&mesh Guardian

2019 7Mesh Guardian Jacket - Reviewed

Words Cam McRae
Photos AJ Barlas
Date Feb 21, 2019

Andrew Major reviewed the previous version of the 7Mesh Guardian in late 2017. Normally we wouldn't review a jacket again in such short order, but the folks at 7Mesh assured us a small change to the Guardian has made a big difference. In order to compare, I rode last year's jacket and this year's back to back in weather conditions that were as similar as possible. And the difference was clear. Or differences I should say. 

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Sleeve length works great for my average ape index. 

The basics about this jacket are that it is minimalist without compromising essentials, it is light but designed to be as waterproof as possible, and wind and water tight but aimed at allowing the moisture created by your personal weather system to clear efficiently without vents. Its goals are as lofty and outrageous as its 500 CAD/400 USD price tag. From some other companies I'd be skeptical but I have come to trust 7Mesh's expertise, design and engineering.

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The hood works nicely with a helmet and can be cinched back for better visibility using one hand. 

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Full coverage. 

Fitting

Many of my impressions are similar to Andrew's, aside from fit. Andrew appreciated the generous cut of the medium for his 5'9", 185 lb rack of bones. I in turn found the medium to be an adequately roomy but relatively tailored fit for my 6'/157 lb mannequin. When I spoke to Brian from 7Mesh, he confirmed after consulting Ian the pattern boss, that there was no change for 2019, and yet when I measure the two side by side, the earlier version is significantly larger in some dimensions. Measuring across the front, from armpit to armpit, at the pockets and at the waist, the earlier version measures an extra 40mm in each case, or a about 1.6". That means in circumference the difference is a significant 80mm or 3.2". So the new version of the jacket may require some riders to size up. Even the 2019 medium is large enough on me that I would probably go down to a small if I was - shudder - a roadie. (I kid - I'd be a roadie, but much less happy, if I lived somewhere without trails). Another difference is the elasticized wrists. The new version has less elastic material and while it fits closely, it doesn't bunch flush around my wrists. I prefer the slightly more relaxed grasp of the new version, which also leaves room for gloves. 

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We need to start paying actual models. 

Pocketses

Initially I wasn't sure about the pockets. In fact they are in such an awkward spot, midway up your chest and toward the armpits, that they must be accessed with the opposite hand. They are a pain in the ass for getting at your keys or phone quickly when you are off the bike but they are incredibly well-placed for storing something you want to keep handy and/or dry and safe while you are riding. The size is perfect for a phone, wallet or some keys without getting in your way at all. After some reflection it's a compromise that places riding function ahead of convenience. Sign me up for that. 

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Because of the angled orientation, placement, and the slightly increased force required to open the waterproof zippers, it's a two-handed job. 

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If you need to get something out of the pocket, it's virtually impossible to use the hand on the same side. So make like Napoleon. 

Remember to Breathe...

Much of the riding I've done in the Guardian has been on sub zero (Celsius) days, when most riders over dress. I'm generally pretty good about starting a little cold so I don't overheat, but with the Guardian I layered up hard to invoke a sweat. Wearing the earlier version I successfully overheated a couple of times, but wearing the new version I really had a hard time. Long after my buddies had stopped to shed their shells I happily kept mine on, occasionally lowering the zipper a little if it felt like I was going over the edge. Despite my efforts I don't remember a single time I needed to shed the Guardian and discover how small it packs. 

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Taped seams. 13mm wide. The C-Knit backer doesn't look incredibly different, but the difference in feel and moisture transport is impressive. 

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The amazingly simple cinches at the waist (one on each hip) are effective and easy to operate. 

C-Knit Backer

The secret to this improved venting also provides some other benefits. The earlier version used a simple tricot backer and it's not bad at all. It slides well against your under layers and helps protect the Gore membrane. This year 7Mesh decided to go with a newer backer called C-Knit, which improves breathability, lowers the weight of the garment and has a much softer feel. The previous jacket feels crinkly in comparison and it's much noisier to move around in. In comparison the newer jacket hardly feels like you are wearing anything at all. It's soft and pliable and seems to levitate, as though it doesn't make contact. It's actually quite remarkable. It even packs smaller and weighs less - 257g vs 272g - than the previous version. The only jacket I can compare The Guardian to in terms of feel is Gore's rescue shell, which weighs half as much at 126g, is much less waterproof but similarly breathable. 

