Pactimo's Vertex WX-D has proved to be a top performer in the cold and wet British weather. It's warm, dry and light while being breathable enough to wear all day in comfort.
- Pros: Lightweight, stylish, comfortable
- Cons: Price?
It can be hard at this time of year to gauge what to wear – how cold is it, will it rain, blow a gale? The usual response seems to be layers and extra clothing in your pockets, but you end up looking like the Michelin man or without the bits you need. A jacket that claims to cover all aspects is a tantalising prospect, then, but can it deliver? The Vertex W-XD claims warmth down to -17°C, windproofing and waterproofing too, with its three-layer outer fabric providing the weatherproofing with taped seams (reflective on the outside) and waterproofed zips, and brushed fleece grid providing the warmth.
It's reasonably thin and light for a cold weather outer – not quite enough to fold up into a jersey pocket, but you shouldn't need to as breathability is good and it has two small zipped vents for fresh air if needed.
On the back are two pockets for quick access, of reasonable size, with a small zipped pocket for valuables. They don't have much give, so you are limited to a point on what you can fit in there.
The blue jacket tested happened to match one of my bikes nicely, and there are five colourways to choose from if that one doesn't appeal. There's also a women's version.
Fit is close cut to avoid any excess material flapping about when on the move, so you need to consider sizing depending on what you will wear underneath as it will be snug, but as the jacket does a good job a single layer underneath is sufficient, I found. The neck sits a little higher than some for a bit of protection and is lined with fleece and elasticated for comfort, with a small 'V' cut into the back.
The sleeves were long enough to not ride up when on the bike, the gusseted cuffs close to your skin to sit under gloves.
Silicone gripper at the bottom keeps the jacket in place, with a slight drop on the tail giving a little protection at the back.
Out on the road, the jacket is comfortable in use, with no tight sections or pressure points. Once you're working, the warmth builds up and is retained, the grid fleece inside doing its job but never getting too hot and sweaty, its claims of breathability showing true. I did find, as with most jackets of its type, that if the temperature does pick up – or, less likely, the sun comes out – it can get a bit too hot, the two side vents doing an OK job, but unzipping the main zip was necessary on occasion.
Getting stuff from the pockets is easy enough while moving, but not being covered does mean whatever is in there will get wet if it rains, so thought is needed on what's in there. I tend to carry anything likely to get wet in my jersey pocket on the inside, but as the jacket doesn't stretch much this is also limited to smaller or thinner items such as a phone.
Weatherproofing is where the jacket earns its cost – in the cold wind it does a fantastic job of keeping the chill out, as good as any other garment I've tried. When it gets wet, it does a fine job of dealing with showers, but does struggle when exposed to constant downpours. The fleece neck and sleeves start to soak up water and leach it in, but only in those areas – although Pactimo doesn't claim it is 100% waterproof I never had an issue with getting wet on the front or back of the main jacket area. I would say that for shorter duration rides in bad weather it's easily sufficient, and even when a little damp you are still warm so there's no real worry.
Value-wise, £185 is a lot of money but you are getting a quality product that will extend your riding time and make it that bit more enjoyable. The recently tested Sportful Attitude is £10 less but doesn't have all the features and range of the Pactimo. On the more expensive side is the Assos Mille GT Winter Jacket at £215 which tested well, but is it worth £30 more? Maybe not when the Pactimo is all you need to stay warm and dry on a cold winter's day.
Comfortable, warm, weatherproof and breathable – all you need on a cold winter's day
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pactimo Vertex WX-D Jacket
Size tested: Medium
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?
A lightweight but full-on cold weather jacket for those wishing to ride in the depths of winter.
