Review – dhb Flashlight Compact-XT jacket

dhb-Flashlight-Compact-XT-Waterproof-Jacket-Cycling-Waterproof-Jackets-Fluoro-NU0067-2-2

dhb-Flashlight-Compact-XT-Waterproof-Jacket-Cycling-Waterproof-Jackets-Fluoro

Next up in my dhb reviews is this nifty cycling jacket courtesy of those nice folk at Wiggle.  This is the kind of jacket I think every cyclist needs to have, no matter whether you’re a short distance commuter riding a heap of junk to the station, or a no-expense-spared biker subscribing to the n+1 approach.  While it’s quite nice, it’s not perfect.  Read on….

What it is

At £64.99 this is a mid range water proof jacket, with a cycling cut which means it has longer arms and a bit of a tail to keep your backside protected.  It is claimed to be breathable, it has some nice touches (see below) and these include some highly reflective patches.

I selected the bright yellow version.  It is a seriously bright yellow with some kind of fluorescent finish so it really catches your eye from a distance.  There is a blue version also available and while I think it looks nice, it’s not quite so conspicuous but it still has all of the reflective features.

This dhb Flashlight Compact jacket is ideal for cyclists who want to be seen: it has it’s place for urban commuters and also those venturing out into dark country lanes.

Features

There’s a couple of decent sized pockets in the usual places i.e. on the chest (great for a smart phone) and at the lower back.  This pocket is useful enough for a punch of keys, an inner tube and a snack (helpfully not so big that you cannot find anything!).  The zips appear to be high quality and these are sewn in perfectly.  Interestingly the back pocket has an extended tag on the zip to make it easier to find – there are many times before when I have fumbled around trying to find a back pocket zip and this pretty much solves this problem.

water beading off the dhb jacket

water beading off the dhb jacket

I have mentioned the reflective panels already.  These are dotted around and are the well respected 3M Scotchlite material which claim high levels of visibility and durability.

The collar is finished with a thin fleece layer which brings some comfort and takes away the stiffness of the collar, although it does absorb some water (see hose pipe test below…).

The cuffs are partly elasticated and have a velcro adjuster: these both work well together.  Also there is an elasticated draw cord on each side at the hem to pull the waist in to have a nice snug fit.

I have already mentioned the material but I’d like to add there is a ventilation flap across the back and the actual material seems pretty tough.  In fact there appears to be a kind of “rip stop” ability incorporated into the material and there is a finish which causes water to simply roll off.

It is worth at this stage saying something about the construction: it is superbly made.  I have been all over looking for any imprecations and there aren’t any at all.  The accuracy of the taped seams are spot on and every single stitch is perfect.  In terms of the construction, I cannot fault it in any way and believe me, I have looked really hard!

That’s all very well but what’s it like to use?

On the whole it’s pretty good but not perfect.

My loving family decided they would offer their full support in the interests of my blogging.  Knowing we haven’t had much rain recently I was frog marched out into the garden and hosed down!

dhb jacket and the hose pipe test

dhb jacket and the hose pipe test

Needless to say they got a bit carried away spraying me from all angles at close range but I stood there very dutifully, as one does.  I took the precaution of wearing shorts and I’m certainly needed I should as it was like I was standing there in a monsoon.  I can say there was absolutely NO water getting in: there was nothing getting in through the material or the zips or the pockets or the seams or anywhere.

The fit is relaxed and ideal for every day use such as commuting and has enough room for you to have a few layers on underneath.  I went for the medium size and it had the right length of sleeves.  The tail does extend below the waist which is helpful but to be honest I would go for an extra two inches.

The less perfect element is the breathability.  Having cycled around at ordinary speeds and not getting seriously out of breath, it was fine.  Having used it for club running with a few intervals, I was a bit humid inside.

Conclusions

Pros
Highly visible, good for night time use (especially the yellow one)
Water proof
Wind proof
Very practical
Superb construction
Fair price

Cons
Not totally breathable
Could be a little longer at the back (this is nit-picking)

Overall
While not perfect, this should perform well with considerable durability.

Useful links

Click here for the jacket on Wiggle
Click here for all other dhb jackets

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2 Responses to Review – dhb Flashlight Compact-XT jacket

  1. Dave Davis says:

    Great review Doug, very thorough.

    This jacket looks rather good, with decent sized reflective patches and unusually, looks from the picture like they have been generous with the reflective patches on the sides of the jacket. I tend to find that so many garments and bike-lights alike are rather neglectful of giving the cyclist adequate side-on visibility. This baffles me, as it just as important as front-to-back visibility, and if anything the cyclist is less likely to spot a car pulling out towards him from a side junction, and so needs every bit of help he can get from side-lighting and hi-viz garments.

    I often wonder thoug, how effective these rear vent flaps are that they put into rain jackets. I’d imagine that little air does actually circulate through them in practice, when one is leaning forward and the fabric is taut. In windy weather such as we have had today, I always suspect that the flap is being blown open and allowing a nice large target for those rain drops to attack my back. Probably just my paranoia though!

    • doug says:

      Many thanks Dave, glad you found it helpful.
      With the ventilation flaps, I don’t think you need worry about rain getting blown in. Some air will flow through but as you say, it depends on how you are on the bike, whether it is pulled tight etc.
      As I mentioned in the review, while it is not completely perfect, it is still a great for a mid-range jacket.

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