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Páramo Torres Jacket (2012)

£140.00

When it comes to insulating layers, Páramo says: why put it on under your waterproof when you can simply throw it over everything? But the question for a walker who will only use a jacket like this ‘just in case’ or when they stop for lunch is this: is it really worth the extra weight and bulk in their backpack? ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Mountain Equipment Alpamayo Jacket (2012)

£160.00

Designed primarily as a belay jacket to go over other layers, the Mountain Equipment Alpamayo is, as expected, generously sized as well as water- and wind-resistant. It’s very warm too – second warmest on test after the Páramo jacket – but then with extra warmth comes extra weight (526g, size 10 – third heaviest here) so it really depends on ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Sprayway Zao (2012)

£160.00

Of all the jackets on test, the Sprayway Zao is the only one to have a Gore-Tex outer shell, making it waterproof – rather than simply water-resistant. An insulating jacket suitable for use even in heavy rain or snow will keep you warm, and it means the insulation is well-protected against the wet too. But the problem for walkers is ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Finisterre Sastruga III (2012)

£185.00

As with everything made by Finisterre, environmental concerns are high in the designers’ minds. The synthetic fill is PrimaLoft Eco, made from recycled plastic bottles and the face fabric is also made from recycled polyester. The jacket has a tight, long fit. Even in a large it’s quite a snug fit and won’t suit those who prefer a more relaxed ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Columbia Prarion (2012)

£150.00

Although it uses 700-fill down, the jacket has added insulation in the form of Columbia’s Omni-Heat reflective technology. Silver dots are added to the lining to help bounce radiated heat back inside. In use it does seem to add extra warmth to the top, without making things too stuffy. However, the jacket still remains quite heavy for a down-filled mid-layer ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Rab Double Pile (2012)

£60.00

A heavy fleece and therefore very warm. Double-pile fabric really traps the heat in. That also makes it bulky, however, and this certainly isn’t the kind of garment to tuck away in your pack for emergency use. Although it may not look like it, the face fabric has a water-repellent treatment which means that you can wear the top in ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Sprayway W.N.W (2012)

£110.00

This jacket is new for 2011, although it’s actually an update of a classic model from the Sprayway line. It’s a straightforward, midweight fleece with an added Windstopper membrane. This wind protection boosts the warmth rating of the top without adding to the bulk, in a similar way to many soft shells. That extra layer of material also makes it ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Outdoor Research Exit Hoodie (2012)

£90.00

Thick, warm and rugged. A stylish jacket, that really looks more casual than it should. Performance-wise it’s great, offering plenty of warmth with its dual-texture Alpin-wool fabric. The tough wool outer fabric couples with a microfleece lining on the inside to trap warmth next to the skin. The top certainly is warm, although bulky with it. Pound-for-pound this isn’t the ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Craghoppers Risor Half-Zip (2012)

£60.00

A fleece for walkers who don’t want to be seen in a fleece. Has the feel of a comfy pullover, but is still highly practical. The outer fabric feels a bit more like thick wool than fleece, which makes it a little more resilient to abrasion and resists the dreading pilling of the fabric over time. The inner fabric retains ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Berghaus Ossa

£120.00

The Ossa is a nice looking jacket with quite a relaxed fit, but the arms feel heavier and less comfortable than some because of the large underarm pit-zips (although these do provide a welcome flow of air). The fabric is soft and fleece-lined for warmth and there’s a deep collar to bury your face in. On the downside, the pockets ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Rab Baltoro Light

£110.00

It’s not often that an article of clothing ticks all the boxes, but this does. The excellent fabric provides a decent amount of insulation and is also incredibly weather-resistant and very breathable. It has two huge hip/chest pockets that double as vents and the cuffs are fastened with Velcro. Single-handed drawcords adjust the hem, trapping or releasing warmth, and another ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Patagonia Guide

£120.00

The Guide offers good insulation and good weather resistance, too. Not quite as breathable as it might be when working hard, though. The pockets double as vents but the openings aren’t that big so don’t make as much difference as they might do. The zips are all DWR-treated so do a good job of keeping rain out, and the main ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Tog 24 Aviemore Powershield Hoody

£130.00

Quite heavy, and expensive, and for those reasons, it’s probably only really going to appeal to those that ski as well. But in its favour it’s very warm, it comes with an excellent hood and it’s also very weather-resistant and breathable. The pockets are huge, and provide venting as well as storage; the cuffs are Velcro-adjustable and the hem uses ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Gelert Ottowa

