I was really looking forward to testing the Altura Women's NightVision Evo jacket, but as soon as I tried it on I was disappointed. It offers good protection in the rain, and the visibility factor can't be faulted, but the sleeves are far too short – and I'm not especially long in the arm.
This was a constant annoyance, as I was forever trying to pull them down while riding. I compared the sleeve length to the Endura Luminite II jacket and they're a full 4in shorter.
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As for the fit of the rest of the jacket, it takes its description of 'loose' to the extreme. My size 10 was enormous in the body with baggy sleeves (it's not me in the photos, but the fit was no better on me). I could easily fit my thin down jacket under it; it certainly couldn't be described as a flattering cut, with barely any hint of a waist.
It's also too short at the back, hardly covering my waistband let alone bottom when on my bike. It does have drawcord toggles in the hem and also at the back of the cosily lined collar, which is actually a fairly snug fit so I only tightened it in heavy rain.
Visibility is one of the main selling points of this jacket and it meets the brief very well. It gives excellent visibility at night thanks to reflectives around the the zips and the big reflective strips that are well positioned on the shoulders, arms and back to give 360-degree visibility to drivers, as Altura says. This made me feel confident on dark evening commutes. In daylight the raspberry colour is fairly bright, though less visible than the yellow option.
The integrated light on the rear is now positioned lower down than in previous NightVision jackets. It's just above the hem, which is an improvement because it can still be seen if you're wearing a backpack (and doesn't dig into your back either under a pack). But I found it too easy to turn on by accident, doing so regularly just by taking my pack on and off.
This is a medium weight jacket ideal for wearing on colder days. The two-layer soft-touch fabric is windproof and keeps the rain out well, with water beading on the surface, although on a long, wet ride the water did soak in eventually at the cuffs (although no rain got through the body so I still stayed dry).
> Check out our buyer's guide to the best waterproof jackets
Despite Altura's claims of superior breathability, I still got sweaty on my commute, but the jacket doesn't feel clammy inside thanks to the rather lurid fluoro mesh lining. This might be in part due to the venting, which didn't feel very effective.
The position of the 'pit' zips didn't strike me as optimum as they are down by your ribs, not your armpits, and the storm flap covering the zips prevents free air flow. The yoke across the back has a vent but again it didn't feel like it was letting any heat/moisture out, and certainly wasn't when I was wearing a backpack.
There are two usefully sized hand pockets and a handy chest pocket, perfect for train tickets, all with waterproof zips and a reflective surround. The rear pocket is a modest size, ample for a spare tube and wallet, and has a storm flap over the zip.
All the zips have toggles, which makes them easy to use with thick gloves on. The front zip has a storm flap behind it and a zip garage.
The sleeve cuffs are elasticated underneath the wrist – which makes them even shorter here! – and have a reflective Velcro tab to adjust them, but I didn't need to cinch them in.
The optional hood (£10.99, in colours to match) is also mesh lined and has reflective detail at the back, a peak and drawcord adjustment. It isn't large enough to fit over a helmet and is too bulky to fit under, so it's better suited for off the bike if you need to walk part of your commute. It attaches with only two poppers at the back of the neck, so to make it stay up you need to Velcro the front together under your chin.
Good night visibility and decent for keeping out the rain but let down by the poor fit
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Make and model: Altura Women's NightVision Evo Waterproof Jacket (+ Hood)
Tell us what the jacket is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Altura says: "Our premium commuter jacket for cyclists needing maximum visibility, waterproofing and breathability. It has been redesigned to offer 360 degree visibility and excellent reflectivity even in low light conditions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
* Altura NightVison™ technology offers superior retroreflectivity. NV360° performance offers 360 degree reflectivity for maximum dark light visibility
* Altura Shield™ EVO fabric technology is engineered to provide protection from wind and water, whilst still offering superior levels of breathability in a soft touch 2 Layer fabric
* Integrated ILume® rear flashing light for maximum dark light visibility
* ErgoFit™ 3D patterning engineered for a more comfortable riding position
* Pit and Yoke Draft Venting for increased breathability
* Thermosuede inner collar for added comfort and warmth
Chest pocket and two hand pockets with waterproof zips
Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
Well finished throughout.
Rate the jacket for performance:
Marked down for very short sleeve length.
Rate the jacket for durability:
Robust fabric is resilient.
Rate the jacket for waterproofing, based on the manufacturer's rating:
Beads well generally, but in prolonged rain the water soaks into the cuffs.
Rate the jacket for breathability, based on the manufacturer's rating:
The mesh lining stops the inside feeling clammy but I still got sweaty on my 20-minute commute.
Rate the jacket for fit:
A very loose, boxy fit, quite short in the body, especially at the back. The main downfall is the short sleeve length, leaving your wrists exposed to cold and rain.
Rate the jacket for sizing:
It is described as a "loose fit" but it was incredibly generous in the body widthways and the sleeves are quite baggy, so it sizes up large. However, the sleeves are very short and the body could do with being longer at the back.
Rate the jacket for weight:
Rate the jacket for comfort:
Comfortable to wear apart from annoyingly short sleeves which were a constant niggle. The mesh lining makes it feel nicer as there's no clamminess inside.
Rate the jacket for value:
Pretty good, and in keeping with similar jackets.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Mud and dirt wipes off easily with a damp cloth. Machine washable at 30°C.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It kept me visible, warm and generally dry - except for my exposed wrists, and wet cuffs in heavy rain.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The excellent night time visibility.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The very short sleeves and baggy fit.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? No
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Only if they have very short arms!
Use this box to explain your score
Marked down for the short sleeves, which compromises an otherwise very good jacket.
Age: 43 Height: 170cm Weight: 60kg
I usually ride: Marin Point Reyes 29er My best bike is: Giant Anthem X1
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, mountain biking, audax
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