Race Face Nano Pullover Jacket

Tom Collier reviews the Race Face Nano Pullover jacket, Blister Gear Review.
Race Face Nano Pullover Jacket

Race Face Nano Pullover Jacket

Size Tested: Medium

Features:

  • 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

Color: Lime

MSRP: $80

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.

Fit

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.

 

Tom Collier reviews the Race Face Nano Pullover jacket, Blister Gear Review.
Tom Collier in the Race Face Nano Pullover, Whistler, BC.

Notable Features

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.

Packability

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.

6 comments on “Race Face Nano Pullover Jacket”

  1. You tell me absolutely nothing about how good it keeps showers off or how robust it is. The truth is, this jacket is paper thin and rips easily. The waterproofing is non existent when new and slight showers see you soaking wet. The hood is a joke as it flops about behind you and sometimes blows over your face obscuring your vision. The poppers and studs do not match up so you can’t roll it into the collar without working the dam sequence out. The hood has to peripheral elastic drawcord…instead it has a daft volume reducer that makes your ears stick out like Popo the Pixie. Items do weigh the flimsy pockets down so the reviewer is talking rubbish and playing safe with his words.
    An expensive jacket here in GB but it probably costs peanuts to make as its made from tent or umbrella material.
    Absolute rubbish as an emergency jacket and a bin bag would do a better job.

    • Hi TheBigRon,

      Great to get feedback. I do think that I cover the water resistance of the jacket on the second page where I mention that it wouldn’t keep any significant amount of rain out, instead soaking through in 5-10 minutes. Using this as a wind shell though, I have been really happy. For its weight and size it can provide an incredible amount of warmth for a cold and windy summit or descent. I’ve yet to find a waterproof jacket that is as light and packable. Until such a jacket becomes available, I’ll take the lighter and more packable wind shell unless I know it will be raining on a given ride. I’ve really appreciated having it in my pack on days where I never would have thought to pack a heavier jacket.

      I agree that the hood is a pain and I removed it on my second day with the jacket. The fact that it can be removed is something I really appreciated as I had to cut the hood off my last wind shell to stop the parachute effect. As for the pockets, I truly was surprised by how well secured a phone or wallet and keys were secured in the chest pocket but YMMV.

      The material is definitely light, but I was surprised by how well it held up. The manufacturer definitely has to make a trade-off decision between weight/packability and durability. For a jacket like this one, I’ll take light and small over durable.

  2. IMHO any jacket made from this material or Pertex etc has a degree of windproofing and these can be found much cheaper, plus you are essentially paying for the Raceface name. I am hugely disappointed with it TBH and the only saving grace is the packability.
    The zips keep catching on the fabric too. I would give it three stars out of ten for biking and i would still have to carry a paclite shell as this ain’t up to the job.

  3. You definitely are paying something to get a bike specific cut on this jacket (drop tail, longer sleeves). I’m getting the feeling though that the price over there must be quite different than over here. $80 is pretty much on par with most other ultralight, packable wind shells (Marmot Trailwind $80, Patagonia Houdini $99, Fox Diffuse $100, Dakine Breaker $80).

    For me, packability is absolutely huge. For every day that I wear this jacket, it spends nine just sitting in my pack. I always have it with me, and really enjoy throwing it on when I get to the top of a climb or chairlift and find myself chilled. If it weren’t as packable I’d leave it at home or in the car and just be uncomfortable when temps dropped.

    I haven’t experienced the zips catching, so I can’t speak to that point.

    If you are looking for a rain jacket, you are definitely going to get more performance out of a paclite or comparable shell. I only very rarely find myself wanting a true rain jacket while riding though, but often love having a light wind jacket to throw on for some extra warmth.

    Happy Trails,
    Tom

  4. As you can see Tom, i’m not a fan of it and over here in Scotland it has limited use. The retail price over here is 75 English pounds…..which is expensive for what it is and you can’t help but feel short changed when you see it.
    Anyway differing opinions……you are always going to get them.
    Cheers!

  5. This is the worst “rain jacket” I have ever used.
    Sure it looks good. And it does pack down pretty damn small. It fits me just fine.
    But don’t even wear it inside while it’s raining outside, you’ll get soaked.
    I wore it once, for 10 minutes, in a light mist…
    And I was soaked.
    I’m returning this ASAP. Someone at Raceface lied.

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