We’ve had mixed results from testing Altura’s new Adventure range and, to be honest, the Cave's fit feels a bit odd when you try it on at first. The fit, fabric and features all come together really well whether you’re cruising into town, sheltering from the wind while making a brew or even doing old-school DH laps on a dark, wet night. While its DWR treatment won't compete with the best MTB jackets, the well-thought-out features make this hoodie perform well on the trail when you don't need hardcore weatherproofing.
Design and performance
The Altura Cave (opens in new tab) uses an unbranded, mid-weight soft-shell with a hexed fleece inner face to add warmth and help spread out sweat to increase breathability. It gets both a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) surface coating and an embedded water-resistant membrane, too. That’s a pretty impressive spec for the price and there’s a good feature list too including a structured hood that’s big enough to pull over your helmet if the weather comes in or your ride starts within a few degrees of frost point like it did last night. There’s a generous chest pocket so ‘grammers' can keep their phones close to their hearts and two front hand pockets all of which have tabbed zips for easy grabbing with gloves. There’s enough weight in the fabric to not worry about draughts coming up the uncorded dropped hem. The one thing it lacks is reflective detailing, but if your riding is always off-road you won't miss them and if you’re on a stealthy ‘arrive late/leave early’ wild camping mission it might be a bonus.
While the body and arms are comfortably casual but long enough not to be draughty and with just enough elbow space for light pads it almost feels like the shoulders and collar are on backward. To be precise, there’s lots of spare fabric that pushes into the Adam’s apple but not much spare under the armpits which looks and can feel restrictive when you’re standing or sitting normally. Lean forward in a riding position though and that tall collar provides a useful leak or draught stopper which is matched by the doubled back hems to back up an impressively impermeable performance from the Cave when we’ve ridden it through some fairly serious downpours. Even when it finally wets out, the fleeced inner keeps it a lot warmer than a bare shell and it dries quickly too (apart from the doubled cuffs which unsurprisingly take a bit longer). The cuffs have got a few tiny pulled tufts from off-piste bush dives but the DWR and logos have lasted a couple of washes fine so far.
Altura gets extra eco cred for using biodegradable poly bags for packaging and keeping them fresh with corn starch drying sachets instead of silica pouches.
It’s our job to be picky but, apart from the slightly odd off-bike fit of the Cave, its performance on the bike and overall versatility provided by the well-thought-out features is excellent. While we’ll always pick a soft-shell over a ‘waterproof’ unless conditions are going to be consistently torrential anyway, the boosted water-resistance of the Cave adds even more bad weather capability to the inherent thermal robustness and increased comfort of a fast-drying, fleece interior compared to a cold shell. It looks good for mooching around when you’re not in the mountains and it’s a great price, too.
Tech Specs: Altura Cave softshell jacket
- Price: £70
- Sizes S - 3XL
- Colors: Carbon (tested) or Navy