I just purchased the women’s specific GORE Oxygen waterproof breathable Gore-Tex cycling jacket and after two solid February all-weather weekend training rides – both mountain biking and road – I am stoked and certain it was the right choice. This jacket is everything I wanted and more.
I’ve been saving my pennies for the jacket that would do it all. The description of the jacket I sought read something like the unattainable personal ad of outerwear: Must be fully waterproof, breathable, lightweight, functional, pack small, fit well, be allowed in the washer/dryer, and, of course, look good. The GORE Oxygen Lady does it all.
I couldn’t believe how light the jacket was when I first picked it up. And that was before I cut the tags off. The Oxygen’s tailored fit is very flattering, but I was concerned about how many layers I would be able to squeeze underneath for winter riding. I comfortably rode in three degrees (Celsius) and rain with a long-sleeved base layer and a thicker long-sleeved cycling jersey underneath and I was perfectly comfortable. I think I could easily add another layer to get a few more degrees out of the ensemble for colder weather.
However, for those who want the jacket to accompany them on sub-zero adventures, I would recommend either going up one size or checking out GORE’s slightly roomier Power Lady or Alp X-Lady. They are not quite as minimalist as the Oxygen, but additional features may make them more versatile.
When I started my mountain bike ride on Saturday, it was absolutely pouring, but the drops just beaded on the jacket and rolled off harmlessly. Then, when the rain stopped and things warmed up a little, the jacket stayed perfect. It was as if a tiny thermostat was modulating the environment inside the jacket.
With my old rain shell and those clear plastic rain capes cyclists are so fond of, the outside is impermeable, so no water gets inside, but because they’re not breathable, heat, perspiration, and condensation build up inside, so you still get uncomfortably damp. And then when it stops raining, you get too warm and peel off the shell, and suddenly get chilled anyway. With the GORE, I wore it for the entire ride and never had to worry about whether I should take it off or put it back on. It blocked the wind, yet breathed, so even though I worked up a sweat, I didn’t feel sticky.
My Dream Blue Oxygen Lady jacket got absolutely muddy and filthy on my ride, so when I got home, I threw it in the laundry (cold, no bleach!) and followed it up with a low heat tumble dry and it was as clean, bright, and crisp as when I bought it… and most importantly, it was ready for my 4-hour road ride the next day.
The $279 Oxygen Lady is worth every penny, because I know this is the jacket I’ve been waiting for my entire life. On all of my outdoor adventures and through any kind weather, it will be with me, keeping my warm, dry, and comfortable.