By Lou Melini
My son gave my wife Julie the Castelli Compatto Jacket for Christmas last year. He said it was lightweight (and it is at 4 ounces) and that Julie could pack it easily in her pannier. He also said it would be rain resistant (not waterproof). I thought this would be good for the few times that she had a rain shower on the way to or from work.
Julie took it along on our latest bike tour (see the September 2013 issue of Cycling Utah) for those days when it rained lightly, not enough for her heavier rain jacket. After we crossed the Canadian border a heavy thunderstorm hit us. Lightening and thunder crashed above us. The amount of rain pouring on us made this one of the top storms that we encountered in our years of bike touring. As the rain came down Julie pulled out the Castelli jacket. I told her to use the heavier rain jacket. That prompted a reply of “I’m fine.” A second reminder by me had the same message except firmer. I figured she’s a big girl so off we rode. After what seemed like a 20-minute or more deluge we pulled into a campground to dry off and assess the damage.
Julie was completely dry under the jacket. I was amazed. I had some wet sleeves under my old, actually very old, Burley rain jacket but Julie was drier. Obviously a more “water-resistant” jacket than I imagined. She now only uses the Castelli jacket as her rain jacket.
One of the mysteries of sportswear that I find is the constant changing of names. The Compatto is no longer in the Castelli 2014 line-up. Brad at Millcreek Bicycles told me that the “Squadra” is replacing the Compatto. Hopefully the Squadra will be of similar quality.
Price is also something that I have difficulty with when buying cycling clothing. Admittedly I am cheap. However after seeing how well the jacket has worked for my wife I might consider the $175 price tag if I was in the market for a very lightweight jacket that has excellent rain protection, comfort and decent warmth. Julie has used the jacket quite a bit this year. I can’t say how many years the jacket will work at the current performance. That’s the problem with clothing reviews. By the time one determines durability of clothing, the product is no longer offered and the review is outdated. This jacket seems well made so I suspect it will last for years. If you are in the market for a jacket give the Castelli Compatto (aka Squadra) a look if your local bike shop has one.