Looking back on my riding this winter it’s pretty clear that one piece of gear helped me out more than any other when looking at it from a bang for the buck perspective. That would be this horribly bright wind vest. Yes I used the word horrible to describe something I love. If I had a do over I’d get this vest in black or grey, but what I have happens to be nuclear yellow so that’s how I roll.
Back in Calgary many years ago I bought this vest one size too big and super obnoxiously bright for use on winter cycling missions when I would be wearing extra layers and visibility was a priority. Fast forward to the end of 2015 and cool wet rides. My smaller vest is now so skin tight it’s really only appropriate for dj shows at an all male night club. 😉 So I pulled out this “big” vest and it fits me perfectly and I started wearing it.
The more I wore it the more I liked wearing it. It’s often damp and cool on Vancouver Island in the winter, but rarely crazy wet and/or really cold. So finding a way to stay a bit warmer without overheating on the ride is tricky. In previous years I have worn a full wind breaker jacket in the winter, which solved the same problem. However, a jacket doesn’t breathe as well as a vest so the comfort range was a lot narrower and I was taking it off/putting it on more often.
The vest has a mesh back and a full zip so it’s easy to adjust on the fly, which means I leave it on most of the time unless the day really warms up. When I do pack it away the vest is very small and very light. Yet it provides a lot of warmth to my core when riding. Far more than you’d expect just looking at it even in light rain/drizzle. Once the rain settles in and is steady I start to want a full jacket, but we ride in those conditions a handful of times each winter. Most of the time it has just rained or it’s going to rain later so we are just dealing with some dampness.
The vest is holding up to regular dirt use well. There is some minor wear and staining where my pack straps rub and on the rear bottom from trail splash. On the mesh back a few spots show some wear from the pack, but all in all it is proving to be robust.
At some point in the next month or two it will be warm enough that I won’t be wanting to wear this vest and it will get put away for the summer. I’ll probably even forget about it, but come fall I’ll be loading up my riding gear while feeling a bit chilly and I remember I’ve got this sweet piece of gear tucked away in a drawer. 🙂
BTW – I’m not specifically pimping this Pearl Izumi model. It’s well made, but I’m pretty sure I’d be equally happy with a similar vest from any of the popular bike clothing brands as long as it fit my
god like chubby physique! 😉