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review

Vulpine Men’s Ultralight Quilted Gilet

8
£100.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Warm, protective against wind and spray, and very versatile – this is ideal for chilly commutes and tours
Zipped front and inner pockets are useful
Warm, windproof and okay with showers
Nicely dropped tail
Subtle good looks
Sized to fit over street clothes, so fits loose over cycling gear
Rear pocket feels token
Weight: 
294g
Contact: 

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The Vulpine Men's Ultralight Quilted Gilet is aimed firmly at commuter and casual use, and it hits the target bang on. It's warm, protective and doesn't look odd when you get off the bike, and it breathes pretty impressively given it's insulated all over and lacking any vents, too. If you're looking for something slimmer fitting, check out the options in our best cycling gilets buyer's guide.

Vulpine says this has been redesigned to use new fabrics, and as a result it's 100 per cent recycled. Despite the 100gms insulation being made from recycled plastic bottles, it's impressively unsweaty for the kind of riding it's aimed at, and never stifling even if you do need to work hard.

> Buy now: Vulpine Men’s Ultralight Quilted Gilet for £100 from Vulpine

By the way, by '100gms' Vulpine means 100 grams, as in 100 grams of insulation per square metre. That's typically enough for a spring/autumn coat, and for winter too if you're active. I wore this down to about 3°C during the test, and found it brought useful extra core warmth and wind protection.

The collar is high to protect your whole neck, and the dropped tail is a valuable shield against wheel spray – it doesn't look very dropped, which is good when you're not on the bike, but actually the whole gilet is quite long so it reaches just fine.

2022 Vulpine Mens Ultralight Quilted Gilet - back.jpg

Wearing this over cycling gear instead of regular clothes demonstrates several things. Firstly, it's sized very well for regular winter jumpers, but ends up baggy over slim Lycra. Size down if you intend to do that. Secondly, the windproofing and insulation are very effective; when that long front and baggy fit conspire to lift up a gap, you can instantly feel the chill it's otherwise keeping off.

> 6 top tips to help keep you cycling through the winter

I never felt any draughts at the arm holes or up the back, but its actually the lack of breathability or venting on the rear that limits this for hard riding. That said, it's still not the sweatiest cycling top I've worn, even on fairly long climbs. You shouldn't reach the office or shops looking like you've been water cannoned, anyway.

2022 Vulpine Mens Ultralight Quilted Gilet - sleeve.jpg

If you do get too hot it's just about scrunchable enough to pack into a (stretchy) jersey pocket, but then again you're unlikely to be wearing one; you're more likely to have a backpack or bike luggage to stuff it into, in which case the 294g weight won't be a meaningful issue either. In use it feels light for the warmth it provides.

Pleasingly, the shoulders have reinforced nylon patches to protect against pack straps.

2022 Vulpine Mens Ultralight Quilted Gilet - shoulders.jpg

The two hand pockets feel soft and warm, and they zip up securely when you're riding. The usefully large inside pocket – positioned in that high 'Or am I reaching for a gun?' spot that's so fun to use – also zips up.

2022 Vulpine Mens Ultralight Quilted Gilet - zipped pocket.jpg

The final pocket is on the back of one hip, but I found it less useful. It opens at the top and only seals with a single, central popper; okay, this pocket is just big enough to drop a phone into, but there's no flap to stop rain running in, it's low and exposed to spray, and the closure is hard to trust with madly priced electronics. Weirdly, it's narrow too; I can only easily get four fingers in, but not my thumb, which makes it hard to get things out. I don't really know what this pocket is for.

2022 Vulpine Mens Ultralight Quilted Gilet - back pocket.jpg

Still, it's easy to ignore, and otherwise this is a well-made, well-designed and very effective gilet.

Value

At £100, the price seems reasonable for its ability and quality. It's only a penny more than the Northwave Extreme Trail Vest which Mike tested in February, for instance, and that's stuffed with (also synthetic) Primaloft – and is also very good.

Alternatively, you could look at the Pas Normal Studios Men's Escapism Down Vest that Dave tested earlier this year, as it uses real down insulation and is very stylish, and then you can stop looking because the sizing is odd, the DWR doesn't work that well and it's a frankly hilarious £225. Interestingly, since we tested it, the Escapism looks to have been renamed the 'Off-Race Down Vest' and gone up to £240, then been discounted to £165. I'd take PNS's lead and discount it too.

If you're cycling hard for training and fitness, you're better off with something like the Santini Redux Vigor Insulated Gilet at £145. Stu tested that earlier this year and said it's great for warmth and windproofing at higher intensities, and the fit is lovely. It also packs down very small, and at the time of writing Santini had reduced it to £87. Tragically it hasn't been renamed the Reduced Vigor Insulated Gilet.

Cheaper still, if your budget is tight, is the excellent Galibier Izoard Quilted Gilet that Dave tested in 2020. It's gone up in price since then, but is still only £53.45. 

Overall

For its intended commuting, leisure and off-bike uses, this Vulpine gilet is great. It provides really useful warmth and wind/shower/spray protection, fits perfectly over regular clothing and doesn't look odd about town. For my money, in fact, it actively looks good – better than a hedge full of unrecycled bottles, that's for sure.

Verdict

Warm, protective against wind and spray, and very versatile – this is ideal for chilly commutes and tours

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Vulpine Men's Ultralight Quilted Gilet

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

Vulpine says: "We've updated this bestselling gilet to now have recycled fabrics & insulation, whilst still offering the same performance you loved. It's still versatile and lightweight, with a great warmth to weight ratio. Ideal for the commute and won't look out of place in the office."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Features:

Recycled Nylon fabric with PFC-Free DWR for weather resistant performance against drizzle & road spray

Repreve insulation made from plastic bottles - 100gms Front & back body, 80gms collar

YKK Vislon front zip opening with internal fabric storm guard

Reinforced Nylon shoulder panels to help prevent wear from bag straps

Zipped internal chest pocket

Two zipped hand warmer pockets

Rear 'drop in' welt pocket

Soft, brushed Tricot lining inside collar and hand warmer pockets

Printed care info (no scratchy labels)

Vulpine embroidered logo at rear yoke

V circle embroidered logo at chest

Biodegradable packaging

Fabric Composition:

Main: 100% Recycled Nylon

Lining: 100% Recycled Nylon

Insulation: 100% Recycled REPREVE Polyester

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

For its intended use – commuting, gentle riding and general civilian wear – it's great.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for fit:
 
8/10

Perfect over regular clothes.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
7/10

It's sized for wearing over street clothes, which is fair – size down if you want to use it over dedicated cycling stuff.

Rate the product for weight:
 
7/10

Good for its warmth, though the bulk means it's not easily packable.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10

Lovely for commuting even with a bit of effort involved, and for off-bike use too, but the insulated back (and loose fit if combined with slim jerseys) means the harder you ride, the more that score will drop.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

No issues with the usual regime.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well – it's warm and windproof with good coverage.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

It's warm, windproof, well made and looks good.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Insulated back means it gets too hot if you're working hard, and it's not really jersey-pocketable.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It seems entirely reasonable for the performance, spec and quality.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's very good. So...

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,

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