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Montane Volt (2015)

£100.00

The Volt is a joy to wear. It’s called a ‘zoned’ jacket, with the zones being separate panels of material stitched together to make a jacket that moves naturally with you, while keeping the heat where you want it. It uses the warmest version of Polartec, Thermal Pro, which has a honeycomb design that creates air pockets within the jacket ...

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Regatta Breaktrail (2015)

£25.00

The Breaktrail is part of Regatta’s Point 214 range – named after the 214 Lake District fells listed by guidewriter Alfred Wainwright. This tells you that it’s firmly designed with British hillwalking in mind, rather than anything more extreme. It’s all one fabric (the dark panels under the arms look like they should be a light fabric for venting, but ...

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Mammut Aconcagua (2015)

£130.00

If you’re a serious hillwalker and you plan on spending a lot of time in deep cold conditions, the Aconcagua (as you might expect from the name) is a perfect choice. There’s Polartec here again, but this time it’s the advanced Power Stretch version which prioritises stretchiness. So it’s incredibly athletic, adapting to your movements smoothly, although it’s not as ...

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The North Face Glacier 100 (2015)

£50.00

A small red triangle logo on your fleece will bump up the price, but as a quick visual guarantee, it is hard to beat. It’s the logo of Polartec, and when it comes to making a fleece warm, breathable and stretchy, Polartec is about the best option on the market. It’s at the heart of this excellent all-rounder fleece, making ...

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Berghaus Roseg Full-Zip (2015)

£100.00

The green, bobbly one I tested may have taken its design cues from a dollop of mushy peas, but the Roseg is a top performer on cold, blustery, active days out. The cut is neat and trim, long enough to cover the lower back, even when making agile hops from stream to rock. The hem and cuffs are elasticated so ...

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Patagonia R1 Pullover (2015)

£100.00

The R1 takes an unusual approach by having its fleece fabric on the inside and a smooth, stretchy microfibre face-fabric on the outside. The internal fleece material is called Regulator, and it is soft, extremely light and surprisingly warm. This is in part due to an insulating grid pattern which keeps heat close to your body while still retaining breathability ...

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Sprayway W.N.W (2015)

£120.00

At one end of the fleecy scale there's the cuddly cloud-like top, perfect for the pub and light spring days. At the other end there’s the W.N.W, which takes its cues from soft shell and is a dedicated winter weather warrior. At its core is Gore Windstopper fabric, which vies with Polartec for top honours when it comes to fleece ...

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Craghoppers Miska II Half-Zip (2015)

£30.00

I wanted to take this off at the end of the day about as much as you might want to get out of a warm bed on a Baltic day, it's so incredibly soft, light and warm. The velvety microfleece is more reminiscent of comfy pyjamas than hardy outdoor kit. The cut is perfect for comfort and warmth: long enough ...

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Rab Infinity Endurance (2015)

£285.00

FeaturesInsulation is provided by Nikwax Hydrophobic Down with a fill power of 850+ while the outer is a Pertex Quantum GL ripstop nylon, and this ensures the jacket offers a very good level of insulation but is also very light for its performance. There are three pockets and the hood gets a wired peak, with the lack of cuff adjustment ...

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Berghaus Ramche (2015)

£340.00

FeaturesThe big story is the 850+ fill power 90/10 hydrophobic down, which maintains its performance when wet better than standard down. You also get Pertex Quantum GL outer fabric to keep the weight down to a very acceptable 516g (size L). The helmet-compatible hood has face drawcords and a wired peak while the two pockets get zips. 5/5 FitThe Berghaus ...

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Alpkit Filo (2015)

£120.00

FeaturesThe Alpkit Filo features 675+ fill power 90/10 duck down – not quite the spec of higher-priced jackets – which is why it’s a little heavier. The outer is ripstop nylon, again a slightly heavier option than pricier jackets, but you do get a removable hood, which benefits from a wired peak. The cuffs only have plain elastication rather than ...

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Mountain Equipment Lumin (2015)

£200.00

FeaturesThis jacket uses water-resistant 675+ fill power 90/10 down, production of which is audited via Mountain Equipment’s Down Codex scheme to ensure it does not include live plucking. The outer is a lightweight ripstop nylon. The hood gets a wired peak, volume adjuster and face drawcords, and it can be rolled down and secured at the collar. 5/5 FitThe Mountain ...

