One of Sportful’s most successful products, the Hot Pack 5 Women's Donna Jacket is a cycling wardrobe staple that’s guaranteed to save your skin in the frenzied British weather. It will also earn you some style points; wear it and you can expect admiring comments and jealous quips.
This is a super lightweight, emergency jacket – it’s not designed to be worn all the time – but with bold claims of being water-resistant, wind-resistant, breathable, lightweight and packable I set out to see what all the fuss was about.
A windy spring day, when the temperature was fluctuating by the minute from warm to freezing, the Hot Pack seemed like a good alternative to layering with a long-sleeved jersey and gilet – a combination that I find suits days between 10-15 degrees but admittedly doesn’t offer great wind protection.
Worried that under this long-sleeved jacket I’d overheat, I rode with just a short-sleeved jersey and base layer underneath. I fully expected to end up looking like I’d taken a shower but the under arm and back vents allow for some degree of heat transfer. What’s more, whilst the fabric may look like paper it’s incredible effective at keeping the wind at bay, while maintaining allowing sufficient airflow to keep you dry.
My second outing in the Hot Pack was in the rain – not great riding weather but a perfect platform for testing the water-repellent features of the jacket. Sportful doesn’t state that this is a water-proof jacket, so it would be fair to expect protection from light showers and not downpours; there’s not a lot that will keep you dry in a full-on hail storm... But despite getting a soaking I dried out pretty quickly when the sun came out.
Weighing just 50g the Hot Pack Donna Jacket is paper-thin but surprisingly durable; I’d half expected to rip the fabric by just doing up the zip. The key to this durability is the tight weave of the super fine, Schoeller® NanoSphere® fabric, which uses seven denier yarn – if you consider that Marks and Sparks ‘invisible’ women’s tights weigh five denier you’ll get the picture…
The close Italian cut and contoured panelling makes for a stylish fit – the jacket is slightly more tailored than the men’s version (a deterrent to partners on the rob) and the high collar not only provides protection from the elements but looks good too. This is a simple jacket and there are not a lot of fancy features but the reflective strips, lightweight zip (12g) and an internal “stuff pack” are nifty additions.
Personally, I found the thumb-holes annoying but they’re there to seal out the wind; they pulled a little and rubbed under my gloves.
All in all the Sportful Hot Pack 5 Women's Donna Jacket is a smart, highly versatile jacket that can outdo the British elements and that’s pretty clever.
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