An incredibly lightweight and packable jacket that fits beautifully, feels luxurious and does an excellent job of both warming and cooling when you need it most
- Super lightweight
- Packs down into its own zip-pocket
- Easy to stuff into a pocket or bag
- Premium quality materials
- Excellent windproofing
- Mesh panels offer superior cooling
- Really comfortable fit
- Large range of sizes
- Form-fitting but curve-friendly
- Hefty price tag
With the summer solstice on its way here in the northern hemisphere, it’s that time of year when the short-sleeved jerseys are the go-to option and our cycling jackets get pushed to the back of the closet. However, if you’re anything like us, you enjoy long hours in the saddle and therefore always wind up riding long before and/or after the sun’s warmth can be felt. If that’s the case then it’s always handy to have an extra layer in tow to keep off the chill.
Of course, you can use arm warmers and a gilet if that’s your preference, but if you’re travelling light and would rather not carry multiple items that you’ll only use for a small part of the ride, then a single garment that packs away easily is exactly what you need. Enter stage right: the Velocio Ultralight Jacket.
It doesn't set out to compete against the best women's waterproof jackets, nor does it try to be one of the best women's winter jackets. Instead, it sits in a category of windproof summer jackets designed for sudden temperature drops and mountain pass chills. This is an updated version of the previous model, which now comes with a handy dual-use stow pocket and feels super lightweight.
We’ve been using it consistently for a few months now, exposing it to all manner of weather conditions and subjecting it to everything from long and slow multi-day rides to hot and sweaty hill climbs, taking in the myriad of temperatures you can expect to experience throughout the UK’s waking (and sometimes not) hours. Read on for our thoughts on how it performs.
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Design and aesthetics
The Ultralight Jacket is form-fitting yet relaxed, in a way that creates a streamlined look while maintaining enough room to layer up beneath if you wish to. The Japanese milled Pertex Quantum Air fabric is a mini-ripstop nylon with enough stretch to hug curves without distorting the garment or compressing any parts of the body that need to breathe. In this way it works well for a variety of body types, which is refreshing.
The fabric is windproof and water-resistant, thanks to a DWR coating, and feels supremely thin and lightweight, while also maintaining a hard-wearing durability. It’s complemented by translucent Veil Mesh inserts on each side and down the sleeves, which not only add to the jacket’s overall stretch and comfort, but are designed to add a whole load of ventilation in the equation. In addition to this very practical purpose it serves, I like the fact that you can catch a glimpse of the jersey worn beneath it, as on several occasions I’ve gone out on a ride wearing my favourite jersey, only to then feel the need to layer up and hide it. In this way, the Velocio Ultralight Jacket provides the best of both worlds.
Down the centre is a low-friction YKK two-way zip closure which is extremely easy to use while on the move. Being able to unzip from the bottom does wonders when you’re overheating around the middle but not ready to de-layer just yet. On the left of the chest is a subtle reflective logo, while at the back and sides there are reflective tabs for added visibility.
As mentioned above, this is a newer version of the previous Ultralight Jacket and one of its recent additions is the zippered stow pocket. This doubles up as a valuables pocket when the jacket’s in use, and can easily fit a modern mobile phone, though we tend to limit it to keys and a debit card, as the phone adds too much weight and offsets the balance.
Packing it away into the pocket takes seconds and is incredibly easy to do. The resulting bundle weighs just 117g and when laid out flat, measures 20 x 13cm, however, you can easily fold it in half and compress it so it fits in the palm of your hand.
Having ridden with this jacket for several months in a variety of weather conditions and on different types of rides, I’ve found it to be incredibly comfortable and lightweight, in a way that doesn’t encroach or create any tight spots despite not having the svelte physique usually associated with cyclists (and product testers).
The mesh panels on each side do an excellent job of cooling, especially when riding full pelt downhill. You can pretty much feel a rush of air channeling past your flanks and taking unwanted body heat with it, and it doesn’t take very long for sweat to evaporate as a result.
The nylon fabric feels really hardy despite its thinness, and the interior of the jacket is luxuriously soft against the skin. Meanwhile, its exterior texture is more shell-like and windproof. When caught in a light shower or spray, water beads and rolls off its surface, thanks to the DWR treatment, though of course, the jacket itself is not waterproof in the slightest, which is mostly down to those large mesh panels.
The stow pocket is perfect, and a great improvement on the previous version of the Ultralight Jacket, as well as on the Ultralight Rain Jacket we reviewed earlier this year. A stow pocket was one of the things missing from the rain jacket, and its presence here emphasises its absence there. It’s incredibly easy to stuff the Ultralight Jacket into its own pocket and zip it shut, then store it away in a jersey pocket or a bag, and there’s no anxiety about it unravelling or taking up lots of precious space.
In terms of coverage, the Ultralight Jacket drops low enough at the rear to protect you from splashes, while the high-cut hem at the front, along with the stretch of the fabric, allows for a full range of movement on the bike. Meanwhile, the sleeves are sufficiently long for riding in a forward-leaning position.
An incredibly comfortable, functional and good-looking windproof jacket that’s light and breathable enough to wear on hot days when the sun’s not quite hit the highest point in the sky, and super easy to pack away and stash when it’s no longer needed. After several months of use, we’re still reaching for this when we head out on early morning rides, and it’s become a go-to part of our cycling wardrobe.
Tech Specs: Velocio Women's Ultralight Jacket
- Materials: 100% Nylon
- Sizes: XXS-XXXL (XL tested)
- Weight: 117g
- Price: £128 / $169
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