Winter Clothing Round-Up With GORE Windstopper® Gear: At The Finish – by Guitar Ted and Grannygear
A while back we received some cold weather gear from GORE featuring GORE Windstopper® technology to try out and review. I found out after I posted the introduction that Grannygear also had several of the same pieces I did, so here is a bonus “At The Finish” review with perspectives from both myself and Grannygear.
We will take each individual piece and give it a final verdict. Note: There will be a couple of pieces which only I or Grannygear had to try and these will feature just one opinion.
GORE-Tex Infinium™ Phantom Jacket:
Guitar Ted: This ‘jacket’ struck me more as a thermal jersey than a soft-shell outer jacket, and especially so since when the sleeves are off, it becomes essentially a windproof thermal short sleeved jersey. It isn’t really a vest. The ‘two-in-one’ Phantom Jacket also suffers a bit due to this built-in duality. I find, being a wide-shouldered, big chested fellow, that the sleeves feel like they cut in under the arms and that my shoulders felt somewhat restricted in terms of freedom of movement. This restrictive fit also precluded any real layering capabilities as a wool under layer, as a for instance, almost made the tightness of the arm area unbearable for me. If you have a build that is opposite of wide-shouldered, this all may not be a concern.
In terms of functionality, the Phantom jacket did well. It was windproof enough, breathable, and the sleeves were long enough to overlap with gloves. I did not like the somewhat difficult to reach pockets, but that was merely an annoying thing, not a deal-breaker. Oh, and the zippers all were easy to operate while gloved. A nice touch.
Grannygear: The GORE C3 GORE-TEX Infinium Phantom Jacket I have in an XL is also a nice piece of kit. Is it a jersey or jacket? I say more jersey, but you could make the argument. For instance the back panel is a very light jersey material and that seems out of place in a jacket. However, the Infinium front panels shut out the wind like a jacket would. Whatever it is, the Phantom Jacket gives you enough Infinium panels to be frontally windproof and is adjustable with removable sleeves as the day warms.
Removing the sleeves leaves you with a short sleeve jersey. I never took them off as I was always in temps that stayed within 10 degrees or so in range, but I still enjoyed using this. First off, it’s yet another wind blocking garment and that means it does not have to be too thick and heavy to be warm, but how warm depends on what you have under it. I wore it with either a long sleeved or short sleeved base in a medium weight.
The GORE Windstopper® material allows moisture to get out easily enough and I never felt trapped in it even on long climbs. The collar snugs up well and the sleeves were plenty long to meet the glove tops. One thing to know is that the meshy back panel will feel cold if the wind is at your back or you are standing around. In that way, it does not have the shelter feel that many other jackets do, but that back panel does allow for great ventilation and I only noticed it as a negative under certain conditions.
Final Verdict: Guitar Ted- On balance I’d say this GORE Windstopper® Phantom Jacket is more jersey than jacket and is an okay item if the cut of it fits your anatomy. I probably would never use it without the sleeves on. For my money, the Phantom Jacket doesn’t really make sense as a short-sleeved jersey and it isn’t really a vest either. This one didn’t strike me as really good as the rest of the things we reviewed. This item was merely ‘okay’. Grannygear – When you remove the sleeves you are left with what functions like a normal short sleeve jersey with a wind blocking vest sewn into it. Add the sleeves back and you just slipped into a jacket again, albeit with a less than jacket like back panel to it all. I am always a bit unsure if I like that concept or not. The sleeves are always are a pain to add back onto a jacket and if you are alone, you have to take off the jacket to do it. Add in wet or cold or darkness or frozen hands and…meanwhile you are shedding body heat while you stand there with your outer shell off, trying to zip the sleeves on. That said, I like this and it will stay in the closet for the right riding conditions.
C5 Thermo Bib Tights+:
Guitar Ted: The GORE Windstopper® C5 Thermo bib tights were probably my favorite of the things I got to try out this time. The Elastic Interface insert is the best insert for cycling I have yet tried. The fit and finish of these tights insured a nice feeling while riding and I was able to put in multi-hour rides in 40-ish degree temperatures with no discomfort in any way. These, like the last GORE bib tights I tried, feel a bit bunched up behind the knee, but it wasn’t so bad that I was distracted by that. The straps fit great on me and everything stayed in place while riding. The Windstopper® front in the groin area did what it was supposed to do and the groin area of this current bib tight from GORE fits far better than the last pair I tried.
Grannygear: Slipping into the size LG C5 Thermo Bib Tights+ I have, I was struck by how good that felt and how easy they were to get into. It was like I was putting on a set of really long leg warmers. They feel like the cut and amount of stretch in the material is just right. There is no zipper or anything at the ankle, but I did not miss that at all. It does make it a bit less easy to get over your socks, but that is about it. There seems to be quite a bit of room built into the frontal area where all the family jewels are stored, and if you look at the marketing copy, that seems to be on purpose.