From Pactimo: "The Vertex is another one of our pieces that has been rigorously tested in Colorado's frigid winter temps and bears our proprietary WX-D, weather defense seal. Over the two years it took to perfect every detail, we continuously rode the Vertex in cold and wet conditions and temperatures ranging from -17° – 4°C. The Vertex is probably one of the lightest cold-weather jackets you'll own (just 383 grams in a size medium), but the efficiency of the wind-stopping fabric face and thermal, grid-fleece lining against your skin guarantees you will stay warm in extreme cold. The fabric combination is so good at blocking chill and retaining interior warmth that we added two zippered front vents to allow for temperature regulation during exertion. Gusseted cuffs have been designed to pair nicely with gloves, a waterproof zipper protects against road spray, critical seams are taped internally for more robust waterproofing, and all-over reflective external seam taping ensures extra visibility in low-light conditions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Plastotex three-layer, stretch knit fabric (88% Polyester; 6% Spandex; 6% Polyurethane) with 10,000mm waterproof membrane backing
Brushed interior with moisture managing and heat retaining grid pattern
2 zippered front vents for temperature regulation
Waterproof zippered front and vents
Glove friendly zipper pull
2 large, glove friendly rear pockets plus a waterproof zippered pocket for valuables
Taped critical seams
Extra tall fleece-lined collar
360° reflective trim
Cold weather gear - good for rides down to -17°C
Materials used and build quality of the garment are excellent, with tight, taped seams and a snag-free lining.
From Pactimo: "Designed with the uniquely structured Plastotex three-layer, stretch knit fabric that incorporates a waterproof middle layer and brushed grid-fleece lining. This allows the jacket to remain extremely lightweight while also providing exceptional protection from cold temperatures and adverse road conditions. While not 100% waterproof, the Vertex does include taped shoulder and arm-hole seams, and a YKK waterproof zipper for defense against road spray and winter conditions. Gusseted cuffs firmly seal out cold and moisture creating a seamless connection with your gloves. The elevated rear collar gently presses against the shape of your neck, keeping the cold from rolling down your back as you press forward into the wind. Front vents with mesh backing, also with waterproof zippers, allow for temperature regulation. Continuing our passion for visibility on the road in low-light conditions, we have incorporated reflective taping and hits increase visibility in low-light conditions."
Hard to fault, to be honest, as long as you consider the temperature – in properly cold weather it was a fantastic addition to my kit, keeping in the warmth while breathing enough to keep you feeling dry, and when raining, keeping some of the water out.
No signs of wear at all, the zips are still smooth, the elasticated sleeves still snug.
Pactimo doesn't claim it to be 100% waterproof – it's for cold weather, not wet – but it does a fine job of keeping the showers at bay, and as it retains the warmth even when damp it isn't cold.
Very good, never feeling clammy unless the temperatures pick up, and there are two zipped vents on the front to help with that.
The jacket as tested (Size M) fitted nicely, not super-snug but no billowing excess material either. The sleeves are decently long which I needed too.
The jacket was spot on to the sizing charts for a medium.
For a winter jacket it's excellent, Pactimo claims 383g, road.cc's scales said 388g; hardly heavy, and unnoticeable while wearing.
Really good, soft touch materials inside and out, with enough stretch in the panels so as not to cause any tight spots.
Not a cheap garment, but if you ride all year it's a price worth paying for warmth and comfort on cold days, and comparable to similar items available.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
As with a lot of modern technical fabrics, it needs a cool wash with mild detergent; adhering to this brought the jacket up like new each time with no staining from road grime.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's designed for one thing – warmth in cold weather – and it does it well. Comfortable to wear, looks good and kept the chill out on even the longest rides. It does a decent job of keeping water out too, showers aren't a problem, and saves a stop for a waterproof top layer until it gets really bad.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Subtle design, comfort on the bike, easy to access pockets with gloves on.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Vertex WX-D sits at the higher range of 'softshell' winter jackets, where items can be had for less than half the cost, such as the Galibier Mistral Foul Weather Jacket at £72.79, or considerably more like the Assos Mille GT Ultraz Winter Jacket at £260.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a great performer on cold days, keeping you toasty but dry on the inside and making life a little more pleasant through the winter. It looks good too.
About the tester
I usually ride: Boardman AirPro Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives