Craft Belle Jacket

 

The Craft Belle Jacket is a surprisingly warm winter jacket that offers excellent protection against wind and rain – cut to work with a female body on the bike and packed with features which assure this jacket a place in our list of all time favourites.

 

Craft Belle Jacket

 

We love it when we are surprised by kit, surprised in a good way obviously and this jacket was just such a piece.  Don’t get us wrong, we know Craft produce top quality clothing which stands the test of time because we have had the opportunity to long term test a range of shorts, jerseys, base layers, jackets and accessories over the years and honestly we have never been disappointed... but when the Craft Belle Jacket arrived, just as we were heading into deepest winter, we didn’t think it would be up to the job, at least not until the weather turned a bit warmer.

 

Our reservations were based on the feel of the fabrics.  It is what you might call a “mid-weight” jacket and it just didn’t feel weighty enough to provide enough warm for deep winter training.  Happily, winter has teased us a little bit this year - one moment it feels like spring and the next it is snowing again - so we eventually donned the Craft Belle Jacket, took it for a spin and found it remarkably warm.  Since then we have had plenty of opportunity to try to find the limits for this amazing jacket and we have grabbed it at every opportunity, adjusting the warmth rating by choosing different base layers to go with it.  On a really cold day we have teamed it with the Craft Women’s Warm Intensity base and that combo has been good for rides in sub-zero temperatures and it is now a firm favourite.

 

So it seems when Craft promise warmth with wind and water repellent properties, they really mean it.  Cleverly Craft have made the front facing panels – the chest and the front of the arms – from wind and waterproof fabrics, while the back facing panels have a brushed fleece facing next to the body for insulation and these are warm while also allowing for sweat to move away from the body.  The result is that the Craft Belle Jacket is fabulously warm and offers really excellent protection from the elements.  And of course it is ergonomically designed to work well with a female body on the bike, with a broad elasticated and silicone printed strip around the bottom back hem to make sure it stays perfectly in place.

 

Craft have included a number of nice features to boost the fit, feel and warmth of the Craft Belle Jacket.  Most notably, the sleeves end in an unusually deep cuff (12 cm) which give a really snug feel around the wrists and we found they work particularly well with the cuff of all our winter gloves to effectively keep out cold air.

 

The Craft Belle Jacket also features a full length windproof zip, which has a wind panel behind it for good measure and a reflective, windproof cover over the front face as well.  There are two zipped pockets at the back – actually we would have preferred one deep pocket, which would have been easier to balance but we are picking holes in what is a really well thought out jacket if we make a thing of that.

 

At the nape of the neck Craft have added an elasticated insert that again gives great protection against cold air and the collar itself is fleece lined.  Added to that there are some well placed reflectives; along the arms, down the back, up the zip, plus logos front and back, all of which upgrade the visibility of the wearer nicely. 

 

The Craft Belle Jacket is a highly visible, beautifully designed and seriously warm winter jacket that offers great protection for winter training, in a female specific cut that drew plenty of admiring glances.

 

Sizes: XS-XXL

Colors: Crush

RRP: £100.00

Website:  craftsportswear.co.uk - Belle Jacket

 

Performance: 9/10

Value: 8/10

 

Reviewed by Jan Birkmyre

 

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