A gilet is something that in theory should be very simple. It just needs to keep your core warm by providing some protection from the wind. Despite this, the wrong choice of material or a poorly cut panel can make it unwearable – but when done right it can become an essential piece of kit. The Pedla Wind Cheater combines well tailored quality materials with top notch styling to make for a vest we've been wearing plenty through our Australian 'winter'.
The Wind Cheater Gilet is available in a host of designs ranging from simple solid shades to plaid and camouflage. The front panel, made from Windtex fabric, breathes well and protects your chest from cold winds, light precipitation and road spray. The material is soft to the touch but quite rigid and so retains its shape well. The back is made from a stretchy polyester microfibre mesh, which serves as an effective exhaust.
The Windtex front panel keeps the wind and light rain at bay
Hugging the body nicely, the Wind Cheater is cut like a well tailored suit; we did not experience any uncomfortable pulling or bunching. The elastic around the arm holes kept the vest snug around the shoulders and under the arms.
It’s rare to find pockets on a lightweight gilet; the Wind Cheater however features three large reinforced ones at the rear. Despite the stretchy nature of the mesh back panel, we didn’t notice any bouncing, even when the pockets were packed full with plenty of food, clothing and tools.
Large reinforced pockets are a rarity on lightweight vests
Despite its low weight, the Wind Cheater Gilet does not pack down well, and no matter how we rolled and folded the vest it remained bulky. This is the downside of the pockets – and probably why you don't see them on many light weight vests.
A full length placket sits behind the two-way open zipper, keeping any wind from seeping through. Two-way zippers are notoriously fiddly, and this one is no exception. Think twice before unzipping the vest all the way, because it’s a fight to do back up on the go. The zipper itself is in dire need of some sort of a pull tab – in fact we ended up borrowing one from an old jacket.
The two-way open zipper can be a pain
Despite these minor transgressions over the zipper and its bulkiness, it's hard to fault the Wind Cheater overall because of the impressive functionality, fit, and style it provides. With prices ranging between AU$165 and $175 (approx £93-98 / US$154-163) the Wind Cheater is not a cheap option, but it's well worth the cash.
US and UK readers may struggle to find the Wind Cheater gilet in stores, but can order it direct from thepedla.com.