Like Braunschweiger and Topfenstruedel, the lightweight, compact and weather-resistant Maloja Tina jacket ($159) is another fine example of German engineering! But first, a lesson in pronunciation. Maloja is pronounced “Muh-Low-Yah.” Say it with me. Maloja.
Check you out! You’re speaking German!
What I liked
- Good weather-resistance in moderate rain. For a jacket that is so slight in weight and girth, the Maloja Tina is (un)surprisingly very water-resistant in light rain and drizzle thanks to its DWR-treated exterior. I encountered this phenom just last week riding to work. I pulled out of my garage in the gentle mist that emanates from fog and figured I’d be fine in the Tina; three minutes later it became a full-on drizzle that persisted for a thirty-two minute commute to work. As is typical with anything coated with DWR, the exterior was wet but I was dry underneath.
- Good wind-resistance in moderate wind. The Maloja Tina won’t protect you from chilly gusts in the forty mile per hour range but for those nor’easters that blew in the ten range I certainly didn’t feel any penetration or chill.
- Warmth without the bulk. The Maloja Tina is insulated with Primaloft, which is a good synthetic insulator. When it gets wet, it still keeps one warm. It kept me plenty warm on rides as low as thirty-eight degrees and on the days when I rode in drizzling rain. Some context is needed though when talking about a jacket’s warmth. On the thirty-eight degree morning I was wearing a lightweight long-sleeved merino wool baselayer. The other benefit to the Maloja Tina’s bulk-free warmth is that it can be worn as a midlayer on colder ride days.
- Fit and sizing. The Maloja Tina is a fitted jacket so layering for cold riders is limited to a lightweight baselayer, such as Merino wool. However, because I wear a small, and the sample I received was a medium, I was able to wear a heavier weight baselayer underneath—but still use it as a midlayer under a warmer jacket or even under a rain jacket. So, depending on how fitted you want the jacket, you can easily go one size up and not feel or look as if you’re wearing a jacket that is too big. My own personal opinion? Go a size up because it will give you more options on baselayers.
Packable. For me, this is a really big selling point. This time of year when I bike commute, the mornings require a jacket but the afternoons don’t. Since my pannier is already full of the crap I pack for work, real estate is at a premium. So to have a jacket that is both warm and packs down to the size of a beer glass is a major bonus for me.
- Helmet-compatible hood. Weather and temperature change on rides. It just does. I have been on rides in the fall and spring where the temperature and conditions are pleasant, so I leave the balaclava at home. When the chilly winds pick up, or it starts raining, the Maloja Tina’s hood fits snug and bulk-free under my helmet and, thanks to the elastic binding, it completely covers and protects my ears. And because it’s also treated with DWR, it keeps my head dry.
What I didn’t like
- The elastic hem. I know this sounds ungrateful but I like my jacket hems to sit below my waist and not be elastic. I am constantly yanking the hem down because it bunches up around my waist. Although the bunchiness could be a result of the jacket being a size medium when I normally wear a small.
- Availability in the U.S. What’s on their German site doesn’t always match what’s on their U.S. site
Final thoughts and a parting shot
In a lot of cycling tops and jackets, going a size up for me hasn’t ended well. Shoulders hang to my elbows. Hems drop to my thighs. Excessive fabric flaps in the wind. I haven’t experienced any of those with the Maloja Tina—or the Maloja Betta jersey.
Which leads me to believe Maloja is harboring some top industry secret in its sizing department. Size androgyny! It works. I guess what I’m saying is if you’re looking for a size small online, and they only have size medium, you will not regret the size medium—in shirts and jackets, that is. The bottoms that I have tested, like the snappy Maloja Pischa cycling skort should be purchased based on your regular short/pant size.
But back to the Maloja Tina. I give it five gold stars for every element except for the elastic hem, which is a bit of an annoyance for me. Other cycling jackets have this same design, which I still find annoying but like the jacket despite it. The only difference with the Maloja though is the fabric bunchiness at the waist when the elastic hem rides up. But I think this might be a result of it being a size bigger than I normally wear.
Which leads to another dilemma. As it’s difficult to find Maloja in brick and mortar stores in the United States, you’ll need to make exchanges via the online experience.
Regardless, of these quirks, the Maloja Tina is worth the hassle and has thus been christened a Gear Gals Piece of Recommended Gear.