not that i've ever watched an episode, but i believe there is a television programme entitled myth busters, the purpose of which, unsurprisingly, is to call time on long held myths. as i said, i've yet to view any of it, so i'm less than assured as to quite what level of myth is in fact busted, but i'm sure something like 'most of your body heat is lost via the head' would come into that category. as is the wont of television, it's unlikely that the presenter simply states the myth is wrong; doubtless there will be deep and meaningful investigations to conclusively prove the error of someone's ways.
so in the true spirit of this programme i have never seen, i have no intention of venturing into either video or television for the purposes of my investigative review of endura's pak-a-jak. there are a couple of reasons for this, not least because i hadn't truly expected to be wearing it in the first place.
you will scarcely believe that this compact and bijou rain jacket arrived at washingmachinepost cottage at the same time as the replica team kit, yet today was the first time there has been any decent rain. at least rain that i found myself riding in. though the leading edge of hurricane katia was transgressing hebridean shores, the point of departure was graced by bright skies and gale force winds. the latter are something of an occupational hazard, so there was little problem in saddling up the cielo and heading out for a solo ride, the remaining ardbeg peleton being otherwise engaged.
over-confidence is a less than attractive feature, particularly when applied to the length of a sunday bike ride. the winds are neither here nor there, but rain seemed reasonably unlikely in the immediate vicinity, so i rode a tad further than originally planned. had this not been the case, i'd have reached debbie's without so much as a spot of precipitation on my cielo jersey. life, of course, is rarely like that, and just after avoiding a flock of sheep wandering aimlessly on the tarmac, the rain arrived just before grainel farm was reached. islay's back roads are well peppered with passing places, most convenient for stopping en-route, pulling the pak-a-jak from a rear pocket, and cossetting self in white wind and rain protection.
or so i thought.
it would be a mite unfair to criticise endura for my getting soaked inside and out. at the point of pak-a-jak donning, the road had started to veer into the wind, and as i stated at the outset, hurricane katia, due in person by tomorrow, was having a dress-rehearsal this morning, sending a concentrated downpour in substantial horizontal quantities, all of which were very definitely in my direction. it's going to be a long, hard, lonely winter, with lots more where that came from, therefore the best (and only) policy is to knuckle down and accept it. if you learn to love a headwind (even those of gale force proportions) not only will unlimited dollops of character be yours to own, but thighs of steel will result from continued exposure to the draught.
the criticism levelled at endura consists of a total lack of waterproofing; both jersey and armwarmers may not have been saturated by coffee time, but were at best, unpleasantly wet. however, a quick scan of endura's website elicits their own description as showerproof. without taped seams, no garment can be legally referred to as waterproof, and the pak-a-jak most certainly does not have tape anywhere in sight. and though the definition of a shower opens up some interesting semantic discussions, i'd be more than willing to concede that today's weather was well outside such a definition.
which calls into question the efficacy of the jacket itself. windproof it most certainly is; there was more than enough of that to prove the point, but the west of scotland, in my experience, rarely suffers from the sort of shower that would lead to the pak-a-jak being considered sufficient protection from such elements. alter the definition just a smidgeon to that of 'windproof' jacket, and i believe all would again be well with the world. though there are mesh vents to aid breathability, such was the quantity of rain encountered, i've no idea how well this aspect worked. wet, is wet, is wet.
of course, at one penny under forty quid, it would be a major optimist who expected unbridled elemental protection. that is more the province of endura's equipe softshell; now there's a waterproof.
as far as i'm concerned, as of today, the pak-a-jak's winter is over. it will now reside with the stored until next summer apparel in the west wing; a well-made product that stows in a pocket easily, takes little effort to put on, but should not be counted on in a serious climatic emergency.
horses for courses.
endura's pak-a-jak retails at £39.99, in sizes ranging from small to xxl and is available in yellow, green, red, black and white (reviewed)
posted sunday 11 september 2011..........................................................................................................................................................................................................