This summer I had a rather unusual issue with the weather. I was due to test various items of rain kit, all designed to withstand the worst weather. But we were in the middle of an unusual heat-wave. How would my review of the Ashmei Waterproof Jacket go in this endless dry period?
So I started the review of the Ashmei Waterproof Jacket by looking for regions blessed with rain. However all my attempts failed. So during the whole summer I managed only three occasions when the jacket could show its forte in terms of weather resistance. I managed three days of pouring rain in Tuscany and one rain-soaked 24-hour race in Scotland. The latter combined with disgusting cold; truly uncomfortable conditions.
I have my favourite rain jackets and jerseys, which I’ve tested over the years. Ashmei, being unknown to me I went on with my test cautiously, at the same time I was full of expectations. Those expectations had been triggered partly by Ashmei’s claims and after a conversation with Ashmei’s PR representative Gary Bradshaw. Gary was very enthusiastic and totally convinced that I would definitely have a positive first-hand experience with their proven Waterproof Jacket .
Actually he didn’t promise too much. He did rather under promise and the Ashmei Waterproof Jacket over delivered. That’s the short version of the test outcome. During the test I had four different brands to review and so I got a fair feel of the differences. Truth is though, I was more inclined to reach for the Ashmei Waterproof Jacket most of the time.
There are lighter, smaller and handier jackets out there, the Ashmei Waterproof Jacket wasn’t even the most weather proof one, yet it’s grown on me. No, I don’t chalk it up to subjective fondness, it is rather those little, marginal details which made me prefer the Ashmei Waterproof Jacket.
First there is the cut and sizing. My concerns that I would have to deal with another generous cut disappeared in no time. The fit of the Waterproof Jacket is tight and no flapping was noticed. Wearing it with a light jersey and base-layer beneath is OK. In fact more stuff won’t fit, unless you go one size bigger. Although in that case you won’t be able to exploit its features to the full.
Its classic minimalist styling won’t appeal to everyone – as always that’s an individual thing. Despite its tight fit I was amazed over again how exceptionally stretchy it is. Reaching for something in the rear pocket was an easy task, whether on the road in the drops or on the MTB. The rear pockets feature laser cut drainage holes and an internal pump loop and are big enough for a day long epic ride. After an hour of solid rain I was pleased that my electronics survived the deluge, only getting a bit damp. Bigger pockets would be cumbersome and once packed fully, would not keep the jackets structure sufficiently.
After an hour of rain all the features helped to keep the body warm. Things like shaped hems, finished with silicone grippers help. Despite the entirely taped seams, an all-day intermittent rain managed to work its way in. I mean that’s understandable, after all the jacket isn’t a plastic bag. What it has, is being waterproof to 20,000mm, a built-in water-resistant YKK® Aqua Guard zip and Durable Water Repellent outer finish. But the amount of water that went through was minimal, and thanks to its super thin 7 Micron laminate this ingress didn’t cool my body down. Granted, those were (moderately warm) summer rains. So it remains to be seen how the Ashmei Waterproof Jacket deals with colder November rain.
During strenuous exercises its breathability [to 45,000gm/m2/24hr] was sufficient. While I didn’t do any interval training in it, when pushing hard – such as on eternally long uphill’s – I had to unzip occasionally to get rid of the accumulated heat. With all those features I would classify the jacket as light weight. The jacket shows its multipurpose capability too. It can be used for swift commuting, after all it is equipped with signature, reflective Ashmei rear stripe for good visibility.
It’s been tested long enough to make a conclusive statement in regard to its durability. Wear was only visible after I finished the above-mentioned horrid 24 hour race. The accumulated mud and clay hit it hard. Whether the functionality like breathability and water resistance has been diminished is hard to judge.
I would endorse this jacket if you are willing to keep it long-term. Your initial investment will pay off quickly. What remains is a reliable companion through good and bad. The jacket, thanks to its light weight construction is an unassuming item that won’t bother you even after the rain stopped.
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