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The Vulpine Dulwich Riding Smock is a bright piece of outerwear for casual riding. It is comfortable both on and off the bike, and with its DWR coating, provides resistance against light showers. Although the overall fit is good, there are a few niggles with the hood and zips.
The Dulwich smock has a surprisingly soft, cotton-ey feel to it, especially given that it's 73% recycled nylon, with just 27% organic cotton. I was quite impressed at the amount of recycled material used – thumbs up for that – and not just the product itself but also the biodegradable packing it came in.
The smock is water resistant rather than waterproof, and so doesn't have a hydrostatic head rating like you would see on truly waterproof jackets. It does have a PFC-free DWR (durable water repellent) coating, and under light showers water beads off initially, so it can cope with light drizzle. I deliberately tried it on some properly wet rides, to find its limits, and after about 25 minutes in persistent rain the water did start to seep through into my clothes underneath.
It's good to see it can cope with a little bit of precipitation, should you get caught out. Reproofing will be necessary eventually, so you might need to use something like Nikwax TX Direct Wash to keep those water droplets at bay. I felt this winter was quite a hard test of the smock, given the icy conditions and seemingly endless rain we've had. I'd say it's better suited to spring and autumnal use.
I found its breathability good, and didn't get hot and bothered at all. The material is fairly thin (think heavy-duty work shirt type of thickness), and below about 10°C you can feel air permeating through the fabric and the metal eyelet holes under the armpits. I'd say its ideal temperature range is about 7-14°C.
As well as the eyelets, it has a chunky chest zip to allow more airflow, and a similarly chunky zip on the deep front pocket. There is also a side zip, which helps when putting the smock over your head, and the front zip and cuffs have small patches of reflective material.
Size-wise, large was just right for me with my 42-inch chest, 34-inch waist and broad shoulders, and I still had a good few inches of space underneath for a shirt and jumper. The fit is a little tighter at the arms, but I thought this was good so as to avoid too much flappiness. There is also an elasticated waist toggle to further help reduce flappage.
It's a good weight, at 423g – I certainly didn't find it overly heavy – and because of the fairly thin material, it can roll up into the large front pocket and easily squeeze into a rucksack. I measured it as 15x10x10cm rolled up.
The fabric also seems quite hardwearing, although a few loose stiches have become apparent around the hems, mainly at the bottom of the smock. I've caught the large front pocket zip several times in the flap of material that overhangs it. This front pocket zip was quite stiff, too, but a bit of silicone spray helped ease the movement.
The 'pull' on the side zip (the one you use to undo the smock to take it over your head) does feel quite delicate, so I would take care when using this. It hasn't failed, but it would be more reassuring to have a chunkier zip here as it's so frequently used to take the smock on and off.
It's the same story with the zip pull on the discreet small pocket around the rear, on the right hand side. Again, it's been okay so far, but I did have concerns over breaking it. It's a small bit of metal to blindly grab for, and if you are left-handed you might struggle to open that small pocket if you don't have very flexible arms.
My biggest bugbear with the fit, though, is with the hood. When adjusting it, it's kind of like a drawstring bag, and pulls completely closed over your face. I wear glasses, and it pulls right over them. Even if not wearing glasses, it still intrudes on your vision too much. I think a semi-rigid peak would result in both a better fit and a better look.
I was quite happy spending time off the bike in the smock as well. It's nice and breathable, so I never felt too hot in the office in it.
Despite some heavy mud splats from following front wheels in filthy conditions, it all washed out well on a 30 degree wash, with no staining apparent.
As well as the bright mustard colour on test, it also comes in red (Rust), and blue (Petrol), as well as women's versions.
At £120 I think it's an okay price, given its feature set, and compared with other casual upper body wear on the market.
Matt tested the Pearl Izumi Men's Rove Barrier in 2020, and it was a tenner more, but that's no longer available.
If a hood isn't necessary for you, the Endura Hummvee Shacket is £20 less. Matt also tested that in 2020 and found it very versatile – two styles in one – with a reversible fit and some weatherproofing. It performs well on the bike, but looks so casual you probably wouldn't realise it was a piece of cycling attire.
The BTwin Warm Reversible Urban Cycling Jacket is £49.99 and scored very well in our test. Hollis found it warm and comfortable, with a smidge of weather protection. Looking good in its casual blue colour, the ace up its sleeve is that it can be fully reversed into a bright high-vis for those dark commutes.
Overall, this is a bright, casual looking smock that keeps you comfortable on short trips, and is also nice to use off the bike. It can cope with light showers, but some niggles with the hood and zips do affect usability, though.
Keeps you comfortable on short trips and can cope with light showers, but some niggles with the hood and zips
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vulpine Dulwich Riding Smock
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?
The Vulpine Dulwich riding smock is a casual riding piece of outerwear.
