- Packs down into its own pocket to about the size of 2 gel packs
- Windproof and water-resistant
- Light weight – only 47 grams
- Elastic armholes for added comfort
- Breathable with vents at upper back and mesh side panels
- Reflective trim
- Shoulder/chest area flapped in the wind (due to men’s sizing)
- Only available in men’s
Price: $99.99 MSRP
Color: White or Black – both have red accents
RBR Advertiser: No
Availability: Online and retail
Weight: 47 grams
Cycling vests are a great addition to your wardrobe. Those cool mornings that warm up an hour into your ride. Climbing in the mountains and need wind protection on the descents. Or even getting caught in precipitation. But carrying a vest or jacket can be bulky. It won’t fit in most saddle bags, some styles can be crammed into a jersey pocket, or I’ve even seen riders use an empty tennis ball can in their bottle cage to stow gear.
Sportful introduced their Hot Pack Ultralight line that includes a windproof, water-resistant and breathable vest that packs down to the size of two gel packs and weighs only 47 grams. When I received the press release a while back, I didn’t believe it could be that packable. But when my sample arrived I was amazed. The material is so thin and light weight, that I was worried it would rip easily. But I’ve put it through its paces packing it in saddle bags and jersey pockets with no rips or holes. I even accidentally caught it in the zipper of my saddle bag and experienced no damage to the fabric.
Note: While preparing this review, I was informed that the sample I received has since been improved. The new material used is still ultralight, but is more durable and has a better feel. The increase in durability has taken the weight from 39 grams to 47 grams.
Fit and Function
The Hot Pack Ultralight vest is only available in men’s sizes. Thus, the fit was suited more for a man than a woman’s figure. Since I didn’t fill out the chest/shoulders the vest did tend to flap in the wind. I’m sure this was due to the men’s sizing and not the design.
Other than the fit, the vest functioned very well. It was wind-proof, water-resistant and breathable. I tested it on cool windy conditions as well as warm and drizzly. The vest was very breathable due to the two vents located at the upper back and the mesh fabric side panels. Remember this is a light weight vest and not insulated, so don’t expect it to keep you warm. It’s designed to keep the wind out, thus dress appropriately.
For added comfort the armholes are made of elastic binding which allows for unobstructed movement. Many wind vests don’t have stretch in the armholes and can be restrictive for a rider. The waist band also has an elastic binding for a better fit.
The small rear pocket is used to stow the vest when not in use. But can fit a cell phone (my iPhone 7 fit) or nutrition. There are also reflective elements to aid in visibility in low light situations.
The Sportful Hot Pack Ultralight vest is remarkably packable and light weight while functioning great to keep the wind out. Add in breathability and this vest is the perfect option for multi-day bike tours or local rides where the weather may change mid-ride. It is on the pricey side but well worth it for its packability.
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.