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review

Vulpine Men’s Ultralight Quilted Jacket

8
£150.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Keeps you toasty and dry and your belongings secure, but could do with some additional features
Keeps you warm and dry
Zipped pockets for your belongings
Looks stylish on and off the bike
Could definitely do with a hood...
...and reflective tabs on the cuffs
...and a bag or pocket to be stowed away in
Weight: 
466g
Contact: 

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The Vulpine Ultralight Quilted Jacket will keep you toasty and dry on and off the bike, and is ideal for a weekend bikepacking trip or a midweek evening at the pub, even when the rain is teeming down – but for me it lacks a couple of touches that would make it perfect. For more options, check out our guide to the best winter cycling jackets.

The fit is great, though one size up from what I would usually wear, and the jacket provides both warmth and protection from the rain as well as looking stylish, but for me it would be useful if there were also a hood, and perhaps a way of stowing it neatly away in luggage when not in use. I think it could also benefit from reflective tabs, particularly on the cuffs, which have featured in other clothing I have tested from the brand.

> Buy now: Vulpine Ultralight Quilted Jacket for £69.99 from Sportpursuit

The size tested was a large, and while I am much more of a medium these days, it was the ideal fit for me; going down a size, especially with, say, a baselayer and winter jersey underneath and possibly the windproof gilet I swear by for longer rides, it may have been a bit too tight for my liking.

Recent weather here has given me the opportunity to test the jacket in the cold and the wet, and sometimes a combination of both, not only when riding for up to seven hours at a time, but also while going for a walk in the local park, and on each occasion it has passed with flying colours.

2023 Vulpine Ultralight Quilted Jacket - back.jpg

This winter, while doing a shift on the cargo bike, I've tended to wear multiple layers, but found that the extra warmth this jacket provides compared to others I use means I can dispense with a couple and still not feel the chill, with the additional bonus of not overheating, which can be an issue when I've left the house to go to work doing an impression of the Michelin Man.

So far as the rain is concerned, even after a proper drenching, the inside of the jacket – and by extension anything I happen to be wearing underneath – stays dry. It is also pleasing to note just how quickly the outer shell dries once the rain stops.

2023 Vulpine Ultralight Quilted Jacket - shoulders.jpg

Having lost far too many items, valuable or otherwise, over the years, I do like to have zipped pockets on my cycle clothing, and here the jacket is well served with a roomy one on each side – also perfect for keeping your hands warm when not riding – and an internal one on the left breast, accessed via a vertical zipper next to the main zip in Vulpine's signature green.

2023 Vulpine Ultralight Quilted Jacket - inside pocket.jpg

That breast pocket has ample room for even the biggest smartphones on the market these days, as well as, say, a charging cable and power bank, to keep them secure and dry on your ride – although to get at them you do need to unzip the jacket, a minor hassle, but one that wouldn't bother me unduly given the knowledge that my phone was securely stashed away.

2023 Vulpine Ultralight Quilted Jacket - collar.jpg

There's also a small pocket on the rear of the right of the jacket, secured with a press stud that can be a bit fiddly to close in my experience. The pocket will take my phone – just – but I'd envisage using it for perhaps a multitool and puncture repair kit, things I would want to take with me on a ride but hopefully not have to use.

2023 Vulpine Ultralight Quilted Jacket - back pocket.jpg

One nice touch is that the zip fasteners on the side pockets, as well as the one on the main zip, each have a leather tab on them, making it easier to unzip them or do them up when wearing gloves, definitely a plus point for a garment you'd be wearing in chillier weather.

2023 Vulpine Ultralight Quilted Jacket - pocket.jpg

So what do I think is missing? Well, a hood, for a start. I'm not a huge fan of them when riding a bike, I often find that they flap around annoyingly, or restrict my vision when checking over my shoulder, but it's a different matter once I'm off it and the rain is lashing down.

