dhb Aeron Lab Ultralight Waterproof Jacket 2.0 review – more 'light' than 'waterproof'
A competitively priced packable jacket with a great fit and feel - more of a 'just-in-case' get you home jacket than a foul weather mile-muncher
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The fit and features of this jacket are excellent: figure hugging without being restrictive, great coverage on the sleeves and at the rear, a warm fleecy collar and a smooth running two-way zip. It's small enough to fit in a jersey pocket too. One significant caveat is that it's not very waterproof – it's fine as a just-in-case get you home type jacket, but not one for rides with sustained rain.
Very light and small when rolled up
Great cut when riding
Good cuff design
Good looks and colour
Feels tight across chest when standing (not riding)
More water resistant than waterproof
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The dhb Aeron Lab Ultralight 2.0 is a race fit waterproof jacket made from 100% nylon featuring taped seams and a DWR treatment. It weighs a light 153 grams (I measured it at 152g) for a medium (size on test) and rolls up small to easily fit in a rear pocket.
Similar to the best packable waterproof jackets, there are a number of features help with fit and comfort such as a fine brushed fleece ling to the collar, a long dropped tail, as well as a double zip to adjust air flow without removing the garment. There is a peg hanging loop as well as two rear vents that also allow access to the rear jerseys pockets.
There are two colours; Sulphur Spring (think Fluro Yellow) and Atlantic Deep which is deep green/teal colour. The jacket is available in 6 sizes from XS to XXL.
dhb Aeron Lab Ultralight Waterproof Jacket 2.0: the ride
First impressions of this jacket were how great the Atlantic Deep colour was. It's a matt greeny-teal that I really liked. My immediate next thought after trying the jacket on was just how easily the zip did up – in their aim to keep out the water, some other jackets can end up being rather stiff, which can make on-the-fly adjustment a bit of a pain.
No problems with the Aeron Lab Ultralight, though. Out riding, I was able to make all the adjustments I needed single-handedly and the double zip allowed me to vent some heat from below while keeping the jacket tighter around my shoulders and experiencing less of a 'parachute' effect.
With the garment fully zipped up there was enough room to have a jersey collar underneath and it not be too tight, even when lent over while riding. I thought that the brushed inner collar was a nice touch too.
There is a strange sensation, though, of the jacket being too tight across the chest between the shoulders, this is until you sit on your bike with your hands on the hoods, and then the cut makes sense. The tightness disappears. With this design there is less excess fabric and flap, keeping a more streamlined shape.
The cuffs were a really great design, I thought. They are cut at an angle with more material sitting on the top of the hand and with less underneath to keep the palm free. In rain, it kept my hands drier than other designs. The sleeves feel quite long when standing in the jacket, but were a good length once riding.
There is a long dropped tail to keep the worst of the road spray off you and it stayed in place and fitted well. Also on the back, the two vents/pocket access slots overlapped by 25mm or so, which would reduce and running water from entering your clothes underneath. This seemed to work in the rain.
Generally speaking, this was a pretty 'quiet' jacket with a small amount of arm flap on faster or more blustery days. It was really breathable and remained comfortable even when the humidity hit 80 per cent.
I did find one problem, though, in regards to the waterproofness, however. For the first 20 minutes the rain would bead on the garment, then the fabric appeared damp. Not necessarily a problem, but when I took the jacket off at the end of the ride I found what appeared to be damp patches primarily on and in front of my shoulders, as well as around the front of my hips.
The inside of the arms also felt damp. I'm sure that it wasn't sweat as my back was dry and I wasn't getting overly hot on the ride. The first time that this happened I was riding in fairly heavy rain. When it happened on the next ride with heavy drizzle I figured something was up. It seemed that the main areas which were letting water through were in the airflow, hence the back staying fine. I wasn't soaked underneath but neither was I dry.
dhb Aeron Lab Ultralight Waterproof Jacket 2.0: value
At $234.00 / £180, the dhb Aeron Lab Ultralight Waterproof Jacket 2.0 is significantly cheaper than many top-end packable waterproof jackets, such as the Castelli Idro 3, which comes in at a whopping $449.99 / £320. On the other hand, the Idro 3 does provide extremely good protection from the rain and packs up even smaller – that said, the fit isn't as figure following and it does flap about much more.
A closer competitor is Endura with its Pro SL Shell Jacket II, which comes in at $232.89 / £152.99. Although still packable, it doesn't go quite as small as the dhb Aeron Lab Ultralight Waterproof Jacket 2.0 and it has a bit more excess material which can get caught in the wind. It is, however, fully waterproof – so a better option for sustained rain.
dhb Aeron Lab Ultralight Waterproof Jacket 2.0: conclusion
This is a tricky assessment as, overall, there was much to like about this jacket; the colour, the collar and for me the cuff cut was fantastic, along with its light weight and ability to roll up small and not feel like a lump in a rear pocket. However if it's a waterproof jacket – and not a water-resistant one – then it needs to be waterproof.
If you want a highly breathable garment along with something to get you that last half hour home after the rain sets in, then perfect. If it's a start off in the rain kind of long ride then this would be less suitable, at least for me.
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Over 40 years cycling in a variety of disciplines including road riding, commuting, a self-supported Land's End to John o' Groats trip, XC mountain biking and several Polaris Challenge two-day events. Adventure, escape and fun are the motivations for my riding. I also love bike and kit design and have fillet brazed a couple of framesets using Reynolds 853 steel tubing for myself. A very satisfying experience to ride your own bespoke bike!
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