- Two Zippered rear pockets
- Watertight Vislon Front Zipper
- Finish taped seams
- Gripper Elastic Hem
- Rear open center pocket
- Hand Pockets
- Two Zippered Side Pockets w/ Phone Sleeves
- Belt Loops
- Zippered Fly with Snap Closure
- Low Profile Locking Waist Adjustment
- Reflective details
Reviewer: 6’0″, 180 lbs.
Test Location: Driggs & Moscow, ID; Teton Pass & Grand Targhee, WY
Test Duration: 15 rides
7mesh is a high-end producer of technical bike apparel based out of Squamish BC. We recently posted our review of their Revelation Jacket, the first bike shell licensed to use Gore Pro. And here is our review of their windproof, softshell Strategy Jacket and Glidepath shorts.
Initially I was very skeptical of this piece. I’ve never been a fan of the bike jersey look—they tend to make me look like what my mother would call a “goober.” But the option for a little more storage without needing to wear a pack was temping, and I ended up pleasantly surprised by the Strategy Jacket.
This is, quite obviously, not some baggy freeride jersey. The size Large is slim but not skin tight (however I’m pretty skinny, so your mileage may vary). It’s also short; it falls just above my waist. Like the Revelation Jacket, the sleeves are generously long and they feature an elastic cuff with a small reflector. The hem is also elastic and stays tight around my 32” waist.
Features and Performance
The Strategy Jacket has three back pockets: two zippered and lined with mesh so that they also function as vents, and one central water bottle pocket.
I can fit just about anything I may need for a moderately long ride in the zippered pockets, and when I’m running a water bottle on the bike I can carry my bear spray in the central one. For shorter, higher output rides the venting back pockets are great.
7mesh recommends you wear the Strategy over a base or mid layer and I experimented with both, as well as one ride with it next to my skin. Since I tend to run very hot I ended up wearing the Strategy over a light base layer most of the time.
The Strategy is built with a hybrid construction: two different types of softsell strategically placed to maximize both protection from the elements and breathability, and it also features strategically placed fleece lining on the chest, shoulders, and kidneys. The outer shell is advertised as water resistant, and I’d agree with that description. It’s fine in light rain, but it’s not going to do you much good in a prolonged downpour—water beads up initially, but after a prolonged rain it soaks in quickly.
I can’t claim to have noticed any specific localized benefits from this hybrid construction, but overall, it does combine to make this a very comfortable jacket. It’s warm in all the right places without being uncomfortably hot. I’ve mostly ridden in the Strategy in temperatures from the high 30’s to low 50’s, and it does a very good job of blocking wind and keeping me warm without making me overheat. It’s very breathable, but I’ve never had a problem with wind penetrating it.
The only downside to carrying all my gear in the back pockets is that on rides where I’m getting airborne alot, gear in the pockets moves around and whacks my back. I’d attribute that to a combination of the fact that I’m pretty skinny so there’s more slack in the jacket for things to shift, and the fact that this jacket isn’t really aimed at the freeride, getting-lots-of-air crowd.
The Strategy jacket is a very versatile piece of bike wear. It functions well as a lightly-insulated wind blocker on its own, and combined with a waterproof outer shell or an insulating layer, it does a very good job of comfortably adapting to the elements while also providing gear storage.
NEXT: Glidepath Short