Chrome sent over their De Haro Windbreaker for review at the end of the summer. At first it didn’t get much use as we had a fairly warm late summer and early fall here in Seattle, but as the days got shorter and the temperatures dropped it has come in quite handy on a number of occasions. The De Haro is a simple and lightweight nylon hooded jacket that packs up nicely into itself by turning the large rear pocket/pouch inside out. Let me start out by saying that I wouldn’t consider this jacket a technical piece, rather it is a “life-style” jacket. It is not waterproof and it does not breath well. “We made the De Haro for bombing hills and crashing parties” claims Chrome’s product description.
When I first put the De Haro into rotation for casual rides and commuting I was pretty disappointed. If you are riding hard you very quickly discover that the jacket does not breath. I arrived at my destinations soaked in sweat under the jacket. Their are three small side vents on both sides of the jacket, but they didn’t seem to do much “venting”. Opening the front two-way zipper is the only effective way of getting air-flow into the jacket. I also quickly found that “water resistant” doesn’t cut it on a rainy Seattle day. If I got on the bike wearing the De Haro and was going to be riding for more than 15 minutes I was committing to being damp at best, possibly sweat-soaked when I got to where ever I was going.
I did really liked the fit of the jacket from day one. The cut was a bit longer, the sleeves had good length and the body of the jacket was not too boxy. A size medium fit me perfectly. I was comfortable wearing it on the bike, and its simple clean look allows you to blend in with regular folk once you are off the bike. But due to the overheating issues I temporarily stopped using the jacket all together. It sat packed up on my dresser for a couple weeks until I realized the true reason to own this jacket, it is packable and lightweight! Stuffed into its pouch it measures roughly 9″ x 6″ and weighs 200 grams. It now usually lives packed up at the bottom of my bag. I can be out during the day without a jacket and then pull out the De Haro when the temperature drops in the evening. Its much easier to carry around all day than my heavier jackets, and because it doesn’t breath that well it actually does provide a surprising amount of warmth for how lightweight it is. It is the perfect just-in-case jacket.
The rear pocket is large enough to stash some larger items if you aren’t wearing a bag and the two front breast pockets are big enough to fit a 12oz can of beer each. The two-way zipper is handy, and the reversible cuffs offer a little reflective flare for night time safety. Despite being light weight the jacket has proved to be pretty durable so far. The hood has no way to secure itself and can act as a parachute when underway. The lack of front hand pockets is annoying at times as well, but the lack of options such as these is part of what keeps the De Haro lightweight, so I think its worth the trade off.
If you are looking for a good do-all jacket this isn’t it. But if you need something light, easy to carry and good in a pinch I would recommend the De Haro. Never get caught out again without a jacket. So when you crash that party and stay too late, you can be warm on your way home, and maybe even bomb some hills if you feel so inclined.