For long rides in big mountains, it’s important to be prepared. After all, you never know when the weather might turn on you or when a mechanical will have you pushing home in the dark. Part of any rider’s kit for those kind of rides should be a packable jacket. The Dakine Breaker ($80) is just such a product.
The Breaker is about as minimal as a jacket can be. It’s got a full length zipper, an elastic drawcord hem at the bottom, adjustable hook and loop cuffs, and a solitary pocket on the chest. That pocket is large enough for a phone and has a hole to feed headphones through. It’s also what the jacket packs into when it’s time to stow it away. My size large jacket weighed in at just 5oz (140g). When stuffed into its own pocket, it measures roughly 4″ x 5″ x 1.5″.
Dakine constructed the jacket from lightweight ripstop nylon and topped it off with a durable water repellant coating. It’s not going to keep you dry in a downpour, but it will help keep a mist from soaking through.
On the Trail
I opted for a size-large jacket in the “peat camo” colorway–but it’s also available in black. The camo print on the shoulders is very dark and subtle, while the red zippers give the Breaker a little pop. Dakine classifies the fit as tailored, though I found it to be rather roomy even at 6ft tall and 200lbs. It wasn’t baggy necessarily, just not as form-fitting as I expected. I had hoped for the Breaker to pull double-duty on the road bike, but it’s a bit too flappy at speed for that application.
Thankfully, the sleeves were plenty long. With my monkey arms I often end up with a gap between a jacket’s cuff and my gloves. Not so with the Breaker. I was able to pull the cuffs over my gloves and have full range of movement without them riding up my forearm.
I was able to use the Breaker in a variety of conditions from downright chilly to windy to rainy. Since it’s so packable it makes a great top layer for days where the weather varies, and it does a great job of cutting the wind. While the Breaker isn’t waterproof by any means, it will help keep you warm should you get caught in a popup storm. However, if rain is imminent, I would recommend taking a full-blown rain jacket over the Breaker.
As for durability, I took a couple of spills while wearing the Breaker and have dragged it against countless trees and branches with no signs of wear. It’s also been through the washing machine a few times. For a material so thin and light, I have been impressed.
The Breaker has little in the way of frills, but that’s exactly what you want out of a jacket like this. It’s light, packs into the size of a sandwich, and weighs about the same. Ever since my 10-year-old vest finally disintegrated last fall, I’ve been looking for a worthy replacement. I’ve found that with Dakine’s Breaker–it’s now a permanent fixture in my pack for big days on the bike.
Thanks to Dakine for providing the Breaker for review.