Perhaps I am a little biased here given the close resemblance to the iconic Total Women’s Cycling colourway but I immediately fell in love with the Endura Women’s Photon jacket; And this sudden love affair didn’t end here, in fact it was only just the beginning.
From the offset the Photon Packable Jacket was gaining brownie-points. The fit stood out in my mind immediately and complimented the female figure whilst also being very practical; I simply love how this jacket looks. I am quite tall and so have quite long arms also, and can often find it difficult to find sleeves that are long enough, meaning I usually have to succumb to cold arms during my commute. Yet, when trying the jacket on I was immediately impressed and was somewhat surprised that the sleeves were also a perfect length. The cuffs on the sleeves are elasticated too, which for most would help keep the jacket in place, but with my skinny little wrists these were still a little big and meant that it could be drafty at times, on the plus side however, the extra ventilation came as quite a welcome relief.
Where the Photon Packable Jacket claims to be breathable on their website, these benefits were not noticeable and I would worry that with a longer ride it may become uncomfortable with sweating as there are no features, such as side zips, to provide any extra ventilation. That said the comfortable fit is perfect for shorter rides in the autumn and spring, and the jacket boasts a nice high collar to allow for extra layers to be worn underneath where required, making it great for chillier days.
In very light rain the jacket proved to be waterproof and given the mild conditions was windproof also as the inner storm flap and zip guard stops any other unwanted drafts! With just a base-layer on underneath I remained warm throughout my commute home. The jacket is super lightweight, folds up small and even comes with its own little stuff sack to carry it in once it is folded. This little bag is brilliant when making space in pockets and keeping things tidy, and is perfect should you need to carry the jacket if and when it is already wet.
In terms of practicality my favourite element is just how easy it is to clean – cycling through London on a wet day can be dirty business at the best of times; yet the Photon Packable Jacket stood up to this test head on as the shower proof material allows for a quick wipe to get rid of any excess dirt or wet.
The jacket is second to none when it comes to reflectivity; another reason it is perfect for your commute to and from work! Unlike the garish high vis yellow jacket, the celeste colour is stylish enough to wear off the bike but extremely reflective under street and car lights especially with the additional reflective features on the sleeves, neckline and zipline.
The rear zip-up pocket adds to the practicality of the Photon Packable Jacket, allowing you to carry a few bits and bobs along with you in confidence that none of these items will be lost en-route. The pocket is made of the same showerproof material and has a small flap covering the zipline to protect further your belongings from the rain. As a single pocket however, it may become a bit weighted should you carry very much. That said, I am given the impression that Endura have thought of this also as the rear of the jacket allows for a little extra space underneath so that you can use your jersey pockets without any problem whilst still protecting your items from the showers of course!
All in all I love this jacket. Despite the lack of ventilation and the associated tendency to sweat when wearing the jacket, the beneficial features far outweigh any negativity, and at times the lack of ventilation can itself become a positive depending on the temperature.
Price: £66.21 (RRP £69.99), available from ChainReactionCycles.
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