Early in 2010 at a ski resort high in the Dolomites Trail was given first sight of Polartec’s new soft shell fabric, Power Shield Pro, in various styles of jacket. Massive amounts of snow and bitterly cold winds put the material through a severe testing. But how would this new fabric function in the UK’s typically wet and windy conditions? Polartec were confident the material would perform just fine; and although they don’t claim that it is waterproof, they reckoned it would keep the worst of the wet stuff off while maintaining a decent level of breathability.
For British conditions we agreed that sealed seams and a hood are critical. Initially Polartec made me a one-off jacket for summer use, then I received the Eider Power Pro Jacket for winter.
The Eider Power Pro Jacket has a warm inner layer, stretch fabric and a three-layer structure. The outer provides protection, the middle water and wind resistance, and the inner insulation. Polartec claims it is highly breathable, wind-resistant and able to resist a 5000mm water column.
These claims are pretty impressive and, put in a British context, point towards a very flexible layer for mountain use. During testing I relied solely on these two jackets. It took a few trips getting layers sorted, but the best combination turned out to be a base layer and either the one-off or the Eider. For summer use the one-off jacket worked best, and hopefully this fabric will be deployed in this lighter manner for consumers soon. When things got nippy the Eider Power Pro excelled. They both resisted heavy and prolonged rainfall, both in windy and still conditions. The fabric did ‘wet out’ at contact points, for example under shoulder straps, but the effect was more like a sponge action rather than a leak. Breathability was outstanding, meaning I could stay layered up without having to worry about condensation.
Fabric Polartec Power Shield Pro
Weight 790g (size L)
Made in Hungary
Stockist details – tel. 0845 100 1000; www.snowandrock.com
The Eider Power Pro Jacket is an outstanding choice for autumn and winter use. It is useful as the mainstay, and is adaptable enough to trim other elements of hill clothing.
Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine March 2011