This Wind Pro Vest from Northwave features a kite-like polyester material, ensuring a decent level of wind blocking. With reflective shoulder straps, mesh back, zip underlay and a self packing pocket, do all these features make for a category winner?
The aforementioned polyester material is extremely windproof, labelled as 'Windshield Plus' It is almost impenetrable. It is a great option for when the weather really turns or if beginning a long descent - when you know you're going to be getting a wind battering.
The problem is that it feels a bit like a plastic bag; it is crunchy, unlike other clothing materials like Windtex. I can liken it to a kite or parachute, and because of this, I didn't really want to wear it for prolonged periods.
It's not unlike a lightweight rain jacket in that sense: it does the job when you need it but once the rain (or wind in this case) stops, you start to notice what you're wearing.
Thankfully, the gilet has a neat self-packing feature, so you can take it off and stow away as necessary. It works using a little pouch on the rear, which you roll the gilet up into, creating a pac-a-mac sort of bundle that can fit into a pocket.
All this windproof polyester should make for a sweat trap but a large meshed rear panel section helps to prevent this. I did find it sweatier than other gilets - even with this panel - simply because the wind blocking sections work both ways. It's not a problem though if you wear it as a 'use and put away' garment.
I tested a large and found it to be too big for me really (184cm, 36cm chest). With a gilet like this you want a fairly close fit to prevent any flapping in the wind. Elastic cuffs around the waist and arms hold the gilet on well and a high collar prevents any wind creeping down the neck.
Gilets are often used once the gray skies come, so it's nice to have a couple of reflective strips on the shoulder and lower back, along with reflective text.
Praise where praise is due for this gilet's ability to provide protection from the wind. The trouble is that this comes at the price of breathability and comfort.
If what you're looking for is a gilet where protection trumps over all-day comfort; the kind of gilet you pack away again once used, the Northwave Pro Wind Vest could be just for you.
A pack-away gilet with excellent wind protection, if a little crunchy.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Northwave Wind Pro Vest
Size tested: Large, white
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?
It's a gilet that sides more on wind proofing properties than breathability and all-day comfort.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
MAIN FABRIC: 100% polyester extra light + coating on the back
ZIP: Full opening zip with garage
VENT INSERTS: Mesh inserts under arm
REFLEX INSERTS: Front - back
TECH: Internal wind coating
PACKAGING: Packable on the rear pocket (banana pouche)
No problems as such but nothing out of the ordinary either.
Superb as a wind and weather blocker but not as nice to wear as other gilets.
Seems to be well made with a good quality zip.
Comfort in terms of weather protection is good but in terms of wearer comfort, the polyester is crunchy, which can be slightly uncomfortable.
The £40rrp seems a little steep to me for a gilet whose material selection isn't particularly technical. Features like the self-packing pocket and reflective strips help to hold this up though.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a wind stopper and one which packs away once used, it was great.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Its wind protection credentials.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The material is crunchy and slightly like wearing a plastic bag.
Did you enjoy using the product? At times.
Would you consider buying the product? No, I prefer gilets that make up another layer of clothing than this 'use only if required' type.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they wanted a sleeveless weatherproof, yes.
About the tester
Age: 23 Height: 184cm Weight: 66kg
I usually ride: Orbea Onix (Carbon) - Summer, Orbea Asphalt (Alu) - Winter My best bike is: Orbea Alma G10
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, club rides, mtb,