It’s a pretty rare situation when it starts raining and you find yourself saying ‘great - now I can go for a ride’.
But that’s what it can be like in the world of product reviewing when you need to check how something behaves in a particular type of weather.
I found myself in this scenario at the start of 2022 when I needed to see how a helmet performed in the rain.
I say ‘thankfully’ because I’ve yet to find anything better for riding in stinking wet weather than kit made from Gore-Tex’s Pro laminated fabric.
And that’s remained the case after putting this combination through some appalling weather.
After two hours of persistent heavy rain and deep cold, I got home, peeled off the jacket, shook it dry, hung it up and got on with my life.
I was dry on the inside and the kit wasn’t far away from being completely dry itself either.
Photography: Joel Blevins
The thing with Gore-Tex Pro is that the outer shell and waterproof membrane are laminated to each other, so they combine to give an instant defence against rain.
As well as better rain protection, Gore-Tex Pro jackets dry more quickly as the water never really gets chance to soak in.
That’s why I could shake the jacket dry. If that had been a ‘normal’ drop liner the jacket would have been wet even if I was dry on the inside.
And it’s that kind of performance that helps to justify the meaty price tag of Gore-Tex Pro kit, as serious riders who need to go out in ALL weathers know the difference it makes.
This Dominator 3 Gore-Tex jacket definitely isn’t cheap. For the £1200 price (at the time of review) you could comfortably buy a jacket and jeans of a lesser spec, and you only need to be relatively careful to buy a complete head-to-toe outfit for that money.
But if you know you’ll be riding in the worst weather, and expect to be doing so day after day, then something like this will make your life easier.
The Dominator 3 has a tough outer shell, which is reinforced in the most likely impact zones, four pairs of fit adjusters, a comprehensive collection of eight air vents and five external pockets.
Its armour set impresses, with shoulder, elbow and back protection that all meets the higher Level 2 of the CE standard.
There’s also a kidney belt for extra support around the waist if you like that sort of thing (they’re big news in Germany but not so sought-after here in the UK).
On the inside there are three waterproof pockets for your bits and bobs, and room for chest armour if you want to supplement the impact protection.
A pair of connection zips - long and short - means you can hook the jacket up to the matching trousers (£780 at the time of review).
One absentee from the spec sheet is a thermal liner. Rev’it’s theory with this is that layering is down to the rider and the point of the fit adjusters is to allow flexibility to fit over the rider’s choice of under layers.
I wore a windproof, thermal jacket under the Dominator 3 and found that, combined with a breathable base layer, was enough to keep me warm in low single-digit temperatures.
The cuff design is clever, giving the option of having a twin-cuff design without forcing it on riders who find it a faff to use.
The idea is that a thin inner section at each cuff is worn inside your bike glove, then you put the main jacket section over the glove. This means rain runs off the sleeve onto your glove, rather than into it, and when the glove gets wet the water can’t then soak into your clothes underneath the jacket.
I like the design, but some riders hate the fiddle it requires, so for those riders they can just zip the inner glove out and run a more conventional single-cuff set-up.
That wet ride in this kit was the culmination of a good two-month spell where I faced a pretty serious stream of bad weather. Just as I’d expected, the Dominator 3 shrugged it all off with ease.
If you only ever ride in the rain when you’re caught out then you’ve no real need to stretch your budget for kit like this.
But if you’re frequently commuting over distance, or heading off on long trips where you expect long spells of bad weather, then kit like this will definitely enhance your riding life.