£40.00

This is a lot of jacket for £40. It’s quite heavy, and doesn’t pack down that well, which certainly rules it out for lighter weight walking, but it is very warm, and it certainly keeps some light rain out. It’s reasonably breathable, too. The sizing’s quite big, so try before you buy, and this means the collar is a bit ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Montane Sabretooth Jacket 2009

£150.00

The grey area between soft shell and fleece is spanned by the Montane Sabretooth, which is described as a ‘highly technical soft shell’ jacket as it is more wind- and water-resistant than other fleece mid layers. But most importantly it does not have a membrane so it is far more breathable than most soft shells. DesignThe Montane Sabretooth is a ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Sprayway Trace

£100.00

Velcro adjustable cuffs roll up easily when it gets too warm, and the fleece-lined fabric felt great against the skin. Polartec Power Shield fabrics are only 98 per cent windproof, but this makes them extremely breathable. The fabric is soft, making it feel like a fleece, but with the bonus of wind and shower resistance.VITAL STATSColours: Sunset, earth, blackSizes: 8-18Fabric: ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Berghaus Twister

£80.00

It has a lovely fleece lining. Lovely to walk in and excellent breathability to help keep you dry on the inside. Lightweight, flexible fabric and deep venting handwarmer pockets. Disappointingly, the cuffs were too tight to pull up easily.VITAL STATSColours: Beet red, black, blue shadowSizes: 8-18Fabric: Elements Soft ShellWeight: 500g Men’s version: YesContact: 0191 516 5700, www.berghaus.com

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Tog 24 Vail

£100.00

The fabric is quite stiff and heavy. We liked the deep fleece-lined handwarmer pockets and the adjustable removable hood. The wide Velcro cuffs also rolled up easily.Design is feminine and the windproof fabric will keep you warm on cold, wintry days. Showerproof, too, but not as breathable as some, and the heavy, brittle fabric was a little cumbersome to walk ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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The North Face Apex Bionic

£100.00

A perfect fit and we really liked the snug high collar, which was very reassuring in really horrible conditions. The inner fabric is luxuriously soft – great against the skin – and, although it actually feels quite thick when you pull it on, it stretches well so doesn’t obstruct movement too much. It has a drawcord hem, which traps heat ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Montane Puma 2.0

£100.00

The sleeve and hem lengths were spot-on, as was the collar. The Polartec fabrics stretch well enough to enable effortless movement and the Velcro adjustable cuffs pull up to cool down.  Soft shell is always a compromise and the Puma is light and ultra-breathable. A versatile jacket. VITAL STATSColours: Deep red/graphite, black/graphiteSizes: XS-XXLFabric: Polartec Thermal Pro with Hardface technologyWeight: 600g ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Lowe Alpine Wildcat

£100.00

Easy enough to move around in for such a well-insulated jacket. The fleece-lined collar was lovely and snug, but it was let down by tight cuffs that wouldn’t pull up to spill heat. Has a mix of windproof/waterproof fabric in the body and more breathable, less weatherproof fabric under the arms. As such it works well, but noticeably less breathable ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Result Blade

£50.00

There’s little doubting the comfort of the Blade, which is cut from a lovely soft, stretchy fabric with a really cosy fleece lining and high collar, but the Lycra-lined cuffs wouldn’t pull up. This jacket was just too hot for strenuous walking on anything but the coldest days – even with the venting pockets and pit zips wide open. It’s ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Regatta Sonar

£65.00

Comfortable with excellent adjustment at the hem and, more importantly, the cuffs. Soft against the skin with plenty of stretch where it’s needed. The waterproof/windproof membrane and taped seams mean it sacrifices breathability for weather resistance. Nice pockets, though, and looks good. Makes a better outer layer. VITAL STATSColours: Red, Prussian, black, seal greySizes: S-XXLFabric: Woven stretch Softshell with Isotex ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Keela Quantum

£100.00

The waffle-patterned fleece lining felt comfy. The two-way stretch fabric felt light and didn’t restrict movement, but the cuffs were too tight to pull up. With waterproof fabric, taped seams and a hood, the Quantum is really weatherproof, but it loses out on breathability – the real calling card of soft shell – and wouldn’t work at all as a ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Marmot Gravity

£100.00

The fleece-backed fabric felt lovely and soft, however, it felt stiff and heavy on the hill and, despite having Velcro adjustment, the cuffs were difficult to pull up to cool down. A warm jacket and noticeably more breathable than most due to a wind-resistant rather than windproof fabric. Dealt well with a shower. VITAL STATSColours: Four including hedge/dark cedarSizes: S-XLFabric: ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0

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