Early Draft by Mark Verber
Item: Pearl Izumi Allegro Jacket
Listed weight: 15oz
Weight as delivered: 16oz (size L)
Price: $350 (retail)... often approx $200 at Outlet stores
I picked this jacket up because Pearl Izumi seems like it is the only company in the US which is selling jackets made with eVENT, and because of a sale, this jacket was less than the cost of any of the other eVENT jackets being sold at the Pearl Izumi factory store. Today there are a number eVENT rain shells which would be significantly better than this jacket.
Waterproof / breathable shell made using eVENT fabric. Standard shell cut which just covers the waist. Oversized hood with visor which doesn't have a draw string, just elastic :-(. Stretch panel with elastic sleeves rather than the more tradition loop closures. Neat transparent section on the left sleeve so it is possible to read a watch / altimeter / etc. Napoleon style chest pockets. Flap covered chest pocket in front of the left Napoleon pocket. There is no drawstring to close the bottom, just sewn in elastic. Water resistant zippers rather than storm flaps. Stretch panels on the wrists, sides, behind shoulder blades, and the back side of the hood.
Seems to be a well constructed garment. Fit is barely adequate. Cut is athletic with room for a modest insulation layer. The hood seems to have been designed to go over a helmet. If you aren't wearing a helmet the hood is way to large and has no drawstring or other adjustment that lets you snitch up the slack material. The semi-stiffed fabric brim is next to useless in any sort of wind. The arms are not well articulate so I can only raise my arms horizontal to the ground before they bind a bit. A slight tug and movement is free once again. The sleeves are long enough for a full overhead reach. In the Fall 2001 model, the cuffs are surprisingly comfortable thanks to the use of stretch fabric (which turned out to leak) In later versions of this jacket, the cuff material is much stiffer and not as soft to the touch (but waterproof). I think the cuffs are now somewhat uncomfortable and should be replace with a more traditional velco loop closure. The cool transparent window over the left wrist doesn't function as well as I would like. I had serious problems of condensation results in a very cloudy view of my watch.
Jacket seems windproof. Shower test indicates that the hardshell portions of the jacket are waterproof. In the Fall 2001 model the stretch sections are not waterproof, merely highly water resistant: they don't pass the shower test, and started to have leaking after around 30 minutes in a hard rain, and completely wet through after two hours. This was a known production issues in the Fall 2001 line. If you have one of these earlier jackets give Pearl Izumi a ring. They will happily replace your jacket with a new one which don't leak. Newer Allegro jackets should not have this problem. My experience is that eVENT is much more breathable than any form of Gore-Tex (or any of the current WTB fabrics I have experience with), and the fabric is also more comfortable against the skin. I was surprisingly comfortable wearing this shell over a long sleeve, light weight, CoolMax crew shirt in 50 F weather. In the same conditions I would have been very uncomfortable where a Gore-Tex shell. I don't think eVENT is up to breathable as modern soft-shells like Schoeller Dryskin Extreme, but it isn't too far off, which is amazing for a truly waterproof breathable fabric!
I will never know, returned this jacket and took a Pearl Izumi eVENT Channel Jacket home.
Cut, fit, design don't meet my typical standards for outdoor clothing. The Allegro design has a lot of problems. eVENT is a really great material. Keep your eyes out for better designed jackets made from this amazing material.