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Montane Chonus (2015)

£280.00

FeaturesThe down is held in box wall construction throughout, which means there are no cold spots as found on most jackets at this price, which are generally stitched-through designs. The 800+ fill power 90/10 down is certified not live plucked, but it isn’t water-resistant. You do get a helmet-compatible hood with a stiffened peak though. 4/5 FitThe men’s Montane Chonus ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
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Rohan Nightfall (2015)

£245.00

FeaturesThe insulation is a hydrophobic down that absorbs 30% less water than normal down and dries 60% faster. The down is 800+ fill power and is made of 95% down and just 5% feather, which all adds to the warmth of this jacket for the minimal weight. The hood is also removable but the peak isn’t stiffened or wired; however ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
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Quechua X-Light (2015)

£30.00

FeaturesAt just 409g (size M), something must be missing, and there is less insulation inside the Quechua X-Light than in the other down jackets we looked at. What sets it apart is the price, but to achieve that there is no adjustment drawcords on the hood, only two pockets, no cuff adjustment and no soft brushed lining at the chin. ...

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North Ridge Elbrus (2015)

£120.00

FeaturesThe North Ridge Elbrus is filled with a 650+ fill power 70/30 duck down, which is less efficient than higher-priced options, and so this jacket is not the warmest, but it is light – in part because there is also no hood. But you do get Velcro cuff adjustment and a nice brushed collar area. The outer is also quite ...

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Montane North Star (2015)

£240.00

Features The outer shell is more water-resistant than most, which is good as the down used does not have the water-resistant treatment some jackets offer. The hood gets volume adjustment, face drawcords and stiffened peak, and can be rolled down and secured at the collar. The cuffs have tab adjusters. All that for 565g (size L) is impressive. 4/5 FitThe ...

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First test: Fjällräven Keb Loft Jacket (2014)

£195.00

When the thermometer goes negative, down insulation is what most of us turn to. But down loses some of its insulating performance when wet, making it less than ideal for the UK; and it’s pricy. Recently, outdoor brands have tried to make synthetic insulation as efficient as down, and the latest attempt comes from Fjällräven. G-Loft Supreme is a synthetic ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
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First test: Sherpa Nangpala Down Jacket (2014)

£250.00

The traditional and well-proven choice for top-quality insulation has been down, gathered from geese. However, as down loses some of its insulating performance when wet, synthetic fibres are often used instead, which perform better than down when wet, but are heavier and less compact. This is not ideal, say when carrying an insulated jacket in your rucksack. So over recent ...

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Rab Aeon Long Sleeve (2014)

£32.00

FeaturesDesigned to be very light – it’s 94g for a size M – and comfortable, you’d expect features to be lean. But the Rab Aeon Long Sleeve doesn’t do badly: you get flatlocked seams and reflective decals on the back and sleeves, handy for running and cycling as well as night walking. Treated with Polygiene to control odour, it’s also ...

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Páramo Torres Jacket (2014)

£140.00

FeaturesThe moment you reach a summit and want to throw on some insulation, in most cases you have to remove your waterproof before you can add a warm layer – and in the process you freeze. The Páramo Torres Jacket, however, is designed to go over your waterproof. It also has large, well-placed pockets and hood drawcords. The front zip ...

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Páramo Cambia Zip Tee (2014)

£40.00

FeaturesA fascinating concept well-executed by a British company that knows a thing or two about sweat. The clever Cambia can be reversed for optimal use in both cold and hot conditions, and is therefore rather plain-looking. But you get a deep, two-way zip neck, stretchy fabric plus padded cuffs and hem. 5/5 FabricThe reversible fabric is ‘Parameta T+’. In hot ...

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The North Face Thermoball Hoodie (2014)

£170.00

FeaturesWhat a difference a hood drawcord makes – and that’s what sets the The North Face Thermoball Hoodie apart from others. You also get elasticated cuffs where the elastication is tucked inside so the cuff is neater and potentially less draughty. The two main pockets are happily OS map-sized; but, like most, access is obscured when a hipbelt from a ...

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Berghaus Capucin (2014)

£160.00

FeaturesThere are a lot of nice touches here, but some annoying elements too. The hood has face drawcords, but no volume adjustment at the back. The three pockets on the outside are placed reasonably well for access with a rucksack on, but they aren’t quite big enough for an OS map. The cuffs get internal elastication, though, which is neatly ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
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Karrimor Technical Top Zip (2014)

£8.00

FeaturesThe Technical Top Zip is a very well-featured base layer from British brand Karrimor. You get flat seams, good stretch, high wicking action and light weight (191g, size M), which makes it good for summer. Factor in the zipped neck – rarely found on lower-priced products – and you have a bargain. 5/5 FabricDistinctive (white inside, coloured outside) with a ...

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