Endura Xtract Jacket: First Impressions- by Guitar Ted
Spring rains and winds have brought out the rain gear here and now that I have had several opportunities to ride in the Xtract Jacket by Endura, (introduced here), I can give you my impressions on this very packable item.
The basic tech features of this jacket were all laid out in the introduction, so if you need to see that, click the link. Here you will get my first impressions of the jacket. It definitely ticks the “packable’ box, as it stuffs into its included bag, which is color matched to the jacket, to come down to a size I would call “half a standard water bottle” for reference. Pretty small, and it can easily be stowed away into a hydration pack or frame bag.
The fit and feel of this jacket is a sleek, performance style with a minimalistic functionality. As Endura clearly states, this is intended as “emergency protection” from showers and rain should your ride lead you into some inclement weather. So, you won’t find much for pockets here. In fact, there is one small zippered pouch about the size of a smart phone located on the right lower corner. You get a full length zip guard, elasticized cuffs, some reflective bits, and nice vent across the back of the shoulders. You can expect to pay about $90.00 for this jacket, by the way.
I found the arm length to be spot on, and I do have longish arms for reference. Reaching for the drops on my gravel bike showed no sleeve “creep” and the shoulders weren’t tight. The fit, as stated, is a close fitting one, and you won’t have any issues with flapping fabric with the Xtract. The athletic fit does only leave just enough space to maybe use a jersey with a wool jersey over the top, should you want to ride when it is around freezing up into the low 40′s. Thankfully, the Xtract cuts the wind quite nicely, but do keep in mind that when it is against your skin, you’ll feel how cold the air is. So, use in cooler temps with the advisement that you may not be able to layer enough depending on personal needs and preferences. I was fine with the aforementioned wool jersey over a standard cycling jersey at those temperatures, but you may not be!
Speaking of temperatures, the Endura folk make the claim of “waterproof yet breathable” which we hear all too often in descriptions of rain gear. I can say that in terms of the first descriptor, Endura is correct. At least as far as emergency rain protection goes. I have been caught out in a few light rain showers in the Xtract and came home dry underneath. Mostly….. Of course, the jacket isn’t totally breathable, but it is okay until the air temperatures get into the 60′s and above or if it is warm and humid. Then fagedda boudit. In those cases, you will get somewhat clammy inside if you are working at the cranks at all.
That said, it is better than some jackets I’ve used in the rain, and far more packable than anything else I’ve had. From the standpoint of the benefits versus the nit picks, the Xtract has been a big plus so far. I can pack it into a medium sized seat bag, a frame bag, a hydration pack, or my messenger bag with ease when it is stowed into its little red bag. (Although keeping track of the bag can be a bit annoying!) It is easy to pop out and zip on at a moments notice when the rain does fall, and so far it has kept me dry from the rain. I could see this as a great jacket to throw on when you get higher at altitude or when you have a long downhill ahead of you that promises to chill your bones if you don’t take care. (Grannygear is nodding his head at this point! )
That’s all adding up to a good first impression. I will take some more time with this jacket yet before I render my Final Review soon and then I will give a verdict on the Xtract Jacket.
Note: Endura sent over the Xtract Jacket at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches for test and review. We are not being bribed nor paid for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.