Gore Element Windstopper Active Shell Zip-Off Lady ReviewMarch 14, 2016
- Great fit
- Good ventilation
- Very windproof and weather-resistant
- No rear zippered pockets
- Cumbersome conversion process
- Adjustable hem is difficult to loosen
The Gore ELEMENT Windstopper Active Shell Zip-Off Lady is the lightest jacket in the test with the highest degree of wind resistance and breathability. It has a sleek, trim fit with enough stretch in the arms and shoulders to accommodate the cyclist in any position. However, each sleeve is attached by two zippers that make it a challenge to convert to a vest while wearing the garment.
The Gore ELEMENT Windstopper Active Shell Zip-Off Lady is a lightweight and very wind-resistant stretch shell that works in moderate to heavy wind. It is water-resistant and kept our tester dry in a light rain but soaked through after 45 minutes in a rainstorm.
The Gore ELEMENT Windstopper Active Shell Zip-Off Lady contains a very thin mesh weave inner lining throughout the entire jacket. This allowed sweat and moisture to escape during light to moderate activity but became clammy during sustained intense efforts unless it was below freezing. The sizing of the jacket, which Gore describes as “comfort fit” provides enough roominess to accelerate the transfer of moisture from the cyclist core.
The Gore Element Windstopper Active Shell Zip-Off Lady is a jacket and vest that is interchangeable via a system of four zippers. However, switching from jacket to vest and back to jacket requires practice and cannot be done on the fly.
Each sleeve is attached by two zippers that are a challenge to detach and reattach while wearing the garment. It is easier to remove the jacket to unzip the sleeves. Because the zippers are tucked under a flap of fabric at the top of the shoulder and have small pull tabs, it is impossible to work the zippers while wearing gloves.
The detached sleeves can be stashed in either the zippered front pockets or the inner stash pockets. There is no pocket on the back of the jacket.
A soft fleece lines the collar to wick moisture on high exertion days and adds warmth to the neck on cooler, low-exertion days. The Windstopper Active Shell fabric provides enough stretch for a comfortable fit regardless of the position of the cyclist on the bike.
The Gore Element Windstopper Active Shell Zip-Off Lady is roomy enough to comfortably accommodate a wide range of shirt weights from low-gauge merino wool short sleeved shirts to high-gauge merino wool long sleeved shirt. The arms are long enough to fully cover the cyclist’s wrists while stretched over the handlebars without constriction. An elastic sleeve cuff with thumb holes help retain warmth on days that the cyclist is not wearing gloves.
This is also a very warm jacket, especially when paired with a long-sleeved jersey or Merino wool baselayer. The tester was comfortable on a windy 40-degree morning commute wearing only a short-sleeve jersey.
The jacket and the arm sleeves of the Gore Element Windstopper Active Shell Zip-Off Lady can be completely stowed in the zippered side pocket though it’s a tight fit to get the zipper closed. The entire mass is the size of a very bloated softball. If the pockets were a little larger it would be easier to fully zip.
Gore designs quality cycling apparel that is durable, heavy on windproof and weather-resistant technology and light on weight. The zippers are very high quality and the fabric held up well after a crash on a steep mountain bike trail when the tester was riding too fast.