As part of our winter waterproof jacket group test, gravel rider and professional photographer Dan Monaghan reviewed 7mesh’s newly released Copilot waterproof jacket.
Based in Squamish, Canada, the guys at 7mesh work, live and play amongst the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation indigenous people, which has led them to make backcountry and technical apparel for all conditions. Innovative shapes, premium fabrics and advanced fabrication methods, 7mesh has a solid standing in the bikepacking and adventure community for quality gear, and one of the brands I always search for when looking at new gear.
It was fortuitous that I was asked to test this jacket as I’d been in the market for a multifunctional jacket for the winter and year ahead. Mid October the 7mesh Copilot jacket landed on my doorstep, just in time for the mud and rain fest that is winter in the UK. I’m not a rider who shies away from more testing weather, as long as I’m prepared for it.
My local trails in North-West England aren’t long, sweeping gravel tracks (unless it’s the canal towpath), but they are more mud and grass with the occasional break to grit and hard pack track. Along with the inevitable rain, the Copilot has had its fair share of mud splattering! The Copilot jacket has had a good three months of testing (I had a break for Xmas day, stuff your face-fest). I also tested the jacket for various other uses: rambling, dog walking, kids footy – when you’ve got a jacket like this why wouldn’t you?
Materials and construction
The Copilot is a windproof, waterproof packable shell jacket made from Gore-Tex PacLite Plus fabric, 100% recycled nylon face fabric with fully taped seams. The full length zip down the front is a quality YKK ‘watertight Vislon’ zip. On their site, 7mesh detail the best washing and care procedure for this Gore Tex material, which involves machine washing at 40 degrees and drying either on a low heat in a tumble drier or on a line followed by a low heat iron to reactivate the DWR water repellent treatment on the fabric outer.
The jacket comes in two colourways, this ‘Brickwork’ orange and a steely-blue colour. In the women’s cut, you can choose between the blue or a bright red, named ‘Alpen Glow’.
Fit and features
The Copilot jacket has a relaxed trail fit. I initially opted for the XL (I’m 5’11, large build), but found it a little too big, and as I wanted to make sure that the functional properties of the jacket were properly tested so moved to the large size. The large still has plenty of room for me (it’s nowhere near an aero fitting road jacket), and it’s cut to adapt to the layers you’re wearing underneath. The jacket ranges in sizes from XS to XXL in this men’s cut, and XS to XL for women.
My initial thoughts were how nice the jacket looked, clean lines, a great bright colour (Brickwork orange) and light, but I’m always slightly concerned when a jacket feels light as it can often mean it will fall apart the minute you put it to the test.
Once on, the fit can be adjusted by the simple, integrated drawcord around the hem, which is also dropped at the back: a great feature where mud splatter is concerned and keeping your seat area drier. The cuffs aren’t adjustable, but are elasticated around a third of the circumference. Although I can see how this plays into the minimal design of the Copilot jacket, this lack of adjustability means you can’t tighten them on colder, rainier days to stop any water or wind ingress at the wrists.
The jacket has an oversized hood, which without a helmet makes me look like Obi Wan Kenobi (actually that’s pretty cool)! On the bike it’s a useful piece of tailoring, fitting perfectly over a helmet to keep you cosy, although when down it could do with a bit more ability to draw it in, even with the simple three-way drawcord that you adjust from the nape of the neck.
There’s a single, waterproof zippered pocket on the jacket on the front left hand side. faces backwards which makes it hard to reach in to get things, even when I use my right hand (may be I’m using it wrong) – It would be hard to ride and access a bar or phone. The zip is super stiff due to the taped seam which makes it really difficult to unzip one handed, but I guess that’s the payoff to have a functional jacket.
Waterproof and breathable?
Not knowing how the jacket would breathe, I opted for a few layers on my first chilly and muddy ride. I headed out on a local loop, across fields and tracks (which would usually include the local waterhole – not during Covid). Whilst it didn’t rain, there was a decent amount of mud splatter the jacket had to put up with and it coped admirably.
Over the next few weeks rides I gradually adapted my clothing under the jacket. I have to say, I’m a sweat monster, heating up really quick on rides, so having a breathable (and yes, it is) jacket that not only kept the filth out but also kept heat regulated inside was brilliant. I’d expect boil in the bag, but this didn’t happen. As a lightweight jacket, I also expected that I might get cold, but again, that didn’t happen. The wind proofing and 13 mm taped seams on the Copilot jacket really do work.
I’ve now tailored my clothing down to merino base layer, jersey, gilet and Copilot jacket for the colder days, which seems perfect. Even if the weather changes I’ve every confidence that the Copilot would allow me to stay out riding and feel comfy.
I did test the jacket out in the garden too, under the hose, whilst on – which my kids loved! Even with a pounding from the hose, the jacket’s waterproofing worked very well. The water beaded off, didn’t gather anywhere, and with a few shakes the jacket was back to dry and ready to go, which is very useful for big days on the bike. The ability to easily clean the mud off the jacket after a ride is a great plus.
The 7mesh Copilot waterproof verdict
Would I buy this or recommend it to a mate? Absolutely yes! It’s a fantastic piece of kit. It ticks all the boxes we look for: multifunctional, lightweight, packable and looks great. The Copilot jacket is the kind of equipment I wouldn’t be without, whatever the conditions (or activity), that you can rely on to always work with you and the conditions you’re riding in. The price at £220 is definitely at the higher end of the scale (and this waterproof jackets group test) but feels justified, especially with the crash replacement scheme at 7mesh, offering repairs at a small cost or discounted replacements.
I’m a rider who constantly over packs ‘just in case’, I don’t need to anymore with the Copilot jacket.
Last modified: 16th January 2021