Review: Fox Downpour Jacket

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It’s an inevitability that enjoying the fresh air and scenery of the great outdoors will lead you far from shelter and in some cases, into the eye of the storm. Like it or loath it, the last thing you want to do is let the weather control the outcome of your ride, so being prepared for the inevitable is a must. For 2013, Fox have really done their homework delivering what has to be their most tailored line of MTB gear to date. Case in point; the Downpour Jacket…

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Words: Olly Forster | Photos: Nathan Carvell

The Downpour feels “quality” from the word go and only continues when you slip it on. The thin outer material will do little to keep you warm, but then that’s up to you and wearing enough base layers to cope with the temperatures your riding in. Most days, even in the bitter cold, I found a long sleeve base layer spot on and when things heated up, well, Fox got you covered there too…

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Out on the Trails.

Onto reviewing this jacket from Fox, aptly called the ‘Downpour’. Designed specifically to help moisture escape from within, while keeping the worst from the heavens above out, and all the while letting you look rad and shred the trail regardless of what’s going on with the weather. As soon as you put the Downpour on, you realise straight away that this a ‘bike specific’ jacket through and through and one you’ll not be sporting down the pub. Is this a good thing or bad thing? That’s up to you, but this is what Fox are doing now and making kit specifically for the task at hand. If your going down the pub?

All of the zips featured on the Downpour are both waterproof, sealed and a little on the tight side – one handed unzipping isn’t easy, but then being dry is good too!

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Rain isn’t something unique to winter, especially here in the UK where it rains all year round, so a jacket that can function regardless of the season should be on top of your list of requirements. The Downpour is far from thermal and only offers a barrier to what’s coming at you from the outside and a suitable number of layers underneath needs to be achieved to suit the temperature outside. The inclusion of two large vents has proved great during the recent colder months when heat build up increases over the duration of a ride, especially as you battle both the temperature outside and the level of perspiration on the inside. In the summer, overheating with excess layers on will always be an issue, but if you really must go out in the pouring rain and at low level, the Downpour might be too much, but at altitude, it will be in its element.

The Downpour’s material repertoire consists of a technical 4-way stretch offering with a waterproof outer fabric that is also fully seam sealed for added water resistance. The Downpour’s bike specific cut will be a new one for many, being slightly tighter than your average jacket, but with a closer cut comes the ability to sit closer to the body and help keep warmth in and let moisture out – the 4 way stretch is also a god send when you get wild on the trails too!

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Attention to detail is what we’ve come to expect from Fox and excellent from one end to the other. The moulded wrist enclosures look the part and help keep a good seal keeping any unwanted water and cold air from slipping in.

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The volume of perspiration created when giving it some on your bike will give any breathable material a hard time, so extra venting is the necessary solution and that’s exactly what the Downpour has with two large zipped and seam sealed vents either side and situated under your arm pits.

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Sometimes apparel testing doesn’t go as far as it can and by that I mean we don’t always get to see how things hold up to events that we’d rather not facilitate. We are talking about crashing and I’ve had two in this jacket, one being pretty bad on an icy bit of tarmac, but both times I’ve picked myself up to see if I’ve trashed such a lovely jacket and each time I’ve been pleasantly surprised. A scraped zip and that was it, so there you go, it’s a tough bit of kit too!

Good sized pockets on either side help to give the Downpour a traditional jacket look and feel, while giving you somewhere to stash an energy bar or two away from the rain and puddles.

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Within each pocket lies the drawstring and toggle for the waist  – a good feature that not only keeps them away from the dirt below, but also adds to the Downpour’s sleek and purposeful aesthetic quality.

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Hello, what’s this? The Downpour’s audio interface pocket is pretty special and like the other occupant, is kept away from natures wrath outside.

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There is a hood too and while it’s pretty small, is more of an under the helmet than over it variety. Being small also means it doesn’t act like a wind break and if your only battling water from below, you can whip it off in no time.

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Conclusion.

So, is it any good? Depends what you want it for, but on the whole this is an awesome jacket for what it was designed for, and that’s keeping you comfy when out in the thick of it. When a window of opportunity popped up in early December to test this jacket on a day most of us would think twice about, it was off to a local trail centre with another brands jacket and a fellow reviewer… Carl wore the Downpour and I wore the other brand and after the best part of three hours in relentless winter rain, and typically it stopped just as we rolled into the car park… Checking to see how each jacket performed, the Downpour proved to be pretty damn amazing. While we were both pretty warm, we also wet, but unlike myself, Carl had little more than a sweat patch across his shoulders.

On days when the rains been either intermissent or light, the Downpour has proved a fantastic asset for my trail wardrobe. The fit is definitely more on the trail/XC side of things and might be a little on the tight side for a DH/FR aplication, but only if you deem it – I’d even recommend going a size up should you wish to stay dry on the big bike and keep your gear a little looser.

While the cut is a little tighter than most, it never held me back in play mode and it certainly kept me dry smashing runs at a local mini-DH track.

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Coming in at £160, the Downpour is a few notes more than your average MTB specific ‘rain’ jacket, but coupled with the 4-way stretch material, venting, level of finish and the ability to perform how and where it should, the Downpour starts to represent something else. While its price is slightly higher than the average, the Downpour is anything but – its function and ability to perform actually elevate the Downpour into territory that’s more often occupied for jackets in the £200 plus price range. All in all a great jacket that does exactly what it says on tin and not a bad price either. Recommended!

For everything Fox MTB and beyond, you know what to do – hit the big logo and get involved. Happy trails, Olly.

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