A concealed hood that can be folded into the collar, with or without a zip, and deployed when needed would be a big plus here in my opinion, and I think Vulpine has missed a trick by not including one. A detachable hood might be an alternative, although if you're like me, anything that can be removed does have an unfortunate habit of getting lost.

2023 Vulpine Ultralight Quilted Jacket - collar back.jpg

It does pack down to a reasonably small size once folded and rolled, but thinking of bikepacking trips in the spring and autumn when the days might be warm enough to ride without a jacket but you need one in the evening, it would be helpful if the jacket came with a compression bag it could be neatly stashed in, or even a large internal pocket that could serve the same purpose.

2023 Vulpine Ultralight Quilted Jacket - hem.jpg

I'd also have welcomed reflective tabs on the cuffs similar to those found on other items from Vulpine that I've reviewed, just to provide some additional visibility to road users behind me at night when I'm indicating that I am going to turn.

2023 Vulpine Ultralight Quilted Jacket - cuff.jpg

Perhaps those points are nit-picking on my part, and I'm well aware that additional nice-to-have features such as these do entail extra cost, but they would be on my wishlist.

And while it's not a huge deal for me, for those who like to listen to music or podcasts while they ride and still use wired headphones, the absence of little tabs to keep the cable tidy, such as those found in Rapha jackets, may be a minor annoyance but no more than that.

Again, it's something that would entail additional cost to serve what must be a dwindling segment of the potential customer base given the near-ubiquity of Bluetooth-enabled devices and absence of headphone jacks on many modern smartphones.

Value and conclusion

Talking of cost, it's pricier than some padded jackets we've tested, but I think the quality of construction, protection against the elements plus features such as the zipped pockets more than justify it.

Yes, you can find cheaper options – the Galibier Colombière that we tested in 2021 comes in at just under half the price (£68.22), for example – but Rapha's Explore Down Jacket that Steve reviewed recently is almost twice as much, at £280, and the Lightweight version not much less at £240. Of course, we are talking very different materials here – in the case of the Rapha ones, those feathers don't come cheap.

Overall, I do think this Vulpine jacket provides decent value, its price a fair reflection of its attributes and performance. I certainly cannot fault the way it has kept me warm and dry these past months.

Verdict

Keeps you toasty and dry and your belongings secure, but could do with some additional features

road.cc test report

Make and model: Vulpine Men's Ultralight Quilted Jacket

Size tested: Large

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?

Vulpine says: "We've updated this bestselling jacket to now have recycled fabrics & insulation, whilst still offering the same performance you loved. It's still versatile and lightweight, with a great warmth to weight ratio. Ideal for the commute and won't look out of place in the office.

"When temperatures begin to dip stay warm and protect yourself from the wind. The Repreve ® insulation offers excellent performance and is 100% recycled, made from plastic bottles."

It's hard to disagree with that. The jacket coped very well with a range of weather conditions including near-freezing temperatures, strong winds and heavy downpours, keeping me warm and dry. For those who care about the environment, the use of recycled materials is also a bonus.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?

The technical features listed on the Vulpine website are as follows (nb the jacket tested was in a large size and tipped the road.cc scales at 466g):

Recycled Nylon fabric with PFC-Free DWR for weather resistant performance against drizzle & road spray

Repreve ® insulation made from plastic bottles - 100gms Front & back body, 80gms collar & sleeves

YKK Vislon front zip opening with internal fabric storm guard

Reinforced Nylon shoulder panels to help prevent wear from bag straps

Zipped internal chest pocket

Two zipped hand warmer pockets

Rear 'drop in' welt pocket

Soft, brushed Tricot lining inside collar and hand warmer pockets

Printed care info (no scratchy labels)

Vulpine embroidered logo at rear yoke

V circle embroidered logo at chest

Biodegradable packaging

Approximate garment weight: 417g (size Medium)

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
9/10

As usual with Vulpine clothing I have tested, the quality of the garment is excellent.