The front ‘cup’ is Windstopper so it is wind blocking and that is a nice thing. The rest of the tight seems to be a typical fleece backed material. That wind blocking cup is really a great idea.
The chamois insert is Italian sourced and this short time in the tights felt very good. The longest ride I have had in them is 2 hours but I was seeing no signs of unease. The shoulder straps have a very low tension to them, so there is not the awful amount of pulling down that the last pair of Castelli tights had. There are also reflective sections lower on the leg where they will do the most good. Nice touch.
Final Verdict– Guitar Ted: The last word from me is that these are excellent tights with a top flight cycling insert. Well worth the money. Grannygear: I really like these very much. They have a just right amount of tension in the fabric and it feels snuggly. I would expect these would be inadequate under 40 degrees, but everyone has their own thermostat.
GORE-Tex Infinium™ Stretch Mid-Gloves:
Guitar Ted: These gloves were really great. Windproof for sure, and the touch-screen capabilities were really good as well. The longer cuff makes layering under a jacket cuff to shut out the wind easy. The stretch is just right- not so much that grip is compromised but not too little so that your hands go numb or that movement is restricted. These definitely are not sub-40 degree gloves though. Look for something more insulated if you have cold hands anyway.
Final Verdict: Excellent gloves. Recommended.
GORE WINDSTOPPER®Base Layer Shirt:
Guitar Ted: This base layer shirt is windproof and is made to be combined with a jersey and jacket. I wore it as my only other layer under the Phantom Jacket and in a more traditional three layer set up. Using the GORE Windstopper® Base Layer either way was a comfortable experience. I never felt the wind getting through, and sweat seemed to get transported off my skin into the next layer efficiently. My only concern here is that the size of the neck opening seemed overly big and may be a cause for cold issues around the neck. The fabric of this base layer seems about twice as thick as a Summer weight base layer, which makes sense, but don’t think this will work when temperatures are warm.
Final Verdict: A bit of an odd cut to this piece but it works. Very good at what it is intended for.
GORE WINDSTOPPER® C5 Jersey:
Grannygear: Now the C5 Thermo Jersey is my favorite. I am not sure why it works so well for me, but this feels like one of those core items that every cyclist should have in their closet. The fit is perfect for my frame. The feel of the fabric is just fabulous. It seems to warm up when you stop riding. It’s so odd that way, but I like it. I used it typically with a short-sleeved base under it and I stayed pretty warm into the high forties temps wise. Recently I was riding in the higher mountains on a day where the temps were in the low 60’s in the sun, but in the wind and shade it felt much more like mid 50’s. I had a thermal long-sleeved jersey, not the GORE one, with a light short-sleeved base under it and I was surprised how much air I felt coming through the jersey. When I finished the ride, I went back in and grabbed the GORE C5 Thermo Jersey and put it on, then went back to riding. I was surprised how much less air came through the fabric and how much warmer I was. There was no feeling of total wind blockage, just enough of resistance to air flow to retain more warmth.
Final Verdict: I do wish this was a brighter color for any road use, but other than that, this is my favorite piece of the three samples.
NOTE; Both Grannygear and Guitar Ted received the GORE-Tex Infinium™ Thermo Split Gloves to review but neither Grannygear nor Guitar Ted have had cold enough weather to try those out yet. Look for a possible update on those gloves later.
At The Finish: Grannygear- Now then, lets talk cash value. This jersey is $130.00. The jacket is $200.00 and the tights $170.00. Now that is getting up there, is it not? I am not saying that these are that much more than other brands of like quality, but only noticing that along with 10K dollar bikes and $400.00 shoes, technical clothing like this is coming at a high price these days. So frankly, it better be good. I will leave the value for the money decision to the buyer. Guitar Ted: Yeah, these GORE Windstopper® items are not what you’d say is near the least amount of money that you could spend, but also as Grannygear says about this GORE kit, they’d better work as advertised. We mostly found that to be the case with all the GORE wear we were sent. Sure, there were quibbles with fit, colors, and intentions here and there, but all in all, the GORE Windstopper® gear seems to do what they say it should, and that’s the basis for value here.
That much of what was sent out will be retained for use by us both should tell you that we feel it is gear that is well made and not only does what is claimed, but feels good while doing it, with minor exceptions noted above.
For more information on these pieces and all of the current GORE line, see their website here: https://www.gorewear.com/us/en-us/home?homeLogo=true
NOTE: GORE sent over the items in this post for test and review to Riding Gravel at no charge.We were not paid, nor bribed for this post and we always strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.