November is the time of year where the weather is highly unpredictable and every cyclist needs a warm but lightweight jacket for when the unexpected happens. The Pearl Izumi Versa Quilted Hoodie ($220) is wind and water resistant, and, after two months of testing, is versatile enough to wear on the running and xc skiing trails. Here’s why I love it:
It’s warm: Insulated with 133 grams of Primaloft Gold, the Pearl Izumi Versa Quilted Hoodie delivers bulk-free warmth for temperatures in the low-forties to mid-fifties. Wind-resistance is excellent thanks to its mix of softshell fabric, quilted insulated core and light fleece lining on the inside of the sleeves.
It’s even warmer with a heavier baselayer: Pearl Izumi states on their website that the Versa Quilted Hoodie is best suited for the temperature range of forty degrees to fifty-five degrees. I found this to be true, but also found that the relaxed fit makes it very easy to add a mid-weight merino wool baselayer, keeping me plenty comfortable on rides as low as thirty degrees. Depending on where you live, this can take you deeper into winter.
It’s versatile: In an era where the price of quality gear is climbing, it’s important to invest dollars wisely. When a $220 cycling jacket can be used beyond its intended purpose helps to ease the pain of higher price tag. During my testing period I also used it for cross-country skiing and trail running with great results in the warmth and breathability department, thanks to the breathable softshell panels along the sides and arms that effectively transferred heat to reduce sweating.
Subtle extras: For the cyclist, reflective elements are strategically placed on the sleeves, chest pocket and rear drop-tail for good visibility. Storage capacity is more than adequate with four pockets—two hand pockets with snap closures, a zippered chest pocket with a snap closure and a zippered rear pocket. The hood is helmet-friendly for those days when you forget your balaclava or misjudge the temperature. However, the fabric is a bit on the thick side so your helmet will need to be adjusted.
How I tested it: The Pearl Izumi Versa Quilted Hoodie was used during the months of October and November for bike commuting, trail running and day hiking in the Twin Cities and northern Minnesota in a wide range of temperatures and wind to test its warmth, function and wind resistance.