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Altura Esker Waterproof Packable Jacket review

25 Jan 2022

A comfortable, lightweight and weatherproof jacket for off-piste adventures

Cyclist Rating: 
Shrugs off showers • Handy storage • Weather-tight cuffs and waist • Generous fit • Lightweight
Could be more breathable

One of the many beauties of mixed terrain adventures is packing of a bag (or two), strapping them to the bike and heading off into the unknown. However, this often means you need to be prepared for any eventuality – especially in the changeable climes of Blighty.

And this is where jackets like the Altura Esker Waterproof Packable Jacket really come into their own, with a packable, lightweight construction that allows it to be rolled into a ball and stashed in a handlebar bag for when the heavens open. There’s a lot to recommend in this lightweight softshell jacket, and not much to complain about.

Altura Esker Waterproof Packable Jacket: Design and specs

This is a jacket that does the simple things well, and that’s often the biggest hurdle to overcome. A roomier fit than you might be accustomed to means the Altura Esker Waterproof Packable Jacket is easily thrown on over your riding kit, and the arms are particularly generous in their cut.

There’s no special material at the hem to keep the jacket anchored to your lower back, but the cut is usefully scalloped and a mesh panel is covered by flaps of material at the rear for breathability.

The cuffs are elasticated to keep the fit snug at the wrists. I was able to find a comfy fit when pulling the cuffs over a favourite pair of neoprene gloves, so the stretch is ample.

A handily slanted chest pocket features a waterproof zipper and is deep enough to take the largest smartphone (although it might get a little moist with condensation). In the weatherproofing department, the Altura Esker Waterproof Packable Jacket is tested to 5K/5K waterproof standard.

Essentially, this means it’s withstood a 5,000mm cylinder of water being placed over a square inch of its polyester softshell fabric without letting any liquid through. Which sounds impressive, but is actually at the less extreme end of the scale when it comes to technical wear.

Altura Esker Waterproof Packable Jacket: Performance

In practice, the weatherproofing of the Altura Esker Waterproof Packable Jacket is commendable, certainly so on damp autumn mornings when mist and light rain hang in the air until burnt off by the low sun.

The central zipper has withstood heavier rainfall admirably, while anything I’ve placed in the chest pocket has been protected from the rain (yet covered in condensation at journey’s end).

And this is the only drawback I’ve found to this jacket – it does get a bit moist in there; not from the rain but from your own heat, despite what looks like ample venting at the rear.

On the plus side, however, much as I’m not usually a fan of hoods over helmets, there’s a handy tightening toggle at the rear of the hood, and a flexible peak at its front. It’s possible to ride with the hood up, albeit at the expense of some peripheral vision, but it’s more useful when huddling under trees. Very useful in fact.

Altura Esker Waterproof Packable Jacket: Verdict

For a jacket that’s so compact when scrunched up and stashed in a bag or pocket, there’s a lot to like about the Altura Esker Waterproof Packable Jacket.

A relaxed fit, decent enough weather-proofing, secure fit and sensible pricing combine to make a riding garment that you’ll be glad to have with you on your next gravel ride.

Crucially, it’s a passport to fun on the wetter rides of the colder months, and any item of easy-to-use kit which extends the riding season can only be a good thing.


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