ISO the perfect on-and-off-the-bike jacket
February 14, 2014 11:16 PM   Subscribe

I'd like a jacket that's suitable for bicycling during most of the year in the SF Bay Area, offers some resistance against wind and light rain, isn't too warm, doesn't look overly sporty, comes in a dark color (reflective accents OK), and (here's the kicker) will fit a curvy, 2X body. Help? Details and examples:

My partner has the Novara Dutchtown jacket, and I want something very similar. Unfortunately the women's version is completely different and doesn't come in a size large enough for me, and the men's version is too small at XL and fits like a tent at XXL.

I really like this Arcteryx commuter jacket, but it only goes up to XL. I'm not super into the look of the men's version.

The Showers Pass Skyline Softshell looks interesting, and I'm hoping to find one I can try on. Their often-recommended Portland jackets are too light-colored for me, though, and anyway don't seem to be available in larger sizes anymore.

Sometimes women's XXL will fit, but usually I need something a little larger if I want to have any hope of zipping it up. I'm open to men's jackets, but they're often far too baggy or have too-long arms, neither of which are comfortable to bike in.

I prefer the extra rear coverage of bike-specific jackets, but I'm definitely open to non-bike-specific jackets that might have a little extra coverage or at least resist riding up in the back.

I'm not interested in suggestions for alternate ways to stay warm and dry, like baselayers or changing clothes, or any admonishments about choosing brighter colors to stay visible. I just want a nice-looking jacket I can throw on over whatever I'm wearing and be physically and sartorially comfortable in most situations.
posted by rhiannonstone to Shopping (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Max cost?
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:13 AM on February 15, 2014

How is this in men's 2XL black / red?
posted by crazycanuck at 12:18 AM on February 15, 2014

Have you checked out the bike-friendly gear from Beta Brand? Looks like they're currently out of stock in the XXL of their Bike to Work jacket but the XL is in stock. That first pic makes the cut seem pretty masculine but I chalk that up to his pose. Since they are in SF, there's potential to try one on at their Valencia Street store before you commit.
posted by missmobtown at 1:14 AM on February 15, 2014

I cycled in a men's PreCip for a few years and will say it works great on and off the bike. The hood can go under or over your helmet, which is nice, and the pit zips help you to not soak yourself with sweat.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:50 AM on February 15, 2014

It's annoying not to be able to find something off the shelf that works, but you might consider going with one of the men's jackets that meets your criteria best and then having it tailored to shorten the arms and reduce the bagginess. My partner has shorter than average arms, so he gets all kinds of clothing tailored this way. If I hadn't seen it done, I'd have never thought it could turn out looking as good as it does.
posted by msbubbaclees at 7:12 AM on February 15, 2014

If price isn't an object, check out the Rapha Classic Softshell, or one of their other jackets. Rapha is cycling specific, but styles their wares for urban living as well. Softshell is what you're looking for: breathes well (unlike Precip or GoreTex) and offers good wind and rain resistance.
posted by The Michael The at 7:56 AM on February 15, 2014

I have this jacket from LLBean that I use for cycling nearly every day, (also in the SF Bay Area) and it makes a great barrier to wind and light rain. It comes in black and the sizes run large, so even though it only goes to XL it might be an option.
posted by ambrosia at 9:30 AM on February 15, 2014

I came to recommend the Marmot Precip. When I'm traveling light and want an all-around light jacket that works for walking, running, cycling, etc., I reach for my Precip. Marmot has some other options if you want a heavier jacket.

If you get a dark one and want to cycle between dusk and dawn, I'd recommend a reflective vest or belt, such as the Amphipod Xinglet.
posted by brianogilvie at 12:37 PM on February 15, 2014

The Craft Performance Stretch jacket might work well for you. It comes in black with blue accents - looking fairly understated rather than super-sports.

It's got a longer rear, is stretchy (so could work with your curves), and though it's really thin, it's super warm - I wear it with a baselayer and a wool sweater in below zero temps (yeah, farenheit), and will probably wear it as a light layer with a ss baselayer when it's like 50F.

It's both superbly wind-resistant, and breathable. I'd wear it in misty wetness but not a thorough rain.

It goes up to an XXL.

I like it a lot.
posted by entropone at 1:04 PM on February 15, 2014

I live in SF and own 2 of the Levi's cycling jackets. I guess they are men's jackets but I have female friends who own them as well. They're tailored for cycling and have pockets in the back like a jersey (useful for carrying a lock or whatever without bringing a backpack). Highly recommended if you don't want to pay for Rapha (who has a store in north beach, if you want to check out their stuff in person - I do own a few of their things as well).
posted by bradbane at 6:56 PM on February 16, 2014

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