'An excellent, no-nonsense, shimmering shard of ultra-lightweight waterproof loveliness at a fantastic price'
Outdoors Magic: Seriously light and packable, breathable, neat cut, good hood and at a super-competitive price.
Outdoors Tragic: Nothing really unless you want a helmet hood.
Outdoors Grabbit? Alpkit's first waterproof shell is an ultra-lightweight cracker with a great lightweight fabric, good fit and impressive breathability. The hood's excellent too and the whole thing comes at a bargain price for what you get. Awesome back-up jacket that's effective when you do actually need to use it.
Ultra-lightweight, packable waterproof jacket / 47 gsm 3-layer PU membrane fabric / adjustable hood with stiffened and wired peak / semi-elastic shaped cuffs / adjustable hem / single chest pocket / colour-coded stuff-sac (7g) / bonded hem and cuff construction
Full Review Below
Gravitas Jacket - The Tech
Ultra-lightweight kit like this is all about sweating the details and particularly what you leave out. The heart of the Gravitas is Alpkit's unbranded lightweight 3-layer fabric. It uses a PU membrane along with 7D face and backer fabrics.
If you like stats, the hydrostatic head is 20,000 mm and moisture vapour transfer rate in the lab, 30,000 g/sqm/24hrs. All you need to know is that both are pretty competitive. Not super breathable, but in the ball park.
'Alpkit has changed its focus from making kit that's good at the price to making stuff that's just as good as they can get it, full stop'
There's plenty more state of the art stuff going on too. The cuffs and hem use bonded construction - the sort of stuff that was Arc'teryx territory a few years back. Visible stitching has been removed for added durability and abrasion resistance.
One thing we did like was the way Alpkit has made a virtue out of simplicity by combining a single hood adjuster with a semi-elasticated opening. The latter means you can pull the hood on or off without having to undo the main-zip every time. Nice touch.
Gravitas Jacket - Performance
We were blown away by the Gravitas in our first look at the jacket a few months back and putting more miles on it walking, running and biking hasn't changed our view at all.
We said then that it reminded us strongly of the excellent Rab Flashpoint and it shares a lot of that jacket's strengths. It's very, very light. Packs away to a pocket-sized package. And when you do need it, it's protective and breathable enough to do the business.
'We've used the Gravitas for a mix of hiking, biking and trail-running for several months now and it's still performing impressively well'
The fit is just about right for running and biking, though not as long and protective as a full-on walking jacket and with enough space for a light mid-layer. It's comfortable against the skin as well, if you wear it over a tee for example.
It may be very competitively priced, but the Gravitas doesn't feel remotely cheap. Touches like the shaped semi-elasticated cuffs, which extend slightly over the backs of your hands and the water-resistant main-zip for example, work nicely.
Good In The Hood
The hood too is a bit of a triumph. It has just a single rear pull-cord adjuster, fits very neatly and the semi-elasticated opening means you can pull it on or off without opening the main zip at all. It works brilliantly well and the final touch is a stiffened and wired UK-friendly peak.
It's not helmet friendly, one area where the Flashpoint has a definite edge, but will, at a pinch, fit under a lid if necessary.
Downsides? One thing we've noticed with continued wear is that as the factory water-repellent treatment wears off, the thin 7D face fabric wets out quite quickly and the thin fabric feels cold when that happens, a quick re-proof should sort that, but you may need to factor in regular maintenance to keep performance optimal.
Gravitas Jacket - Verdict
There's a tendency to think that Alpkit's kit is somehow compromised to keep the price low, but as with the Women's Balance Jacket we've just reviewed, the Gravitas is simply a really, really good lightweight waterproof shell full stop.
At just 169 grammes it's impressively light and packable for a jacket that gives good weather protection. The cut is spot on, not overly minimalist or overtly loose, just right. And the hood is a bit of a marvel.
Ideal if you're after an 'emergency' shell that actually works when you need it. And all in all, an excellent, no-nonsense, shimmering shard of lightweight loveliness at a fantastic price thanks to Alpkit's direct sales model. Recommended.