The Altura Women's Nevis III Waterproof Jacket is ideal for leisurely commuting and casual rides. It also doubles up well as a practical and attractive jacket for general wear, making it great value for money.
Altura has used its Shield technology in the Nevis III; it's basically polyester engineered to offer waterproofing and wind resistance, while still offering high levels of breathability. It certainly formed a barrier against the elements – even in consistently steady rain, water continually beaded and rolled off the jacket. Sealed seams and zip/pocket flaps further minimise potential water entry points, and a high collar, zipped to its full extent, forms an excellent barrier against wind and rain.
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The jacket's effectiveness against extreme elements can be compromised by its casual fit, though. The Nevis III is rather short in the body, particularly at the rear where many cycling jackets offer a little more protection (if you have a short torso this may not be an issue). I'd say it functions at its best when used on a bike with mudguards and an upright riding position. (Please note, it's not me in the photos – the jacket is obviously large on our model.)
The jacket has toggle cords at both the lower hem and the neckline that are easily tightened to help protect against the elements, as do the Velcro adjustable sleeve cuffs. These features must also be used to the full if you are to avoid the jacket 'inflating' while riding in blustery conditions, but doing this naturally puts the jacket's breathability to the test.
Although I never found myself sweating profusely, there was notably more perspiration than would occur in my more advanced breathable kit when riding at pace, and tightening the baseline cord only contributed to this. Taking it easy was the obvious answer – not everyone wants to race to work after all!
To enhance the Nevis's breathability, Altura has incorporated discreet upper back and underarm venting, the latter unzipping easily when you need it. When temperatures drop and it is neither raining nor excessively windy, the Nevis functions very well as general outer layer; cold autumnal mornings with a bit of mist or drizzle are perfect examples.
The interior mesh lining also aids movement of sweat and goes some way to prevent deterioration of the outer layer.
One of the jacket's most appealing features is its versatility. The Altura ErgoFit 3D presents a casual fit, offering full and unrestricted movement on the bike. Then once you step off the bike you can continue wearing it without it feeling like a piece of cycling kit – it just looks like a rain jacket.
There's also lots of storage space: two roomy hip pockets for your hands when walking about in colder weather, a large rear zip pocket (roomy enough for a map on non-commuting rides), and a chest pocket, ideal for smaller items. It is worth adding here that all the pocket and vent zips feature toggles that make opening and closing extremely easy, even with gloved hands while riding.
Retroreflective trim (which reflects light back in the direction it came from), incorporated in various places, gives the jacket further aesthetic appeal and is effective under the glare of street and car lights. This is especially useful if you are opting for the jacket in black rather than the 'Raspberry' pink on test or high-vis yellow.
I found the sizing perfect (remember, it's not me in the pics!). I would normally wear a 10-12 and the 10 I tested was spot on. The casual fit does mean that, although being female specific, the actual cut isn't excessively tapered.
> Read our buyer's guide to the best waterproof clothing
Overall, then, this is a practical and functional jacket that's perfect for commuting and leisurely riding in changeable British weather conditions. You could use it throughout autumn, winter and spring when temperatures can range between 5 and 15 degrees, wind may or may not blow, and rain may or may not fall! Don't expect it to perform on a par with more expensive Gore-tex equivalents, but remember, it's like you're getting a BOGOF deal from Altura as the Nevis III doubles up for use off the bike.
Surprisingly versatile and practical jacket for the money-conscious commuter or leisure rider
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Make and model: Altura Women's Nevis III Waterproof Jacket
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?
The Altura Women's Nevis III Waterproof Jacket is from Altura's Urban clothing collection, it is tailored to offer a looser fit and designed to offer protection again wind and rain, though you wouldn't want to spend too long in the latter. The breathability of the jacket is sufficient for any steady riding commuter.
Altura says: "The Nevis offers excellent protection in wet conditions, with a water repellant zipper and a looser fit"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
* Altura Shield™ technology engineered to provide protection from wind and water whilst still offering high levels of breathability.
* Altura ErgoFit™ 3D patterning engineered for a more comfortable riding position.
* Altura Draft Venting ™ zones for enhanced breathability and thermoregulation whilst in the riding position.
Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
Looks and feels well constructed.
Rate the jacket for performance:
Generally good – see breathability and waterproof comments below.
Rate the jacket for durability:
Used for its intended commuting purpose the jacket is showing little sign of wear.
Rate the jacket for waterproofing, based on the manufacturer's rating:
The jacket performed well in light rain for a 30-minute commute. It wasn't outstanding in heavy rain, more because of its looser fit than the material's performance, though it still offered reasonable protection for the torso.
Rate the jacket for breathability, based on the manufacturer's rating:
It didn't bring on a full sweat when riding at a brisk pace but I wouldn't have wanted to really start pressing on the pedals. It's breathable enough for a short, steady commute so performs as intended, but does not compare to more advanced breathable garments.
Rate the jacket for fit:
It fits great around the shoulders and torso; completely unrestricting, permitting full movement. It is too short at the rear for keeping dry on a road bike without mudguards, though not an issue with full guards or when riding a more upright bike. Its casual fit means it's ideal for wearing off the bike too.
Rate the jacket for sizing:
Just right, even in combination with a thicker under layer.
Rate the jacket for weight:
Not lightweight but given its versatility this isn't really a bad thing.
Rate the jacket for comfort:
Felt very comfortable both on and off the bike.
Rate the jacket for value:
A genuine bargain. Yes, it's not the best on the market but it does a decent job for a fraction of the price of a Gore-Tex equivalent. Plus, you get a jacket for casual wear too.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Fine, I used a product specifically for waterproof clothing and the jacket continued to perform to its original standards.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Altura is targeting the commuter market here and has produced a garment that performs well on short and slower commutes in iffy weather (on a mudguarded bike anyway), as well as doubling up as an off-the-bike jacket. Don't expect it to meet demands beyond these – you will be sweating, or possibly getting a damp rear end.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Its casual look and fit meant it was very versatile and could be worn for activities other than cycling. It is ideal for autumn and early winter morning and evening commutes when the weather can be very variable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The lack of lower back protection.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Possibly
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
This does as it claims; do not expect the breathability of a top end garment, or indeed protection against prolonged heavy rain. It's ideal if you enjoy a short, steady commute on a bike that already goes some way to protecting you with decent mudguards and, preferably, an upright riding position.
Age: 37 Height: 173cm Weight: 64kg
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding
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