Review by Courtney Steen // Photos by Brandon Turman
"That's it!" I had enough of trying to get by in the rain with a hand-me-down rain jacket that just wasn’t cutting it. On more than one occasion I missed rides because it was more than sprinkling out and I knew my jacket wouldn't suffice - it didn't breath well, the hood was useless with a helmet on, and the cut just wasn't right for riding. And so began my search for a legit rain jacket for mountain biking.
Designed for women, Sombrio's Artemyde jacket looked like it would fit the bill. With a focus on freeride mountain biking, Sombrio made it their mission to develop leading designs, manufacture high performance apparel, and inspire the world to ride bikes. With hopes that it would inspire me to not let a little rain keep me from the trails, let’s take a look at how the Artemyde performed in the real world.
Women's Artemyde Jacket Highlights
- Four-way stretch, waterproof, breathable fabric with Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish (W/P 10,000mm)
- S Tek II fabric
- Completely seam sealed
- YKK Aquaguard VISLON zipper on center front and pockets
- Pockets have external storm flaps
- Inner pocket, adjustable cord lock waistband
- Inner storm flap and chin guard
- Underarm laser etched ventilation
- Fully adjustable peaked hood with hidden cord lock system
- Headphone cord port from pocket to inside of jacket
- Sombrio silicone gel grip pull tabs on cuffs
- Laser cut, low profile Velcro
- Sublimated print
- Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
- Colors: Blacktastic or A.C. Slate Fromme Print
- MSRP: $229.00
Excitedly putting on my new mid-weight riding jacket, I was pleased to see it had a nice cut and was tapered at the bottom to be longer in back. It passed the can-you-fix-your-ponytail/can-you-tighten-your-helmet test, and I found the fabric to be nice and stretchy. The jacket has no liner on the inside, and small holes laser etched in the armpits provide ventilation. Elastic hood adjustments tighten down the front around the face and pull back the sides, opening up peripheral lines of sight – like a ninja! The tabs for these and for the elastic in the bottom hem are all tucked away so they won’t flap around in the wind or snag on the bike. Every single seam is sealed, the front zipper is waterproof, and pocket zippers are waterproof with storm flaps. At first glance it didn’t look like any water was going to be sneaking into this jacket, but the real test would be on the trail in the wet.
On The Trail
This summer I traveled to between California, Oregon, and Whistler to ride, fully expecting some heavy rain along the way. Surprisingly the Pacific Northwest was full of sunshine and devoid of rainbows – you have to have rain to have rainbows – and I had more opportunities to wear the Artemyde jacket as a layer of warmth at night and on chilly rides than as a rain jacket. It worked fine for that, but that’s not what I really wanted it for. The jacket, the trails, and myself were hungry for some rain! Thankfully, before having to resort to rain dances, it finally rained in Whistler. Thank you Canada. I knew you wouldn’t let me down. The trails drank it up, but this jacket did not.
The Artemyde jacket fits great for riding. It's nicely fitted for women: there’s space to comfortably zip up the jacket around the hips, and it keeps a slim fit up through the shoulders that doesn’t flap around in the wind. The hood will cover a trail helmet easily, and with a little bit of stretching (probably only to be done on the lift) will cover about half a downhill helmet. It will at least keep the rain off your neck for the lift ride to the top of the mountain. Though I initially thought the sleeves might be too long before riding in the jacket, they are in fact the perfect length to keep my arms covered when my hands are on the bars. The extra length down my back was also perfect. It kept my lower back covered when hunkered over riding.
