This is a review of the Gore Oxygen jacket.
The Oxygen is a Gore Active Shell jacket. It has no pockets, and is an incredibly trim fit–intended for road riding. It is perhaps the world’s best “throw it in your jersey pocket in case it rains” coat, ever. That’s not to diminish its functionality–it’s great as a wearable raincoat too.
Before this, I used a Bontrager jacket that was waterproof, but not breathable, as my jersey pocket ‘just in case’ coat. The Gore is so much better. It is unbelievably warm, windproof, waterproof and breathable, and perfectly tailored. I have NOT worn it in warm weather yet, and cannot report on how it does there…but in 40-60 degree weather, it’s amazing. I wore it yesterday, and it was low 50s. With this and a long sleeve jersey, I was totally warm–had to unzip a bit. When it started dumping rain, I was perfectly dry inside the coat…it is totally waterproof, seams and all. The no frills, no pockets design keeps it very trim when it’s stashed in your jersey, and keeps it very slim when the wind is beating on you as you ride. It doesn’t collect any water and doesn’t catch the wind.
I’m 6′ tall and about 150#. I wear a 16-34/35 dress shirt, and a medium in most T-shirts and jerseys. A Medium in the Gore fits me perfectly…there’s even enough arm length. Nice features abound:
- The zipper is stiff enough that you can, one-handed, zip it up or down comfortably.
- When fully zipped, there is a nice gauntlet collar to keep rain from running down your neck.
- The sleeves are a tapered fit, with zippers that open so you can either ride with the sleeves loose, or zip them down over your gloves.
- The tail is extended, and has a soft, rubberized edge. The rubber edge means that you can tuck the tail up inside the jacket (when not needed) and it will stay in place…or you can pull the tail out and cover your rear, and the rubber holds it nicely down.
How about a few terrible pictures of it?
On my ride yesterday, it was raining when I left home. I had the Oxygen on, and rode out to Johnson’s Mound, and the rain had subsided. I folded up the Oxygen and threw it in my jersey, for an hour of beating myself up on the hill. As I neared the end of my leg’s willingness to pedal, it started to rain. I threw the jacket back on, and it started dumping. I spun home, and the jacket kept me nice and dry–totally functional.
It is short in front…which is a perfect length for riding a road bike (or the Vaya). The dimensions are all perfect for cycling…it’s a piece of kit that was clearly designed for cyclists, by cyclists. There’s room underneath for a couple layers, too…and the jacket is stretchy, which adds to its comfort.
If you’re looking for a great, trim raincoat for cycling, look no further. If you’re looking for the world’s best ‘jersey pocket’ jacket…this is it. It’s too soon for me to give a durability rating, but if it holds up like the Fusion and Phantom, I’ll be thrilled.