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There's very little to find fault with on the Altura Airstream Women's Windproof Gilet. It's reasonably light, packs down small enough to easily go in a jersey pocket and offers good protection at a decent price. While there are cheaper options on our best cycling gilets list, far fewer of the cheaper women's ones are water-resistant than the men's ones, which is a shame.
The Altura Airstream Women's Windproof Gilet is made from polyester with a DWR water repellent treatment. There's a full length mesh panel at the back, a two-way zip for easy access to rear jersey pockets, reflective accents, underarm venting, elasticated arm holes and hemline, a high collar, and a zipped chest pocket which doubles up as a stuff pocket.
Following Altura's size guide I tested the size 14, and being a high street 14-16 I was pleasantly surprised with the shape and cut. It fitted a treat. Torso length was good for my 5ft 5in frame, and should be suitable for most riders too.
The front is very wind resistant and the water repellency works really well, keeping off even heavy showers. That said, with its mesh back it's not exactly waterproof...
Breathability is great, however, and underarm vents mean even hard riding doesn't overwhelm the cooling.
The front zip has a nice smooth run and is easily operated single handed with its glove-friendly pull. The collar is nice and high and wide enough to cope with other zipped collars beneath, yet it's not so baggy it's draughty without them.
The zipped chest pocket is handy for bits and pieces like keys and lipbalm but is not really large enough for a phone, though to be fair the weight wouldn't sit well there anyway, so it's not a big deal. Stuffed into this pocket the Airstream fits easily into a jersey pocket.
At £45 it's well priced. The Bontrager Women's Circuit Vest at £49.99 is a bit lighter at 118g but the front isn't quite as weatherproof, while the dhb Aeron Women's Packable Gilet at £50 is lighter still at just 93g but has no pockets.
The Endura Women's Pakagilet seems to offer similar features for a bit less at just £42.99, though.
The Altura offers all the features you could ask for from a windproof gilet. Yes there are lighter gilets, but this one is light enough to be easily carried and packed and it's rugged too.
Great cut and quality, with all the features and performance you need
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Airstream Women's Windproof Gilet
Size tested: 14
Tell us what the product is for
Altura says, "A PACKABLE, WATER RESISTANT WIND STOPPER WHICH IS IDEAL TO TAKE ON THOSE CHANGEABLE RIDES"
It does just what it's supposed to do.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
100% nylon with a mini ripstop for extra durability
DWR coating to repel water
Full mesh back panel
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
Available in sizes 8-18
Very well made and nicely finished, with good robust materials.
Performed very well at keeping wind out and protecting the rider from road spray.
Very durable fabric and components.
Spot on as per the sizing guide.
There are lighter gilets out there, but this is far from being heavy.
Very comfortable indeed, in both fit and performance.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washes well and is very easy to look after.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The price, the performance and fit, and the broad range of sizes.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's middling, though while you can get cheaper ones - there are a fair few around £20-£25 – not many are water resistant as well as windproof (not in a female cut, anyway...). The Bontrager Women's Circuit Vest at £49.99 is a bit lighter at 118g but isn't quite as weatherproof, while the dhb Aeron Packable Gilet at £50 is lighter still at just 93g but has no pockets. The Endura Women's Pakagilet offers similar features and is a couple of quid less at £42.99.
Did you enjoy using the product? Very much. It's fast become a favourite
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Well-designed, effective and affordable, this gilet is reasonably light and packs small enough to take on every ride. It is an extremely versatile piece of kit and well worth the money. There are lighter gilets, if that matters, but there's nothing to seriously dislike here.
About the tester
I usually ride: Liv Invite My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
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, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.