Hi-vis Fully Featured Jacket

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Cowtown Cyclis, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. Cowtown Cyclis

    Cowtown Cyclis New Member

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    Hello,

    I have been shopping around for a new rainy weather and winter commuting jacket. It get's really cold here, but I deal with it by layering. My primary concern is that the jacket be very high visibility as I commute both ways in the pitch black for 3 months of the year and I like the idea of the really bright jackets like Sugoi Zap, Altura Nightvision or Endura Luminite. I was really hoping to get something that was very breathable and fully featured however, like the MEC Revolution. My dream jacket would be the cut and features of MEC or Showers Pass jacket, the visibility of of the Sugoi Zap in a fabric like Polartec Neoshell. Given that I will never find this, what's the next best thing? I'm leaning towards the Altura Night Vision Evo but I figured I would check in to see if someone else had a recommendation. High visibility and high breathability are the most important criteria, but it does need to be able to keep out a down pour for at least an hour.

    A little about me: I commute about 15km each way year round. It regularly gets below -20 C here in the winter and the sun doesn't rise until after 8:30 and it sets around 16:00. I have been commuting by bike for almost 30 years now and I have done so in all 4 of Canada's major cities so this isn't my first rodeo. In the past I have always just picked up what ever was on sale at the MEC because I tend to wear stuff out pretty fast but this time round I would like to get something a bit nicer. I have forgotten more about layering and dressing for cold weather cycling than most people are ever likely to know.

    Thanks for your input,

    CC
     
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  2. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    You requirements for high breathability AND very good rain resistance in the same garment are mutually exclusive.
    Riding hard in heavy rain WILL get you wet. Either from the inside, or from the outside.
    I've given up trying to stay dry and focus on not getting cold. Better chance of success with that.
    Favourite garments are ones with different quality panels. High degree wind/waterproofing on the front, good breathability in the back. Got both vests, jackets and pants in that design.
     
  3. Cowtown Cyclis

    Cowtown Cyclis New Member

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    So to be fair, I have very waterproof jackets that are also very breathable. I have run half marathon in the rain in a Sugoi Firewall jacket and been very comfortable. I have worn my own Goretex Pro jacket on 2 to 3 hour moderate rides in the pouring rain and also been very comfortable. This isn't magic, waterproof breathable's have gotten very good over the last 20 years. My wife's Neoshell jacket is amazing, it breaths amazingly well and has kept her dry during 5-6 hour hikes in the pouring rain. Combined with well designed pit zips, a well ventilated coat means I don't need to shower when I get to the office if I'm taking it reasonably easy on the ride in.

    However, I haven't found a jacket using one of these fabrics that is also super high visibility and cut loose enough to fit over a heavy insulating later when it is -20 C. Does such a thing really not exist or have I just not found it yet?
     
  4. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Why not buy a high-vis jacket with maximum breathability/zipper venting for warmer wet weather and a less water-repellant, more insulated jacket for the really cold stuff?

    Trying to get one jacket to work in three seasons in Ohio is pretty much impossible.
     
  5. BobCochran

    BobCochran Well-Known Member

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    +1 to dabac and CampyBob. My experience is similar to theirs. I know I'm going to get wet in the rain one way or another, so I'll settle for staying warm.

    Bob
     
  6. Mr. Beanz

    Mr. Beanz Well-Known Member

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    I've tried high vis jackets myself and was never happy with them. I find the tri color ankle reflectors to be more noticeable because of the leg movement. A jacket with a few strip is good but the ankle reflectors are a real eye catcher.

    IN the pic, my right ankle looks as bright as the headlight. Along with the up and down movement of both the left and right leg, I trust these more than a high vis jacket for riding at night.

    Far cheaper than a jacket too!

    The strips on the jacket just sit there but the ankles are constant eye catching movement.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. BobCochran

    BobCochran Well-Known Member

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    I agree -- people seem to notice my ankle reflectors, and also I wear reflective socks, too. The movement of the feet as Mr. Beanz points out really helps. Also a good blinky light like the Cygolite Hotshot helps. I think the blinky light get great respect from motor vehicle drivers.