Since the jacket didn’t have a liner, it was much more comfortable to wear with a long sleeve jersey than a short sleeve. The material felt cold before I got warmed up, then it felt a bit clammy when I did get warm. On the days that the rain showers were light and intermittent, the jacket worked like a charm and the water beaded up and rolled off the DWR finish. When it was raining more heavily, it was awesome to be out playing in the bike park, but this jacket wasn’t always a fortress of dryness. The jacket is rated as W/P 10,000mm after all. In theory this is the amount of water a material can resist over a 24-hour period without letting it through. In practice, though, it resists water under light to moderate rain. I did get a little bit damp wearing it in the heavier rain with added splatter from the tires, but far from as sopping wet as the rest of me was. Some of that dampness was likely me sweating. I could wring water out my shorts, but not my jersey. The rides were worth it and were epic. I’d do them again in this jacket.
This Fall in Utah, really wanting to squeeze in an afternoon ride despite the heavy rain out on the horizon, I threw the jacket in my pack for a trail ride. Seven miles out the rain caught up with me. I had just enough time to get the jacket on, zip it up, and transfer my phone from my shorts to the jacket pocket where it would stay dry before the rain hit with full force. The rest of the ride was a sprint to the finish to escape the lightning, gusting winds, and clay-like mud that would quickly form. The jacket kept me warm and dry, minus my sweating bullets over the nearness of the lightning strikes and busting my ass to get to safety. In the cold, this jacket was fine for trail riding. If it was a more temperate day with rain, though, I might be uncomfortably sweaty in this mid-weight and less breathable jacket. It's clearly designed for freeriding or park laps.
Things That Could Be Improved
My first wish for this jacket would be some sort of light liner fabric. Unless I wore a long sleeve jersey, the jacket material felt cold and clammy on my skin. Kind of a gross feeling, much like wearing a plastic bag. An added thin liner would make the jacket much more comfortable, feel warmer when it’s cold out, and feel less muggy when you are warmed up from riding.
Another feature that could be nice, though would open the jacket up to the elements more, would be zippered pit vents. The laser-cut vents surely let air pass into the jacket and probably keep out a fair share of water, but there were times I found myself wishing I could opt for more air. Riding up the lift after a run, I would have loved to cool down a bit but the air movement from the lift moving and drizzling rain made opening up the front zip a bit too chilly of an option. A jacket with laser-cut vents is too hot; a jacket opened up down the middle is too cold; a jacket with pit-zipped vents is usually just right.
Long Term Durability
So far this jacket has held together just fine under its periodic use. All the seam tape is securely in place and nothing is coming apart. The lifetime of the DWR coating hasn’t reached its end yet, though its exposure to much rain or muck has been pretty minimal so far. After a sloppy ride, I’ve also just been brushing off the mud rather than washing the jacket. DWR coatings are at their best when new, but their performance can diminish with use. I’m unsure how many washes and muddy rides this DWR coating could handle before wearing off, but I would like to keep this jacket up and running for a while before having to try re-waterproofing it. Luckily spray-on and wash-in reapplication products are available to accomplish this.
What's The Bottom Line?
The women’s Artemyde Jacket works great for light to moderate rain. If it’s a day you should be wearing a plastic jump suit or scuba gear to keep bone dry, you probably should. Don't expect miracles from a jacket rated to 10,000mm. It did a pretty darn good job though. I’ll probably continue to use it for any level of rain I choose to go out in. It could be one of the best jackets in the world if it had a liner in it, but I’m still happy to use it. Bring it on – rain or shine – I’m ready to ride.
Cruise over to bike.sombriocartel.com for more details.
About The Reviewer
Courtney Steen has been hitting the dirt on two wheels since 2007. She raced alongside her collegiate cycling team in every event from XC and short track to downhill and mountain cross, scoring several podiums, fist pumps and shiny medals along the way. A dream trail for this girl has lots of down, some fast and flowy bits, and like the sprinkles on a cupcake, some fun technical sections to keep her on her toes – we’re talking mountain biking after all, not cruising a sidewalk. Courtney currently lives on the road with her boyfriend in a 5th wheel toy hauler loaded with bikes, traveling from one mountain bike mecca to the next in search of the best trails North America has to offer. Anytime she's on a bike and in the dirt, she has two thumbs up and a big smile.