How obtained: review sample
Availability: online and retail
Sizes: XS – XXL (unisex)
Colors: fluorescent yellow or black
Material: 100% polyester (Teflon-coated)
RBR sponsor: No
Time tested: 25 hours
Quality Commuting Jacket for the Money
Hi-vis seemed to be one of the recurring themes at Interbike 2016. One of my vendor visits was with Visijax, which won an InnovationAward at the CES (consumer electronics and tech trade show) in 2015. Founded in 2011, Visijax is the consumer products subsidiary of Wearable Technologies Ltd. and offers an array of products including jackets, vests, backpacks/backpack covers and belts. I was intrigued by the fact that not only could you wear the technology but that it was machine washable.
23 Embedded LED Lights
What makes this jacket unique is the wearable technology. There are 23 embedded LED lights located on the chest (white), sleeves front/back (amber) and tail (red). A single control unit located in the inside breast pocket activates all the LED lights. There are three settings available: slow flash, fast flash and constant. According to the manufacturer, the USB-rechargeable battery lasts for up to 20 hours of continuous use. During testing, that seemed fairly accurate.
The amber turn-signal lights located on the sleeves activate when you raise your arm above 90 degrees to indicate a turn. These lights will continue to flash for 10 seconds and then self-cancel. The jacket also has reflective elements at various spots to increase visibility further.
To launder the jacket, I simply unplugged the battery and removed it from the inside breast pocket. Using the delicate cycle, I washed the jacket in cold water and line-dried it. The LED lights were undamaged.
I’ve worn the jacket in different temperatures and conditions, ranging from 27-65 degrees F (-2.8 to 18C), as well as in the rain and snow. One unexpected benefit was that the jacket in the cold and snow helped keep the chill at bay, even though it is so lightweight.
The company touts it as being breathable, but like many (most?) waterproof jackets, I didn’t find it very breathable at all, despite it having two arm pit venting holes and chest/back venting. Unzipping the jacket slightly helped to circulate air, but I did tend to sweat while wearing it. (I’d recommend adding zipper side vents like on Visijax’ City Ace jacket to help with ventilation and breathability.)
I also found that the unisex sizing tends to be more suited the male physique, so keep this in mind when purchasing. And the rear pocket zipper seemed to easily get caught on the fabric flap that covered it.
Despite these relatively minor negatives, the numerous positive features easily win the day – especially considering how reasonably priced this jacket is for such a well-made garment. Other features include:
- Waterproof and windproof keeps you warm as well as dry
- Taped seams for added waterproofing
- Dupont Teflon®-coated fabric helps mud and road grime slide off a bit easier
- Velcro® cuffs let you adjust the fit
- Large zippered pouch on jacket tail for added storage
- Longer jacket tail for added protection from spray
- Concealed front pockets and inner pocket
- Lightweight and easily packable into a small pouch
- Two arm pit venting holes and chest/back venting
- USB-rechargeable battery lasts for up to 20 hours of continuous use
- Free ICEid Tag (see below for more information)
- 12-month limited warranty
Added Safety with Free ICEid Tag
An ICEid Tag comes free with this jacket. All you have to do is register and create an Emergency Contact Record with medical conditions, medications, blood group and contact information. Then in an accident, any first responder can scan the QR code to instantly access your information. It’s very similar to the RoadID, ECOS EID and other products. The jacket comes with a small tag hanging from the front zipper, as well as a helmet sticker.
For the money, this is a really nice jacket. It’s well-made, keeps you visible to drivers, is lightweight and easily machine washable, even with all the LED lights. The addition of a free ICEid tag echoes the company’s commitment to safe cycling.
My only real quibble with the jacket is the lack of breathability. But if you plan to use it for commuting, you’re probably not putting in maximum effort when riding, thus not producing a lot of heat. So breathability might not be a major issue. If you are in the market for a waterproof jacket with hi-visibility, check out the full line of wearable technology on the Visijax site.