The Sportful Women's Hotpack 5 Cycling Jacket is ideal for blustery, changeable days when the temperature is still mild but the windchill is picking up or there are threats of showers.
In the race-shell category of jackets, the Hotpack 5 is extremely lightweight and packs itself down easily inside an integral pocket, so you can easily stow it in a jersey pocket when you are heading out for a ride. It's clearly a very well made jacket, and looks and feels top notch.
It's windproof, and highly effective at it too. Once you pop it on you feel warmer almost instantly as it keeps the breeze off. I loved the stretch cuffs on the sleeves which have a thumb-hole. This helps seal the sleeves off preventing drafts blowing up your arms, and keeps the cuffs in place around the wrist without resorting to tight elastic or silicone grips.
A lot of race shell jackets are essentially a light plastic layer, and you can end up feeling a bit boil-in-the-bag, but the Sportful Hotpack 5 jacket has a surprising level of breathability. This is aided by vents high on the back which help waft out moisture-laden air as you ride.
The jacket is water-resistant rather than waterproof, so it's not going to protect you if you are heading out into heavy rain. Where it did excel though was drizzly conditions and keeping road spray at bay. I also got caught in a light shower and emerged dry, so the nanotech water repellent fabric (Schoeller NanoSphere) does seem to do the trick.
The cut is very definitely race focused, and there's no stretch in the jacket so getting the right size is important. I tried the medium and as a size 12 I'd say it was a tiny bit on the tight size, particularly across the boob area. If you are towards the upper end of a dress size, or curvy in the chest region, I'd consider going up a size.
The sleeves are nice and long, and sit perfectly when riding down on the drops. The jacket stayed in place and didn't ride up at all. There is no zip garage for the full length zip, and as the collar is high (another great wind proofing design element) it did spike my chin a little.
I liked that Sportful have made the usual drop tail at the back of the jacket that little bit longer, which does help protect your rear end from spray. The jacket is finished with printed reflective details on the back and sides, which are actually big enough to make a difference to your on-road visibility to other road users, and the light colour of the jacket will help with this too.
- Very lightweight, and packs down to a small size
- Effective windproof jacket, and pretty good water repellant properties too
- Sizes up on the small size, particular across the chest for me
- No zip garage meant that it chaffed my chin a little
Price: RRP £75
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colours: White (pictured), Black
More info: Sportful
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