TUCANO URBANO NANO RAIN ZETA JACKET
295g (316g including bag) Unisex, Hi-Viz Yellow (as tested) £70.99
The Nano Rain Zeta Jacket is part of Tucano Urbano’s Nano Rainwear collection. The Panta Nano Rain Zeta– over trousers, in UK English - are another. Aimed primarily at the smart urban commuter, it is designed to be adaptable, packable, and, of course, waterproof. Lacking come of the characteristics of the traditional cycling jacket, it has others specifically aimed at the year-round commuter. It is a shell, and as such, has applications beyond the daily commute, on leisurely spring or summer rides, for example.
Pros: light, eminently packable.
Cons: limited colour choice, many jackets have higher breathability.
A specific bike cut, with drop back, and a high collar, sets things off in the right direction. The sleeves are long enough for riding on the drops, but give best coverage in more relaxed riding positions.
A full-length zip down the back, designed for added comfort when carrying a back pack (such as their Beak Pack), also allows the jacket to expand to encompass extra layers. Yes, the top of the zip is housed in its own ‘garage’ to prevent ingress of precipitation. Will help to keep temptation out of the way of the prankster behind you at the traffic lights, too.
Temperature control comes courtesy of several features; zipped under-arm side vents, an adjustable collar, and a full-length zip, for starters. The latter is baffled against the wind and rain. Both baffle and collar – as well as cuffs - are held in place by Velcro strips and tabs. A drawstring hem completes the picture.
In addition to that, the 100% polyamide ‘Hydroscud’ fabric is both waterproof and breathable (to 5000g/m2/24hr). This puts the Nano Rain Zeta in an interesting position: ten pounds less will get you double the breathability rating, although without all the features; ten pounds more, and you’ll get both.
Underarm vents aid temperature control. Seams are taped, making for a truly waterproof garment – taking the baffled-zip into account A waterproof rating of 5000mm is generally regarded as more than adequate for general light leisure activities and cycle commuting, but those in very wet clime, or wanting a one-jacket-does all, will probably go higher.
The front zip’s fob is suitable for un-gloved mid-ride adjustment – although the Velcro patches make things a bit trickier. Other zips are fob-less. Even without gloves I found the underarm zips tricky to adjust, on the fly. I think that is partly down to the lightness of the fabric. Overall, I’d consider enlarging the front fob, and creating my own for the underarm vents.
There is no hood. This is certainly not a significant flaw, in my opinion. Likewise, some might miss rear pockets, but the neat pack size compensates for this.
Drawstring pack sac with Velcro straps for security or compression give neat storage. The loop on the pack sack allows a wet garment to be stowed outside, on a rucksack, for example. Packability is a major plus. More technical, fleece-collared, mesh-lined jackets do not go this small.
Reflective tabs on wrists for Velcro seal, offer some added night presence, whilst the reflective piping on either side of the rear zip, is perfectly executed for prominence and subtlety.
Hi-viz yellow is the only colour option. I’m fine with that, especially for year-round commuting and urban use. However, you can find brands with subtler shades.
Described by Tucan Urbano as a “Confort” fit, the XL version was perfect for me, and those commuting in civvies. Moreover, their sizing guide was spot on. If your preference is for extra-capacity or a slimmer fit, then consult the guide. Sizes range from XS to XL. Do bear in mind that for much of the year you will be wearing two layers, at least, under the shell.
Sizing is toward the generous size. That is a good thing; as a shell which could take its place on the outside of summer or winter clothing, you need a bit of extra space.
Length-wise, the drop-back is perfectly adequate for riding drop-barred bikes – remember, this isn’t racing gear. On the other hand, it’s ideal for flat bars or curved sit-up-and-begs.
Length-wise, the drop-back is perfectly adequate for riding drop-barred bikes – remember, this isn’t racing gear. On the other hand, it’s ideal for flat bars or curved sit-up-and-begs. On the other hand, I’d prefer a bit more length in the sleeves when away from hybrid flat bars and commuting on a drop-barred bike.
Wash at 30C. There’s no insistence on specialist cleaning liquids, but I’d tend toward something aimed specifically at breathable outdoor gear. Line-dry outdoors or drip-dry indoors – best not put garments like this on the radiator, in my experience. After all, we are looking at £70.99 and we want a long life.
Drying times 3/5
Drying, after a good half hour of heavy rain, has taken around an hour drip drying at room temperature. Packed in its little bag, hung by the loop onto a Rucksack, I have not yet had a long enough commute for it to dry.
After washing, with an 800 spin, a little over two hours on the line saw things just about dry on a cloudy, but breezy day. Indoors, I’d bank on overnight.
On a breezy spring morning, at around 12C, the Zeta has taken the chill off, without feeling warm. Despite the light fabric, I felt none of that crisp packet clamminess, even though the fabric is not especially tactile. Having said that, any unlined rain jacket feels cooler against the skin when the Heaven’s open.
Commuting at an average of around 12mph on a 11C morning in pouring rain, I felt a bit chilly. However, I was dry, and a long-sleeved short would have sufficed to keep the cold off. All moisture was on the outside.
I’ve also used the Zeta for leisure rides – anything from 20 to 40 miles, averaging 11mph. The temperature was around 12C. Deliberately provoking the breathability by attempting to hammer up the hills, I got that moist-feeling. However gentle terrain, kept things moderate. Were my workplace just over the Col de Galibier, I’d be wearing a much more technical jacket. Likewise, prolonged periods of rain encountered on tour, for example, require more. Yes, this is a commuting jacket – just what Tucano Urbano claim.
The high collar, has successfully defended against precipitation. Equally, fresh-shaved in the morning, my tender neck and chin and have not suffered chafing. The basic Velcro cuffs have proved equally effective.
Light fabric coming into contact with rough, thorny, or hard surfaces, is likely to have one result. I’ve taken care not to scrape the Zeta against canal-side walls or get shoved into undergrowth by passers-by.
Now that rear zip. Well, it adds a little capacity when layering up. The intended purpose is to make a rucksack more comfortable. Well, it has been observed that having the zip undone keeps the rucksack’s vents further form the back. That’s marginal, and, in my opinion the benefit is, too.
Cheaper than the Zeta Nano, Altura’s Nevis jacket offers double the breathability rating, but without underarm venting, for example. Most of the Nano’s features can be found in Altura’s Nightvision Twilight – with much enhanced reflective capacity – but it comes in at a higher price. Closest in price is the ETC Arid Jacket; higher breathability rating, without all the features. What both these have in common is that they shout “Cyclist!” In my opinion, the Nano Rain Zeta is more ‘urban’ and less ‘sporty-commuter.’ Such boundaries are very grey.
Rapha Men’s Commuter Lightweight Jacket, is described as water-resistant, but is more similar as a shell and in terms of packability. That comes in at £80.
Frankly, this is a competitive market and there are non-cycling shell garments such as the Dare2b Provision II Multipurpose Jacket, that can be thrown into the mix.
This is very much urban gear for commuting length rides or leisurely outings – including by E-Bike. Packing size, decent drip-drying time, and the fabric’s spec, make it a perfect year-round as a shell. well worth a look for the frequent, all-seasons commuter who wants a mix of flexibility and performance. Those seeking to pump hard the long way home or in more extreme environments, will find greater breathability attractive.