7Mesh Freeflow jacket
Canada’s 7mesh has established a well-deserved reputation for high quality and attention to detail, and the Freeflow jacket doesn’t disappoint.
It uses Polartec Alpha, which works across a range of conditions, on the front and sleeves – where you need warmth and protection the most – and lightweight, windproof, ripstop nylon elsewhere, which allows heat to escape for breathability.
Polartec Alpha was originally engineered for the military to provide consistent comfort and deal with heating /cooling cycles during stop-start activity – where it isn’t possible to stop and shed layers. And this tech has translated well to on-the-bike performance.
Whenever I’ve tested a jacket that uses it, the consistency of temperature regulation it offers has been noticeable and the Freeflow is no different.
It remained comfortable on rides ranging from epics in the mountains to more gentle outings on local trails. I usually paired it with just a Merino baselayer underneath.
The fit is slim – more XC ‘go-faster’ styling than casual – but shaped so it feels right in the riding position. So right, in fact, that you’re hardly aware you’re wearing it.
A close-fitting neck and elasticated hem with a gripper at the back help seal the warmth in and keep the wet out. One note of caution though, the fabric is delicate and an altercation with a bramble bush required an iron-on patch repair.
It might be getting repetitive to say this about every 7mesh jacket I test, but they really are good and, if you have the budget, I think the Freeflow is an investment worth considering.
How we tested
A selection of hybrid jackets, combining water repellency with breathability and warmth, were put to the test to find out which ones are the best all-in-one jacket solution.
Other jackets on test: