Review: Pas Normal Studios Essential Insulated Jacket

Lightweight windproof insulated jacket from the contemporary Danish cycling brand

Read time 5 mins

Published Apr 27, 2023

Author Chris Hunt

Photographer Ben Wormald

Chris Hunt BASE Editor and Bristol-based adventure writer with a penchant for travel by bike, interesting coastlines and adventures that end in the pub.

Our Verdict

The Essential Insulated jacket is a great windproof, lightly insulated lightweight jacket from the Danish kings of cycling aesthetic. Welcome to the world of designer cycle kit.

RRP £195
Outer Pertex Quantum ripstop fabric
Insulation Polartec Alpha

Pros

  • Lightweight small pack size
  • Windproof and insulated
  • Comfortable fit for additional layers
  • Great aesthetic

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Light on the insulation

What I’m Looking For

In the UK, riding bikes is all about layers management: base layers, jerseys, gilets, jackets and rain protection. A good versatile jacket therefore is a key part of the lineup.

I run pretty warm, so for me, a good versatile jacket means something with enough wind protection and insulation to take the edge off without overdoing it. I need it to breathe, the fit to be snug without feeling restrictive and I want it to pack down super small – something I can squeeze into the back pocket of a jersey or into a small bar bag without taking up the entire thing.

Based in the UK, I’m also pretty used to riding in a whole heap of different weather conditions, often all in the same day. So something I can pair up with other layers easily, perhaps a gilet, or a rain jacket is also high on the agenda.

First Impressions

I’ve got a bad habit of investing in a pretty dark colour sceheme when it comes to my on bike clothing. In olive, the Essential is a great antidote to that. Though I totally understand and support the benefits of fluro options, generally, I’d say they’re not for me. I love the pastel palette in Pas Normal’s lineup.

While this is an insulated jacket, it’s not overly warm, with the only insulation on the front of the torso with Polartec’s Alpha Insulation. So I’d put this in the category of solid windproof rather than a winter insulated jacket. Which, while it might be a little thing on the insulation for others, will suit me just fine.

It’s a super comfortable fit, with lots of room around the shoulders and waist without feeling or looking loose.

Who is This Jacket For?

Suitable for all types of bike riding, from road, to gravel to mountainbiking, a light, highly packable insulated layer should be a key part of any bike riding kit list.

The test

I’ve used the jacket now for the last month where possible and it’s quickly become my go-to for this kind of jacket. I’ve used it gravel riding, road riding and on cross country mountain biking trails too.

The Essential is one of those key items I can mindlessly sling-on and always stow in my set-up without any added though, be that in my back pocket or in a bar bag.

Lightweight but insulated in the right places, it’s something I can keep on for long periods of riding rather than overheating and having to remove it.

I’ve used the jacket now for the last month where possible and it’s quickly become my go-to

What Stands Out

Lightweight

The Pertex Quantum ripstop outer makes for a super packable, lightweight jacket providing a simple addition to any bike ride without any noticeable bulk or weight.

Insulation

The inside is of the jacket lined with Polartec’s Alpha Insulation, which makes for a really nice lightweight effective warmth behind the windproof shield. It is pretty light insulation though making it great for spring, early starts, evenings and descents rather than the depths of winter.

Aesthetics

Clean and minimalist, this is a classic Pas Normal Studios design with a timeless aesthetic.

Cut

Tight enough and loose enough in all the right places or layers underneath or over the top and comfortable all day riding.

Value For Money

I don’t think anyone comes to Pas Normal Studios in the hope to maximise value for money from their purchase. Instead, it’s about premium, timeless and distinctively designed clothing and they’re known to come with a big price tag.

Although it is categorised by the brand as an insulated option, considering the amount it comes with, I’d categorise it as more of a windproof jacket. Which for £195 puts this at the very top end price wise. You wouldn’t need to spend long looking for something offering a similar amount of insulation to this for around £100 less.

For added warmth, the Essential Thermal Jacket – next one up in the chain of insulated garments from the brand – comes in at £340.

BASE Bottom Line

This is a great functional, good looking jacket utilising some great, tried and tested fabrics from the likes of Pertex and Polartec.

If maximising the warmth to budget ratio is the top of your agenda, you’ll be better off looking elsewhere. You’ll certainly get more bang for your buck with another brand. This jacket is however a delight to wear – a dependable and highly functional design that looks great too. All that however, does come at a pretty steep price.

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