Pearl Izumi’s Elite Barrier Convertible Jacket. This jacket is lightweight, packable, wind-proof, and even water-resistant. In addition to all that, the sleeves can be zipped off in seconds, turning it into a vest.
The Barrier fabric is great at sealing out wind, and there are covered vents on the back to allow
some breathing. Although the jacket isn't specifically a rain shell (remember – it’s “water-resistant” –
not “waterproof”), I have been caught in a few unexpected light showers and found that it does a good
job of repelling the wet stuff. I don’t know how it would do in an extended heavy downpour, though,
but it isn't intended to be a substitute for serious rain gear. Pearl Izumi calls the fit “semi-form fitting”
which is close enough to minimize wind flapping, but loose enough to allow easy layering underneath.
The collar comes up fairly high on the neck and there is elastic at the cuffs to keep the cold wind out. For
convenience, there are zippered hand pockets on the sides. It also has some reflective detailing to help
I find that this jacket works for a wide variety of weather conditions. Paired with an insulated
jersey and a base layer, I use it in temperatures down into the low- to mid- 30s. As temperatures rise,
the sleeves can be taken off to keep just my chest shielded from wind. The whole jacket can be packed
away into a seat bag or handlebar bag without too much trouble, too. Pearl Izumi makes a regular “non-convertible” version of this jacket as well, but in my opinion, the added utility and functionality of the
convertible – being a vest and jacket in one garment – really makes it worth the extra dollars.
Peninsula, though the new Medina store is super nice.