By Brandon Bilyeu
- Balanced warmth and breathability
- Bright color option
- Five pockets for lots of storage
- Womens version available
- Not easy to stuff in jersey pocket
How obtained: review sample from company
Available: online, retail
Colors: Black, Midnight Blue, Zest (yellow)
Website: 7mesh Seton Vest
RBR Sponsor: no
Tested: 15+ hours
Sizing: XS – XXL
Reviewer Measurements and Fit Comments: 5’10” (178cm), 150 lbs (68 kgs), 33″ (84cm) waist, 38” (96.5cm) hips, 33″ (84cm) inseam, 37″ (94cm) chest. I tested size S and the fit was spot on.
7mesh Introduces WTV Thermal Fabric
A vest is a pretty simple garment but can have a big impact on comfort. Typical cycling vests or gilets are designed to be lightweight for packing in a pocket, block cold wind at the chest, and release heat at the back. The Seton Vest is a heavier thermal vest that utilizes 7mesh’s new WTV technology to provide comfort across a wide temperature range. WTV stands for Wind, Thermal, and Ventilation. The WTV fabric is used throughout the entire vest, both chest and back.
Wind protection is provided by the outer woven layer (left half of the above image). Body heat retention is achieved with a fuzzy loft interior (right half of the above image). Ventilation occurs because the outer layer is not 100 percent windproof and the loft interior is not a dense fleece, but a block pattern. This pattern creates small pockets to hold warm air, but also direct access to the breathable outer layer. 7mesh’s goal with WTV was to find the right balance of W, T, and V to allow all day riding in the same kit without stopping to swap layers.
I have to admit I was worried that my core was going to roast and/or my arms freeze while wearing the Seton Vest. I began testing in early fall with temperatures starting off cool but still creeping up to 60 F (15.5 C). With a short sleeve or light long sleeve jersey under the vest, even during extended moderate-hard efforts I stayed comfortable and reasonably dry, though I definitely had to use the zipper to aid in dumping heat. The single full zipper in front was easy to operate one handed, but I would have liked to see a dual zipper layout for better ventilation control.
It was a surprise that I was not a hot and wet mess in what I thought was too much insulation for me at those temperatures. Thankfully keeping it on was comfortable because taking off the Seton Vest and putting it in my jersey pocket was not really an option if I had overheated. The vest is bulky enough that it won’t fit nicely in most jersey pockets. In a pinch you could stuff half in a pocket, the rest hanging out, but that’s not the most secure or comfortable.
I was similarly impressed in cold weather down to about 38 F (3 C). The vest blocks the cold wind and holds in heat well. Wearing an insulted long sleeve jersey and base layer underneath the vest meant that my core had twice the insulation as my arms, but the vest regulated the heat well enough to keep me comfortable. And a warm core contributes to keeping the extremities warm. Overall, I was very impressed with the wide range of temperatures where I could wear the Seton Vest and stay comfortable. It certainly beats stopping every few miles to change layers.
The Seton Vest uses the same Anything Pockets as the 7mesh Skyline Jersey I reviewed previously and my feelings have not changed, I love these pockets. My thoughts from my previous review still stand, so I’ll just repeat them here:
“Out back sits the Anything Pockets which is essentially a panel made of 5 pockets sewn to the back of the jersey along the top and both sides. The bottom edge is free to lift away from your back as you stuff the pockets full of gear. This means the jersey waist hem lays nice and flat against your back while the pockets still hold all the gear securely with no bouncing. It’s almost like wearing a fanny pack over the jersey.
And it works wonderfully. As a former Boy Scout, I took the “be prepared” motto to heart and then took it to the next level. I routinely take six hours worth of food on planned two-hour rides. I always pack extra clothes in case there is a random snow storm in the height of summer. And tools, lots of tools. The result is bloated pockets that pull jerseys up off my back and move around since the jersey waist grippers are no longer in contact. The Anything Panel solves this problem and feels stable even when stuffed to the limit.
The five pockets also help with organization so you don’t have to dig as much to find your gear, assuming you can remember what pocket it’s in. There are the three traditional outer rear pockets and then two zippered inner pockets that are accessed from the sides. One of the zippered pockets extends behind one outer pocket, while the second zippered pocket is twice as big, extending behind two outer pockets.”
The Seton Vest is great for Fall, Winter, and Spring riding. It works in a wide range of temperatures and reduces the need to stop mid-ride to change layers. The five pockets are great especially as cooler weather typically means carrying more accessories and extra clothing.
Brandon Bilyeu is an avid recreational roadie who lives in Regensburg, Germany. He’s a year-round bike commuter and is a mechanical design engineer by trade. Click to read Brandon’s full bio.
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