Well, it was my post and I did in fact end up buying the Aqua-No jacket, so I thought I should at least report my findings.
The first thing that drew me to this coat was that it felt cool and airy when I put it on. I realize there are many higher quality coats out there, but some of them, to me, felt clammy and non-breatheable the instant I tried them on in the store or had an unpleasant rubbery-coated fabric inside. Maybe I just prefer having a mesh liner as it puts a layer between your skin and these fabrics, and seems to provide a cooler (temp) feel as there's space for air to move around. Now that I've commuted in it -- both in rain and not -- I have to say I'm pretty happy with the ventillation in the real world as well. My opinion might be skewed as I'm just used to my windstopper jacket which is pretty non-breathable, but the Aqua-No is surprisingly well ventilated and comfortable.
Water-proofness (the point of the coat, of course) has been good so far as well. Quite frankly, with all these raincoats it's hard to tell where rain ends and sweat begins, but it seems to be pretty good (and I'm the type who would take it back immediately if it weren't). I can only compare to a Performance brand coat that leaked water (and thus got returned), but even in solid rain for my 25-minute commute I don't feel like any water's getting in.
I only paid $70 for this and when I asked one of the salespeople about Bellwether quality, he described them as the "Old Navy of bike clothes." True or not, like the others stated above, I think this certainly shows through in the zippers. They're inexcuseably small -- so small you can barely grasp them while wearing gloves. I wouldn't mind that so much if they at least had hole in the zipper handle where you could run a little loop through to grab onto, but they don't. Also, I was keeping my keys in the back pocket until I twice had to take the coat off as the zipper had simply got stuck on itself and wouldn't open...again, not very good quality. (For that matter, put the pockets on the front of the coat where people can more easily reach them!) Anyhow, I'd be pretty surprised if these zippers lasted long. My only other comment is safety. I personally feel ALL raincoats should be retina-frying yellow and have reflective tape in the proper places. The color is so-so, kind of #2 pencil yellow, but reflective "piping" ain't gonna do much on a dark rainy day.
That's it. Everything has its pros and cons, but all in all, for $70 I'm pretty happy: it seems to be keeping the water out and it's sufficiently well ventilated.
Last edited by datepalm3@earth; 04-11-07 at 10:53 PM.