The Galibier Mistral Foul Weather Jacket is a soft shell weatherproof, ideal for autumn and early winter. The Mistral Pro is their “Deep Winter” option so, if you plan to head out in the ice and snow, that would be the one for you. Otherwise, you are in the right place.
The jacket comes in one colour option – black. Unlike previous versions, the detailing is fluorescent yellow (as opposed to red). The back of the jacket has the usual slab of 3M reflective material that I have come to associate with Galibier, as well as additional piping along the tops of the pockets. Apparently, these are particularly bright and obvious when lit up by car headlights. On dark, rural roads, this is very welcome.
The main feature is the fabric. It is triple layered, windproof, water resistant and only 1.2mm thick. As the heat retention is so good, you really don’t need to layer up underneath. The days of riding around like a Michelin Man are well and truly gone. You can fine tune for warmer or cooler weather by simply varying your base layer.
I tend to reach for this jacket when it is around 5 degrees (give or take a degree). It keeps me warm enough with a medium weight, long sleeve, base layer underneath. Venting to moderate heat build up is simple, just adjust the full length zip as required. If the temperature starts nudging towards double figures, I find that I overheat. I tend to run ‘hot’ anyway, so this may just be me. The breathable qualities of the fabric ensure I don’t get overwhelmingly sweaty.
If it looks as though the ride will end (much) warmer than it started, I generally use the Foul Weather Gilet, which I reviewed last year.
The one problem with testing ‘weatherproof’ garments is that Suffolk generally does not get that much rain. The best that nature has been able to throw at me so far, is a heavy drizzle. It was persistent enough, but not what you might call ‘rain’. In these conditions, the fabric kept the damp out for several hours with no sign of ‘leaking’.
The sleeves are nice and long with a double cuff. This keeps draughts at bay and ensures you don’t get cold wrists, especially when paired up with the Ardennes glove. As the sleeve length is generous, and the material across the back of the jacket moderately stretchy, the sleeves do not ride up when you are in the drops.
The rear pockets are exactly what I would expect from Galibier. Cavernous, robust and well positioned. Access is easy on the fly and I never have to worry that the stitching is going to come undone, or the fabric tear. If there is a problem, it is that I can’t resist the temptation to carry extra stuff, just because I can!
The jacket is obviously designed for road use. Most roadies I know would not dream of putting themselves in a situation where they would have to contend with overhanging vegetation. If you venture off road however, this is inevitable. So far, the jacket has resisted the efforts of brambles and branches to damage it. In fact, it has emerged completely unscathed from several incursion attempts.
There is a generous ‘tail’ on this jacket. Great for minimising the dreaded ‘soggy bottom’.
Less mission critical, but still important are the smaller design features. The collar is high enough and fully lined so you won’t get a scratched neck! It is reasonably good at keeping the wind out but I still find myself using a buff, just to make sure. Maybe I am just getting fussy in my old age! The zip tucks away neatly into a zip garage.
The rear pockets have a mesh bottom. I have never got wet enough for water build up to be an issue for me. I guess it is generally deemed to be a ‘good thing’. Perhaps I ought to ride with my brother in law on the west coast of Ireland. He tells me it rains a bit over there!
Finally on the feature list, there is a decent water proof security pocket. I’d like a bigger tag on the zip – just for when your hands are really cold!
Now to the zip. My favourite topic. How many shirts or jackets are spoiled by inadequate zips? Let me tell you….lots! Galibier have always seemed to have a policy of specifying heavier duty zips with decent sized tags. Once again they have continued this strategy. Thank you Galibier. Weedy zips with tiny tags are the bane of my life.
I am conscious of sounding like a scratched record (remember those?) but once again, Galibier have produced a really high quality product at a great price.
There really is nothing to dislike about this jacket except maybe the limited colour choice. Something brighter than black would be more obvious to drivers. Let’s face it, you are likely to be wearing this when conditions may not be that good anyway. Orange or red would be far better.
Last modified: 24th December 2018