A windproof vest is an essential piece of clothing for any cyclist. When the temperature starts dropping in the fall I usually wear one over a short sleeve jersey, along with a pair of arm warmers. Then as the temperature increases most vests are thin enough to roll up and put into a jersey pocket. While I own several good cycling vests, my absolute favorite is the Louis Garneau Vent 2 Vest.
Like many cycling vests, the Vent 2 Vent is made from ripstop fabric and is tear resistant. This vest is windproof, yet very breathable (the front of the vest blocks the wind while the mesh on the back allows moisture to escape). The front of this vest closes with a two-way zipper and has an inner flap behind the zipper to block the wind. The zipper also has a chin guard (or garage) to keep the metal on the zipper from cutting your neck.
The back of this vest has something that most cycling vests lack, i.e., two large pockets. I have never understood my most vests lack rear pockets. You usually want a tight fit on vests to cut down on wind drag, but this makes it nearly impossible to get your hands into the jersey pockets. This vest also has an adjustable elastic drawstring at hem for secure fit.
The Louis Garneau Vent 2 Vest comes in three colors (Bright Yellow, Ginger, and Black). I bought the black vest because I intended on using this for off-road trails where I don’t have to worry about motorists running into me. Under normal circumstances I would never wear a black jersey or jacket while riding on the road. However, this vest has more reflective piping that any other piece of clothing I own—from shoulders to waist and on both front and back this vest makes it easy for motorists to see you from a long way off. In addition, this is the only vest I own that has a rubber tab on the back (near the bottom of the vest) that allows you to clip on a flasher like the Planet Bike Superflash Turbo or the Portland Design Works RADBOT 1000.
The Louis Garneau Vent 2 Vest retails for $50 and if your local bike shop does not have it in stock it is available from many online retailers, such as Amazon.com and RealCyclist.com. This vest is available in five sizes (S, M, L, XL, and XXL), but some retailers do not carry all sizes and/or colors. I found this vest to be true to size. Louis Garneau also makes this vest in a special design for women.