PROVIZ Reflect360 CRS Jacket: Quick Review- by Guitar Ted
The season of darkness has arrived. You work your job in the daylight hours, get home, and the prospect of hitting the gravel roads in the dark has you concerned. Maybe you are running, riding a loop in the city, or commuting to and from work. Visibility to motorists is a top concern for you at this time of the year. Especially so since many cyclists have hung up their bikes in garages and motorists don’t expect to see us crazies on the roads and paths now. Well, of the many things you can do to increase your visibility, the PROVIZ company believes that reflective clothing is one of the best ways to keep yourself visible to other vehicles in the dark. This Quick Review of their PROVIZ Reflect360 CRS jacket will show you how that works and will give you an idea of how it works as a jacket proper.
What It Is: The Reflect360 is a fully featured, waterproof, windproof jacket with a special proprietary fabric which has been infused with “millions of highly reflective tiny glass beads”, according to the PROVIZ site on the Reflect360 CRS. The jacket has adjustable hook and loop closure cuffs at the arms, adjustable corded style hem at the bottom, fully waterproof zipper with a zipper garage, vented, zippered underarms, two zippered vent/pocket openings at the chest, and a zippered rear pocket for carrying items like extra food, smaller items of clothing, etc. Inside there is a hook and loop closure chest pocket. The collar is a high one with nice fleeced liner. The inside lining is a mesh type.
The news with this version of the award winning Reflect360 is the “CRS” part which stands for “Color Reflective System”. Basically what this means is that you can choose from five nice colors instead of just a white or HiViz yellow which is what you are stuck with when considering other high visibility jackets. Obviously, the fact that the glass bead infused fabric reflects light directed at it from any direction gives this jacket the 360° reference.
For this test I received the blue jacket which is a nice color and doesn’t look at all like a high visibility jacket. Fit was spot on for my 6’1″, size XL frame. There is plenty of room for layering underneath, yet the jacket doesn’t have what I would call a “loose”, flappy fit. It isn’t “form fitting”, but somewhere in between, at least from my reckoning. (See the image above showing me wearing the Reflect360 CRS)
How It Worked: The weather has been spot on and on cue in regard to the testing of this jacket. We have had humid, cool days, rain, wind, cold, and even a spot of snow here. I was able to get rides in all of these conditions. First off, the jacket is waterproof. No doubt about that after getting drenched during a commute home a while back. The Reflect360’s fabric beaded up the water and it rolled off like it was coming off a duck’s back. The windproof feature is there as well. The zippers are sealed and have storm flaps so no air is seeping through the zippers on this jacket. The cuffs, which have a handy, rubberized adjustment pull, are hook and loop closures, and can be adjusted from sealed off to very loose. Gloves do not hinder making this adjustment at all. Finally, you can use the draw cords at the bottom of the jacket to seal out the weather and zip up the high collar as well to keep wind and water off your neck. That collar and zipper are “beard friendly” , by the way. No surprise, painful hair grabbing action here.
The climate inside can be adjusted via the vents, and they do work. The two chest vents, which double as openings for the pockets, enable the Reflect360’s pit vents to function better. The upper vent across the back also works well when these chest vents are opened. Someone with small hands won’t mind, but anyone with medium to large sized hands will find fetching things out of these chest pockets a bit frustrating. The vent openings are a tad on the short side. An extra inch on each vent zipper would have gone a long way in not only making hand ingress easier for fetching things stowed away, but would also increase airflow for the vents. That said, the volume of the pockets is such that an iPhone 6s fits in there fine, as does my pocketable point and shoot camera. Not both at the same time, mind you.
The inner chest pocket is okay, but PROVIZ spec’ed some gnarly hook and loop material here that makes getting the thing open a real chore. The back pocket features a storm flap and is roomy enough to stow a pair of gloves or several energy gels or bars. Yes, all at the same time, mind you.
I was able to layer a base layer and mid-weight wool jersey or wear street clothes and a wool jersey over the top and still feel like I had room to move in the Reflect360 CRS. The fabric is a weird, slippery feeling, plasticky stuff, but it is comfortable to wear. The liner does a nice job of making this jacket feel good. While all jacket makers claim “breathability”, you aren’t going to ever say this jacket is that. Use the vents and you can stay reasonably sweat free. I wouldn’t think this jacket would be a whole lot of good at keeping away the garbage bag effect at anything above 60° around here, but as a shell for colder temperatures it is really a good jacket. While it isn’t a bikepacker’s jacket, it does roll down reasonably small, so packing it away in a larger seat bag or frame bag is entirely possible. That’s a nice thing about it as well.
Now- About That Reflective Thing: The whole point here is the reflective nature of the jacket. Does it work? Well, I had a heck of a time getting a decent image to show here, but yes. Yes it does work as advertised. My son tried to capture me wearing the jacket and the Pixelite Bibs, (also tested), one evening as I rode by the house on the street. He aimed a small, LED torch at me, probably a sub-100 Lumen light, and I lit up like some ethereal spirit of the underworld. Well, it was just before Halloween, after all!
Interestingly, recent research shows that while having lights, reflectors, and high visibility clothing is all good, cyclists would do well to consider reflective clothing and that on moving body parts. The Pixelite bibs have a panel on the back of the legs that does a bang up job of reflecting light, so this may be another piece of kit you will want to consider along with the Reflect360 CRS. Using the Reflect360 and the Pixelite bibs together, you too could be the center of your neighborhood’s ghost sightings or, more hopefully, not get KO’ed by a vehicle.
At The Finish: This is a good jacket with a few minor nits that might give you a fit in certain instances. The small chest pocket openings being the main thing here. That said, at $190.00USD, this is a good, functional waterproof, windproof jacket that has extremely good reflectivity and doesn’t make you look like “Johnny Safety Worker” during the daytime when you decide to wear it. The fit makes it a prime candidate for cold/Winter layering. The fact that it has such a high degree of reflectivity makes it that much better of a choice, given our short daylight hours in Winter. It wards off rain, wind, and cleans up after muddy rides well. The good characteristics of the jacket make the minor disappointments less of a concern. By the way, those Pixelite bib tights are also really nice, and if you add those to your Winter training gear, your visibility to drivers at night will be top notch. Oh…..but don’t forget your lights!
If PROVIZ decides to lengthen the chest vents a bit more and if that inner hook and loop closure was easier to open, the jacket would get a perfect score for cold/Winter riding. As it is, I give it high marks for the safety aspect and as a jacket proper, the Reflect360 CRS is really good. I’d recommend it for Winter training and commuting.
Note: The PROVIZ Reflect360 CRS jacket a Pixelite bib tights were sent to Riding Gravel by PROVIZ for test/review at no charge. We are not being bribed, nor paid, for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.
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