A gilet that provides a great deal of usefulness if the weather depends on one, but access to the pockets is an issue
Can be packed down into a small ball
Tight and small access to pockets
Expensive given that it's not waterproof
What is a summer gilet’s purpose? It’s a question that I have found myself asking many a time, and I know I’m not alone.
After several months of testing Invani’s sleeveless offering, I remain unconvinced that every cyclist should have a summer gilet in their wardrobe, but I have been persuaded into accepting that they are a handy item of clothing to have tucked away in a jersey pocket from time to time.
Those early morning summer rides where the crisp night air lingers into the first hours of the day is essentially where the summer gilet comes into its own; what’s more, if you’re faced with a long and fast descent, your torso and back will be thankful for the additional thin layer.
Invani men’s windproof reversible sleeveless gilet: Construction, ride and value
As with all Invani (opens in new tab) products, the fabric has been handpicked from premium Italian manufacturers, and it contains 83% polyester and 17% elastane. What that means is that you’re getting a gilet that breaths, stretches and won’t be covered in dampness.
Invani’s reversible feature is what makes the growing retailer so unique, and the blue and black sides are really smart options. The no-frills black goes extremely well against the silver and black jersey that Invani also produce, while the patterned blue packs in a bit of jazz and character, even if it doesn’t sit too well colour-wise against most jerseys. Both sides have a useful reflective trim that is a nice touch for those very early starts.
Riding in the hot summer sun of Spain and Greece, the gilet helped me on windy days rather than colder ones, but its effect was clearly evident when gusts blew; Invani claim their gilet is windproof and it’s hard to disagree.
Where this gilet did disappoint was in its access to the jersey’s pockets. There is a sizeable gap that allows you to drop a hand into the middle pocket, but there’s insufficient room to access the left and right pockets. Additionally, it can be quite a squeeze to enter the pockets and often results in a frustrating entrance. Because of this, I was forced to move my phone from its favoured right pocket to the centre when the gilet was worn.
That shouldn’t, however, detract from the overall quality of a lightweight gilet that is highly breathable, protects against the wind and can be stored away into a jersey pocket in seconds and not feel like it’s dragging the jersey down.
It’s towards the expensive side on the pricing scale, but it’s a good addition to a summer wardrobe, especially if you’re spending a lot of time in the mountains and are prone to descending chills.
Sizes: XS - XL
Colours: Black and blue; red and burgundy
Web: invani.cc (opens in new tab) - www.INVANI.cc
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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