Have you ever bought a cheap polyester cycling jacket from one of the “big box” sporting goods store? The first time you wore did you feel like you were wearing a plastic garbage bag? Those cheap jackets are usually not very breathable and they are often so loose-fitting that they create extra drag when cycling. If you are looking for a well-made jacket for cycling, running or cross-country skiing I would suggest you take a look at the Pearl Izumi Men’s Elite Barrier Jacket.
The Pearl Izumi Men’s Elite Barrier Jacket is a lightweight, breathable jacket that is both water and wind resistant. Though it will never take the place of “full-time” rain jacket like the Showers Pass Touring Jacket, it will keep you dry if you get caught out in the rain. This 100% polyester jacket is not insulated—its main purpose is to block the wind. I like to wear it over an insulated long-sleeve jersey when the temperature is in the low 50’s.
My favorite feature on this jacket are the Direct-Vent panels—they allow moisture to escape from under your arm pits and this keeps the inside of the jacket very dry. There is also a full-length internal draft flap (with zipper garage) to keep the heat in—or you can unzip it a bit to allow some extra air in. This jacket also has contoured sleeves with elasticized hem and cuffs.
This jacket only has one pocket—it is on the back of the jacket and is rather small. There is enough room to store your cell phone, keys and several gel packs, but it is not very easy to get into. This pocket closes with a strip of Velcro. There are reflective elements on both the front and back of this jacket to make it easier for cars to see you in low-light situations.
This jacket is available in five sizes (S, M, L, XL, and XXL) and appears to be true to size, though it does have a semi-form fit. The Elite Barrier Jacket comes in several colors, including Black, White, True Blue, True Red, Safety Orange, and Screaming Yellow.
The Pearl Izumi Men’s Elite Barrier Jacket has a suggested retail price of $90. If your local bike shop does not have this jacket in stock you can easily find it listed at many online retailers, such as Amazon.com, L.L.Bean, Bike Nashbar. This jacket is machine washable (but the manufacturer recommend to you avoid the use of fabric softeners).