Highlights

  • GORE-TEX® Active 3L
  • 30d nylon plain weave / C-Knit Backer
  • Watertight #3 Vislon Front Zip
  • 257g (actual)Over the helmet hood with adjustable draw cords
  • Elasticated cuffs
  • Watertight zippered torso pockets
  • Drop back hem
  • Hem draw cord
  • 13mm seam tape

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The fit and feel of this jacket are great, and the function is even better. The first jacket 7Mesh sent had a faulty zipper which failed when the bottom split in two. This would have been covered by the excellent 7Mesh guarantee and the second example has been flawless. 

Yep. This jacket rules. There are times when it's particularly gnarly out that I prefer something a little heavier just because it seems wise, but the abilities of this jacket seem to transcend its feathery presentation. It'll mop the floor with anything short of locusts and the plague, and keep you comfortable in the process. And yes, it is pricy (500 CAD/400 USD). In fact the absence of weight and features makes it seem like even worse value. Some people would rather put that cash into riding trips or lift tickets or tires. I applaud those choices, but I always see value in garments that tip the scales and have me remember feeling comfortable in the deluge. That's the sort of investment that gets me out the door and onto the trail.

Click here for more on the 7Mesh Guardian...


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Comments

upandown
0
upandown  - Feb. 21, 2019, 12:19 a.m.

500 cad ... for a Jacket

a biking jacket.

do you never come off your bike? 

...asking for a horrified friend

Reply

FLATCH
+2 Endur-Bro Cam McRae
flatch  - Feb. 21, 2019, 6:16 a.m.

500 bucks, is that an e-jacket?

Reply

Mic
0
Mic  - Feb. 22, 2019, 12:46 a.m.

And does it hold a water bottle and spares?

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+2 upandown Andrew Major
Cam McRae  - Feb. 21, 2019, 8:20 a.m.

The 90 day free crash replacement and lifetime 50% crash replacement policies 7Mesh has ease that sting some, as well as Goretex patches that Andrew says work very well. But yes, it's an expensive piece that you'd want to be amortizing over a very long period. I'd want it to last 10 years for that.

Reply

blackfly
+1 Cam McRae
Peter Leeds  - Feb. 21, 2019, 5:36 p.m.

$500?  Not bad.  Should get into fly fishing.  That would be about mid line for Simms jackets.

Reply

craw
0
Cr4w  - Feb. 21, 2019, 7:39 a.m.

Let's hear a little about those gloves!

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+1 Cr4w
Cam McRae  - Feb. 21, 2019, 8:21 a.m.

In time grasshoppa.

Reply

craw
0
Cr4w  - Feb. 21, 2019, 9:02 a.m.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't want more things now.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Feb. 21, 2019, 10:57 a.m.

The ones I'm wearing are a cool weather version that doesn't seem to exist on the website. I really like their flannels and pants as well. Cool stuff. 

https://handupgloves.com/gloves

Reply

legbacon
0
legbacon  - Feb. 21, 2019, 7:57 a.m.

I would like to see a photo of the jacket rolled up for carrying.  I only consider items that fit comfortably in my swat bib pockets.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Feb. 21, 2019, 8:18 a.m.

I would say that will be an easy one. It stuffs to about the size of a small water bottle quite easily. I stuffed it into a small Dakine took kit case and it goes in without problem, but I don't think it does it justice and it could be compressed much smaller. A chest pocket that doubles as a stuff sac would be a nice addition. 

7mesh stuffed

Reply

legbacon
0
legbacon  - Feb. 21, 2019, 3:39 p.m.

That sounds great, thanks.

Reply

Timer
0
Timer  - Feb. 22, 2019, 6:32 a.m.

Seeing that XTR enduro pedal on the bench, would you mind commenting on them? Any advantage over the previous XTR trail?

If nothing else it does look much more like it belongs on a mountain bike.

Reply

Endur-Bro
+1 Cam McRae
Endur-Bro  - Feb. 21, 2019, 12:31 p.m.

My size small 7Mesh Rev gen1 jacket fits into a back pocket on my road jerseys. 

I have a Gore C-Knit 3L snow jacket and pants combo. And I have to say it’s a fantastic material. The material bridges between 3L Pro and their soft shell material.  

I might have to grab one of these jackets at a later date. For research purposes.

Reply

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