It’s always nice when a product performs as well as you’d like, but it’s a bonus when you get two products that also happen to work well as a combo. I got the chance to test Dainese’s new AWA Wind Jacket and Hybrid Jacket, and couldn’t be happier to have them in my closet.
Dainese created the AWA clothing line with multi-sport versatility in mind, and were wise to ensure the pieces jived well as a layering system. The Hybrid and Wind Jackets are both great pieces on their own, but together they make for a lightweight, packable combo that will keep riders happy in a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions.
AWA Wind Jacket
With packability in mind, the AWA Wind Jacket’s construction is very simple. Aside from the full length zipper, a soft touch collar and self-stash pocket are the only bells and whistles here. The lower hem and cuffs rely on thin elastics, keeping the jacket quite light at 76g (I’m testing a size medium). The shell is made from 100% Nylon, with a DWR coating to repel water.
The Wind Jacket fits on the snug side. I’m 5’9” and 145lbs, and there isn’t much extra room around my size 32 waist. The body length is perfect for me: The front reaches right to my waistline, but the dropped rear hem completely covers my butt. The arm length was bang-on too, so the overall fit worked well for me.
There isn’t much space for heavy layers underneath this shell. Mine fits nicely over a thin hooded midlayer, but even better over Dainese’s Hybrid Jacket (it’s clear these garments were designed to work together).
My first ride with the AWA Wind Jacket was on a chilly March evening, and I was immediately impressed with the difference it made. When it’s just a bit cold for your usual midlayer/jersey combo, this jacket will keep the wind blocked out and keep you a few crucial degrees warmer.
The Wind Jacket can also replace a midlayer on days when you want something light over your jersey until you get warmed up. When it’s time to shed it, the jacket packs up smaller than any other midlayer I have, so it makes a great ‘get me to the trailhead’ garment. Once you get climbing, the shell doesn’t vent heat too well so you’ll want to pull it off… good thing it’s so packable.
While riding I never had any issues with mobility, so Dainese has done a good job of keeping things slim-fitting yet ergonomically correct. The soft collar fabric was a worthy inclusion, it felt much nicer on my neck than I suspect the shell material would.
Twice I rode through a few minutes of light rain and it beaded up on the Wind Jacket nicely. Dainese only claims this shell will get you through ‘light showers’, so it’s not meant for really wet rides. I haven’t crashed in the jacket, so I can’t comment on the Nylon’s thrash resistance.
When the weather is a few degrees cooler than you’d like, the AWA Wind Jacket comes to the rescue. Why not arrive at the trailhead feeling warm when there’s such a minimal cargo penalty to pay? If you ride with a hydration pack, it’s easy to keep this tiny jacket in there all season. If you don’t ride with a pack, the shell can still be stuffed into a pocket or SWAT compartment.
Overall I was very happy with the AWA Wind Jacket. My only suggestion for Dainese is purely aesthetic- the yellow doesn’t match any of my gear, so it might be nice if they offered some color options! The AWA Wind Jacket sells for $109.99 USD, and comes in sizes XS –XXL.
AWA Hybrid Jacket
Judging by the catalogue picture, I thought the AWA Hybrid Jacket would be thicker than it is. It’s actually very thin and lightweight, and like the Wind Jacket keeps extras to a minimum in favor of simplicity and performance. The jacket packs up pretty small, compressing into its self-stash pocket at about the size of a softball. It’s also very lightweight, so it all but disappears into a hydration pack.
The Hybrid Jacket is made from Polartec’s Alpha Direct and Power Grid fabrics, with the heavier Alpha Direct in the core area and the lighter, moisture-wicking Power Grid in the shoulders, sleeves and back. The stomach also has a thin outer fabric facing to keep chilly winds off your core.
The jacket fits pretty snug for a size medium, as it just reaches around my waist and I’m not a big guy! Overall it was ideal for my slender frame, much like the Wind Jacket the body’s cut and sleeves provided a tailored fit. There isn’t much room in the body or arms for a baggy base layer, so I’d recommend wearing a slim fitting jersey underneath. As mentioned above the Hybrid Jacket layers perfectly with the Wind Jacket, making them a very versatile combo.
My first test was a ride across town on a cold spring evening. For the first few minutes I didn’t think the jacket was going to offer much warmth, and I noticed a lot of air flowing through the sleeves. Sure enough, a few minutes later the modern fabrics did their thing and I was cruising along at a perfect temperature.
The wind resistance from the front panels is definitely noticeable, and while the arms don’t block much wind they do hold heat in once you’ve warmed up. The fabric-faced panels extend around the hips, which helps resist wear and tear from hydration packs. After many rides there is no noticeable wear on my jacket’s lower back, and no pilling on the middle panel’s Power Grid fabric.
The Hybrid Jacket is a good regulator; I left it on for a whole ride when I could have done without it, and with the front zipper open I didn’t overheat at all. The fabric holds heat in but also lets air flow through once you get moving, so when speeds pick up you’ll quickly cool down. Dainese’s Hybrid Jacket retails for $200. Sizes range from XS-XXL, and color choices include Ombre Blue, Drizzle Grey or Black Iris/Chili Pepper.
I was very impressed with Dainese’s new AWA series garments. Both are super light and packable pieces that perform on the trail, and together they create a great layering system. Their cut is slim but worked well for me, and I expect to get a lot of use out of the versatile Hybrid and Wind Jackets when temperatures drop again this fall. Both garments are available online or at Dainese dealers.