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Momentum Mag reviews the Upright Cyclist Brighton Fishtail Parka.
PRICE $229 USD
FIND IT AT uprightcyclist.com
Upright Cyclist’s Brighton is modeled after the US Army M51 fishtail parka that was popular with the Mod movement in 1960s Britain. The Brighton has been modernized with a slimmer profile and uses a polyester shell with a breathable-waterproof backing and seam taping for foul weather use. The fabric has a textured face, mimicking olive drab and features rubber zippers, Velcro cuffs, and a two-way adjustable hood to keep the rain and bluster out. Pit zips and a shelf vent across the yoke get rid of excess heat and moisture. Other features include a sizeable rear quail pocket, felted hand pockets for comfort, and reflective piping the length of the back.
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The Brighton is a highly weather-resistant jacket for spring as well as late autumn with smart features and an attractive look. The 6 felted pockets did a great job at quick hand warm ups and for storing daily essentials. All of the pockets either snap shut or zipper up to keep your phone, keys, and what have you secure. In addition, the hood fit exceptionally well, was deep enough for a larger head, and provided excellent protection from the rain without significantly obstructing view.
I found that the lack of an interior pocket was only mildly troublesome. While I was never worried about my smartphone getting wet in either the lower snap or zippered pockets, I do prefer to carry it higher on my chest and inside, far away from the rain.
I’ve grown increasingly fond of jacket styles that smartly and usefully update classic designs, and the Brighton definitely fits the bill. As far as protection from the rain and wind, I found no flaws with this jacket. The sleeve length provided necessary coverage and the Velcro adjustment ensured the sleeves stayed in place. The billowy look of the front four snap closure pockets created by the felted lining may not appeal to everyone, but I found it lent well to the look of the military jacket that inspired the design. The reflective strip running from tip to tail on the back of the jacket provided a little extra visibility at night and did nothing to distract from the overall design of the jacket. The rear “quail pocket” is substantial, but I never found a use for it. I was worried that the zipper for the rear pocket would be a pain when sitting, but I never noticed it. The lining of the jacket, while not insulated, did provide enough of a barrier from the cold that I wore the Brighton well into the start of winter.
Overall, construction of the Brighton was excellent. Seams held and the zippers and snaps all functioned properly. While I’ve never been a fan of pit zippers, these are unobtrusive and I did use them on days when it was windy but warm. The cut of the Brighton is noticeably shorter than the jacket that inspired its design as well as that of other fishtail parkas. I found the cut was comfortable in a seated position, and while the shorter length doesn’t provide as much coverage as other fishtails I wasn’t really missing that added length. For me, the Brighton fit nicely within my existing wardrobe and provided the necessary features of a rain jacket without the needlessly technical look.
Duncan Hurd is Momentum Mag‘s managing editor and online editor.