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Universal Colours Unisex Insulated Packable Jacket review

10 Mar 2022

A multi-functional jacket made from 100% recycled materials for cycling and everything in between

Cyclist Rating: 
Warm • Packs into itself • Double zip • Optional rear coverage • Made from 100% recycled material
Pockets don’t have zips • Shiny finish won’t be to everyone’s taste

The Universal Colours Unisex Insulated Packable Jacket is multi-functional and versatile. It's ideal for wearing while cycling, commuting or off the bike too on other outdoor adventures, as well as during everyday life.

The Insulated Packable Jacket is made from a 100% recycled and super lightweight nylon ripstop fabric, which bumps up its eco credentials and fits with Universal Colours' strong ethical and environmental stance.

I think the brand is pushing boundaries when it comes to sustainable cycling kit and this jacket is a good example of that.

A particularly good, specific instance is a quirk in the jacket's label. Due to a mistake in the factory all of these jackets are labelled as men's, instead of unisex, on the inside collar.

Universal Colours didn't want to waste product and, because of the way the labelling process works, it decided not to update the labels.

I really like this honest and upfront approach and am all for reducing waste. However, it is also important to recognise that unisex sizing is essentially just men's anyway.

Labelling something as unisex, is, in my view, a marketing ploy which opens up a product to all genders. Women tend to feel more comfortable about wearing something labelled unisex than men's. At least I know I do.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing, it's merely something to note when looking at the fit and style of the jacket, which is more generous than the brand's usual apparel but nonetheless very comfortable.

Universal Colours Unisex Insulated Packable Jacket: Function

The Universal Colours Insulated Jacket is very warm.

The brand says the filling is 80gsm 3M Thinsulate insulation, which is made with 83% recycled polyester and is claimed to be ideal for temperatures above minus six degrees Celsius.

I haven't had the chance to give minus six a whirl but I can say this jacket has kept me toasty in temperatures between minus three and 13 degrees.

I found it was ideal worn with a long sleeve top underneath, making it great for bikepacking or for just when I wanted to pack lightly.

I definitely did not need a jumper underneath this jacket, a mistake I made and quickly regretted when I overheated.

The jacket has two hand pockets, however these don’t have zips which I think is a shame because there's a risk of things falling out when cycling.

That said, this is partially rectified with the zipped valuables pocket on the inside of the righthand side of the jacket.

The double full-length zip is a great feature and useful for cooling down when needed. 

As is standard for this sort of jacket, the Universal Colours Unisex Insulated Packable Jacket packs into itself, and squashes down into the aforementioned zipped pocket. When packed, it measures 6.5×6.5×3in. This makes it very practical.

It also has an effective PFC-free DWR coating for protection against light rain and road spray, and I found it dries very quickly.

The jacket is also very windproof, with a high collar and a close-fitting hood, which means any whistling winds aren’t given a look in.

Universal Colours Unisex Insulated Packable Jacket: Fit and sizing

As mentioned above, the fit is unisex which translates into men's. I am wearing a size S and it fits well.

Something to bear in mind is that while I am usually a size large in Universal Colours' normal riding apparel, the size medium jacket was far too large. The fit is a lot more generous than that of the brand's riding garments.

The jacket is specifically tailored for cycling applications though, with longer sleeve lengths for when you're in a riding position, and I found this to work in practice.

One thing Universal Colours has really nailed in the jacket is its optional rear coverage.

This comes in the form of a foldable, magnetic, reflective tail. I could flip this out when I went for a ride in wet and/or dark conditions and it both offered additional protection from mud and increased visibility. It was simple to fold away when I reached the pub. I like this feature a lot.

The Universal Colours Unisex Insulated Packable Jacket is available in forest green (as pictured) and caramel brown.

I like the forest green colour but I do find it to be leaning towards being too shiny. Of course, this is completely personal preference, but I think a matt finish would have worked better.

Universal Colours Unisex Insulated Packable Jacket: Verdict

Universal Colours' Unisex Insulated Packable Jacket is versatile, practical and warm with excellent environmental and ethical credentials.

Compared to rivals on the market such as the Rapha women's Explore Down jacket (£220), the Universal Colours Unisex Insulated Packable Jacket is cheaper and packs a whole lot of ethically sound features into a lightweight package.

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