Best in class waterproofing, stunning build quality and good breathability make the Endure my new winter jacket favourite
Gorewear’s Endure jacket uses the latest generation Gore-Tex Paclite Plus fabric and that gives it a real advantage over the manky winter weather. In fact it’s well on the way to becoming one of my best mountain bike jackets I’ve tried this season.
Some jackets are designed to be as small and stowable as possible, like the Specialized Trail Series Wind Jacket, while others are there to resist even the harshest rainstorms, like the 7Mesh Chilco Thermal Anorak. The Endure sits somewhere in the middle, offering incredible waterproofing in a reasonably small package, and that makes it a great compromise for UK mountain biking.
This is possible thanks to the two-layer Gore Tex fabric, the inner liner is in fact the waterproof membrane, which has been toughened sufficiently to let it sit right next to your skin. At a stroke then, the Endure can be lighter and more breathable than jackets of old. It feels extremely soft and comfortable next to your skin, while the outer layer is also an improvement on my old Gore C5 fave: It’s softer, moves more easily with your body and doesn’t rustle.
With a hydrostatic head of 28,000mm the Endure has the best stats of any jacket we’ve tried. Out on the trails it proved faultless too, staying bone dry inside despite two washout days in South Wales where the rain didn’t stop falling. The DWR layer does need reproofing regularly, but that’s a critique of all winter jackets since an eco-friendly, non-PTFE coating was mandated.
Stopping water coming in is one thing, but letting out your own moisture is just as important. The Endure doesn’t disappoint, it’s impressively breathable and I managed to ride in wet and warm conditions without overheating. It seems to regulate temperature really well, without the need for pit zips, even to the point where I felt pretty chilly on some rides.
The old C5 came with a hood, but it wasn’t big enough to fit right up over your helmet. The Endure remedies this with a peaked hood, complete with drawcords at the back and sides and an elasticated hem so it stays put. There’s also a grippy band inside to help it stay in place on your helmet. The rest of the jacket’s details are good too, with drawcords at the bottom and roomy zippered pockets at the sides. There’s no chest pocket but this is a good thing because I’ve never found a use for them, they’re good for nothing except adding bulk and weight, and reducing breathability. You get waterproof zips, a baffle to protect your neck, a high neckline and pre-shaped arms with velcro cuffs.
I’ve got three problems with the Endure, the zip pulls are too small and slippery and they’re genuinely hard to get hold of when it’s wet and your hands are stuffed inside winter gloves. The £250 pricetag is high too, when you can get something decent for less than half the price. Finally the internal stuff pocket for packing it all down just doesn’t work, it falls out.
I don't think there’s a jacket out there that can match the Endure’s blend of incredible waterproofing, breathability, light weight and build quality. If you can stretch to it there’s nothing better on the market, failing that you might get lucky in the sales.