Rab Clothing Test 1 : Demand Pull-On eVent Jacket
Having support from Rab this year means I have quite a lot of kit to wear and test out on my rides, which is great! I thought I would post up a little series of test reports on here to show you the products as well as what I think of them so far.
So the first one under the spotlight, and the item that's had most use so far this winter, is Rab's eVent Demand Pull-On waterproof.
Made of eVent 3-layer fabric, the jacket is very breathable, waterproof and very light, and comes in red, maya or black colours. Mine is the blue maya colour and is very eye-catching but not too bright! The Demand Pull-On is probably one of the lightest of its kind, 278g on my kitchen scales, and that's including its handy mesh stuff sack, which incidentally is ideal for neatly packing into your rucksack. It packs down into a very small bundle as you can see in the photo below (the dog's tennis ball used as a scale).
It isn't branded as a cycling-specific jacket, more of a "multi-sport" jacket, but it is definitely suitable for cycling. Its dropped rear-end, reasonably snug elasticated sleeve cuffs, drawcord waist and high zipped front means that it keeps rain and spray away from you even in the worst of conditions. The waterproof taped seams and half-length zip adds to the waterproofing. Breathability is excellent and having had such a mild but wet winter so far, I've not overheated once with various layers underneath, even on the longest of climbs. I've tried and owned a number of pull-on or smock type jackets and have sometimes struggled to get in and out of them due to various issues with small zips, tight fits etc. Not so with the Demand Pull-On. The half-length zip gives you ample room to pull it on and take it off.
The jacket does have a hood, something not always seen on more cycling-specific waterproofs. It can't be rolled up or packed into a pocket like many jackets, but I've ridden many miles in this, sometimes in high winds and I've not noticed that it gets in the way or flaps about too much. Incidentally, the hood is "helmet compatible" with a drawcord that enables you to tighten the hood snugly around your head, so it can be used under a cycling helmet if you wanted. I've tried it and it is very comfortable and keeps your head dry and a bit warmer in colder conditions. The peak is wired and can be molded to suit.
The jacket has a generous sized chest pocket, again with a waterproof zip, big enough to fit a mobile phone or wallet for example, and it does keep your possessions dry.
The fit is generous but not too baggy and doesn't flap about too much. It is roomier than more cycling-specific jackets I've used but I don't find this a problem and there's plenty of room for extra layers in colder weather. I doubt the jacket would suit the racing scene, but I would certainly wear it during bad weather whilst 24 hour soloing, without a doubt! For training and riding, it's perfect to wear in wet weather and being so light and small when packed down, I'd carry it in my pack at all times.
The only real issue I have with the jacket is not knowing how resilient the material is going to be when the brambles and other creeping vegetation starts growing back over our trails come spring and summer. Being so lightweight comes at a cost in that the material seems very thin and it will be interesting to find out if it can withstand being ridden through brambles etc. without tearing, or indeed withstand a fall or two off the bike (I'm not going to willingly test this!). I'm sure I will find out in good time. Another feature which would be welcome, especially for these dark nights, would be some reflective strips on the back of the jacket.
Being a multi-sport jacket, I've used this for running and walking and it's kept me dry.
So, in conclusion.... waterproof, windproof, breathable, lightweight, packs down small with some nice features - it gets a thumbs up from me!
For more information on the Rab Demand Pull-on and Rab's other products, go to http://www.rab.uk.com/