As a regular cycle commuter one of my main concerns when cycling is my own visibility. Having seen quite a few commuters wearing the Altura Night Vision Evo jacket I noticed that it certainly did stand out and in that regard I thought it ideal.
I picked a bright yellow jacket. The fit of the breathable polyester jacket was a bit loose, though preferable to skinny fit, and there are two hip pockets with water resistant zips and a kidney pocket hidden under a flap. The flap is fitted with a bright flashing LED red tail light, in what appears to be a useful additional aid. The main zip is water resistant with no storm flap, and there’s a handy phone sized chest pocket.
The collar is lined, which is a good feature. There’s nothing like a bare, stiff stitched collar rubbing against the neck on a cold wet morning. This isn’t one of those thankfully. The cuffs have reflective velcro fastenings, and there are pit zips to help with ventilation.
I started using the jacket around May and found it too warm. The mesh lining helped dissipate sweat, but on the whole I found it just too warm for the time of year, and probably more suitable for winter use. It’s aimed firmly at the commuter market, yet I found it failed on two points, both backpack related. The first and the more minor complaint is the positioning of the LED flashing light on the back of the jacket. If, as many commuters do, you wear a backpack (even a small one) you will obscure the light. At the same time the pressure of the bag will inevitably switch the light on, so that when you finally do want to use it the battery will have long gone flat. Had this light been placed on the back of the collar it would have been ideally positioned for visibility with or without a backpack.
The other more serious fault which may be particular to my jacket was that after only around 4 months of intermittent use there was serious wear to the jacket under the arm, where a backpacks straps would rub. I considered repairing this, but thought I would take it back to the retailer, as I really would expect a lot more out of a jacket than 4 months of not particularly hard use. They in turn passed it on to the manufacturer who stated that in their opinion it was “wear and tear” and not covered by the warranty. Wear and tear, clearly. But fair wear and tear? Not a chance. The retailer has offered a substantial discount on a new jacket as a gesture of goodwill which is probably as good an offer as I will get. These jackets have slumped in price in the last six months, and can now be picked up for around £60. At that price they are worth picking up, only around £20-£30 more than a cheap “boil-in-the-bag” jacket. Just don’t use them with a backpack.