GORE set the standard to which waterproof, breathable outerwear is measured, and their latest innovation, GORE SHAKEDRY™, takes everything GORE-TEX is known for to a higher level of performance – waterproofness, breathability and lightweight construction.
SHAKEDRY’s distinct design uses a GORE-TEX membrane as the face fabric and a 100% polyamide fabric as a backer. What does that mean? It means, that GORE has paired down their traditional waterproof and breathable membrane sandwich to the barest of essentials. It’s kind of like a 2.5-layer GORE shell but noticebly lighter due to the backer material being so wafer thin. SHAKEDRY has a unique and techy feel because the outer face is actually the GORE membrane. Water simply beads up and runs right off its surface. And like the name suggests, just a couple of shakes removes almost all water. Curiously, SHAKEDRY has only been available in black, but a quick look at the GORE Wear website shows that limited colors appear to coming soon.
If you have not heard of 7Mesh, you should take a look. The Squamish, British Columbia-based brand specializes in clothing for cycling. In their words, “7mesh was born out of the realisation that while technical apparel for backcountry adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts had reached peaks of innovation, bike riders had been left behind. And as seasoned apparel professionals as well as roadies and mountain bikers, we knew that cyclists deserved better. So in 2013 we quit our jobs, rolled up our sleeves, and got to work.”
It just so happens that the founding team at 7Mesh were all longtime Arc’teryx folks. There are hints in the 7Mesh line of the super clean style and focus on performance that defined Arc’teryx from the start. That said, 7Mesh clearly has its own style and focus.
The 7Mesh Oro jacket is crafted from GORE-TEX Active fabric with SHAKEDRY technology and is literally the lightest most packable cycling rain jacket I have ever used. It weighs in at a scant 90 grams (that’s three ounces!). It packs down to fit in the palm of your hand, and it easily slips into a jersey pocket. There’s even a small stuff-it pocket to keep it compact and easy to pack in a jersey pocket. The Oro Jacket is actually lighter and more packable than GORE Wear’s own SHAKEDRY jacket.
I’ve used countless GORE and other waterproof, breathable techs over the years, and the question is not whether they’re reliably waterproof – they are. The question is whether they actually breathe. Sure, they beat a non-breathable jacket, but cycling demands breathability like few other activities. The Oro jacket is the most breathable waterproof jacket I have ever used. I’m impressed. It’s breathable enough that I’ve been bringing it along as an extra layer even when there’s no threat of rain.
Make no mistake, the 7Mesh Oro is a cycling-specific piece. From patterning that suits the cycling position to a trim-fitting cut, it’s 100% bike. A pair of covered side vents double as jersey pocket pass-throughs for easy access to snacks and supplies, but the jacket is otherwise super clean with noo pockets or unnecessary elements. The hem is reflective, and a drop tail helps keep your lower back covered. It packs down incredibly small and slips in and out of a jersey pocket with ease.
For those who ride no matter the weather, the Oro jacket and GORE SHAKEDRY set a new standard for packable rain coverage. Sudden downpour, all-day showers or damp descents, the Oro jacket is a versatile four-season jacket that makes being prepared for foul weather easy. Now for the bad news, it costs a hefty $300 bucks.
7Mesh Oro Jacket $300 Check availability, pricing and support offpistemag.com when you purchase through our affiliate links.
Check out the GORE Wear ShakeDry model
Read our OR Helium Rain Jacket review