Rate the jacket for performance:
 
9/10

So far it's coped with everything a British (well, London) winter can throw at it, from freezing temperatures to downpours that might have resulted in me getting a soaking if wearing some other cycling jackets from my wardrobe.

Rate the jacket for durability:
 
8/10

I've used the jacket regularly throughout the winter and it's stood up to constant wear, including regular seven-hour rides, very well.

Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
9/10

Vulpine highlights protection against "drizzle and road spray" which in my experience may, if anything, be underselling its performance. I found it could cope adequately with heavy, sustained rain while staying dry inside, and I also liked that it dried out quickly afterwards.

Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
8/10

No major issues, the warmth the jacket provides means you don't perhaps need as many layers underneath as you might with a non-quilted jacket, although that may be a matter of personal preference.

Rate the jacket for fit:
 
8/10

It fitted me well, although see the comment below on sizing.

Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
6/10

I'm an M but the product tested was in an L; I suspect going down a size may have resulted in it being a bit tight for me, so you may wish to consider sizing up when purchasing.

Rate the jacket for weight:
 
8/10

Light enough not to really notice when you're wearing it, or if you have it stashed away in your luggage when not being used.

Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
9/10

Very toasty, and does a great job of keeping you dry.

Rate the jacket for value:
 
6/10

It's pricier than some padded jackets we've tested, but I think the quality of construction, protection against the elements plus features such as the zipped pockets justify it, and some. I'd have liked to see a hood, as well as perhaps a bag or at least a large internal pocket that would make it easy to stow away in luggage, but I appreciate that extra cost would be involved.

How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Very easy to care for; the odd mud splatter came off with a wet sponge, and it came out of the washing machine fine – although, as ever, be sure to read the care instructions, printed on the lining rather than tucked away on a label, to ensure you are setting the correct temperature and avoiding using fabric conditioner or tumble-drying etc.

Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It was excellent, performing well on and off the bike in all conditions.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

It kept me warm and dry, and the zipped pockets kept my valuables secure, with the tabs meaning they were easily accessible even when wearing gloves.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

No specific dislikes, although as mentioned above, a hood plus a way of stowing it neatly would have been nice-to-haves, though presumably at extra cost. Unlike some other Vulpine garments I've tested, there are no reflective tabs, eg on the cuffs, which would have been appreciated.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's a difficult question to answer, because similarly styled products come in at a wide range of price points. The Galibier Colombière we have tested comes in at just under half the price (£68.22), for example, while the Rapha Explore Down Jacket is almost twice as much as the Vulpine, at £280. Of course, we are talking very different materials here – in the case of the Rapha one, those feathers don't come cheap. This jacket sits in the mid-range, price-wise, and I think that's a fair reflection of its attributes and performance.

Did you enjoy using the jacket? Very much so.

Would you consider buying the jacket? I certainly would.

Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's an excellent jacket performance-wise, with some welcome features such as the zipped pockets, but I do think it could do with a hood, a bag to stash it away in luggage tidily, and some reflective tabs. Overall, it's very good.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 59  Height: 6' 1  Weight: 88.6 kilos

I usually ride: Hercules e-cargo bike  My best bike is: Colnago Arte

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Grocery delivery by e-cargo bike

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3 comments

Avatar
mattw | 1 month ago
1 like

I picked up 3 of the Gilet version of this at 2/3 off when they were mentioned here at Christmas, and they have been good value.

(Link edited out - See Sport Pursuit link in the piece. My head was somewhere else when I read it.)

Avatar
Tass Whitby replied to mattw | 1 month ago
0 likes

Well, there is already a buying link in the review, to Sportpursuit - but I think that's fine... smiley

Avatar
mattw replied to Tass Whitby | 1 month ago
2 likes

Fair enough !

I was obviously too focused on cake.

I'll remove my link in case Roadcc gets a referral payment on the link in the piece.

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