Its raining, its pouring, but these clothes aren’t boring. In fact, the jacket comes in some pretty snazzy colours. In this review we will look at the waterproof utility jacket and the cotton rain trousers.
Vulpine, the well respected purveyor of fine, urban cycling attire and accessories has been offering the waterproof utility jacket and rain trousers for a couple years now, but we here at London Cyclist have only talked about the mens version of the trousers and the Lightweight Harrington jacket.
Waterproof Utility Jacket – £229
This jacket comes in a men’s and a women’s version. The features are the same for both, but I can only comment on the fit of the women’s version.
The jacket is fully waterproof, as you would expect, and comes with a removable hood. The material itself is a breathable membrane but the jacket also has side vents. These are along both sides under the arms and open up when you extend your arms, allowing air in. These don’t let the rain in but they do work well for ventilation. There are two reinforced patches on the shoulders to add extra grip for rucksacks/messenger bags and they protect the fabric from excessive wear.
In terms of cycling features, along with the removable hood and vents, there are longer sleeves, a slightly extended rear and a flip down high-vis tail. The hem has a draw cord to stop the wind going up the back. There is also a waist draw cord so you can make the fit snug should you wish to ride a bike in a serious, fast fashion. Or if it is super windy.
The jacket is pretty lightweight, making it a good option to stuff in a bag if the weather is looking like turning during the day. It also means it is not bulky when wearing it, making it comfortable on bikes of all positioning.
Fit wise, the jacket is good. I usually fall between sizes and went with the smaller size and it is very nicely fitted. The cycling aspects of this jacket are present but not too in-your-face, making it a good option for wearing around London town.
The vents are really good when you don’t have any luggage on your back. However, with a rucksack (such as Vulpine’s commuter rucksack), they don’t really open up and work. There is one other feature that will be great in the winter but limits the jackets use in warmer weather: lycra cuffs in the sleeves. They will stop the wind going up in cold weather, but they also stop any venting. Finally, the soft touch fabric seems to wet out quite quickly. It does also dry quite quickly but in sustained rain it is not ideal.
This is a premium jacket. There are plenty of high end waterproofs out there and this one is certain up there with them. The Utility jacket has some nice features and it fits nicely. Its hood does fit better than the little hoods that come with the high end Gore jackets. Therefore, if you are in the market for one waterproof for town, cycling and hiking, then this is a good choice. Likewise, if you want a jacket with bike compatible features, but that doesn’t scream ‘cyclist’, then this is certain worth checking out.
Women’s Cotton Rain Trousers – £139
For a full review of the men’s version, see our previous post here.
These trousers are really quite rain repellent and quick drying when they do get wet. Showers bead up nicely and the water falls right off as long as it is not raining too hard. It is possible to shake off some of the water every now and then to limit the fabric wetting out, although I did get a couple of odd looks doing this at traffic lights!
Features wise, they are good. They have reflective taping on the seams so when you roll your trouser up they shine. They also have a tab to tighten the leg up should you not wish to roll. The crotch is gusseted so you don’t have to sit on a seam for a long commute. Finally, there is rubber inside the waist to stop anything tucked in from popping out – something that will be particularly useful on colder morning rides.
There are two rear pockets and two front slit pockets. The front pockets have extra features: the left hand one has a concealed zip section while the right one has a carabiner for clipping in your keys.
The fabric has a little stretch to it so they hold their shape fairly well. The charcoal colour is a pretty neutral colour, meaning that they are fairly useful around town. They resemble a pair of skinny fit chinos I have from Gap so could probably look ok in the pub/casual office.
On paper, these trousers are great. Holding them up when they arrive, they still look great. However, when you put them on, they disappoint. Fit for trousers is always a little tricky, I find trouser and jean shopping to be a horrible experience. Usually I find that fitted trousers end up too big in the waist and lower legs to get enough room in the hips. Not with these trousers. They are really quite tight around the calves and then very roomy in the hips and seat. When on a bike the extra material is fine, but it really ruins their look off the bike.
My other concern with these trousers is they are pretty slippery. On any more aggressively positioned bike I found that I kept slipping forward. This put extra strain on my arms and was just plain irritating. On my more upright Brompton they are fine. The rubber band in the waist band will be good for tucking clothing in, but next to skin it is a little uncomfortable.
If they fit you, these are great trousers. They are a little high end, but for a pair of trousers you will probably get a lot of wear out of, it is not too bad. I can see them being most useful for commuting to work, changing and then wearing again in the evening. They are more comfortable than waterproof trousers and dry quicker than jeans. Even though they don’t fit me well I can still see me wearing them for something like this.
These items and more can be found on at vulpine.cc
Do you have the Utility jacket or the Rain trousers? Are there other Vulpine items you consider to be indispensable? Let us know below!