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Comfortable, thin, and warm, Gore’s C5 Women’s Windstopper Thermo Jacket is worthy of becoming a winter riding staple. There’s plenty of room for layers beneath for fickle weather days, too.
Basics: Windstopper softshell jacket for cold weather riding
Pros: Room to layer; breathable and warm
Cons: Small pockets; name is a mouthful
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A tall collar and a slight drop tail are just a couple of the features Gore knows a winter jacket needs. Gore knows foul weather, and they know the key to being prepared is layers, so instead of a next-to-skin race cut jacket, they opt for what they call a form-fit—it’s not baggy or flapping, but it’s loose enough you can comfortably wear whatever you need under the C5 Thermo Jacket.
Paired with a short sleeve jersey, the C5 Thermo jacket worked well in the mid to high 40s, and when layered over a thermal jersey, it was plenty warm on a 25-degree day in the snow. The elastic cuff easily pulls over most gloves, but also fit nicely under the gauntlet of my fat biking gloves.
The Windstopper softshell material creates a barrier against the cold and wind and is water-resistant, while the fleece lining insulates and moves moisture away. The moisture management may be the unsung (now sung) hero of the C5 Thermo Jacket. At the end of multiple rides, I’d pull my phone out of one of the rear pockets to find the screen damp, and while I’d been warm on the ride, I never felt sweaty.
I really appreciate Gore’s attention to detail with this jacket. The heavy-duty zipper has thin but rubberized pull tab that makes it easy to grab with gloved hands, and the thick internal zipper flap ensures cold air is sealed out. As someone with short hair, I especially appreciate the draft-preventing benefits of a tall collar, but that can often leave you with a zipper bothering your chin. While zipper garages are a common way to address this issue, they’re often poorly designed. That’s not the case on the C5 Thermo Jacket. Not only is the zipper garage large enough to fully cover the zipper, the garage itself is fleece covered, effectively eliminating any chance of chafing or discomfort.
A small, color-blocked drop tail offers just enough protection to keep your bum dry from road spray while reflective tape sewn into the seams of the rear pockets adds some low-light visibility. Gore uses a large but thin strip of color-matched elastic across the top of the pockets to avoid ejections.
If I have any criticisms of the C5 Thermo Jacket, it’s the size of the rear pockets. While the depth is fine, all three pockets are rather narrow, with the two outside pockets just barely wide enough to hold my phone. Winter riding often comes with more—not fewer—things to carry so it’s a little disappointing when an otherwise stellar jacket has unnecessarily limited its carrying capacity.
Small pockets notwithstanding, the C5 Thermo Jacket has become my go-to option for winter riding. It’s comfortable, warm, and versatile—exactly what you need to keep riding through the winter.