Oxford Chillout Jacket, £79.99 (£69.99 for thin people)
Time tested: 5000 miles/12 months
What’s good? I’m not a big fan of undersuits, or clever extra layers. Already being a gentleman of morbidly obese proportions, extra layers tend only to make my normal garments tighter, or make a nuisance of themselves by bunching up uncomfortably. So I was quite surprised that, when faced with few alternatives, I got on rather well with the Chillout Multi-Sport jacket. While commuting from Bath to Peterborough by bike throughout last winter, a bike jacket wasn’t up to keeping the cold at bay long enough for me to be comfortable (and safely conscious), so I gave in, and tried this extra layer. And it’s impressed me greatly. The fit is good, it’s soft-lined and comfortable to wear over a t-shirt, and its wind-stopping and thermal properties are excellent. While it can’t perform miracles – you’ll get cold in the end – it made 2.5 hours at speed in sub-zero temperatures entirely bearable. It’s also great under a normal jacket, or as standalone jacket, when you’re out for a walk at the weekend. Trousers, gloves and socks are also available.
What’s not? I find the collar a bit high, so would rather it finished lower, allowing for it to intrude less on my jacket’s closure, and reduce the amount of neck-clutter when wearing a thermal neck tube as the connecting barrier between jacket and helmet.
Quality rating: 4/5
Value rating: 4/5