Tested: Upper Downs Neo Jacket – Kickstarter Edition

When Jim isn’t busy pulling the spanners out of the Wideopenmag cogs, he runs riding kit through the mill too.

Over the last couple of months he’s been testing this Upper Downs Jacket in some typical ‘summer’ conditions.

There are some great products coming out of Kickstarter campaigns and the Upper Downs Neo jacket is one of them. Upper Downs is run by two mates and named after the South Downs National Park, their aim is to produce good quality, ethically manufactured apparel.

Constructed out of tough but waterproof and breathable Polartec® NeoShell® fabric, it’s quickly become one of our favourite all-round jackets. We’ve spent the last six months testing it out.

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It seems odd to spend a lot of money on an item of clothing that you hope you’ll never see the weather to wear, but let’s face it, we live in the UK so a good waterproof is a priority.

Construction

The jacket has three layers of the stretchy Polartec® NeoShell® fabric, seam sealed throughout with water resistant zippers. Polartec® has a long history in mountaineering but this is the first time we’ve seen it in mountain biking, it’s well known for quality so we’ve got no worries there. The jacket has an active cut, with long arms and space around the shoulders to move freely. Sizing is true to the chart so get your tape measure out to be sure. There are two colours available, blue and the ‘Kickstarter Edition’ grey you see here. Clean and classy, there are nice touches like the contrasting colour zippers and the key clip with lens cleaning cloth.

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The hood is removable and I took it off straight away, I’m not a huge fan of hoods on bike specific jackets but the ability to swap it on and off means that it transitions nicely into a lifestyle or mountaineering jacket where a hood may be better utilised. There’s a number of pockets including a phone ‘chute’ – all secured with solid zips.

Performance

This is a serious waterproof jacket, not a lightweight showerproof, so would best suit riders who spend longer times in the saddle and expect to be a fair way from home when the inevitable rain storm arrives. I’ve been fortunate enough that I haven’t had a ride where we’ve had serious downpours, however we’ve had plenty of sharp showers and its kept me nice and dry without being too sweaty. What more can you ask? It packs down nicely into a riding bag and at around 320g doesn’t weigh you down too much.

Pit zips are a must on a riding jacket

Pit zips are a must on a riding jacket

It’s clear that Upper Downs have spent their time with this one – it’s a serious jacket and at £269 is a weighty investment.

However, if you’re in the market for a riding jacket that does it everything well, then look no further and head over to the Upper Downs website for more. Check out their Kickstarter here and why not check out out other product reviews here.

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