But the dose of radiation required is a little more commitment than most of us have. After reading a few (quite a few...) very positive reviews of the ProViz Reflect 360 jacket, I decided maybe it's a close second. Amazon's selling them for a tad over $100, so I figured it was worth trying out.
It's really hard to explain how remarkable this is. In broad daylight in my house with the jacket hung over a chair it still shimmered as it caught the occasional angle of light.
I've got a couple other biking jackets; an old Performance Gore-Tex jacket, and a recent Showers Pass of some type; one of their expensive ones, though we're talking about Showers Pass, so that hardly narrows it down. So of course a reflect-off was in order.
I lined all three up and put on a headlamp. Granted it's not exactly a car headlight, but it's nearly as bright, and I think it's close enough for this admittedly unscientific test. I jiggered with the camera settings until the picture matched approximately what I saw with the naked eye.
|Direct light; Proviz Reflect360, Performance, Showers Pass|
Same vantage point, but with my headlamp pointing toward the ground in front of the jackets. Here the Performance jacket is nearly invisible. You can make out a faint glimmer of the Showers Pass jacket's reflective stripe. But the Reflect360 is still very reflective.
Having shown the futility of comparing the Reflect360 with my other jackets, for this test I walked about 100 feet away. The picture above is with direct light on the jacket
And this is with the light pointed way off to the left. The Reflect360 jacket is still very visible.
I had very little doubt that this jacket is less waterproof than a Gore-Tex jacket. But to be honest, wearing Gore-Tex on a wet Pacific Northwest day I still get soaked. So I'm not sure that's a big problem. The material feels a tiny bit stiff, but the jacket is brand new. I'm sure that it will soften as it breaks in. It's got sealed zippers, three exterior pockets (two chest pockets, and the usual back pocket), and an interior velcro pocket. Most cycling jackets give you only one or two pockets. I was pleased to have plenty of places to stash my keys, wallet, and cell phone.
The fit is "normal US" fit, as opposed to the euro-fit that most bike apparel companies adhere to. So an XL is a little big on me, but with a couple layers underneath it's about perfect.
I gave the jacket a trial run, with a 2-hour mountain bike ride in a downpour. It was sufficiently wet that my Gore-Tex gloves ended with the fingers full of water. And sure enough, the Reflect360 got soaked as well. My riding companion commented that the wet jacket was less reflective than when it was dry, but even at the end of the ride it was still reflecting significant light.
Granted I've had it for only a week; who knows if this jacket will have the longevity of a Showers Pass. But it needn't last very long to warrant the purchase.