I was pretty excited when Vulpine got in touch and said they wanted us to review the Harrington rain jacket. Vulpine call it their archetypal staple, and it’s a garment that is held in pretty high regard in the cycling world.
Vulpine are very much a ‘by the cyclists, for the cyclists brand’, in fact they’re currently seeking investment via a crowdfunding campaign that enables people to buy in to the business and be a part of its expansion.
The aim of the game for the Harrington is breathability and comfort on the bike, coupled with the classic, kind of mod era Harrington style.
Little has been altered on this 2016 version of the brand staple, though the colours change annually and this season women choose between Petrol blue and Charcoal. I felt comfortable pairing this jacket with jeans, dresses, skirts – whatever. Initially I was concerned that the Petrol blue wouldn’t match a lot of items, but personally I found it blended pretty well with my wardrobe.
Of course, Vupline aren’t about fluff and colour coordination alone – they’re all about function. I wore the jacket for leisurely commutes, and an all day E-bike ride (where, as I mention, there was genuinely plenty of physical exertion!) and never felt sweaty or overly hot.
In the rain, the jacket proved its water resistance – beading water exactly as it should, which demonstrates an effective durable water repellent treatment. Of course the length means that you wouldn’t want to be riding in a downpour for hours, but the purpose is really for commuting and short trips.
For those that don’t ride light, there are plenty of pockets – two zipped compartments on the front, a breast pocket secured via a button, a rear pocket with an easy-to-get-into popper, and two open hidey-holes on the inside, too.
Vulpine have paid serious attention to detail, with magnetic neck closure, reflective details and a soft, suede like material on the collar and on the inside of the elongated cuffs – perfect for chilly days when your hands want a hug.
There are also a couple of extra buttons on the rear, so you can pull the jacket in at the waist, but these would probably only make around 1cm difference. The jacket was quite a boxy fit on me, but that’s really the way a Harrington is meant to fit, and it did mean I could layer up in comfort.
Effectively, this is the ultimate commuter jacket. The only little drawback of the Harrington from Vulpine? The price tag.
At £195, it’s not cheap. However, we were pretty impressed to read this review from regualar TWC contributor Adele Mitchell, in which she discussed the 3 year (and still going strong) lifespan of her husband’s Harrington jacket. We didn’t really want to wait three years to provide our review – but we do expect this jacket to serve for multiple years, making it more an investment than a pay day fling.
Available here in sizes XS-XL, we tested a Small.
Vulpine Long Sleeved Merino Top
The jacket came with a long sleeved merino t-shirt, in Iris, which of course matches very nicely with Petrol blue. My feelings towards this top where a little bit more mixed.
The cut is longer at the back, and merino of course is fantastic for sweat wicking and odour management (you have to wear it A LOT without washing it to get smelly). I also found I could scrunch it up into various backpacks and bags without it getting creased, which is handy for a journalist who is always in a rush.
The top also had lovely little stitched in Vulpine ‘V’ logos, almost invisible seams, which made for zero chafing, and the fabric was dreamily soft.
My problem? I’m of a certain shape, or a certain generation, or perhaps just a certain inclination – I really need my t-shirts to sit around the middle of my hip. At some point during the 2000s, long t-shirts became the classic style. I feel intensely aware of my hips and bum in anything that isn’t cut lower.
In the cycling position shorter tops are ideal, and traditionally cycling jerseys do stop just below the waist – but this t-shirt is designed to work on and off the bike. Of course I still wore it, I loved the fabric – but I layered it with a long vest top. I can feel Vulpine’s founder Nick Hussey frothing at the mouth from here. A long COTTON vest top – negating all benefits of merino against the skin.
I did try the top alone, but if I were to wear it this way for a full day, I’d spend all my time tugging at the waist. I wouldn’t labour the point, fit and style are personal, but before writing the review I actually asked a few friends of the same age group (20s and 30s) if they would take the same approach to a shorter top, and all said yes.
The merino top is really comfy, and will be great over winter worn under snuggly warm jumpers – and it’s certainly got breathability, sweat wicking and cycling functionality nailed. Personally, the length just means it’s not quite my style – and I’d love to see longer options in the line up.
Available here for £69, sizes XS to XL, size tested Small.