Rainwear

Cleverhood Urbanaut Trench Review: Function and Fashion?

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One of cycling’s great fallacies is that it’s all lycra and helmets, carbon fiber and clip-cloppy shoes. Yes, cycling is a sport – a fun one at that – but it’s also a mode of transport, a way of getting around.

Whilst we definitely wouldn’t stop you from riding a bike in your everyday clothing, the odd cycling-specific garment is a godsend, especially in wet or cold weather.

Cleverhood’s Urbanuat Trench is a three-quarter-length jacket that protects riders from rain. Fabric technology gives the jacket extra visibility, plus other features make it useful for cycling.

In case you haven’t heard of them before, from their base in Rhode Island – a state with the 9th most yearly rainfall, Cleverhood curates a range of outwear for adults and kids, alongside other accessories.

The Urbanaut Trench is Cleverhood’s most expensive jacket, sitting atop their range, above the Zipster Jacket and the Rover Anorak. Lucy recently reviewed the Rover Anorak and found it was “the perfect solution to keep you warm, dry, and visible when riding.”

Cleverhood Urbanaut Trench Review
  • Fit
  • Function
  • Style
  • Value
  • Quality
4.3

Summary

A very waterproof trench coat, that’s great for cycling and other activities. In the style stakes, the Urbanaut is a real winner. It definitely doesn’t look like a cycling jacket and it’s all the better for it.

Pros

  • Really robust zips
  • Hood does a fantastic job of keeping the rain out
  • Reflective material doesn’t stand out during the day

Cons

  • Hood and helmet fit too snug for me
  • An inside pocket would be nice
  • Overall fit not ideal for all

Cleverhood Urbanaut Trench Fit

The Urbanaut is sold in five sizes, XS through to XL, with the slim, unisex fit manufactured to fit a broad range of wearers. The three-quarter trench-style design offers extra coverage against the rain.

It has a raglan sleeve (stitched from the underarm up to the collarbone rather than at the shoulder) to give greater freedom of movement.

Urbanaut Trench
IMAGE: LAWRENCE BYWATER

At the end of the sleeves, velcro cuffs can be utilised to provide the best fit in this area. For a good cycling jacket, I think this is a mandatory feature.

Urbanaut Trench
IMAGE: LAWRENCE BYWATER

A kick pleat or slit in the rear of the jacket ensures the jacket doesn’t gather too tightly when sat in the saddle.

Overall, I found the trench a little too snug when riding – particularly in the armpit area when reaching for the handlebars. I couldn’t level that same criticism at the Jack Wolfskin jacket that I recently reviewed, but I should preface this with the fact that I am very tall, with long arms, and right at the limits of the Urbanauts XL sizing guide.

For those worried about the overall fit of the trench, Cleverhood provides a very helpful size guide for the jacket, with clear measurements for chest, arm length and front length.

Cleverhood Urbanaut Features

With fully taped seams and a waterproof coating, the Trench shrugged off some heavy summer showers while I was wearing it. Cleverhood states that the waterproof rating of the Urbanaut is 15k or 15,000mm.

The zips on the Urbanaut are extremely robust. When it’s already raining and your wheels need to roll, it’s a comforting feeling hearing that ‘zzzppppppp’ sound. Made by YKK, the ‘Aquaguard’ zipper can be zipped up from the bottom too, in order to allow for some venting.

The peak is very large – noticeably larger than other jackets I’ve had experience with, but when it was raining cats and dogs, it’s a feature I came to appreciate.

Cleverhood is very clear in stating that the hood should be worn under the helmet – that way it gives the best coverage and the best vision when riding. Whilst for most this will be fine, I found it fairly tricky to get comfortable with both the hood deployed and my helmet on – it was snug fit!

That’s not a particularly important gripe for me, because for trips wearing the Urbanaut – rides to the local shop and the like – I wouldn’t normally choose to wear a helmet, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.

The hood has three points where it can be tightened – on each side and at the rear. This way you can fine-tune the fit to your favour.

Urbanaut Trench
IMAGE: LAWRENCE BYWATER

Although you can’t see it during the day, the Urbanaut Trench is made from fabric that’s embedded with 3M Scotchlite reflective material – look closely at the garment and you can see the thread that’s been weaved in.

Clearly, during the day it means the jacket doesn’t stand out like a beacon, but at night, when light is shined upon it, it really comes alive. If you ride predominately in town or on busy routes with cars and other cyclists, it’s a feature that you’d most definitely welcome.

IMAGE: LAWRENCE BYWATER

The Urbanaut has two pockets, again protected by the weather by those robust YKK zips, providing a decent amount of storage for phones, keys and wallets. It would be nice to have another storage option, perhaps inside the jacket or a smaller option on the chest – maybe I’m being picky here.

IMAGE: LAWRENCE BYWATER

Is the Cleverhood Urbanaut Trench worth it?

Available in three colours, the Cleverhood Urbanaut Trench is priced at $289 – shipping to the US is extra, with Cleverhood offering international shipping at various rates.

Yes, it’s quite expensive but the high waterproof rating more than makes up for that. It covers the fashion-function divide too, plus buy it and you’ll have supported a small, US-based business that gives 5% of its profits to causes that promote street equality.

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