Race Face Nano Pullover Jacket
Size Tested: Medium
- Shell material: DWR treated Rip Stop nylon
- ¾ zip, pulllover style
- Soft, lined collar
- Detachable/stowable hood
- Front kangaroo pocket
- Rear stash pocket
- Perforated underarm panels
- Articulated elbow patterning
- Velco cuff closures
- Water resistant zips
Packed Size: 6” x 4.5” x 2”
Weight: 164 grams
Reviewer: 5’8”, 165 lbs. Typically wear a size Medium in jackets.
Days Tested: 9
Test Location: Whistler, BC; Park City, Utah
If you ride in a place where the weather can turn quickly, it’s great to have a very lightweight, packable jacket that breathes well and provides some protection against the elements. In the past, my go-to riding shell has been the Marmot Trail Wind Hoody. It works well and packs down to an impressively small size, however, it’s not designed specifically for biking. The back of the Trail Wind is especially short, which allows it to slide up my back while riding.
With this in mind, I hoped Race Face’s Nano Pullover Jacket was better made for the job; it’s a lightweight, packable, wind and water resistant shell that’s specifically designed for use while mountain biking. I wore it at least once a day over our seven-day test trip to Whistler, and was generally very happy with the jacket.
Compared to other biking jackets I have worn, I found the Nano Pullover to have fairly loose fit for a size Medium. The jacket fits quite a bit bigger than my Marmot Trail Wind Hoody (also a Medium), with slightly longer sleeves and a longer, drop back hem. On wet days, this drop hem helped to keep my butt dry while in the saddle, though it wasn’t long enough to keep all water out. The Nano Pullover rode up my back a little while riding with a pack, but the jacket’s drop hem still kept my lower back covered. This was a huge improvement over the Marmot Trail Wind Hoody, which, again, would often expose my lower back.
While riding on roads, I appreciated the Nano Pullover’s bright color and reflective patches that improve its visibility. If you prefer a more neutral color, the Nano Pullover also comes in navy or black.
The hood on the Nano Pullover can be stowed by rolling it into the collar and secured with snaps, or removed by unsnapping it from the collar. I did not find the snaps the easiest system to use for stowing the hood, but adding a zipper would most likely increase the jacket’s weight and bulk.
In general, I find a hood on any jacket I wear while biking pretty much useless. In fact, I even resorted to cutting off the hood on my Marmot Trail Wind Hoody to prevent feeling like I was dragging a parachute behind me. While I didn’t find the Nano Pullover’s hood to perform any better than others I have used, I appreciated having the option to remove it without taking out the scissors.
The soft, lined collar is comfortable and prevents the jacket from sticking to your neck if you’re a bit sweaty or riding in damp conditions.
The jacket’s armpits are perforated to improve cooling. This is a nice idea, but I’m not sure I could feel the difference in airflow between the Nano Pullover and other windshells without holes.
The front kangaroo pouch on the Nano Pullover looks large, but it’s actually quite small, perfectly sized to hold items like a phone or set of keys without them weighing down the front of the jacket too much.
The jacket’s Velcro cuffs don’t have any elastic on them, so they need to be tightened to keep air from entering on descents and loosened to fit over your hand when removing the jacket, which I found a little annoying.
Finally, while not the end of the world, the Nano Pullover’s front zipper is a bit short; I could remove the jacket over my head while wearing some half shell helmets, but not others. Specifically, my Troy Lee Designs A1 helmet (size Medium) was too large to fit through the head opening, and you definitely can’t take the jacket off with a full face helmet on.
A key feature of the Nano Pullover is its rear pocket, which doubles as a stuff sack. When wearing the jacket, the rear pocket’s zipper was often pushed uncomfortably into my back by my pack at times, but this wasn’t a deal breaker. More importantly, the jacket transforms into a small 6” x 4.5” x 2” bundle when stuffed in the pocket, and it can easily be squished into almost any pack, or even a large cargo pocket on a pair of shorts. Dealing with a more substantial rain shell, I would have had to carry a pack to stow it away or found a place to ditch the jacket. In this respect, I’ve been very happy with how packable the Nano Pullover is.