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Craghoppers Pro-Lite (2015)

£50.00

It’s rare – very rare – that our reviews could start and finish with the cheapest item, but Craghoppers’ new Pro-Lite really does give you the whole story of a soft shell jacket in a nutshell. It’s lightweight, sharply-cut, very breathable and completely windproof. It works up a mountain, in a country park and on the high street, and it ...

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Musto Evolution (2015)

£119.00

Cocooned. It’s a comforting word, bringing to mind snugness, warmth and security. All the things you’d want from a product that is intended to protect you against the wind, the wet and wild weather in general. ‘Cocooned’ popped straight into my mind on donning this, one late winter’s day. The inner is traditionally soft and fleecy, and immediately warming, while ...

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Regatta Nebraska (2015)

£40.00

I’d forgotten the price when testing this and was so surprised post-walk that I had to triple-check the figure. Surely there’s a ‘one’ missing before the ‘four’? Nope. A simple £40 it is. It was already praiseworthy, but in light of that, it’s hard to beat. The Nebraska performs wonderfully. On a late winter walk it proved resistant enough to ...

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Fjallraven Pro-Lite (2015)

£170.00

Even though it’s called Lite, this is a full-on, heavy-duty soft shell that is so robust it actually crinkles. The first thing you might notice are the colossal but cleverly-placed pockets. The zips run vertically up both sides of the upper torso, making the pockets accessible even with a rucksack on and big enough to take an OS map (each!). ...

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Paramo Bora Smock (2015)

£80.00

The Bora takes a different approach to soft shell. It is essentially a thickened-up, over-the-head windshirt, so it is exceedingly light (just 178g) and very packable. By itself, it is highly windproof (the peaked hood is especially good) and very breathable, thanks to two vertical venting zips up the abdomen. But the Bora has more to it than that. It ...

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Black Diamond BDV (2015)

£160.00

Black Diamond are probably better known in this country for accessories (in particular their walking poles) than clothing. But you will see more and more of their jackets hitting UK stores this spring, and the BDV (which stands for Black Diamond Vertical) is a perfect example of their innovative approach. It’s a robust, slim-cut jacket that feels fantastic as both ...

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Patagonia All Free (2015)

£110.00

This jacket was originally designed for climbing, but walkers can get a fair bit out of it too. Freedom of movement is great, as you might expect given its roots, and it stretches beautifully. It’s very lightweight, and water just glides off it, even when subjected to a ruthless water-bottle dousing. The neck is high and snug with no danger ...

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Helly Hansen Challenger 2 (2015)

£130.00

The Challenger is modelled on a running design, but walkers can benefit from its breathability and ease of movement too. Where the Regatta jacket prioritised weather protection, this  takes a lighter approach. The front is made from standard soft shell polyester, hardy enough to beat off wind and rain, while the back and underarms are made from lighter, stretchier material. ...

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Columbia Fast Trek II Full Zip (2015)

£50.00

FeaturesWith the Columbia Fast Trek II Full Zip three pockets. You can fit OS maps in the hip pockets and a small guidebook in the chest pocket. The two lower ones are easily obscured by a rucksack belt, but at least you have a more accessible chest pocket. You also get a drawcord at the hem to block out the ...

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Regatta Breaktrail (2015)

£25.00

FeaturesThe Regatta Breaktrail’s biggest benefit here is the price of just £25, but at such a low cost it isn’t surprising to find that hillgoing features are limited. There’s a short front zip, only one pocket and no hood. But the zip does have an inside baffle to block wind and prevent chin scraping. The pocket is large enough for ...

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Craghoppers Pro Lite (2015)

£40.00

FeaturesThe Craghoppers Pro Lite is a low-priced fleece jacket with a hood and three pockets is a good option for many hillwalking situations. This one has no baffle behind the front zip, though, so it can be draughty and there’s no chinguard for the top of the zip. There are no adjustment cords at the cuffs, hem or around the ...

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Mountain Equipment Scorpion (2015)

£135.00

FeaturesI would always choose a fleece with a hood, but if you don’t want one then the Mountain Equipment Scorpion is the best option around. It has two large main pockets that can be accessed while wearing a rucksack, plus a third smaller chest pocket for GPS receiver, guidebook or compass. There is also added abrasion resistance in key areas ...

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Mountain Equipment Shroud (2015)

£80.00

FeaturesThe Mountain Equipment Shroud has been a favourite of mine thanks to its combination of a hood and two large chest pockets that can be easily accessed while wearing a pack with a wide hipbelt. It has thumb loops and a hem drawcord, and the front zip has a baffle inside to keep draughts out as well as a chin ...

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Rab Shadow Hoodie (2015)

£140.00

FeaturesThe Rab Shadow Hoodie has almost everything you could dream of with its hood, two huge chest pockets and highly abrasion-resistant material. There is no external third smaller chest pocket, but you do get an inside chest pocket which is very large and could be used for compass, GPS receiver or phone. The drawback is all that extra weight if ...

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Páramo Bora Hoodie (2015)

£100.00

FeaturesOver-the-head smock designs such as the Páramo Bora Hoodie do have real advantages, as they allow a large chest pocket to remain easily accessible while wearing a rucksack. Here you also get a hood and a third small chest pocket. There’s also a lot you don’t get though, including adjustment on the hood, a long zip for ventilation and no ...

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Sprayway Cerberus (2015)

£75.00

FeaturesThe Sprayway Cerberus has instant hill appeal, thanks to a hood and two large pockets on the chest with easy access even when wearing a rucksack with a wide hipbelt. The front zip is full-length and gets a baffle on the inside to block draughts while the top of the zip is protected to prevent chin scrape. Thumb loops are ...

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Mammut Eiswand Tech (2015)

£175.00

FeaturesThis jacket from Mammut’s Eiger range is designed for alpinism and climbing, but it also works really well as a hillwalking and scrambling fleece thanks to its ‘alpinist’ features. So you get two large chest pockets, a hood and a close fit to allow active movement without riding up. There is no third chest pocket, though, which is a surprise ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
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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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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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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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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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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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