Pearl Izumi Versa Quilted Hoodie Review

March 16, 2018
Pearl Izumi Versa Quilted Hoodie

The Good

  • Relaxed fit accommodates heavy baselayers
  • Rear drop-tail
  • Reflectivity
  • Glove-friendly zippers

The Bad

  • Minimal water-resistance
  • Bulky under-helmet hood
  • Small hand pockets
The Pearl Izumi Versa Quilted Hoodie is a versatile cold-weather cycling jacket with Primaloft Gold insulation and a lightweight softshell exterior for increased warmth. Its relaxed fit allows the cyclist to add additional layers for colder days without feeling bulky. However it is on the heavy side and its hood is bulky under the helmet but not big enough to go over the helmet.


The Pearl Izumi Versa Quilted Hoodie is constructed with breathable softshell panels down the sides and arms making it very good at blocking cold gusty wind and repelling snow and sleet. Its drop-tail offers extra protection from the elements in both the relaxed and aggressive riding positions. However because it lacks a DWR treatment, the Pearl Izumi Versa Quilted Hoodie is not waterproof and its water-resistance ability is very minimal. When riding in snow, our testers found that it melted quickly and soaked into the sleeves and body.  


Breathability is very good with the Pearl Izumi Versa Quilted Hoodie. The breathable softshell panels along the sides and arms did a good job of transferring the extra heat our testers worked up. While some would still sweat, it was better managed than most of the jackets in the test, both cycling-specific and non-specific active.


Insulated with 133 grams of Primaloft Gold, wind-resistant softshell fabric, quilted insulated core and light fleece lining on the inside of the sleeves the Pearl Izumi Versa Quilted Hoodie proved to be a warm jacket for cycling in temperatures ranging from the mid-teens to the mid-twenties. Its relaxed fit is a key component of its warmth because it allowed our testers to wear a heavy-weight merino wool base layer which kept her comfortable in temperatures down to the low-thirties. Additionally, the sleeves have laser-cut liners which our tester found to help prevent cold drafts sneaking in between her gloves.

When riding in temperatures in the mid-teens to the mid-twenties, the Versa accommodated both a mid-weight merino wool baselayer and a lightweight mid-layer vest. Although Pearl Izumi states on their website that the Versa is suited for temperatures that range from forty degrees to fifty-five degrees, our testers found it to be sufficient in considerably colder temperatures with the right mix of base and midlayers. However, the Versa’s arm sleeves are slightly more fitted, making a long-sleeved midlayer feel tighter in the arms, as well as bunching up.


Although the soft-shell fabric of the Pearl Izumi Versa makes it a heavier jacket, it also increases its potential for durability in a crash. The stitching is straight and tight and the zippers are solid. Of all the jackets in the test, the Pearl Izumi Versa was the only jacket that test whose zipper never caught on the fabric.


The Pearl Izumi Versa Quilted Hoodie comes with a hood that is intended to fit under a helmet. However, because it’s made with the same softshell material as the sleeves and body, our testers found it was too thick to fit comfortably under a helmet. The hood is also secured by drawstrings but our testers found them to be more of an annoyance because they flopped in the wind. The only redeeming quality they had are the reflective fibers woven in them.

Reflectivity, however, is excellent. Aside from the reflective fibers on the hood’s drawstrings, the Versa has small strips on the sleeves, back, and chest pocket which add more visibility after dark. 

It has four pockets: A side-entry zippered back pocket, front chest pocket and two snap hand pockets. However our testers found the snap pockets to be more gratuitous rather than useful, as they are too small and shallow for hands and their single-snap closure is not secure enough to carry valuables.

Finally, its rear-drop tail is long and does an excellent job of warding off water, sleet, snow and ice that gets kicked up from puddles and the rear tire.  

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All cycling jackets were tested on six-plus mile commutes to work each way on designated urban bike paths and bike lanes, as well as fatbike rides up to eighteen miles. The test period ran from early January to mid-February in temperatures that ranged twenty degrees below zero with wind chills to twenty-five degrees above zero with gusty wind, as well as rides in falling snow.  

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