On and Off the Bike, One Awesome Jacket (for Men & Women)
If you are looking for one jacket this winter that will keep you warm on and off the bike, the new Cove Hybrid from Garneau is the one. As the “hybrid” name implies, this jacket is designed for multiple winter sports uses, including cycling, hiking, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. In both men’s and women’s versions, it is fashionable without screaming cycling gear; the versatility extends to many non-sports uses as well. It’s ideal for running errands, trips to the gym, or outings with friends.
With new fabric technologies, you no longer need to equate bulk with warmth. The light-weight design of this jacket keeps you warm, blocks the wind, and yet is breathable to keep you from overheating. In August 2016 Garneau won the annual Polartec® APEX Award for the Cove Hybrid jacket. This design award celebrates the finest Polartec®-based products available to consumers every year.
What Makes It So Comfortable?
This was my first experience wearing Garneau apparel. I have to say, I’m extremely impressed. When I requested the jacket to test, I went up a size to have room to layer as needed. So far I’ve worn the jacket down to 30F degrees (-1C) and 18 mph (30 km/h) winds with just a thin base layer underneath. I’m one of those people who’s always cold and was pleasantly surprised that I was perfectly fine with only the base layer and jacket in these conditions. Even as we picked up the ride pace and I started to perspire, moisture was wicked away, keeping me comfortable for several hours.
I tested the woman’s version in the Cricket color scheme shown above. The men’s version offers all the same features and functionality, with more masculine colors available. Here’s a list of features and fabrics that go into making this jacket so comfortable:
- Polartec® Alpha® (100g) keeps you warm and is extremely breathable
- FreeFlow Ultra light is used for wind-breaking and breathability
- HeatMaxx provides 4-way stretch opaque construction knit with a brushed back. Fabric allows for optimal mobility and doesn’t restrict movement.
- Drytex® is used along the collar for added comfort during activities
- Full-length zipper with reflective accents as well as inner flap and garage
- Two side zippered pockets located higher to allow access while wearing a belt bag or a backpack (hiking or XC skiing)
- One mesh inner pocket for additional storage or to keep electronic devices warm
- Thumb loops at the cuff for added hand warmth
- Hem with elasticized drawstring hidden inside pockets
The jacket is easily washable and even though the tags don’t say line dry, I would suggest it (I line dry all my workout apparel). I’ve washed it several times, and it dries quickly and looks perfect afterward.
The Cove Hybrid jacket by Garneau is going to be my go-to jacket this winter. I tested it both on my road and fat tire bikes in temps down to 30F degrees with just a thin base layer. I know if I layer with a thermal jersey I’ll be able to stay warm well into the teens.
The use of stretchable panels allows me to move easily without being restricted, which is helpful when riding single-track on the fat bike or riding in the drops on the road bike. I definitely can see wearing this jacket for XC skiing or snowshoeing. The breathability lets you work up a sweat without getting soaked. Even though I live in Chicago, with pretty fierce weather, I hate winter and being cold. But now I can look forward to keeping warm in this jacket. It will make winter – and all of my various outdoor sports and social activities – a lot more bearable.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women's cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri's full bio.