The Endura Women’s Singletrack jacket is a nylon, fully seam-sealed 2.5-layer waterproof, “breathable fabric” rain jacket with under arm zipped vents, and a hood. I put the “breathable” in quotes because everyone says their rain coat is breathable, and then you end up just as wet from your own internal combustion as you’d be if you just went without a rain jacket at all. While I’ve never met a raincoat that could actually, truly, deliver on this promise, the Endura did a pretty darned good job of not making me feel like I was riding wrapped in plastic, stewing in my own juices.
Because it just doesn’t rain in my bit of California between late May and October, when I got the jacket at the end of spring, I donned it and stood in the shower. See what I’ll do for an earnest review? You’re welcome. When I emerged, my underclothes were dry as a California drought. Little puffs of dust rose off of me. That part’s a lie, but you get my point.
But for the true test, I used this jacket during the TransAlp, a seven-day mountain bike stage race across the Alps. I am not unhappy to report that I only needed to use the jacket for its intended purpose twice–once during the race, and once on a pre-ride.
While I did not use the media port, just not being the sort, the adjustable cuffs and hems were a nice feature, as were the front hand warmer pockets. Also, the arms are long, which is something that your average rain jacket not purpose built for cycling does not tend to employ, thus leaving your wrists and half of your forearm protruding. And getting wet. The reflective trim on the back will come in handy on the accidental road ride in the rain, or when my night lights fail and my friends need to find me on the trail.
I found the Endura fit well and had a nice style. It packed up fairly light, which was a definite plus for hauling around in a pack for seven days “just in case.” While fitted, I still had enough room to don more than a simple tight jersey underneath. I wore an under layer, jersey, arm warmers and a light jacket over that before applying the rain jacket, and I still didn’t feel like the Michelin Man. It had a nicely tailored tail for keeping my caboose as clean as possible given the mud-slalom conditions, but it also did not hang me up when transferring on and off the saddle.
Many rain jackets peddled to cyclists come sans hood, and I can understand this reasoning–saves weight, plus how often do you really hood up if you’re riding in the rain? Well, on a 50-mile leg of a wet mountain stage, the hood on this jacket sure came in handy, even if I only used it while shoveling food into my face at the rest stops.
The only real drawback to the Singletrack jacket is that it’s not one I’d want to leave in my pack for emergencies, cause it just doesn’t pack up small enough. But that is always the trade-off, right? Super light and small and packable usually means not too waterproof, or $300+ for the tip top of the line GoreTex jacket.
But let’s be honest. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and despite delusions of grandeur, I’m probably not going to find myself lost in the mountains setting up a bivouac, melting snow for water, and trapping squirrels with my Camelbak hose. This being the case, the Endura Singletracks jacket perfectly fits the bill for heading out under threatening skies. Yes, I might need to bring the bigger pack (or jettison a beer–horror of horrors…), but dry is worth it. Overall I found this jacket to be a good value. And if it worked in the Italian Alps, that’s a pretty good test.
Thanks to Endura for providing the Singletrack Women’s rain jacket for review.