The Why-Didn’t-We-Think-of-It-Sooner Jacket

The Why-Didn’t-We-Think-of-It-Sooner Jacket

How many times have you been caught off-guard by changing conditions? Okay, I’m going to assume that a slice of you, maybe 10 or 15 percent have carried uninsured driver coverage since your 16th birthday, are never without a chain tool—even in the grocery store—and have an earthquake stash, even though you live in Florida. A few of you are, in short, more prepared than Boy Scouts. Do us a favor and just try to hide your schadenfreude as you read this.

This review is meant for the rest of us. Those of us who looked out the window and saw blue skies to the north but failed to catch the fact that the wind was out of the south and blasting ahead of a front the color of tarmac. Uh-oh. Those of us who believed the forecast when it said the rain wouldn’t start until an hour after we were home, showered and fed. Oops. Those of us who figured it couldn’t cool off that quickly when the sun dipped behind that ridge. Whoa.

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Yeah, I thought so.

The Sugoi RS Jacket is one of those items that you figure must have been done a dozen times before, and maybe done better by other companies. The RS Jacket is your basic wind breaker, but provided you don’t buy it two sizes too big, it’s cut better than many thanks to tapered sleeves and fitted torso. It’s both water and wind resistant, which is enough to get you through a brief Rocky Mountain afternoon shower, but not quite enough Pacific Northwest driving sleet. What sets it apart are two small details.

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I’ve seen wind breakers that came with stuff sacks. I’ve seen windbreakers that came with integrated stuff sacks so that the jacket and sack can’t be separated Robespierre style—head from body. I’ve also seen jackets that had a stuff sack that included velcro straps that would allow you to wear it like a fanny pack; such a shame that they didn’t include hightop Reeboks, too. This jacket, however, is the first I’ve seen that not only incorporates a stuff sack that reverses into a pocket, but includes straps that will allow you to strap it under your saddle. I’ve managed to strap it on to a seat bag, the straps are that versatile.

I don’t need an item like this very often, but like earthquake coverage, there are times when nothing else will do.

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The RS comes in five sizes (S-XXL) and four colors, only one of which is black. I went for the red for the added visibility, but the ice blue is as pretty as sunset at the beach. That this thing goes for only $80 mystifies me. I’d think it merits at least an extra $20 just for ingenuity’s sake.

Final thought: You won’t need to slap your forehead. It’ll do it for you.

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