When it comes to wearable reflectives, the launch of the Proviz REFLECT360+ range is game changing. In daylight the garments are silvery grey; fairly unremarkable, you might think. But in direct light – a camera flash, a headlight – jeepers! The transformation renders even the most cynical speechless.
In direct light, the Proviz REFLECT360+ glows like a beacon. It reminds me of chemistry lessons where we would study the bright white light of burning magnesium. The Proviz 360+ is positively dazzling in headlights.
With the nights drawing in, I’ve found myself in a highly reflective mood lately.
I’ve been reflecting on the dangers of cycling as the evenings darken; that worry, as someone who is both a cyclist and a motorist, of just how many things compete for our attention on the road and how we owe it to one another to make journeys as easy as possible, by ensuring we can be seen.
The Proviz REFLECT 360+ reminds me of chemistry lessons observing the bright white light of burning magnesium.
And I’ve been looking at reflectives to add to my cycling wardrobe.
You’re unlikely to ever see me in hi-vis yellow – I want to be safe and I want to be visible, but I don’t want to be garish.
I want motorists to be able to see me in low light on the awkward roads of London with their hit-and-miss cycle paths and narrow lanes. I’m not one of those militant cyclists who thinks I shouldn’t have to make myself seen because I have the right to be on the road: we’re all fallible. I believe cyclists have a duty to make themselves visible in the same way that car drivers have a duty to turn on their headlights when it goes dark.
I’ve been reflecting on the dangers of cycling as the evenings darken; that worry, as someone who is both a cyclist and a motorist, of just how many things compete for our attention on the road.
But what you want to know is how it actually performs, right?
Comfort & Performance
I’m a sweaty sort of person. I’m generally reluctant to cycle in any sort of water resistant clothing because I worry it will steam my torso until it resembles a dim sum, but I can safely say I did not feel like a steamed dumpling after my 10 mile commute in the REFLECT360+ jacket.
The fabric is lightweight and surprisingly breathable, and the jacket has a ventilation flap across the shoulders to help keep you cool. What’s more, it has zippered under arm ventilation which you can unzip for extra air flow.
Sweaty cyclists of the world rejoice!
There are just two downsides: the first is that the sleeves are unlined, unlike the body of the jacket, so don’t feel very nice against bare skin – a bit clammy on the arms. For my evening ride home I wore merino arm warmers which solved the problem. I doubt I’ll be wearing the jacket with bare arms over the coming months, so it’s a minor gripe. The second is that although the reflective fabric is incredible in the dark under headlights, in low light the grey is very un-visible, so while it’s a great jacket for night time riding, it’s not so good for wearing on dull greys or at dusk.
Freedom of movement is excellent thanks to the redesigned raglan sleeves. A large back pocket coupled with chest pockets for debit cards and tissues mean you can keep your commuting essentials handy.
On the bike, the jacket is very comfortable. It doesn’t pull across the shoulders, it’s nice and long, it keeps water out and the fleecy collar feels lovely.
I usually cycle at around 6.30pm. At the moment, that means I set off while it’s light, so the reflective element doesn’t really come in to its own. In a few weeks’ time, it’ll be a different story and I’m really looking forward to standing out on dark rides home.
Fit & Sizing
The REFLECT360+ women’s jacket is generously sized – particularly in the skimpy world of cycling apparel – so there’s no need to order a size up.
I’m 5’7” and a curvy size 12 in non-cycling clothes.
If I’m buying Castelli I always order size large. In DHB, I’ll always go for size 14 (which is still quite snug). But the size 14 Proviz 360+ jacket is plenty big enough – in fact, I could probably wear a 12 comfortably. But as winter draws in and there are more layers to fit underneath a jacket, I don’t mind having a bit of extra room. The sleeves are rather long, as you can see from the photograph; however, the Velcro straps around the wrists allow you to cinch them higher up if need be. (It’s worth noting that the sleeve length increases by 2cm for each size up in the range.)
Value for money
The Proviz REFLECT 360+ retails at £109.99. For a garment that provides good water resistance and incredible visibility at night, we think it offers great value for anyone who will be cycling in the dark this winter.
Cycling activity: 80-100 miles per week, in moderate British conditions.