Every cyclist needs a packable jacket, and the Vesper fills the role without the customary rustling we're used to
Any cyclist who intends to ride their bike throughout all four seasons is going to need a packable jacket – a light, stuffable garment designed to be pulled on for a chilly early start and lodged in a pocket should the sun provide some warmth.
Packable waterproofs often come with a few woeful cons to accompany the benefit of an added layer: rustling fabric, ability to catch the wind and puff the wearer up like a startled bulldog, and the feeling of being inside a not-very-warm sauna.
Being a pretty generic garment, small thoughtful nods designed to combat the common cons can make a big difference, and the women’s Vesper packable jacket from Tokyo-founded brand PEdALED (available in men’s fit too) ticks all the traditional boxes with a few luxury extras.
The obvious requirements are met: it’s lightweight at less than 46 grams per metre squared, it’s water repellent and windproof.
However, as I discovered when testing the jacket on a ride that seemed to explore all four seasons in the Gran Canarian mountains, it’s an item that’s got some clout on the competition.
On the day in question, we crested a 25-kilometre climb in brilliant, sweaty sunshine before the heavens opened in time for the following 25km descent back down the other side. The destination: The Valley of the Tears, a climb which accumulates 1,380 metres over the course of 11.1km.
It was the kind of ride that will go down in memory more for the mental trauma than the physical battle with the mountains – but having the right kit lessened the ordeal.
Climbing up the first mountain, the PEdALED Women’s Vesper rolled into its own handy pocket and didn’t take up too much valuable space in the back of my jersey.
However, when called into action it kept the worst of the rain off without creating moisture from the inside. Of course, it’s not designed to be warm and an extra layer of newspaper padding plundered from a local bar had to fill that need.
On to the luxury features. Firstly, there’s a distinct lack of rustle.
The Polyamide fabric used is noticeably softer to the touch than that the plastic-like material you’d find elsewhere. Baby-soft, it feels fragile, but hasn’t revealed itself to be easy-tear yet, and there’s no noisy noise as the wind ruffles through the folds.
PEdALED has used 13 per cent elastane in the mix, and added mesh side panels, combining to create a closer fit and added breathability. This means there’s no major puffing up in the wind.
At the back, there’s what looks like a traditional three-pocket design as per a jersey. No one would want pockets in such an item, as it’d pull at the back. What you’ve actually got is a pocket which the jacket stuffs into when out of use, plus two pocket access holes, neatly hemmed.
PEdALED has added small reflective details at the front and rear, and a gold logo paired with a gold strip alongside the zip which contrasts with the white material to create a top-end look that complements the premium soft fabric.
The fit is close and non-puffy when descending in the wind – it didn’t feel like a pair of extended wings designed to act like an anchor against speed.
My only gripe would be that, in a size small, the jacket was quite short. Admittedly, cycling jerseys and jackets should be fairly short to suit the riding position. However, I felt that this was exaggerated in the PEdALED item – and this may not suit taller riders.
The PEdALED Women’s Vesper comes in at £95 (we’re not sure why the men’s is £83) – not cheap by any stretch, but around the going rate for a quality, versatile jacket with a premium feel.
A packable with a few nods of luxury – with soft fabric, a real lack of rustle and practical features like pocket access holes. The fit is close and not prone to flapping, but is a bit short.