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Product Review

Gore Rescue Windstopper Shell - Reviewed

Words Cam McRae
Photos Dave Smith
Date Nov 23, 2017

The ultra lightweight jacket that will actually get you home when things get really nasty is the Holy Grail. Something you can leave in your pack every ride in case it goes from bluebird to burly before you make it back home. Of course the whispery jacket that is as waterproof as a good 3 layer Gore Pro jacket (for example) does not exist, but how close can you get with quality fabrics and attention to detail?

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This jacket is minimalist - aside from the Napoleon pocket. Light elastic at the wrist, hood and waist is all you get but it worked fine. 

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The hood does not fit over a helmet, but this jacket is designed to get you out of trouble when it gets nasty or keep you comfortable when conditions are less than ideal so this hits the mark for me. 

The soft hand feel and matte finish were the first elements to make an impression on me. The fabric is incredibly soft and smooth without any shine at all. It's a little glossier on the inside but not enough to get clammy. This all adds up to next level comfort and a high quality impression. I've seen other garments made of Gore Windstopper but never one that felt like this. Nor one with such a long name; the Gore Rescue Windstopper® Active Shell Jacket.


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The Napoleon pocket is more than large enough for your phone and perhaps even car keys and a small wallet in a pinch, but the lightweight fabric does better with just one item. 

Gore Napoleon

The pocket does double duty as a pouch to compress your jacket into a tidy little capsule that will fit almost anywhere. And on my scale it weighs an incredible 126 grams. Less than most multi tools. Or $6.25 worth of smoked salmon. 

On my last ride, a chilly but relatively precip free lap of Mt. Fromme, I noticed something unusual as I pedalled up the fireroad; nothing. The combination of pinner weight, soft fabric and incredible breathability left me feeling like I wasn't wearing a jacket at all. It's all but silent which amplifies this impression. 

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Elaborate seams didn't discourage Gore from sealing every single one. It's like a map of Irish Counties.

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The sealed seams are said to improve water resistance. Shown; Tipperary in the middle surrounded by six other southern counties. 

I assumed this garment would be great for chilly clear mornings with lots of insulation underneath or with fewer layers during shoulder seasons, and while that's accurate it turns out to be pretty solid when the pissing begins. I managed to stay dry after 40 minutes of moderate rainfall and a shorter interval of heavy precip. 

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Details abound despite the minimalism; an invisible front zipper that is long enough to allow removal with helmet in place, a hang hook at the back of the neck, reflective arm graphics and generous zipper pulls are all welcome. Nothing superfluous and nothing absent. I could do without the Windstopper® on the arms - but at least they are reflective. The slim fit was perfect for my bag of bones (this is a medium) but others may want to go up one size from normal.. 

I haven't yet worn this to the point of soak through but these occasions already exceeded my expectations. The level of water resistance and beading (thanks to a DWR coating) of this jacket is better than any lightweight shell I've worn. Would it be my choice when it's 2º Celsius and raining sideways? No question I'd reach for something more robust, but in an emergency or for light to moderate rain of less than 2 hrs this shell does the job admirably. Perhaps the most telling observation is that every time I wear the Rescue I like it a little more. 

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So many panels. 

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Good length and coverage.

For the nastiest wet conditions, this jacket wouldn't be in my top 10. It's just too light to withstand a really gnarly long rainfall. For a light jacket that is stowable, warm and breathable to ramp my comfort on an inclement day or save my ass on a brutal day, the Gore Rescue is the pick of the litter. 

The price on goreapparel.com is 199 USD and the jacket is also available in black with red zipper.

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