Cycling vests are an absolute necessity. They are so packable that I rarely head out on a ride without one stuffed in my jersey pocket. With a tried-and-true design, the Solo Equipe Gilet (that’s a vest for us Yankees) offers excellent visibility and takes the edge off unexpected cold or rain.
Solo Equipe Gilet Features:
- Excellent water repellency (DWR finish)
- Small and easily stowed in a jersey
- Full-length reflective zipper
- Reflective Solo logo (front/rear), arm bands and hem
- Mesh side panels for breathability
- Small stash pocket on right side
- Construction: 100% polyester
- Colors: Red, white (tested) or blue
- MSRP: $69.99
Gilet, vest… whatever
Vests are essential. I have several in the closet and use them year-round for cool rides and chilly morning descents. Unless it’s an Africa-hot ride, I pretty much have one stuffed into my jersey pocket at all times. With that, I’ve added the Solo Equipe Gilet to the mix as a great option to have.
First off, I love the extra visibility accents on the Equipe Gilet. In particular, the white color stands out and with generous amounts reflective material, I stand out even better on early morning rides up American Fork Canyon. Just a touch of light and I’m clearly visible in low low light situations.
Thought this vest is lightweight, it does offer solid weather protection with excellent water repellency. The DWR finish repels water in a jiffy and has kept my core dry during a few spring rain showers. And, instead of featuring weather-resistant material on the front only, it has the same material on the back as well. But, breathability doesn’t go out the window since the Equipe Gilet features full-length mesh panels on the sides.
Something that does become a bit of a bother with vests is that jersey pockets become inaccessible. Some vests offer reversible zippers to ease access and others add pockets of their own. I could really go either way on doubled-up pockets in a vest, but at the very least, the Equipe offers a small stash pocket on the right side. This is perfect for a gel packet or two, delivering easy access in a pinch. I stashed a GU energy gel in there for a mid-ride boost on my way up the Alpine Loop — it’s easy to access and doesn’t feel awkward at all. Plus, when it’s time to remove the vest, there are no large pockets to empty.
The size large fits well (5’11” and 175 lbs) without much excess or bulk anywhere and fully-covers all my jerseys. Off the bike, the armbands do feel a little tight, but on the bike I never noticed it. A nice touch is the fleece-lined collar, which provides just a little extra comfort and warmth. The zipper has been a little finicky to start, but is easily-zipped up or down while on the bike. I’d peg the overall quality as mid-grade. It’s not a high-end piece, so I’m not expecting that kind of an experience, but it is certainly a great overall package for the price.
I’ve appreciated the lightweight weather and wind protection so far and look forward to more early-morning rides with this vest.
- Lots of reflective bands/elements
- Good weather protection for such a light piece
- Packs down very small
- Fleece-lined collar is a nice touch
- Good to have a little stash pocket
- Excellent price point
- Zipper has been finicky to start
- Will get overwhelmed in serious weather
- Good, but not exceptional construction (still a good value)
The Bottom Line: Solo Equipe Gilet
Gilet, vest… whatever you want to call it, the Solo Equipe Gilet offers excellent weather/wind protection in a visible and affordable package. It fits well and stashes in a jersey pocket for extra ride insurance.
Buy Now: Available on Amazon.com
It's always a good idea to have a vest on-hand just in case. And, the Solo Equipe Gilet has been great so far -- offering excellent wind and weather protection in a pinch.