Really Bright Stuff, that's what the TLA* stands for in Polaris' hi-viz range and you're certainly going to get noticed with their Pack Me jacket on. It's a packable light weight windproof that's just right for this time of year.
As I write this, it's practically November and we're still looking at temperatures in the high teens down here in the south west making it a bit of clothing choice lottery especially if you're going to be out at various times of day.
One bit of kit that's been getting plenty of use though is this Pack Me jacket thanks to its windproof qualities keeping the morning chill at bay. The 100% polyester fabric is thin but is a good barrier against the wind and will stand up to a bit of light drizzle too.
Once things warm up it folds up easily to fit in a rear jersey pocket and being simple to get on and off it can easily be done on the fly. This makes the Pack Me ideal to take on rides when changes of temperature can become quite noticeable, going from day to evening for example.
There aren't any vents so the fabric's breathability can get overloaded if you are pushing on a bit. You aren't trying to keep rain out so you can always drop the zip a touch to get some air flow and regulate your temperature.
The fit is quite relaxed with the medium I tried fitting nicely around the chest and arms but a bit looser around the stomach area meaning it flaps about in the wind when you are in the drops. You get a dropped tail as well plus a nice high neck that keeps any drafts out, as do the elasticated cuffs. On the whole the cut is good on the bike and Polaris' size chart is pretty much spot on.
I'm not a huge fan of full on hi-viz yellow so the RBS looks good in my eyes with its colour choice and is more eye catching for it, the blue arms making the yellow front and rear panels stand out. There are reflectives dotted aroun all over the jacket to offer some visibility after dark although I'd prefer some closer to the cuffs to help out with signalling.
The rear of the jacket has a zipped pocket for storage which is a decent size though you don't want to overload it as it'll sag due to the thinness of the polyester material.
Overall the RBS Pack Me jacket is well thought out and well made and warrants the £55 price tag. It's a good solution for changing light and temperature conditions thanks to the mix of hi-viz and reflectives plus the packability into a jersey pocket.
Versatile lightweight windproof for changeable conditions, well made and comfortable too
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Polaris RBS Pack Me Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Polaris' RBS range is all about visibility in both day and night light conditions. The Pack Me is a windproof that folds up small enough to fit in a jersey pocket making it very versatile for spring and autumn.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*Designed to be visible during daylight and night-time hours
*Made from a breathable Micro-polyester which packs up small
*Tailored with a slightly longer back
*Full length front zip
*Elasticated waist and cuffs
*Elasticated hem, Fleece-lined collar
*S - XXL
Neat and tidy.
Great against a chilly wind and very visible in dark or light.
The polyester and stitching are well put together and staying that way. All the zips run smoothly too
195g is barely noticable in your rear pocket.
Soft against the skin with a good cut for shape and keeping out the drafts.
The quality, fit and performance justify the price tag.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Versatility is key to a jacket like this and the Polaris is a good example
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The mixture of hi-viz and normal colours.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of reflectives at the cuffs and a slimmer cut at the stomach would be better in the drops.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
An all round solid product from Polaris that has enough versatility to get at least three season usage, four if it's a mild winter. Well built to so worth the money.
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Kinesis T2 My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.