We originally profiled the Cleverhood earlier this year and have been anxious to put it through a full test. As we guessed, the Cleverhood did not disappoint.
I’m an avid bike commuter who lives only 8 kilometers from work. I’m fortunate enough to spend the majority of my commute on a scenic pathway adjacent to the river. Sounds pretty sweet, doesn’t it? It is, most of the time, except when the weather gods decide to go crazy on me. This is where the Cleverhood comes in. Cleverhood is a small made-in-the-good-ol’ USA company based out of Providence, Rhode Island. These people know rain and inclement weather. When we first received our Cleverhoods, we were initially very impressed with the high quality stitching, seam-sealing, fabric choices, and the 3M reflective piping. We could tell these jackets are well made. Kiss that ugly poncho you’ve been wearing goodbye, Cleverhood is here to stay.
Detailed Inspection and Testing
It’s always a happy day when a package arrives in the mail. We received the TF Green and the Electric Houndstooth. Both jackets have the same great functional features that make the slog home in the rain almost enjoyable. The Electric Houndstooth has an added high-tech twist, it contains hidden reflective threads that stand out in the dark. The day I took my Cleverhood out for a test the weather was crappy, it was raining heavily, and it was chilly (5 degrees Celsius or 41 Fahrenheit) with a slight wind.
The first feature I appreciated was the fitted hood that kept my face dry without blocking my peripheral vision (not that anyone passes me). The hood easily fit under my helmet, and the brim kept the rain off my sunglasses and face. The second feature I liked was the waterproof and breathable membrane fabric and seam-seals. When I arrived home after riding in heavy rain I was warm and dry. I wasn’t even damp with perspiration that is a common occurrence when wearing jackets that don’t breathe, and can result in some serious chills on a cold day. The fabric is heavy enough that the wind doesn’t blow it around, but light enough to easily pack down. The only issue I experienced was a damp wallet that I had zipped in the TF Green chest pocket. For some reason the Electric Houndstooth’s chest pocket didn’t experience the same leak. The third feature I found well thought out was the armholes with magnetic closures. For riding, the holes gave me the appropriate range of motion (not too tight or too loose), and when stopped, I could turtle my arms in to stay warm and dry. When walking the dog on a separate day the armholes prevented cold air from blowing in with my arms inside the coat. The final feature that we value is the 3M Scotchlite Reflective Material. Although the majority of my commute is on pathways, I can never be too cautious when riding in traffic. My commute often occurs at dusk and dawn, and good visibility is a high priority.
We’ll take a ride home in the rain any day to being stuck in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic. We really appreciate the fact that Cleverhood is made in the USA (unlike most gear these days that is made is developing countries, often in questionable conditions). We feel this jacket is very well designed, constructed, versatile, and damn good lookin’. Although it’s winter here, for you lucky southerners, Cleverhood has got you covered. With the holidays right around the corner, the Cleverhood would make a great gift for that lucky commuter in your life.