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Worth its weight in gold on a bikepacking expedition, we test the Alpkit Katabatic jacket sitting in bothies, lying in tents and by the campfire.

alpkit katabatic green
Best for...
Throwing on at the end of a sweaty day to keep warm
Overall Score
Bombproof Primaloft Gold insulation isn't fazed by damp or washing
An adjustable hood would have been a bonus

Over the years we have come to the conclusion that one of the most flexible, never leave at home, items in our cycle touring bag is our good old insulating jacket. Pull it on at rest stops to reduce heat loss from a sweaty body, at the end of a long day to ward off the evening chill at camp, and even in bed for a bit of extra insulation so you can carry a lighter sleeping bag.

Down jackets are superb for the weight and pack size but, particularly in the UK, dampness can severely reduce their effectiveness over a trip. Primaloft has no such problem, retaining the bulk of its insulating power even when wet, and Primaloft Gold is the top of the line. This is what packs out the Katabatic jacket. Even after damp and dingy bothies, light showers and a few days of being packed away in less than dry condition it really shone as a reliable 'warm place' to look forward to.

We even used it on the bike on a couple of low intensity but bitterly cold days, and the close cut allowed that with no flapping or poor fit problems. The high zip collar comes into its own in these situations too, closing up to seal in the warmth nicely. Our only slight issue relates to the lycra elastic hood closure - it keeps weight and bulk down, but it would have been a benefit to have proper adjusters here to cinch in the heat completely in windy conditions. The cuffs are the same, but realistically they all performed just fine.

It will pack down into one of the pockets, but we always found it more compressed in a small dry bag where all the air could be expelled - and here at least it wouldn't get any damper in transit.




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