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Although the Altura Nightvision Hurricane jacket is designed with commuters in mind, it actually turns out to stand up to a lot more when put to the test.
Altura's Nightvision jackets have been a staple for commuters for years. This 'Hurricane' incarnation is a long way from the rather bulky, visibility-at-all-costs, practical-but-unlovely (in my view) macs of the Olden Days. This garment, cut from very lightweight, waterproof fabric, also manages to incorporate a good deal of style without compromising on its protective powers. Not only that, but it turns out to be more than a match for some exposed off-road riding as well as the Monday-to-Friday donkeywork.
Actually, my commute is only about 30ft, so I can't pretend to have tested this on the mean streets of Durham in the rush-hour, but it has had plenty of outings on the winter bike, up and down the old rail lines and back lanes of County Durham (I believe the Young People are referring to this as 'gravel riding'), as well as some more demanding adventures in the high moors and hills of the North Pennines. I'm happy to report a high satisfaction rating from this tester.
Pulling it on for the first time, my initial reaction was, 'Wow, that's big!' I thought perhaps it was the wrong size for me but once in active use I grew to really like the relaxed cut. There's plenty of room under this for non-cycling-specific clothes or warm layers.
The sleeves are long, to prevent air gaps at the wrist, and the jacket falls well down below the hips for derriere protection. At the waist and shoulders the fit was roomy without looking bulky or sloppy. At the hips, there's an adjuster cord to bring in any excess fabric.
I think you can see from the pictures the kind of cut Altura has gone for here. True, it won't appeal much to racier riders looking for a jacket with fewer features beyond breathability, water resistance and packability. Otherwise, the fit is ideal for a range of activities, cycling or otherwise.
With the 'Nightvision' label still at the forefront, it's unsurprising that Altura has concentrated on reflectivity. Those generous, holographic fabric panels cover the shoulders and outer sleeves, extending up the hood, and look very striking and space-age in the dark.
There's also a generous helping of more conventional reflective panelling at the tail, out of the way of any back pack.
In daytime conditions, however, the subdued blue-grey tones, though very smart, are decidedly less impressive and in my view are too dull for marginal light conditions. The men's jacket also comes in maroon and the women's is available in a choice of purple or teal. If you want a high-vis look, you won't find it here. For other buyers, that may be an advantage.
Altura describes the jacket as '15/15 waterproof and breathability'. Any breathable jacket has its limitations but the Hurricane bore up very well, in my experience. Light showers and drizzle beaded off; an hour's heavy rain overwhelmed the repellency and the jacket wetted out, but the rain stayed on the outside as far as I could tell when trying to separate leakage from internal condensation. I tested it in the controlled conditions of the bathroom, dancing about under the shower for five minutes and emerged with a dry T-shirt underneath. Wiping around the inside with a kitchen towel turned up no more than a barely-noticeable hint of dewiness. All the seams are sealed in a manner that suggests the tape and fabric will never separate.
Wind is the other great challenge for a jacket, and here the Hurricane excelled. The waterproof zip is backed up by a generous storm flap and no stray draught was going to get through there. These run all the way to the top of that very high collar, which fastens with a popper. With a little bit of fleecy lining at the neck, that made it a very snug enclosure, without feeling as though I was being throttled. (There are ventilation holes here too, but as they are backed by the fleece lining I'm not sure they make a massive difference.)
Dressed in this way, and with the simple but effective cuff fastenings cinched, I battled uphill across a waterlogged moor, 600 metres above sea level and with a ferocious gale blowing straight down from Cross Fell, while dragging 30lbs of steel mountain bike with me (don't ask). Did I die of exposure? Did I drown in my own sweat? No. Although the Hurricane may not be the most vented of jackets it does boast good quality pit zips (which are easy to undo and do up on the move) working alongside some interesting shark's gill-like openings to keep the airflow acceptable. The test period has been unusually cold and dry so I've not ridden yet in those mild, high-humidity conditions that can quickly cause a rider to overheat when exerting, but maybe that's a day for a lighter outer shell.
Speaking of weight, the fabric is light; even with quite a few features the jacket only comes in at well under half a kilo and packs down easily small enough to fit in a backpack. Without the hood it's even more compact, this being quickly removed by means of a pair of poppers at the nape and hidden Velcro fasteners at the front.
I'm no advocate of riding in a hood, I don't like the restricted visibility, and the Hurricane didn't change my view on this. As a hood it's effective but the volume adjuster wasn't easy to use. You can just about get it on over a helmet.
There are three pockets: two at the waist and one on the chest, all protected by a storm flap and zippable. I found them practically positioned. As an aside, the forward-facing storm covers of the waist pockets can act as air scoops, allowing a bit of extra ventilation through some small holes in the lining just for that purpose.
The Hurricane is the most expensive jacket in the range, and by some margin. The Typhoon, which shares many of the features, is a full £40 cheaper. Is the Hurricane worth the extra money? My pocket says no, but my heart says yes. It's certainly a more stylish garment and you won't be disappointed by either. There are a lot of Nightvision jackets out there for a good reason.
