PEARL IZUMI SUMMIT PRO BARRIER JACKET REVIEW
Words by Alex Sardella | Photos by Vinnie Zacha-Herthel
December days out on the trail usually call for outerwear that will keep you dry and prepared for the unpredictable elements. A rainy day can offer some of the most ideal dirt and conditions for riding but on the flip side, failing to bring the right gear can quickly turn to a miserable situation deep in the woods. Pearl Izumi has a wide collection of outerwear to keep you riding 365 days a year. We recently tested out the Summit Pro Barrier Jacket for those rainy or ‘just in case’ days, where a 50% chance of rain means there is a 100% chance you bring a jacket along.
The Summit Pro Barrier Jacket offers a bit more than the standard rain jacket. The 100% polyester shell combined with their PI Dry water shedding technology (a more permanent alternative to a DWR coating) offers excellent water resistance for those wet rides. There is a slight four-way stretch on the jacket which makes for a comfortable feel while pedaling, descending, and generally maneuvering on the bike. Speaking of pedaling, the Summit Pro Barrier Jacket breathes rather nicely and releases body heat without a problem, with both the breathable material, and the two-way zipper. There’s an interior membrane in place to offer a bit of resistance to wind, taking the sting off a breezy day. The fit runs true to size but is designed to be a tight-fitting garment, with a slightly longer rear that falls into place nicely once on the bike and is helped to stay put by a silicone gripper. I am 6’3” and opted for the XL.
One of my favorite features is the packability of the jacket. A rear, interior pocket doubles as a storage sack, and the jacket stuffs nicely into itself allowing it to fit into a pocket or fanny pack with ease. The only other pocket is a small zippered pocket over the upper left chest, maybe for a car key or snack. The Summit Pro Barrier jacket comes in two colors, sizes XS – XXL, and will ring you $125.00 at checkout.
Picture this, you are on a 30 minute+ climb with a bit of rain. The combination of body heat, sweat, and rain means lots of upper body moisture. This recipe calls for a jacket that breathes well, wicks sweat, and repels oncoming precipitation. Simply put, the Pearl Izumi Summit Pro Barrier Jacket takes on these three jobs, allowing you to focus on the ride, not the weather. The jacket is incredibly light, breathable and does an awesome job at blocking rain, wind, mud, or other trail debris. It’s not a warm jacket, so on the colder days layering will be required, but for those shoulder season or warmer winter days it’s a great item to have in the kit bag.
Because of the lightweight packability of this jacket, there is never the question “I’m not sure if it’s going to rain, I don’t want to lug my jacket with me”. Bringing the jacket along becomes a simple decision that goes a long way in case a scattered shower just happens to follow you along for your ride.
The fit of the jacket for me is the only area of concern. Getting into the XL size range, companies obviously have to make a choice – go wide or go long. The jacket is a touch to short on the front and the arms seem a touch too long. If you are running a S-L, this problem won’t be an issue.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Hero dirt season for me means adequate apparel that will keep you out in the woods enjoying all time sessions with your friends. Pearl Izumi’s range of outerwear has been impressing us, and offers plenty of options to fit riding any style. The Summit Pro Barrier Jacket is a stylish piece that offers solid breathability combined with a durable solution to repel oncoming water. The packability of the jacket is what sets this apart from most and bringing it along for that extra ‘just in case’ layer is never a question. We’re stoked for some more rain in the forecast this winter and we’ll be bringing the Pro Barrier Jacket along for the ride.
Disclosure: Our team selects all of the products we review and do so with honesty and objectivity in mind. Some of the products we receive come directly from Competitive Cyclist, who also value our readers and have offered them a 15% discount (exclusions apply) on their first purchase by using LOAMWOLF15. Through this program we may also receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support, TLW.