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The Pactimo Women's Alpine Thermal Jacket is a great addition to your winter wardrobe for drier days, as the DWR coating only copes with so much rain. The carefully placed Polartec Alpha Direct fill insulation is light but does a stellar job of keeping you warm in low temperatures. The only qualms I had with the jacket were the bagginess of the upper arms and the tightness of the rear pockets.
If you're looking for something more weatherproof, check out our guide to the best waterproof cycling jackets.
Let's start by talking about riding temperatures. After some dicey moments a few years ago on my road bike, I now prefer to exercise caution when the temperature drops below zero and the gritters don't hit the quiet countryside lanes. That said, the testing period for this jacket included the cold snap we had where snow fell and the mercury didn't rise above zero for several days. Luckily, the council's gritting regimen seemed to be pretty optimal for most days, so I thought I'd brave it, sticking to gritted roads.
Why am I telling you this? Because normally I'd begrudgingly get on the turbo trainer, not wanting to feel the cold and having to spend the inevitable hours warming up post-ride. Instead, this jacket actually makes riding in cold temperatures with a wind chill of -7 reasonably enjoyable. In essence, it did the impossible, and made outside more tempting than inside.
So how does it perform? Excellently. Initially I was sceptical at how something so light and not that thick could keep me warm in winter. But I headed out with a long sleeve baselayer and thermal jersey on and warmed up almost instantly. In fact, it was 4°C, and I remember feeling so hot I was a bit uncomfortable, despite the ventilation panels down the sides and on the sleeves.
The gist of all this is that this jacket performs superbly, and you don't need layer upon layer to get the full benefit. I rode the rest of the month with only a baselayer on underneath, which more than sufficed. If I used the jacket in temperatures above about 5 degrees, I found myself unzipping it to get some more airflow in (you can unzip it from the bottom too), but below that it was absolutely fine unless I was on a longer climb.
This is down to the well-placed Polartec Alpha Direct fill, which doesn't cover the entirety of the jacket but instead is sewn in patches, avoiding areas like the rear pockets where you need more ventilation than thermal properties.
Now, it is a winter jacket, and unfortunately in the UK it occasionally rains during this season. Is the Alpine Thermal Jacket suited to this? No. Light rain showers don't bother it, but anything more than a few minutes of spitting and the water soaked through where I was creasing the jacket, at the elbows and by my waist.
It does have a C0 DWR coating (a method of creating a durable water repellent treatment that's less harmful to the environment than traditional C6 or C8 DWR), but it isn't particularly repellent. Personally, I'm not that bothered about it – it's not an all-in-one winter jacket; it's for the cold days where it's not chucking it down with rain. You can easily stash a rain cape for those moments if you do get caught out.
I tested the size XS after consulting the size guide, and was pleased with how well it matched up. It isn't the longest, but it also doesn't ride up when you're on the bike.
The cuffs are quite tight, as expected in a thermal jacket, but the tops of the rear pockets are also remarkably tight. You could argue this means they're more secure, but it also makes it quite hard to get things in – and if I can't be sure I've put my pump back in my pocket because the top is so tight, it's not exactly secure...
There is a zipped pocket for valuables, and I found the three rear pockets spacious enough to carry my phone (Google Pixel 6 for size reference), and Velopac wallet as well as some food.
The Alpine Thermal Jacket comes in a choice of three colours: Black, Sage, and this Dusty Blue, on test. It's quite muted, but there are some reflective details that will help in the dark.
While £180 is a lot of cash to spend on a jacket, the Alpine Thermal is still cheaper than some.
Velocio's Women's Alpha Merino Air Jacket, for example, which Anna reviewed in January, is currently £204. It's marginally heavier and uses a merino wool version of Polartec's Alpha insulation.
Overall, this Pactimo women's jacket is a really good winter option if you like to ride in temperatures right down to freezing. It's not very resistant to rain, but in terms of thermal performance it's up there with the best.
Ideal freezing conditions partner, with plenty of thermal fabric and high-quality construction to see you through to spring
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pactimo Women's Alpine Thermal Jacket
Size tested: XS
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 Alpine Thermal Jacket is designed for deep winter road riding, where temperatures are below about 5 degrees. I'd say this is pretty accurate, and the product information accurately represents the jacket's benefits.