    Bob
     
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  8. Mr. Beanz

    Mr. Beanz Well-Known Member

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    Funny, I used to ride at night just to get in a few extra miles. I would ride in an industrial center doing loops for a workout. I actually had my wife ride the bike with a vest on and drove up behind her from 50 yards back. The illumi jacket didn't really catch my eye. For all I could tell is that it was a reflector on a mail box. I wasn't happy with it.

    Then on e night I was driving and it was very dark. I saw an eye catching movement in the middle of the divided avenue from about 50 yards back. As I got closer I noticed it was a jogger. The little reflector tab at the back of the shoe (about an inch long) was far more eye catching than the jacket because of the movement. that's when I figured the ankle straps would be great. I bought some and did the same test as before and yeah baby! ;)
     
  9. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Ankle reflectors...funny you should mention those...

    Back in the day...in the 1970's...we wore ankle lights. These were like a medium size flashlights with a forward facing amber lense and a rear facing red lense. They were powered by two 'C' cells. Imagine having one of those strapped to to your left ankle today, in the era of carbon everything!

    Agreed...like pedal reflectors and spoke reflectors the up & down motion attracted attention.

    Still, anything that promotes visibility is a good thing and in the grayness and dull background of an Ohio Winter (we are very much in tune to our Canuckistan brethren due to similar weather and 33.6 more seconds of sunlight per day!) the hi-vis jerseys and jackets stand out. In tests, the green shades were more easily picked out than the yellow or orange shades. Who knew?
     
  10. BobCochran

    BobCochran Well-Known Member

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    @CampyBob -- do you have any of these C-cell powered ankle lights from the old days? I'm curious to see what they looked like.

    As to the original topic...I figure that if I wear something that is more or less windproof and has armpit zippers, I should be able to keep warm even in very cold weather. I agree about being as visible as possible. Perhaps a related goal is to capture attention as soon as possible. There is a difference between the two states -- between "visible" and "attention getting".

    Bob
     
  11. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Bob, yes...I know I still have one. I 'think' I have it stashed in a .50 Cal. ammunition can I use to keep my trck bike's spare gear ratios and parts in. I tried to Google a pic of it and I could not find anything close to what it looks like.

    Picture a 'T--head flashlight. The body is white plastic. They were really cheaply made and I'm pretty certain we bought them from Bike Nashbar. I was also trying to remember 'who' made them...Minoura? Cateye? No clue at this point. I have not used it since the early 1990's, but I do remember that for something that heavy it went un-noticed when riding through the city at night...in the Winter months.

    I did find pictures and links to more modern ankle lights when I was searching for a pic. I even found one T-head unit, but it was not close in design to what we bought way back in the day.

    Keep reminding me through the week to see if I can dig it out of the closet. Knowing me, it's buried behind a bunch of other boxes of bike parts! A guy at work asked to borrow my Neway small engine valve seat re-facing/cutting tool set last week. I 'knew' exactly where it was stashed and it only took about a half-hour to dig it out! I have way too many interests and hobbies!


    Well...crap. I easily found my ammo can, complete with a set of track cogs, Campy Peanut Butter wrench, etc., but NO damned 'leg light'.

    I'll look tomorrow and see if I can find a stock pic of the light. Maybe OBC or one of the geezers on the forum can rember who made them or still has one. These were way, way, way before LED's!
     
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  12. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Eureka! I at least found a pic of the exact unit. It was manufactured by Speedplay...whoever they were. Notice that the ankle strap was not even Velcro! These things were cheap and primitive! We wore them on the outside of the left ankle. IIRC, they did have two modes, steady state light and a flashing mode.

    [​IMG]

    They were called The Wonder Leg Light and made in France. I really need to find mine! It's got to be worth a dollar more than I paid for it!
     
