Pullover-style MTB jackets have their advantages – they tend to be warmer, lack of a full zip gives a more supple feel on the bike, and they are less bulky, making for a better fit. Naysayers would counter that they are harder to vent and a pain if you want to take them off/put them on mid-ride.
Never a brand to follow the herd in pursuit of best performance, Patagonia, in the Dirt Roamer Storm, set out to create a jacket that would meet the demands of all-day rides in all conditions, remain comfortable and be easy to pack along at all times. In doing that, the designers chose to go with a pullover design – and honestly, they nailed it.
Design and Specifications
The Dirt Roamer Storm is made from Patagonia proprietary H2No fabric with sealed seams for full waterproof protection. Additional protection from trail damage is provided with heavier weight abrasion-resistant panels on the shoulders, dropped tail and forearms. The inside has a knit finish for next-to-skin comfort and moisture-wicking functionality.
The three-quarter length front zip can be opened from its base as well as the top, and the sides have full-length zips over mesh inserts. The hood fits generously over a helmet, with easy adjustment, and the back hem drops protectively low. The whole jacket can be packed into its zipped rear pocket.
Pullover styles would not usually be my first choice for longer rides, especially in changeable conditions that can mean my jacket can go on and get taken off several times over the course of a day. It is surprising then that the Dirt Roamer Storm became a regular companion through a season of testing that was all about mixed weather, from mild perma-drizzle, brief but fierce sun breaking through the clouds and frosty starts. Pairing it with a wool base layer proved more versatile than expected.
The soft inside provides a good level of next-to-skin feel if it’s warm enough for short sleeves underneath, but it is the combination of zips that keeps this top comfortable in all conditions. The front zip can be opened up from the base to provide immediate venting without flapping. The side zips can also be opened from the top down as well as bottom up. It creates a mix of options when you need to shed heat and in my experience did such a good job at regulating temperature, once on, this jacket rarely came off, even when rain stopped. If you do need to remove, (or put on) the Dirt Roamer Storm mid-ride, opening the side zips creates enough room to do it without removing your helmet.
In terms of protection, the combination of the H2No fabric, over-helmet hood and long back hem keeps you covered and dry. I especially liked the simple hood adjustment that quickly pulls it in to fit without compromising peripheral vision. As the fabric itself is soft and quiet, so the hood is too – none of the usual annoying and constant crackle in the ears. The water beads off the surface well and even after almost two months of regular riding, the jacket has not wetted out. The only (slightly) weak spot in its highly protective performance is that the hem does not have a drawcord. If it isn’t a perfect fit, (as it was on me) you might find that spray finds its way underneath.
The cut, as you might expect for a brand with a mountaineering heritage, is excellent. Shaped sleeves and the right amount of room through the shoulders allow your arms to move without pulling the jacket up and it really is exceptionally fluid and quiet to ride in.
The jacket works very well with it's equally high performing partner, the Patagonia Dirt Roamer Storm Pants.
Versatile, comfortable and high performance, in the Dirt Roamer Storm Jacket Patagonia really has created a pullover style that works.
Tech specs: Patagonia Dirt Roamer Storm Jacket
- Price: $319.00 / £290.00 / €320.00
- Weight: 350g
- Sizes: XS-XL
- Colors: Black, Classic Tan, Wavy Blue