Gore’s Infinium range shakes off its traditional single fabric focus to mix-and-match different materials to get the best performance. Add a brilliantly thoughtful and practical cut, and the Hybrid is an awesome lightweight all-weather jacket that’s well worth the cost. The simple Paclite shorts are great as ultra-light, packable high-performance protection too, but they don’t have day-in, day-out durability.
Gore C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Hybrid Hooded jacket isn’t the catchiest name, but it covers the fact that it mixes GORE-TEX Active fabric on the shoulders, outer arms and tail with Windstopper body and inside arm panels. That means highly breathable, durably waterproof protection where the rain and spray hit hardest. Then you get even more breathable and still totally wind and short-term waterproof protection where it’s more sheltered so you won't be steaming. It also keeps the jacket quieter than a full hard shell, and because Infinium garments don’t have to be totally waterproof, Gore is free to add side-of-chest vent zips, which combine with a two-way zip to add a bit of air-con when it does start to heat up. Overall breathability is right up there with the best in class from Polartec and eVent even when fully closed up.
The geometric multi-panel cut is a masterpiece of slim, billow-free fit without compromising mobility. It’s also fully taped to stop seam leaks. The long reach arms get velcro tab closure as well as light elastic and extended cuff cowls for extra overlap and draught-proofing over your gloves. There’s a drawcord on the hem, subtle reflective detailing and a single chest pocket for a phone and essentials. It’s still light and low bulk enough to pack into a pocket or waist pack if the weather improves or to take just in case it turns out nasty.
The only slight glitch is the boxy, paneled hood fit which doesn’t work as well under a lid as a simpler rounded design. It folds away neatly and secures with a loop though, and the high collar is great for keeping out drips and wind even without the hood up.
Considering the complexity of the design and its versatile wearability, the pricing is good too. It comes in three colors in men's cut and three in a woman’s cut, which gets a zipped hand pocket rather than a chest pocket.
While the jacket feels like a culmination of fanatical attention to detail, fabric knowledge and experience, the Paclite Trail shorts look extremely simple at first. The GORE-TEX Paclite fabric uses a very smart, seam-sealed, multi-panel cut from the broad, lightly elasticated, corded waist to the back of the knee cut out with reflective trim. The result is a great onto the knee fit (385mm leg length) with no pedal restriction even with pads. As long as you get the waist cord tension right, it stays stable if you’re in and out of the saddle a lot.
The combination of durable waterproofing and excellent breathability means you can expect a genuinely dry, comfortable butt even after hours in the saddle on sodden days. Despite minimal pack size and a 115g weight (medium), there’s still a small zippered side pocket for essentials and you get reflective logos as well as the back-of-knee bars.
While we’ve used them regularly for short wet blasts and for a couple of full gritty trail days without any significant wear, they won’t last as long as shorts with a reinforced seat panel if you’re grinding wet trails day-in and day-out.