Review by Garga Chamberlain
I’ve always used lightweight jackets and gilets before – the type that fold up to the size of a satsuma at most and give reasonable wind protection but not a lot of warmth. This softshell gilet is very different – it has a windproof / water-repellent outer fabric and a warm microfleece lining, so even when packed flat it’s about the size of a couple of thick-cut sandwiches. On the plus side, it’s been perfect for such a wide range of conditions this winter that I’ve not had to take it off and find room in a pocket for it.
The softshell gilet is part of DHB’s performance range, so it’s aimed at the serious cyclist wanting good value training kit rather than the commuter or occasional rider. Having worn it for a few weeks of winter weather though, I’d say just about anyone who rides in all weathers will love this piece of kit.
Genuinely warm and windproof, this gilet has kept my torso dry in some sharp showers and sustained drizzle too. The cut is definitely sleek, with a lot of stretch and an effective gripper around the base, so when I drop down into an aero position it doesn’t sag around my middle like some jackets do. It’s great in windy conditions, with no flapping of fabric and zero rustling. The zip is robust and backed by a storm
flap which protects from wind penetration and also prevents any rubbing at the neck.
My favourite feature is the storage – 2 very large, stretchy pockets give me space to carry all the gear I need on a long ride (bananas, bars, lightweight waterproof etc.) or my winter commute (small lock, bunch of keys, wallet, etc.). Honestly you can cram a lot of gear in there and the flaps at the top of the pockets make sure it stays put while still allowing easy, fumble-free access when you’re riding.
There’s good reflective trim at the back, a reflective logo on the front and if you opt for the navy/fluoro colourway as I did you’ll be seen from miles away. If you are more worried about how you look than how well you get seen in the dark, there’s a cool-looking black version available too.
Verdict – warm, windproof and showerproof with a sleek, body-hugging fit and generous storage.
- DHB Soft Shell at Wiggle
£65 (currently on sale for under £40 – a bargain)