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Rivelo Langcliffe jacket and Hathersage baselayer review

James Spender
13 Dec 2016

Well-priced jacket with good winter proofing; superb baselayer leads the way in simple, quality design.

Porelle might sound a like a type of pasta or a waifish Dickensian stray, but it’s actually the basis for UK-based Rivelo’s latest jacket.

Ostensibly in the same mode as Gore-Tex, Schoeller (which features on the Langcliffe’s more expensive sibling, the Garsdale) et al, Porelle is a stretchy, hydrophilic membrane designed to keep water droplets (rain) out and let water vapour (sweat) escape.  

Rivelo has taken the Porelle membrane and turned into a jacket with ‘a performance fit, offering superior pocket protection against wind and rain, but folds down small enough to fit in your pocket.’ Heady targets indeed, so let’s get on with assessing them.

Langcliffe jacket

First up, fit: The Langcliffe is certainly towards the racy end of the spectrum, with a relatively figure-hugging cut thanks to the stretchy nature of the material. That stretch isn’t in the same league as Lycra, so it didn’t provide a skin-tight fit, but on my 40” chest, 32” waist frame a medium hung happily without feeling flappy. Dropping a bit of material around the middle would be no bad thing as there was more excess than I’d  like around my stomach when getting low on the hoods or drops, but then again that’s me and this is not a bespoke jacket. Overall construction is top notch. There’s smooth, taped seams throughout; a useful front-side zip pocket; long, snug cuffs that seal excellently with gloves; drop-down bum flap, and a generous rear pocket easily accessible with gloves on.

As I’ve come to expect from Rivelo, detailing is good too – the YKK Aquaguard zips are a deep shade of blue that compliments the orange and there’s a stylish yet functional 2” strip of reflective material on the small of the back. However, as per Rivelo’s Headly bibtights, the placement of said strip would be more useful on the right side, not the left, of the jacket, given as though other vehicles generally approach over the right shoulder.

I would question the suggestion the Langcliffe is small enough to fold into a pocket. It is, but to me that rather implies it’s in the same league as a rain cape, which it is not. This is the sort of jacket you would put on and leave on, not the kind you bring out to stave off showers or cold descents, it is far too substantial. Which leads us on the perennial question, how substantial? The answer where wind and rain are concerned is a resounding ‘very’. This is a totally waterproof garment, although expect the cuffs to get damp in heavy rain – the inner ‘second cuff’ is not waterproof. As such it’s a great wind jacket too, its thinness belies just how warm it is in harsh conditions as it. However, the Langcliffe isn’t the most breathable. Long rides left me damp on the inside, and while it was a usefully warm windbreak that did mean I got cold easily when stopping, the non-insulative material allowing sweat to quickly chill.

It’s not a deal-breaker, not least as this is something most jackets suffer from, but it’s worth noting the breathability isn’t up there with the very best. Still, neither is the price – there’s a very good jacket here for £130.

Hathersage LS Merino baselayer

Rivelo has nailed it with the Heathersage baselayer. After many washes the colour hasn’t faded, it’s kept its shape and it’s now wonderfully soft (the merino blend – part synthetic, partmerino – was initially a bit scratchy). And while I rarely saw it once on of course, I did very much enjoy the fact Rivelo has bothered to give it some genuine style, to the point where you could happily walk around a pub or café in it and your bibtights and look like a hipster-cool Victorian strong man.

At £55 it’s a lot of dollar, but I found it quickly took on the role of jersey as well as baselayer, with no need for my usual baselayer plus jersey plus jacket on cold days. It dries quickly, wicks well and lasts a decent number of rides before needing to be washed, thanks to merino wool’s ability to stifle odours and bacteria. The biggest accolade I can give the Hathersage, though, is that in the last two months its become my go-to baselayer, and the only way it could be improved is if Rivelo releases a short sleeved version for Spring.

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