Matthew PinkBASE’s brand head honcho is a denizen of the crag. He gorges on adventure culture, hankers for epic treks and grinds his gravel bike round the Bristol orbit.
A practical and quirky jersey-jacket for roadies and gravel riders looking for an alt option on mixed terrains.
485g (men’s XL)
Breathable, 4-way stretch, 65% Recycled Polyester and 25% Recycled COOLMAX® fabric, British 100% cotton Millerain fabric reinforcement, 2x front pockets with additional 2x in the rear
Comfortable and warm without overheating
Durable and technical material mix staves off the elements
Stylish and comfortable stops on the cuffs
Good wind and water repellency
Extra chest panel made from Millerain
Red colour seems to be divisive (although there is a two-tone green version available)
Breast pocket takes some getting used to for regular access
More jersey than jacket, on balance
WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR
For a riding jacket, I like something with a bit of space and give in it to allow for some layering (I’m talking mainly spring-summer-autumn here), decent repellency and some useful pockets, but not too many. I also like a hood. Definitely always keen for something rugged and hard-wearing; I’m off-road regularly and against my better judgment often try to squeeze down hawthorn-ridden paths to find something new (often I don’t) and as a result return a bit bloody and scratched.
It’s also going to have to wick well but also be a reliable buffer descending at speed in the chillier times. My ride times tend to average between two and five hours given the windows I get, so as long as the jacket can hold off rain for just about up to 60 minutes, that’s about all I need.
Fundamentally, I also find myself often doing urban versions of hike-a-bike and so I want a jacket that can be cross-functional to some extent. So – tough, long-lasting, useful and not MAMIL-wear, that’s about the size of it.
Definitely cut from a different cloth. This is apparently ‘a rugged red jacket taking its cues from the intrepid George Mallory, who, in the 1920s attempted to climb Mount Everest in little more than country wear. The jacket created in Mallory’s honour is, like the man himself, a wonderful blend of old-fashioned virtues and elite performance’.
The Mallory jacket looks and feels markedly different and to me has something of a Belstaff look about it. Another brand which leans into British adventure travel history for its aesthetics. There seem to be lots of features, pockets galore and a variety of different fabrics at play. It’s really quite intriguing. It almost feels like something Paul Weller would wear rather than a grizzled adventurer like Mallory but with its self-evident toughness, you can see where the crossover style is aiming.
The chest panel uses fabric from British Millerain, the historic UK company who, as far back as the 19th century (yikes!), pioneered the use of waxed cotton for outdoor use. You’ll find this material underpinning various hardwearing outdoor garments but also things like outdoor furniture. There’s also some unashamedly unsubtle vintage branding in the form of the Pearson-Millerain logo and the red rose (the Pearson symbol but also coincidentally the emblem heartland of the Millerain material, Lancashire) embossed on the sleeve.
To be honest I’ve waited until the temperatures here in North Somerset picked up a little as winter petered out before really putting this to the test. I’ve ridden out in it on tarmac, on gravel in some pretty biting headwinds and also down the windy, gnarly hawthorn-pocked paths joining the two route types which pulled, scraped and tugged at the jacket with vigour. The sleeves held up really well with almost zero effect from the brambly scouring when I actually came off once or twice.
I paired it usually with a normal cotton T shirt underneath and once on a sub-5 degree day, a merino base layer. I imagine the wind chill on that day pushed it into the very lowest figures.
On all occasions, my body temp felt just about right even after a few hours in the saddle in some sharp winds. I never once noticed any downturn in breathability either.
WHO IS THIS JACKET FOR?
I’m tempted to say indie kids who like adventure cycling here but I won’t. It’s got that sort of shape to it. But that would be doing it a disservice as this jacket’s performance was generally very reliable and consistent. It has that practical and stylish element, too, that would make it very suitable for a commuter who doesn’t want to double up with a different jacket on, say, lunchtime strolls to the sandwich stand.
The jacket fits snugly but not super skin tight and rides short like most in the genre. If you’re longer bodied and prefer more coverage, especially down the back end, then this might not work for you. The jacket’s silicone hem stops any gathering but to me at least this makes it feel more like a jersey rather than a more traditional jacket with an overhang in the tail.
If, like me, you tend to put to more than your average wear and tear on your outdoor garb, then you might also consider something like this.
It has that practical and stylish element, too, that would make it very suitable for a commuter who doesn’t want to double up with a different jacket on, say, lunchtime strolls to the sandwich stand
WHAT STANDS OUT?
Of a full and decent size, these pockets boast a laminated finish and are also embellished by good-size flaps protecting your tech in downpours.
The retro aesthetic
Impossible to ignore, this looks and feels very unlike your classic jersey-jacket with its retro vibe and cross-functional look.
The Millerain ingredient
The Millerain fabric almost overpowers the interweaving of the Mallory myth into this jacket’s identity, it’s really the definitive factor in the design rather than the cut or retro look.
VALUE FOR MONEY
When this garment was first released its RRP soared at the £150 mark which I would humbly suggest is pushing it a bit, despite the intricacies of design at play here. Now it’s settled at the £90 mark and this seems eminently more sensible and a much more accessible price point for a product-market fit.
In more bitingly cold weather you’re like to boost it with a gilet and though it will withstand an hour’s shower or so, you’d again need something to see you through longer than that.
The fabric mix and its smart, tactical deployment in sensitive areas definitely fills me with confidence that the jacket will see a long and adventure-filled life, with a scrape or two along the way.
BASE BOTTOM LINE
This is a modish but still hard wearing number that will mark you out as a different spoke in a world of cycling uniformity. It’s likely to divide opinion pretty strongly but if you possess a similar single mind to that of our man Mallory, this might fit you a treat.