Altura Icon Rocket Men's Packable Jacket review – affordable and lightweight, but where's the jersey pocket access?
It repels the rain, it stuffs into the pocket and it's incredibly lightweight - such a shame it doesn't have access to the jersey pockets
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It does everything you want of a packable rain jacket - it's lightweight, it stuffs into a jersey pocket, it's fairly windproof and stands up well against all but the heaviest rain. Not having any access to the rear jersey pockets is a major mistake in the design in my opinion – it's doubly a shame as this isn't a design feature that would likely add much to the price. Overall, though, it is still quite a good value jacket.
Good water protection
Packs into the pocket really small
Great summer riding option
No access to pockets
Not so breathable
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The hanging loop stitched to the inside collar of the Altura Icon Rocket men’s packable jacket proudly boasts the brand’s motto. Tried. Tested. Trusted.
I think that's a pretty neat summary for the jacket, too. It’s clear that Altura has put a lot of work into making this inexpensive, lightweight rain jacket – and it’s abundantly clear to me after reviewing it that I can trust it.
That said, there are a few things I’m not totally enamoured with - the tail could be longer and the lack of access to pockets is an oversight that caused frustration.
But on the whole, this is a quality jacket that can be stuffed inside a rear pocket, ready to be worn when the heavens open. For its price, this is one of the best waterproof cycling jackets we've tested.
Altura Icon Rocket Men's Packable Jacket: construction
Altura has constructed the packable jacket using Pertex Quantum fabric, which is not only a super lightweight material, but is built to deal with changeable weather conditions. It uses Durable Water Repellent (DWR) technology, which is a hydrophobic coating that is designed to repel spray and water, keeping the layers beneath dry.
A silicone gripping band at the lower arm prevents water from entering up the sleeves, whilst a high collar does a similar job in the neck region – with the inner lining sporting a cotton backing that adds additional warmth.
The tail of the jacket, however, could be a little longer as I found that I had road spray higher up my bib shorts than I’d have liked, but it’s a good size nonetheless.
I opted for the lime hi-visibility colourway - it also comes in three other colours - with several large reflective panels on the front and back of the jacket.
Altura Icon Rocket Men's Packable Jacket: the ride
A packable, lightweight rain jacket is an essential piece of kit whatever the season. Aside from the garment doing what it’s supposed to do - keeping the cyclist dry and providing a buffer against the wind - it’s also important that the jacket stuffs into a back pocket or a small bag. The Altura Icon Rocket Packable Jacket didn’t let me down in this regard, tightly packing into my back pocket and even leaving a little bit of extra room.
It’s a featherweight piece of kit at just 120 grams in a size small, and I was pleased with how easy it was to put on and take off. It may be a slim fit but it succeeded in being close without being suffocating.
It kept me dry in persistent showers and repelled any heavier splashes from other traffic users. Even in the heaviest rain I tested it in, my torso stayed dry – though the sleeves did become heavy with water which wasn't repelled, and thus my arms became a little wet through condensation.
It's for this reason I doubt that the jacket would hold up brilliantly in torrential rain, but then this jacket is designed first and foremost as a 'shoulder' and summer season jacket – for use when the weather briefly turns from dry to wet, not for when you're expecting constant rain.
The amount of reflective panels is both really impressive and important, especially on early morning and evening rides. No-one would be able to claim that they can’t see a cyclist wearing this garment.
Altura claims that the jacket is windproof, and while I cannot dismiss this entirely, I did find that going downhill the jacket had a tendency to balloon up quite large around the shoulder areas.
Likewise, while there was a good range of movement and it was a comfortable fit, I wouldn’t score it too highly on the breathability rankings. As with any packable rain jackets, there is a fear of a boil-in-a-bag situation.
I never quite experienced that, but after 20 minutes riding in temperatures around 18 degrees Celsius it was noticeable how much warmer my upper half was – especially my torso.
My biggest criticism, however, is reserved for the lack of access to the back pockets while wearing the jacket. There simply is no other way of getting to your phone or food without unzipping the jacket, and that was a real problem, especially when pushing hard or when descending and you don’t want to stop.
There is one small pocket on the right of the jacket, but it's open and can only really store something lightweight in it, such as a small snack.
Altura Icon Rocket Men's Packable Jacket: value and conclusion
At £80 / $110 this is a great packable jacket that will keep you dry in most wet weather conditions – and you won’t even know you’ve got it stuffed away in your jersey’s pockets or saddle bag given how featherweight it is.
As with most similar jackets, you don’t want to be wearing it for too long if the temperature isn’t too cold, but for standard shoulder season conditions, or for descending a peak in summer, it’s a fantastic and essential addition to your cycling wardrobe.
It's ever so slightly cheaper than Altura's Firestorm Jacket, while more than half the price of Albion's rain jacket. Rapha's Pro Team Lightweight version also comes in at around £200 / $230.
It’d be closer to five stars if only Altura provided access to the jersey’s back pockets.
Altura Icon Rocket Men's Packable Jacket: spec
Price: £80, €90, $110
Colours: charcoal, navy, lime, carbon
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, 2XL
Website: altura.co.uk (opens in new tab)
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Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.
Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.
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