The North Face Muddy Tracks waterproof jacket £110

Versatile rain jacket

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

Over the past year we’ve reached for our old TNF Muddy Tracks jacket many times. The sight of rain leaded clouds didn’t seem as threatening when we were zipped up and hiding inside the contoured, flock lined neck.

For 2012 the Muddy Tracks returns, ostensibly unchanged. The small zip Napoleon chest pocket, rear zip and storm flap protected pockets, adjustable cuffs, drop tail and high neck are back again and continue to make the Muddy Tracks a well specced and solid performing garment when playing outside in the wet.

There are some reflective details on the rear and the bright yellow colour has made it a jacket we’ve used for commuting as well as singletracking. On close inspection, backed up by some very damp miles on the bike in the sideways rain and wind, there are a few nips and tucks to take note of. 

The overall fit of the medium size has grown a fraction, and while our 2011 model was spot-on the 2012 version feels a bit looser. The body feels squarer and the arms a little larger and longer. It won’t worry the bulk of trail riders, but it you’re all about speed, the extra material could be an issue.

The breathable HyVent fabric carries over and continues to work well to keep the outside outside and the warmth inside, while at the same time trying to handle sweat vapour. HyVent likes space to generate airflow to help with this, so try not to over-layer, effectively filling up the jacket.

 To keep you really dry, you need to help by working the main zip as it can struggle with maximum exertion efforts, but after that there’s little to do but ride and enjoy a simple and effective rain jacket. 

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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