Vulpine says: "Taking inspiration from classic Mod styling, the Dulwich Riding Smock is versatile and lightweight. Easy to pop over your head, when the weather takes a turn for the worse."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Vulpine lists these features:
PFC-Free DWR treatment for wind and water resistance
Elastic adjustable hood & waist
Side zip, to aid putting on & taking off
2 x pockets - 1 large front zip pocket & 1 zip rear pocket
Curved cuff shape to allow extra length when in the riding position
Reflective rear label and piping details at cuffs, to aid low light visibility
Metal eyelets at underarm panel to aid venting
Internal hanging loop
73% Recycled Nylon, 27% Organic Cotton
The Dulwich smock has a soft, cotton-ey feel to it; I was quite surprised to find out it was 73% recycled nylon, with just 27% organic cotton.
Thumbs up for the amount of recycled material used in its construction. There is a chunky chest zip, to allow more airflow, and a similar chunky zip used on the deep front pocket. There are metal eyelet holes under the armpits to also aid ventilation. There is also a small side zip, which makes putting the smock over your head easier. The front zip and cuffs have small patches of reflective material. The hood and waist have elasticated drawstrings on them to tighten the fit. There is also an additional small pocket on the rear right hand side of the smock.
The overall fabric of the smock seems quite hardwearing; it's more in the small details where I had a few niggles. The front pocket zip has a flap of material over it, and the zip can snag around this material. The zip was also a bit stiff, so I used a bit of silicone spray to help ease the zip movement. Some loose stitches have become apparent around some of the hems as well.
Although they haven't failed, the zip pulls (the metal dangly bits on the zips) on the side zip (the one to take the smock off with) and also on the small rear pocket do seem quite delicate, so I would take care pulling on these. It would be more reassuring to have a more chunky zip on the side one, particularly, as it's so frequently used to take the smock on and off.
It's water resistant rather than waterproof, with a DWR coating in the cotton layer, and under light showers the water beads off, so it can cope with light drizzle.
After about 25 minutes in persistent rain, the water started to seep through into my clothes underneath. I wouldn't choose it for a commute if it was definitely going to be lashing it down, but it's good to see it can cope with a little bit of precipitation.
Breathability is good; I didn't get hot and bothered. The material is fairly thin, so below about 10°C, you can feel air permeating through the fabric and eyelet holes.
It fits well in the body: I was testing a large, and with a 42-inch chest and broad shoulders, still had a good few inches of space underneath for a shirt and jumper. The fit is a little tighter at the arms, but I thought this was good so as to avoid too much flappiness. There is also an elasticated waist toggle to further help reduce flappage.
The cuffs have two buttons for adjusting the cuffs tighter as needed.
The side zip makes it much easier to slip the smock over your head.
My only bugbear with the fit was with the hood. When adjusting it, it's kind of like a drawstring bag, and pulls completely closed over your face. I wear glasses, and it just pulls completely over them. Even if not wearing glasses, it still intrudes on your vision too much. A semi-rigid peak as part of the hood would have resulted in a better fit and a better look.
Large for me, with a 42-inch chest, 34-inch waist and broad shoulders, was fine.
It's a good weight; I didn't find it overly heavy. Because of the fairly thin material it can roll up into the front pocket and easily squeeze into a rucksack. I measured it rolled up as 15cm x 10cm x 10cm.
The comfy feel, for me, is the highlight of the smock. It's very comfortable to wear both on and off the bike. I didn't feel that it restricted movement, and the airflow is good due to the permeability, front chest zip and small underarm eyelet holes.
At £120 I think it's OK value, given its feature set, in comparison with other casual upper body wear on the market.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washed out really well on a 30 degree wash, with no staining apparent. Reproofing will be needed to keep up the water resistance.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For casual riding and short trips, the smock performs pretty well; if you have a commute of a few miles then I think it would be a decent choice, apart from in a massive downpour, or in very cold weather. Its ideal temperature range is around 7-14°C. Nice and breathable, so I never felt too hot in the office in it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Comfortable on and off the bike.
The big front pocket is handy.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The drawstring hood is a poor fit.
The zips can get snagged, and the side and rear zip pulls feel a bit delicate - plus the small rear pocket one can be tricky to open if you're left-handed.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? On short trips yes, but not in really bad weather.
Would you consider buying the jacket? I would probably go for a full-zip jacket instead and consider more waterproofing.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Possibly, as an alternative to full-zip jackets if they like the smock styling.
Use this box to explain your overall score
As a garment for casual short rides in spring and autumnal weather it's pretty good, but there's room for improvement: the hood is a poor fit on the face, and the zips can get stuck (and the zip pull feel delicate). A bit more resistance to rain would be good, too.
About the tester
I usually ride: GT Grade My best bike is: Boardman ASR 8.9
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, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Zwifting