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Castelli Perfetto vest review

4 Feb 2019

A relative of the Gabba, the Perfetto vest should be a staple of your cycling wardrobe

Cyclist Rating: 
• Excellent waterproof front • Light enough for a jersey pocket • Has two pockets!
• Honestly, none that I can think of

The Castelli Perfetto vest has given me the same feeling this winter as a pair of Dr Martens shoes someone bought me a few birthdays ago.

At first, I wasn’t sure how much I would wear them. I liked the style but was unsure whether I had the look to pull them off. They felt clunky and looked massive when you stared down onto them.

Would they only look good in winter? Would they be too warm in summer? I just wasn’t sure they’d be for me.

Buy the Castelli Perfetto vest from Chain Reaction Cycles

Fast forward to now and I wear my oxblood hardlife Dr Martens everywhere. To work, to the pub, on walks, even to a Christening once. They have become my go-to shoes. I’d even use the cliche that ‘I live in them’.

Similarly, I wasn't sure I'd find much use for a Pefetto vest. Why not just wear a thicker jacket rather than layering? What's wrong with just using the Castelli Perfetto jacket? Won't my arms just be cold?

However, like my trusty Docs, it has now become an indispensable piece of kit.

Same old, same old

I’m not surprised by how good the Perfetto Vest is, to be honest.

After all, it’s a direct relation of the Castelli Gabba jacket – the critically acclaimed jacket for the most howling wind and rain, a garment which is practically impenetrable. The choice for the foulest of weather.

The Perfetto hasn’t got the same hardy waterproof membrane that the Gabba does, but it does have a more breathable alternative that is still pretty waterproof and is certainly windproof.

That alternative is the Gore Windstopper X-Lite Plus.

From first-hand experience, no, it’s not as much of a fortress as the Gabba when it comes to keeping water at bay but it will at least provide a noble defence.

In fact, it was only when the heavens truly opened that I could say I actually got wet while wearing it. Besides that, it kept the front of my body bone dry.

And anyway, what it concedes in its waterproofing credentials it makes up for by being windproof. Regardless of how cutting and cold the wind has been over the winter, the Perfetto has managed to deflect the cold gusts away and keep my core warm.

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There’s even a wind flap over the zip, an area that could easily allow the cold in. Oh, and the neck is cut slightly higher too which, again, contributes towards preventing wind and rain going anywhere near your body.

These are a couple of small touches from Castelli but ones that I really appreciate.

Windproof material usually has the fallback of being a little ‘boil in the bag’ at times but Castelli has avoided that with its own lightwight nanoflex fabric.

It makes up the rear of the vest, making it lighter than the front and serving to regulate heat well as a result. You’re still kept warm when needs be but there’s also a measure of breathability that keeps your body at a manageable temperature when you start to put in a little effort.

The slightly lighter material used in the Perfetto also has the benefit of making it packable. Even my XL on test weighed in at under 200g and (when folded correctly) could comfortably fit into a jersey or jacket pocket.

Extra, extra

Talking of pockets, the Perfetto vest has two of them, a real rarity on gilets, but in my view completely necessary.

Gilets without pockets really get on my nerves. I want access to what’s in my pockets while on the move, and don't want that to mean digging underneath my most external layer just to grab a gel. I want easy access.

In trust, even just one pocket will do so the two provided by Castelli made me feel quite privileged.

They are deep too, hiding away their contents away from the elements, and are also long enough to hold over three-quarters of a mini pump, stopping any risk of it falling out.

I mention that because that's exactly what happened to me once when descending a climb called Gontzegaraigane in the Basque Country. I was doing about 55kmh and the pump jumped from my pocket as I hit a pothole, disappearing into the foliage roadside.

I didn’t go back for the pump.

This is a Castelli product so it comes in Italian sizing. It’s snug so always consider a size up, especially if you plan on wearing it as a layer, as I did. I can usually manage in a large but I found the XL in the Perfetto vest to be a better fit. Heavy Christmas and all that...

Recommended retail price on the Perfetto vest is £110 but a quick shop around shows that most places have it discounted to £80.

Even at £110, I would argue that it represents value for money. I reckon I’ve donned the Perfetto vest around 20 times this winter – it would have been more if I could be bothered to cycle to work during the week more often.

I can also conceivably see me taking it out in spring and maybe even summer as insurance for when the weather turns bad unexpectedly because it is light enough to do so without real penalty weight or bulk-wise.

I also think it would work well if you ever took a trip into the mountains. It can turn cold and wet quickly up there and the Perfetto could be a life-saver.

Buy the Castelli Perfetto vest from Chain Reaction Cycles

Finally, Castelli offer this in nine colours, yes nine! That doesn’t impact whatsoever on performance but that’s some choice. I tested a colour called forest grey, which matches the green that seems to be prevalent in my cycling wardrobe currently. The dark infinity blue is nice too.

This is a pretty outstanding piece of kit and I really do recommend it. It’s a very important part of my wardrobe now and I think it could now be a matter of when rather than if that I rock the Perfetto vest together with my Dr Martens. I think forest grey and oxblood go, don't they?


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