All in all, I can see the Hurricane appealing to a wide variety of riders: commuters of course, but also mountain bikers, gravel riders and tourists looking for reliable protection in a practical package that looks good enough to wear to the pub.
All the practical weather protection you'd expect from an Altura Nightvision, with added style and space-age reflectives
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Nightvision Hurricane Waterproof 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?
Altura describes this as: "A stylish and innovative waterproof jacket that combines a host of features to be perfect for on or off the bike.
"Innovative reflective detailing including an improved fabric with enhanced breathability takes the popular Nightvision range to the next level in the Nightvision Hurricane Waterproof Jacket. The innovative iridescent reflective print detail and printed reflective panels provide greater visibility to other road users without compromising on breathability. The waterproofing and taped seams will keep you dry in a downpour and there is extra protection from the elements from the removable hood and wide, vented wind flap. The 'in pocket' air flow ventilation system keeps you cooler when the rush hour pace speeds up."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Iridescent highly reflective print detail
Colour reflective fabric panels
Fully waterproof including taped seams
Removeable hood with stiffened peak
15/15 Waterproof and breathability
Ventilated wide inner windflap
In pocket and back ventilation system
Two hand pockets and chest pocket
Out in the field, this jacket really showed its strengths: excellent weather repellence, practical design and attention to detail made for a happy tester throughout. The hood isn't really up to all-day foul weather use, being a bit floppy at the peak, but if you like a hood on a jacket it's fine for commuting/low level riding and it can be taken off.
I don't have any argument with the quality of construction, but I'd keep the lightweight fabric away from thorns or barbed wire.
Fully-taped seams, and what Endura calls "15/15 waterproof" fabric meant I never had any water coming in – even in the shower.
Altura describes this as "15/15 breathable", simply stating it "allows excess body heat to escape from inside the garment". Being tested in the North Pennines in a late winter/early spring period means your tester has mainly been more concerned with keeping warmth in rather than ventilation, but I have used it on some pretty physically active outings and never suffered from condensation problems.
The Hurricane is described as "relaxed, casual fit throughout" and Altura further defines that as "relaxed, active fitting garment through torso and sleeve with the jersey finishing below the hips and a shallow drop tail". Aside from a discussion about whether the fit can be both "casual" and "active", that's a fair description. Yes, the fit is generous (see my comments about sizing below) but the sleeve length, collar, waist drop and shoulder fit were all great.
"Large" is always spot on for me when it comes to Altura; the roominess of this jacket was a bit of a surprise when I first put it on and I wondered whether the brand had sized up, but that's down to the relaxed fit which makes it a versatile garment. The actual lengths of the sleeves, torso etc were spot on again. The jacket's available from XS to XXL (which might comfortably cover a small family car).
This jacket packs down small enough to fit in a rucksack (possibly a back pocket at a stretch); if you remove the hood that saves a little space. For a jacket with this degree of features the weight is more than acceptable and the fabric itself is lightweight.
The jacket is really comfortable in use – given that comfort also includes how well it keeps the elements at bay. That big, cosy collar is brilliant.
Altura seems to be mainly competing with itself in this corner of the market, with its other Nightvision offerings doing variations on the same job at different prices. Even though I really liked this jacket, I'd have to say an extra £40 over the Typhoon is a little steep, but that has to be balanced against the versatility of this jacket and consequently how much use it will get.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I've wipe-cleaned this with a damp cloth. I only found the washing instructions (hidden in a pocket) six weeks into the test! They say 30 degrees and no biological detergents or fabric softeners.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I was impressed with the Altura Nightvision Hurricane, particularly when tested in, well, not a hurricane exactly, but some good stiff North Pennines gales in some very exposed locations. Everything was accessible, even when wearing a rucksack, weather resistance was of a high order and I thought it was good for quite a wide range of activities including some low-level walking and higher-level mountain biking. Commuters will be more than adequately protected.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
I liked the excellent weather protection (including a waterproof zip backed by a storm flap), the tidy but spacious fit (once I got used to the idea) and the high collar.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
I'm not a fan of hoods on cycling jackets and this one didn't convert me. The colour of the jacket is very nice but dull in daylight conditions and the rainbow-reflective panels can't help with that.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Hurricane is the most expensive jacket in the Altura range. The Typhoon, which shares many of the features, is £40 cheaper.
Another cheaper option is the ETC Arid Reversible, which offers better day visibility, at £80. You can also spend more – we loved the Resolute Bay Reflective Cycling Jacket at £200.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? If I was better-paid.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
One very satisfied reviewer here: the jacket looks good, performs extremely well and is likely to become a go-to choice for a number of outdoor pursuits as well as several cycling disciplines. There's an argument to be had about whether a jacket that emphasises night visibility should also be more daytime-visible as well, and the extra cost over Altura's own Typhoon may not quite add up, but mmmm that snug collar.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is: Tomassini Prestige
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,