Review: SCOTT Trail MTN 80 Women’s Insulator Jacket

Aoife heads to the trails to test the Scott Trail MTN 80 Insulator Jacket.

When the temperature plummets, it’s time to break out the warm layers, like the SCOTT Trail MTB 80 Women’s Insulator Jacket. It’s designed for multi-purpose sports use, and although it’s good for very cold conditions on the trail, it’s post-ride and general use where this jacket comes into it’s own.

I took the SCOTT Trail MTB 80 Women’s Insulator Jacket for several rides around my local trails, and I’ve also put it through it’s paces as a post ride jacket. As it’s not just designed for cycling, it doesn’t have some of the fit elements you might expect from a cycle-specific jacket such as a drop waist at the rear. On the other hand, this does mean that one jacket does well for a number of purposes if you are an active person and fond of the great outdoors.

For a European company (SCOTT Sports originate in Switzerland) I found the fit to be true to size. I’m a curvy UK size 12, and this usually corresponds to a medium. Lo and behold, despite having what SCOTT describe as an ‘Athletic’ fit, this felt just right. Fitted, but not too tight. It did sit tighter across my bosoms than elsewhere, but I didn’t feel any squeezing or strain on the zip when walking, riding or generally moving about.

The insulation of the SCOTT Trail MTN 80 comes courtesy of primaloft material, evenly distributed around the body and arms. I’ve not noticed any leakage of material, or any settling so far, which is where the insulation falls down inside the jacket due to gravity causing cold spots. It’s effective stuff, and you notice the warmth after only a few seconds of wear.

Sadly it’s not been a particularly cold winter so far, and though I did debate sitting in the chest freezer with it on I decided against that on health and safety grounds. It has however dealt with chill windy conditions, with the ripstop polyester outer providing a good amount of wind resistance. I did find it a bit warm when worn with a base layer and waterproof on climbs, and the polyester liner next to the skin felt clammy when I started to sweat, so it’s definitely to be worn with at least a long sleeved base layer, and for cold conditions.

At only 60g, this jacket is very lightweight, and does compact down to a size that’s handy enough to pop in your rucksack if you are out for a long ride. It’s also surprisingly streamlined for a jacket that gives a significant amount of insulation, and I’ve ridden it with two different waterproof jackets (a loose Rab jacket and a fitted Gore jacket) layered over top with no fit issues.

As the polyester outer is only water resistant, I wouldn’t wear this jacket in the rain, and I would always put a waterproof layer over it if you are going out in muddy conditions, which lets face it is pretty much most of the year. In dry, cold conditions, go for it!

The cosiness factor of the SCOTT Trail MTN 80 jacket is increased by the high neckline which helps stop drafts getting down your neck, and the zip garage at the top is effective at preventing chaffing when the jacket is fully done up. You can make things extra snug by popping up the integral hood, which fits nicely around the face.

Personally, I prefer a detachable hood as I wouldn’t wear it up when riding, but for warmth post-ride, it’s absolute bliss to be able to put up the hood when you’re faffing with bikes in a freezing cold car park.

One issue for me with the SCOTT Trail MTN 80 jacket are the pockets. Or, in fact, the lack of pockets. There is one zipped pocket on the sleeve which is perfect for change or keys, but not big enough for a phone. There aren’t any others, which may not be an issue when riding or wearing it with a waterproof jacket, as you’ll usually have pockets in these other garments. I did miss the pockets for post-ride hand warming however, and personally I like to have a few more storage options.

I did have a few problems with the zip. It’s full length, and I found I often didn’t get the zip fully inserted at the bottom which meant that the jacket undid from the hem up while riding. This was annoying, and it was hard to rectify wearing gloves or with cold hands, as you had to maneuver the zip toggle back down to the hem and start again. If you do do the jacket up properly, this doesn’t happen and it stays securely closed.

Completely unrelated to performance, I really liked the colour of this jacket – it happens to almost exactly match the colours on my favourite hat. If you aren’t a fan of turquoise, orange and navy, it is available in a bright green and a vibrant pink. On the flipside, the polyester ripstop fabric is very shiny, so you’ll look pretty glossy walking along.

So it’s okay for riding, but post-ride wear is really where this jacket is at, unless you get very cold on the trail. It would also be a good layer to have in your bag ready to put on for lunch stops if you are out for a day-long ride.

Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL

Price: £124.99.

More info: SCOTT Sports (available to order through any SCOTT dealer.)

Available to buy in 2015.

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