|EDZ are a name that are likely to be pretty unfamiliar with the adventure racing crowd, but they’ve been generating themselves a cult following in the motorcycling scene for some time. The small Cumbrian company produce a range of clothing including baselayers, neck tubes, midlayers and this ‘Innershell’.
Produced using the Microlight version of Pertex fabric, this is a simple windshell with a couple of twists. Pertex Microlight is made from tightly woven micro-fibre 30 denier nylon yarns that weigh in at about 45g/m2, making it a pretty lightweight fabric (though not as featherweight as the more expensive Quantum fabric). Still the whole shell comes in at around 90grams so it’s not exactly back breaking to carry it in your pack.
The fabric itself is excellent and comfortably soft next to the skin. As it doesn’t have a membrane (like Gore Windstopper) or complete polymer coating on the inside (like many other windshells), breathability is excellent. It’s deliberately not 100% windproof, but allows some airflow through to aid moisture vapour transfer (or breathability as it tends to be known).
Anyway, in real terms it does a great job of keeping you comfortable when it’s blowing a bit outside and it doesn’t let you ‘boil in the bag’ when you’re blowing a bit inside. The water repellency does a pretty good job of keeping you dry in the wet and has worked well for me in typical Scottish ‘summer’ testing conditions, which have included everything from relentless drizzle, hail and apocalyptic downpour. Granted it did eventually give in and let water through under the wettest conditions, but it still kept me comfortable as I continued to work hard.
Pertex fabrics use the natural phenomenon of capillary action to transfer moisture vapour through the fabric. According to Pertex: “Capillary action is the ability for water to be drawn up into narrow spaces. We use the optimum fibre size for this to happen, and so create the thousands of capillaries within the fabric. Moisture moves along the capillaries between the fibres and spreads over a large surface area where it evaporates.”
Long term abrasion resistance is supposed to be good but I’ll have to keep testing to see what happens there. It is noted that is doesn’t have a ‘ripstop’ structure of larger denier fibres through the weave, so it’s rip resistance is unknown and not something I planned to test!
Shells like this are normally pretty similar: Lightweight fabric, short front zip, elasticated cuff and hem and er…that’s it. This one has another couple of features to talk about.
First off is the microfleece collar, something I really like on my waterproof cycling jackets but initially though was quite strange on an lightweight item like this. Obviously it’s to help keep things cosy for the motorcyclists as they are sat on their bikes on long motorway stretches. (By the way, they call it the Innershell as they wear it under their bike leathers).
However, in use I really like the comfort of the microfleece when things got particularly chilly or when I was caught out in the occasional torrential downpour (there is no hood). The fleece helped to keep my neck warm and stopped the discomfort of drips sliding down my back so I give it the thumbs up.
The front zip is an offset affair, beginning at the centre of the neck and coming down at 45o for 6 inches. Designed to avoid it fouling in biker’s leathers and to prevent wind coming straight through the closed zip onto the neck. It’s an interesting looking feature but I’m not convinced by it’s performance one way or the other.
The cuffs and hem are elasticated but without any adjustment, though this is par for the course for this sort of garment. Arm length is just ok on my medium test size, though I am pretty tall and lanky, so should suit most actual medium sized people out there. Body length is long enough to cover everything that needs covered.
The EDZ Innershell is available in black only, which is generally a pretty good colour for something that is going to be getting dirty a lot of the time, however, it is pretty stealth and has no reflective anywhere other than the small logo on the chest. I’d recommend it for commuting as long as you’re comfortable with the lights on your bike and reflective strips on any pack you would be wearing.
The jacket packs down into its own small stuff sack about the size of a bike inner tube, though this sack is going to go missing in no time, particularly if used in an exped race. It’d be nicer to see it integrated into a small pocket or perhaps just attached to the inner seam.
All in all quite a nice piece and when compared to the other similar jackets on the market, its good value at £40. Could do with a bit more reflectivity and integrated stuff sack, but otherwise I’d recommend it.
For more details please visit: http://www.edz.biz