'The Alpine Jacket is a particularly versatile piece to have in your Winter kit and can be added on any number of layering options to provide a huge range of operable temperature. With zoned application of the Polartec® Alpha® Direct fill, there's insulation where you want but avoiding excessive overlapping of insulation like over back pockets.
'For shoulder season chilly rides or for people who run cold, the Alpine Jacket is perfect over any number of lightweight jerseys and Alpine Thermal Bib Shorts. For deep-winter, frigid rides the Alpine Jacket can be layered over our Alpine Thermal Jersey and Alpine Thermal Bib Tight to provide a breathable but warm package.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Pactimo lists these details:
*Shell: Recycled, lightweight, stretch-woven fabric with C0 DWR coating.
C0 is a non-flourocarbonated chemistry that is far less harmful to the environment than traditional C6 or C8 DWR.
*Insulation: Polartec® Alpha® Direct, a revolutionary insulation that is lightweight, compressible, fast-drying, and excellent at regulating warmth.
*Zoned-application of fill strategically insulates while not overheating.
*Mid-height, Polartec® Alpha® Direct lined collar is soft and comfy.
*Two-way, YKK Vislon zipper provides smooth, durable action and allows for ventilation from both the bottom and top, also allowing easy access to jersey pocket contents.
*Zipper placket and zipper garage enhance comfort and wind resistance.
*Three large pockets for all-day ride storage and a hidden security pocket with a glove-compatible zipper puller.
*360 reflective including two large reflective strips on the back pockets, reflective logos front and back.
*Laser-perforated underarms for increased moisture vapor transfer.
*Low-profile, elasticized wrist fits under or over gloves.
*Lightweight and breathable elastic gripper with silicone print to keep the Vest in place.
Really well made, no signs of wear and tear after a month of riding in some changeable wintry conditions.
I really rated the performance of this jacket. I run a little warm but have been starting to feel the cold a bit more now I've moved to West Yorkshire and this jacket just kept me nice and toasty even in minus temperatures. It can be a little overwhelming when climbing but that's the same for any thermal layer – just unzip and close again when you're at the top.
No durability issues during testing.
The jacket comes with a C0 DWR coating. It can hack a light rain shower but anything more than that and it soaks through the creases.
It's a fine line with a thermal jacket between breathability and keeping you warm. If I used the jacket in temperatures above about 5 degrees, I found myself unzipping it to get some more airflow in, but below that it was absolutely fine unless I was on a longer climb. However, this is not below expected performance.
Fits well on the body. I found it to be tighter on the hips than the chest, but sits low enough to protect from most winter debris splashing up off the roads. The only part of the jacket I wasn't entirely sure about was the upper arms, which seemed quite baggy.
I followed the size guide, which suggested a size XS would best suit me, and it did.
Really nice and light, especially considering the thermal fabrics. Doesn't strike you as a winter heavyweight jacket until you actually ride in it and feel the performance.
At £180 it's not cheap, but we're seeing lots of winter road cycling jackets around this price point now. The closest in description and price that we've reviewed is the Velocio Women's Alpha Merino Air Jacket, which is a little more pricey at £204, but Anna gave it 9/10 for its performance in the dry.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy to care for. I was wary of washing it with the delicate looking Polartec Alpha Direct fill, but there were no issues after 30 degree washes.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well. I was genuinely surprised at how I was able to get away with only using a baselayer underneath it in cold temperatures (think 4°C and lower).
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The thermal properties, and the fact I can wear just a baselayer underneath in 4°C weather. I also really liked how light it feels, not like a more traditional heavyweight winter jacket.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The fit on the upper arms is a bit baggy, and the pockets are on the tighter side for access.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's cheaper than the Velocio Women's Alpha Merino Air Jacket, which offers a similar level of thermal performance and not much waterproofing but costs £204, but more expensive than the Gore Tempest Jacket Women's at £149.99, which is suitable for all but the wettest of winter days.
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
I think the Alpine Thermal Jacket is very good. It keeps you seriously warm on cold days without being so overbearingly stuffy that you have to unzip it. There is little waterproofing, which could be a negative if you want one winter jacket to do it all. One or two fitting points I noted are the upper arms being quite baggy, and the pocket tops quite tight which made getting stuff out in gloves a little tricky, but for the performance of the jacket I'd be willing to look past these.
About the tester
I usually ride: Bianchi Oltre XR1 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Gravel