Altura's Airstream Windproof jacket is a lightweight, packable piece of kit ideal for changeable days, chilly mornings and evenings, or for stashing in a frame bag or pocket as an emergency coat. It comes in a bright colour too, for those who don't want stealth too. It's not a bad price either.
A quality packable jacket is a staple item for a cyclist's wardrobe, especially if you aren't a fair-weather rider. The Airstream will fill that gap well. (You'll find more options in our guide to the best windproof cycling jackets.)
Its cut is tailored towards performance riding without being so super-slim that you need to have a racer's physique for it to suit you. That also lends a bit of extra room for layering too. If you want to check out sizing then you'll be fine to go with Altura's guide. I found it to be spot on.
The front is cut shorter than the rear, so when you're on the hoods or drops there is minimal bunching of the fabric at the front, while the back has a dropped tail which increases coverage, ideal if you get caught out on your non-mudguard-equipped bike in the rain. It'll delay the soggy chamois syndrome for an extra couple of miles.
The arms have been thought out well. There is plenty of length, which reduces the chance of a gap between gloves and the jacket in a stretched-out position, but the cuffs are also cut at an angle. This means material doesn't end up under your palm when you are resting on the bar, but you still have plenty of coverage on the top of your hands.
Further help for keeping the weather out is the tall neck, which also comes with a zip garage for added comfort.
There are some reflective details – a couple of strips up the rear and a bit on the neck – but it would be nice to see a bit more up the centre of the jacket for when you're riding in the dark.
On the chest you'll find a zipped pocket. It's large enough to stash some gels or even a phone in while riding, but the neat trick is that the jacket will fold itself up into it so that it can be placed in a jersey pocket.
Performance-wise, the Airstream does well.
It's a windshell that does a great job of blocking the cold air on a fresh ride. I wouldn't say it is thick enough or insulated enough to be used in freezing conditions, but from, say, 6°C upwards it is fine. It all depends on what layers you are wearing underneath.
For warmer days or when you are working hard, breathability is taken care of by the large mesh panels running down either side of the back panel. They are big enough to allow a fair amount of heat to escape, and are positioned in such a way that, should you wear a rucksack, they won't be impacted.
If you get caught out in the rain, the Airstream does have a DWR (durable water repellent) coating which helps the rain bead off. The Altura is showerproof at best, but it certainly helps if you are caught out in light rain or drizzle.
Overall, the Airstream delivers a lot for its price of £60. The quality is to a high standard, for instance, as well as the performance.
One thing I think would be a benefit is some kind of opening on the rear panel to allow you direct access to your rear pockets, but Altura has at least included a two-way zip so you can undo the jacket from the bottom to give easier access instead. That said, just like Lara in her review of the women's version of the Airstream, I found the zip wasn't the smoothest to operate from the bottom while riding. I needed to hold the hem in one hand and the zip in the other to get it moving.
Competition-wise, the Airstream looks to perform better than the much more expensive lightweight windproof MAAP Draft Team that Steve tested a few months back.
And while Assos' Mille GT is much lighter than the Airstream, just 90g, and the fabric is more technical – and it's windproof and showerproof too (read more in our review) – it's £110.
Aside from a bit of a niggly zip, the Airstream performs well without breaking the bank. It's well made as well, so it should last many years without issue.
Good performance against the weather, and well made, for not a lot of money
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Make and model: Altura Airstream Men's Windproof 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?
Altura says, "The Altura Men's Airstream Cycling Jacket is lightweight and packs down perfectly to fit into a rear jersey pocket. The DWR coating will repel the showers making it ideal for taking along for the ride when conditions are changeable. Mesh panels provide an added element of stretch and breathability whilst reflective trims will help you to be seen by other road users in poor light conditions. There is a two way zip which allows for easy access to jersey pockets and a handy zipped chest pocket for carrying essentials and which also doubles as an integrated pouch for packing the jacket away."
It's a packable jacket with the ideal shape for performance riding.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
100% nylon with a mini ripstop for extra durability
DWR coating to repel water
Mesh panels for stretch and breathability
Reflective trims for extra visibility
Packs away into zipped chest pocket
2- way front zip for jersey pocket access
Main 1 - 100% Polyamide
Main 2 - 90% Polyester 10% Elastane
Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
Very good generally, but the zip isn't the best.
Rate the jacket for performance:
Rate the jacket for durability:
Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
Rate the jacket for fit:
Rate the jacket for sizing:
Rate the jacket for weight:
Rate the jacket for comfort:
Rate the jacket for value:
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
It was easy to wash, with no issues to report.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great at blocking the wind, with a decent amount of water resistance.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Good value for money.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Bottom zip is fiddly on the fly.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There are jackets out there for similar money, but a few – mentioned in the review – that offer much the same as the Airstream but cost a lot more.
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
The Airstream doesn't excel anywhere necessarily, but it is a well-designed jacket that'll cope with all kinds of temperatures and uses. The zip is a bit fiddly, but other than that there isn't much to complain about, for the money. It's a good, solid choice.
Age: 44 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
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