to my old Altura jacket after the night vision jacket zip broke, thats the second one! The zip on the old jacket is much more robust with larger teeth and its bomb proof. All the new Altura jackets have this very fine (not fit for purpose) zip. Will not buy another Altura unless they change the zips, will be looking else where.

    • tejvan January 10, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

      Thanks, good to know I’m not only one to have problem with zips.

  2. J R January 11, 2014 at 11:30 pm #

    ” I mentioned to the Altura rep, who sent the jacket in the first place. He replied by saying, ‘OK, please don’t mention in your review.’”

    No more free stuff for you from altura then 😉

    Great integrity that you got some free stuff to review, told us you got it free and didn’t turn the post into a paid for advertisement. Which many ‘reviews’ on bikeradar and the like seem to be.

  3. MCG February 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

    I had this problem with my Night Vision jacket and I wrote to Altura – not to complain (as the jacket was just over 12 months old) but to ask if they could repair it or recommend someone who could. Their reply was unhelpful,to say the least, effectively , “well, you need to buy another as we don’t repair them and we don’t know anyone who can”. Great jacket – rubbish after sales service. Can’t recommend them!

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