Kitsbow Wind Jacket review

Quality construction but less packable than the competition

BikeRadar score2.5/5Find prices on Bicycle Blue Book

Spring and fall riding come with their own unique set of challenges, not the least of which is balancing apparel choices against these seasons’ capricious weather patterns. A lightweight, packable shell is an essential item for shoulder season riding. Kitsbow’s Wind Jacket is light and somewhat packable, with the understated styling, quality construction – and hefty price tag – the company is known for.

The wind jacket has an asymmetrical zipper that is easy to adjust while riding:
The wind jacket has an asymmetrical zipper that is easy to adjust while riding:

Kitsbow's Wind Jacket features an easy to use asymmetrical zipper

While the Wind Jacket is lightweight, it doesn't skimp on creature comforts. Stretchy cuffs keep air from billowing up the sleeves. A laser-perforated back panel does the same for the torso while also serving as an exhaust vent for perspiration. Admittedly, the perforated back panel is also a possible entry point for water, but this is a wind shell, not a rain jacket, mind you. That said, the Wind Jacket’s polyester fabric is coated with a water-repellent finish that holds its own against drizzle. 

The Wind Jacket has a breast pocket large enough for a smartphone and a pair of rear pockets accessed from each side the jacket. This tester found them useful for stowing windproof gloves during early morning alpine rides that start cool but quickly warm up as the day goes on.

The wind jacket can be packed into the chest pocket, but the one-sided zipper doesn't allow it to be zipped shut : the wind jacket can be packed into the chest pocket, but the one-sided zipper doesn't allow it to be zipped shut
The wind jacket can be packed into the chest pocket, but the one-sided zipper doesn't allow it to be zipped shut : the wind jacket can be packed into the chest pocket, but the one-sided zipper doesn't allow it to be zipped shut

A double-sided zipper on the breast pocket would make packing the Wind Jacket easier

While the fit is better than many less expensive wind shells, the fact that Kitsbow opted not to use a zipper with double-sided pulls on the breast pocket, which would allow it to be easily stowed by packing the jacket into itself and zipping it shut (like nearly all packable shells on the market), seems like a significant design oversight for a company known for obsessing over details.

Verdict: Kitsbow’s Wind Jacket features quality materials and construction. However, there are a number of lightweight packable shells that do the same job for a fraction of the price.

Josh Patterson

Tech Editor, US
Josh has been riding and racing mountain bikes since 1998. Being stubborn, endurance racing was a natural fit. Josh bankrolled his two-wheeled addiction by wrenching at various bike shops across the US for 10 years and even tried his hand at frame building. These days Josh spends most of his time riding the trails around his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Age: 34
  • Height: 170cm / 5'7"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 72cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Mountain, cyclocross, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Anywhere with rock- and root-infested technical singletrack. He also enjoys unnecessarily long gravel races.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Remedy 29 9.9, Yeti ASRc, Specialized CruX, Spot singlespeed, Trek District 9
  • Dream Bike: Evil The Following, a custom Moots 27.5+ for bikepacking adventures
  • Beer of Choice: PBR
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO, USA

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