It’s very Italian, just a flimsy roadie jacket, an expensive bin bag – a few things I heard of the Gore One 1985 Jacket! However I like things that push boundaries and innovation, therefore I wanted to test this unique jacket out in some of the harshest conditions around. The concept behind it makes so much sense and uses by far the most advanced and interesting waterproof material currently on the market. Well as interesting as a jacket gets….
Why is it interesting? Basically because the fabric outer layer normally found on Gore Tex is gone and it is just the pure Gore Tex which is inherently waterproof and as the name suggests you can simply shake water droplets off it. It is not just using a spray on coating that so many other fabrics use AKA a DWR. These coatings just wear off and the jackets soon absorb water. This jacket is different and two things happen;
- It stays lighter when wet than a saturated layered membrane jacket
- It keeps you warmer, without the wet fabric outer layer that wicks away heat
- The breathability isn’t compromised by a saturated layer of fabric, it continues to breath the same
I took it bikepacking to see just what this jacket was capable of and, to quote a friend, look to see if it would be ‘shredded to pieces’ after a few weeks of WeLoveMountains tough love. This Jacket retails for £250 so it’s quite an investment and needs to stand up to the challenge….the eagle test was just one component;
Why this jacket is unique and ideal for my Asian Bikepacking trip?
It’s light, very light. It weighed 105 grams in size large on my kitchen scales.
It’s small, it packs smaller than my fist. This is ideal for bikepacking where volume is as important as weight in the smaller bags.
It’s totally waterproof. Most jackets this small and light are realistically only shower proof or rely on DWR coatings that wear off quickly. This is still Gore Tex Active shell but without the fabric layer on the outside. Therefore it is just as waterproof as a normal Gore Tex jacket.
On this trip I didn’t expect much rain, but if it did rain it would be full on so I needed something reliable and safe. In Mongolia it could also sleet or snow and that can get seriously quickly in these remote landscapes.
How did the Jacket perform in Mongolia?
I was honestly a bit nervous because the jacket feels thin and it is, to be this packable and light it has to be thin. People who saw it feared it would shred at the slightest snag or rip – there was some skepiticism about taking it somewhere so wild. However I trusted Gore and took it with me as my only waterproof and to be honest it held up well. It withstood rips better than expected with no issues.
Firstly the fabric was 100% waterproof, as you would hope, when tested in heavy rain. It didn’t rain a huge amount but it was worn a lot as a windproof. This shows how breathable it is for everyday riding, pretty impressively so.
The cut was superb on me (not something I often say), tight enough it didn’t flap in the wind but just generous enough a small down jacket fitted underneath. I am a skinny 6ft3in and while a tiny bit short in large it was cut well to my skinny frame. It is a riding cut so off the bike feels tight around shoulders not an all day hiking jacket. Arm length was good as was tail length.
The fabric got shinier as it got worn. The environment and inside my bags was very dusty and this certainly abrased and buffed the jacket in these conditions. While the finish changed in tone/texture slightly around the main wear areas this didn’t seem to affect performance.
The eagle in the first picture slipped a claw onto the jacket and I feared the worst, however it didn’t damage it at all. It is more resistant to rips than you might expect, generally the jacket is tougher than it looks. However bear in mind it doesn’t look very tough! Day after day with a rucksack would certainly add wear and shine to the back and shoulders. I didn’t wear one much so I can’t say for sure, but if you always ride with a backpack I’d think twice – although the market aimed at by this jacket at are not backpack wearers!
The zip worked as you’d hope and the Velcro closure at the top over the zip at the neck is a nice comfortable feature. I pulled it on and off tightly over gloves, giving it a strong stretch and tested the fabric and seams without an issue.
The rear pocket was useful for GPS device and snacks, but it is very small. It has no hood so the rain gets in around the neck, but you’d not expect a hood on minimalist jacket like this and I stayed warm and dry enough.
Lets now finally get onto the price, for something so small, light and thin it is seemingly expensive at £250. However this jacket is expensive because it’s a new and a really clever fabric technology that nothing else gets close to for weight, bulk and functionality. If you want the best, totally waterproof, light and high breath-ability jacket, then you need to pay for it. It you want something inferior then spend less money – it’s your own choice based on your own priorities.
The jacket met my expectations and exceeded them. If I was backpacking where I expected rain e.g. Scotland, I’d take this jacket tested here. It has a hood and is certainly tougher. The extra weight would be worth it and a fabric outer layer holds up against wear on wet gritty trips much better. However where I need a totally waterproof jacket for if conditions turned nasty but the risk was lower of constant all day rain, this jacket is the one I’d take. It isn’t a durable bike packing design in muddy gritty conditions, realistically it is for racers and road riders. However testing it in this harsh environment shows it holds up better than you might expect. For similar trips it is the first item on the packing list. The styling is not to every one’s tastes, it’s fair to say it stands out in Central Asia, the bin bag look was not unnoticed. However I like it, Marion’s undecided.
I had high expectations and it lived up to them on this trip. How long it will last I’ll let you know, but for now it’s still waterproof and even had a Golden Eagle sit on it and survive…….