7MESH CYPRESS HYBRID JACKET
159g Medium (as tested) £175
The 7Mesh Cypress Hybrid Jacket is a packable, water-resistant shell jacket; the sort that packs into a jersey pocket when not required. Sure, there are many capable shop brands commanding considerably less cash. However, the Cypress is a couple of notches up, when it comes to materials and comfort.
Pros: Windproof, breathable, versatile and water resistant.
Cons: Silicone gripper strips less tenacious than some.
Materials & Construction
The Cypress is made from Gore Tex Windstopper, a three-layer laminate famous for its weather-cheating, breathable properties. The front and arms are treated with a “durable water-resistant finish, while the four way stretch back features the usual silicone gripper and is, apparently, designed for a very precise tailored fit.
Seams aren’t welded, rather stitched. They are treated with 10mm tape to prevent wet, cold stuff creeping inside. This also enhances packability, while keeping weight minimal.
No pockets-comes with the territory (although I do have one or two in my collection boasting a convenient breast pocket, big and sturdy enough, for a smart phone/small compact camera). The front zipper features a very useful tag for effortless, mid-ride donning/removal/climate control. I like red, its warm and eye-catching but there’s also a deep grey version, should you prefer. Reflective logos are very subtle, but effective.
7Mesh’s sizing chart is comprehensive, accurate and accessible, so I wasn’t surprised to discover our medium fitted perfectly, all round. Roomy enough for a winter-weight jersey-cum-jacket beneath, without unsightly lumps and bumps.
When windchill’s meant the mercury barely crawled to 2 degrees, the cut has accommodated a heavier, winter weight gilet atop.
I had a full-length base and thin long sleeve jersey beneath. Decent overlap with Oxford Bright Gloves 4.0
Cut all round, is racy - as we’d expect. Some can be a little long at the front, catching on the saddle’s nose, or overly generous at the tail, inducing annoying flap and flutter. Not here.
The first few rides, were in bitterly cold and very blustery conditions. From the outset, I was very impressed, although not strictly surprised by the fabrics’ insulating properties. Immediately obvious, was the howling winds but flutter-free fabric.
This welcome and very palpable silence improved my awareness of approaching traffic, when descending hard. It also facilitated easier communication and conducive to generally sociable, mid-ride chat.
Breathability was equally impressive. Hammering out a steady 20mph tempo for three hours, even in milder temperatures. There’s been no hint of clamminess, or lag.
Now here’s a thing, especially if you’re fond of stuffing jersey pockets. I found, despite the silicone hem and cut, the back could gather slowly, pushing phone and similar goodies out.
My new 5.5inch smartphone and banana crept out, to the point of ejection, on two consecutive outings. Zippered pockets rendered this a moot point but it’s a consideration, with some shallower types. On those occasions, when it’s turned unexpectedly mild mid-ride, the big zipper tags, have ensured effortless and dignified removal, with winter weight gloves.
Similarly, it will pack into most standard jersey pockets, in a flash, without getting overly precious.
Water-resistant and indeed, shower-proof are two terms, which can mean a multitude of things. I’ve been out in some moderately persistent wintery drizzle for 45 minutes, or so and have remained predominantly dry.
Any ingress was wicked seamlessly in any case. Besides, I’d much prefer this to a fabric that left me boiled in the bag and running risk of a cold. Snug fitting cuffs not only banish the wind but there’s no risk of wet stuff being funnelled inside, either.
Though primarily a road garment, I’m fond of forest deviations, on my rough stuff tourer. Despite the sound of thin fabric being molested by thorns, brambles and low twigs, it’s remained completely unscathed. Garments of this quality appreciate and reward sensible precautions but don’t require “babying”.
To date and my surprise, lube spatter and road spray haven’t transferred to the shell. However, 7mesh recommend using standard, liquid detergents and doing the zippers up, to prevent fabric abrasion during 40degree machine washes.
Leave to air dry, then pop in the tumble drier for 20 minutes. This latter phase will help reactivate the fabrics’ famous properties.
Overall, the 7mesh has delivered on its design brief. I wouldn’t expect anything less of a Gore Tex windstopper shell, in many respects. To some extent, it will depend on your budget. There are cheaper polyester micro-jackets/shells that will also pack very small and do a competent job of banishing damp and chill. However, few have come close to the wicking prowess, let alone wind cheating prowess of the cypress. That said; I would appreciate a revised silicone hem.