Effective on cold days, but there are better Polartec Alpha insulated jackets out there
Polartec’s Alpha insulation has been finding itself on more and more cycling garments recently, and has already won a place in our hearts, and on the list of best mountain biking jackets, for its impressive warmth and breathability. One of the latest jackets to feature the material is Scott’s Trail Storm Insulated AL, available in both men’s and women’s versions. Although, inexplicably the women’s version is £1 more expensive than the men’s – so much for equality.
Polartec is used to line all of the panels on the jacket except for the flanks, which have a polyester/elastane mix with a four way stretch. The tops of the arms are also insulated with the fluffy Alpha fabric, with the sleeves capped by extended lycra cuffs that really seal in the heat.
There’s a regular fit that’s MTB-specific according to Scott. I’d describe it as slim without being roadie-tight. While very much not intended as a waterproof jacket, Scott has added a very subtle drop tail to help protect against splashes, and an eco-friendly DWR coating, but neither are very effective. Rain soon penetrated the outer shell, and the lack of a hood means this is really a jacket for frigid dry days rather than wet ones.
On a practical level there’s a single pocket at the lower back, which I’m not a fan of as they’re fiddly to get things in and out of, and useless if you’re wearing a pack. But, my sample jacket is last year’s model – hence the old colour – and Scott has helpfully added dual hip pockets on the latest version which work as well for storage as warming cold hands.
While a decent option, compared to my other Polartec Alpha jacket – Fohn’s Hybrid – the Scott is less waterproof and less breathable. It doesn’t rustle around when you’re wearing it like the Fohn, but it’s also more expensive – and you can pick up the Fohn for around £40 online at the moment.