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  13. BobCochran

    BobCochran Well-Known Member

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    Thanks a ton, CampyBob! I've never seen anything like that -- I was dirt poor in the 1970s and and didn't think of going to my local bicycle shop to check out good riding lights. So I love your picture of The Wonder Leg. It does vaguely make me think of snowmobiles for some reason.

    The Speedplay company that manufactured them is the same one that does pedals today, right?

    Thanks so much for posting the picture. I'm really grateful for the light weight reflector bands we have these days. But the weight of that light probably helped make your left leg strong.

    Bob
     
  14. Mr. Beanz

    Mr. Beanz Well-Known Member

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    Oh SNOT! I think I'll stick to ankle reflectors! :lol:
     
  15. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    No magic there.
    Back in the days where nature was where we found our food and avoided becoming food, as opposed to the current double duty playground/ toxic waste storage area, being able to differentiate between shades of green was probably a quite handy survival tool.
    Eyes are basically more sensitive to green wavelengths.

    More here:http://light-measurement.com/spectral-sensitivity-of-eye/
     
  16. Susimi

    Susimi Well-Known Member

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    Why not go for a different jacket for the different seasons and wear a high-vis vest over the jacket? Seems a bit more cost effective as you can get high-vis vests for pretty cheap in hardware shops or online.

    Or like others have said here, just use reflective bands/stickers.
     
  17. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    Aaah, the unmistakable Beige "Engineering Plastic"... How crappy it turns out dirty and mangy... The nightmares of zombie-ing on Doom on a monitor made of it... The very first Battery Operated "Face Massage" thingies... :D


    Still better then [email protected] Volvos LifeIsABitchPaint©®™ though... :D

    They are spraying us! Literally! :D The future: :D


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  18. bradallen226

    bradallen226 New Member

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    Favorite apparel are ones with different great quality sections. High level wind/waterproofing on the top side, good breathability in the back. Got both vests, overcoats and trousers in that style.
     
  19. Cowtown Cyclis

    Cowtown Cyclis New Member

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    @bradallen226 I do have a jacket similar to the one you are describing, I find if its raining hard enough the breathable panels wet out very quickly and the wind gets through them in no time when it is seriously cold.

    I checked out the Endura coat and it doesn't seem like it would breath very well at all. I borrowed a friends MEC Revolution Jacket and it wasn't half bad actually. Between the Pertex fabric and the venting it does a very good job to getting rid of sweat and the water proofing is very adequate.Not quite as visibility as I'd like but the yellow is not bad. I still really like the Sugoi Zap, if you haven't seen it is worth checking out. No pit zips and the fabric isn't very breathable though.

    For the record, I live at 52 degrees of latitude. That's about 11 degrees north of Ohio. I have also ridden at towns as far north as 55 degrees in winter. It is dark until 9:00 AM and gets dark around 4:30 in December so its dark both ways and I regularly ride in temperatures below -20 C. I use a lot of lights, typically 3, but batteries tend to run down quickly so I like to have a lot of reflective and high visibility fabric. I also need something that is completely wind proof, not resistant. On the low side of -20 C even a gentle breeze drops the temperature significantly and a good waterproof fabric does a better job keeping the wind out than anything else. It's not particularly wet here however, so I am never really out for more than hour in the rain.

    Reflective is great when it is pitch black and the drivers have the their lights on, hence the Zap. But when it is dusk or dawn nothing stands out like hi viz yellow or orange. I spend a lot of time on construction sites and if you ever look around a construction site at dawn you'll notice what I mean. Ankle reflectors are great when you are on side streets (my winter shoes are fluorescent yellow with reflective), but I also spend a lot of time in traffic where your ankles are mostly obscured by other vehicles. I like to keep all my bases covered when I'm riding in in the dark.
     
  20. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Quote by CC:
    "That's about 11 degrees north of Ohio.

    So...the North Pole?

    Holy crap! You live in the Great White North! -20° C?! That's brutal!
     
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