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An airy light windproof from Pearl Izumi, the Women's Elite Barrier Convertible promises versatility with its removable sleeves. We test if it performs on the road.
pearl izumi womens
Overall Score
Extremely light and packable, with added versatility from the removable sleeves.
Pricey, but the versatility means you are likely to squeeze your value from it.

This windproof and water resistant women's jacket from Pearl Izumi takes versatility up a notch by having removeable sleeves, allowing it to be converted to a gilet with two front facing arm zips and a few tabs of velcro. Mesh lines the back shoulder area for ventilation, while velcro adjusted cuffs and an elasticated adjustable hem combine with a soft-mesh lined collar for comfort and fit. There are two zipped waist and a zipped rear pocket.

Pearl describe the fit as 'Semi-Form,' and that about sums it up for us; close fitting enough to have a flattering shape, we still have room underneath for a baselayer and jersey without a problem. Essentially a three season jacket, it is wonderfully light and airy, the ventilation across the shoulders working a treat to keep that damp feeling at bay for longer during hard workouts. Once zipped up and buttoned down however it can seal out chills effectively, cosying up nicely when the temperature drops.

The removeable sleeves add to this versatility massively and are easy to pull off without having to remove the jacket - a quick zip inside each shoulder and the one piece sleeve/yoke can be shrugged off without removing the jacket. Refitting while wearing is slightly more fiddly but still possible.

Because the seams are not taped or sealed in any way, we found the Elite Barrier Convertible could shrug off light showers but was by no means waterproof, which is fine as that is how it is sold by Pearl.

£79.99 may seem expensive for a windproof, but it is a very well made and versatile shell with great fit and top quality fabrics. With the removeable sleeves and mesh back it can be used right into the warmer months too, so you should wring the value from it in the long run.

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