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There is almost nothing to the Gore Ambient Vest. Despite only weighing 58g it has excellent windproofing qualities, a full mesh back aids breathability and it can be packed down to take up just the tiniest amount of space in your rear pocket. My only criticism is that the colour choices are limited.
The Ambient Vest uses Gore-Tex Infinium on the front section, which, according to Gore, is created by using an ultra-thin protective layer laminated to a lightweight textile. It makes it completely windproof.
It is very impressive, and even though we haven't had that much chilly weather yet, some of the dank mornings of late have certainly been nippy. Heading out of the door early on it was noticeable how much the rest of my body could feel the wind, yet my chest and stomach were toasty warm.
Even as things warmed up, I didn't get overly hot. Gore says the Infinium fabric is breathable, but it is probably more down to the fact that the rear uses a nylon mesh that lets your body heat escape.
You do also get a bit of water resistance in the Infinium fabric, which helps keep your front dry and warm when riding into the rain. You'll get soaked eventually via the back panel, so it's not intended as a wet weather garment.
One of the best things about the Ambient is its size when packed. I could scrunch it up into the palm of my hand, so it's going to take up no room at all in your jersey pocket or bike bags. As it's so small I found myself taking it with me on most rides, especially if it looked like the weather was going to be changeable.
The cut is 'aggressively close', says Gore, so you need to take a look at the size guide for clarification. The gilet fits snugly, reducing the chance of any fabric flapping about, which also makes it a handy addition to a layering system.
I found there to be plenty of room for movement around the arm holes without allowing too much cold air to flow in.
The neck is also high, with a welcome garage to protect your skin from the zip, and there's good length at the rear for protection.
Personally, I'd like to see a few extra colour options; I'm not keen on black for dull days, and the white option could possibly stain after wet rides like a lot of white kit – though I haven't tested it so I can't be certain of that.
Gore offers much of its kit in bold blues, reds and the like, so it'd be nice to see some of those here.
The Ambient certainly isn't cheap at £99, but that's not unheard of for gilets, and the finish quality is very high, which helps to justify it.
Rapha's Classic Gilet is almost the same at £100 but it's twice the weight, though George was impressed with its windproofing, breathability and water resistant properties, and it still packs down well enough.
dhb's Aeron LAB Superlight Waterproof gilet is also £100 for what looks to be a similar product to the Gore.
But I was impressed with Le Col's Sport Logo gilet for £85, which has windblocking front panels and a mesh rear.
The Ambient Vest is a great ride companion, whether you need it or not. The performance, quality and fit are all impressive, and it comes in at a similar price to its rivals.
Great windproofing properties from such a lightweight gilet
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Ambient Vest Mens
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Gore says, "An aggressively cut gilet, delivering weather defense, ultra-lightweight, and tiny pack size."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Gore lists these details:
Partial GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ garments with GORE® WINDSTOPPER® product technology: totally windproof, extremely breathable and durably water resistant, lightweight protection
Weight 58 grams, size L
Ultra-stretch nylon mesh in back
Ergonomically shaped collar
Elastic grip on bottom hem
Full length zip with underflap
Check out Gore's size chart – it's a very close fit, so you might need to size up.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Gore recommends a 40 degree wash and I had no issues following that.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A neat lightweight gilet that can be stuffed away easily.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
More colour options would be good.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's similarly priced to gilets from dhb and Rapha, as mentioned in the review, and a little more than Le Col's Sport Logo gilet.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, especially if there were more colour options.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Very good performance and quality from such a small amount of material. Not the cheapest out there but its diminutive size means it's always easy to have it with you.
About the tester
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,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!