Mountain Equipment Pumori (2015)

Features

This is made with Mountain Equipment’s Drilite 3-layer laminate, which boasts extremely high waterproofness and breathability figures, plus a softer feel than some heavier jackets. There are also pit zips for extra ventilation, three external chest pockets that are all large enough for maps, plus a hood with a wired peak. So you are getting more features than some here. 5/5

Fit

Available for men in sizes S-XXL and for women in 8-16, the Mountain Equipment Pumori has what Mountain Equipment describes as an ‘Alpine’ fit, which for me translated as a slightly closer fit than some in the body. The body is a little longer than some too, so it covered my bum reasonably well. The hood fits very closely and moves easily with the head. 5/5

Comfort

The Drilite material is slightly softer than others and this is a slightly lighter jacket too, which makes it a little more comfortable. However in really heavy wind and rain that closer fit and softer material mean it feels a little less warm as there is less air trapped inside. But overall the Pumori’s comfort is great throughout. 5/5

In use

The three huge chest pockets are ideal for maps or to warm the hands and this is easily achieved even with a big rucksack hipbelt. The cuffs and hem don’t budge when scrambling and the fit of the hood is superb and allows great vision thanks to its wired peak. If you are rough on your gear ME’s Lhotse is a more durable option, but that is really the only caveat here. 5/5

Value

The Mountain Equipment Pumori is hard to beat at this price, with costlier jackets just adding a more durable fabric. 4/5

Verdict

For hillwalkers the Mountain Equipment Pumori may be everything you need, but harder users may benefit from a higher-priced jacket that uses more durable materials. It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

mountain-equipment-pumori.jpg

Rab Bergans / Vidda (2015)

Features

The Rab Bergans / Vidda uses a tough 3-layer eVent fabric with a nylon outer for extra durability, which is well-proven as providing extremely high levels of breathability and waterproofness. There are then two huge chest pockets and a hood that boasts a wired peak. Some other jackets have extra pockets or pit zips, but the above is enough for most hillwalkers. 4/5

Fit

The Bergans is available in men’s sizes S-XXL while the Vidda is available in women’s sizes 8-16. On me the men’s L was slightly longer than most, allowing it to cover my bum comfortably. The fit is slightly more relaxed than some on the body while the sleeves fit closer. The hood can be cinched in to provide a good close fit with great movement. 5/5

Comfort

The Rab Bergans / Vidda is slightly heavier and stiffer than some jackets but in a howling gale and driving rain that stiffness is a benefit as it prevents the jacket buckling and warm air being squeezed out. The protection given to the backside makes this more comfortable when out in foul weather, while the general performanceof the fabric is ideal for hillwalking. 5/5

In use

The two main pockets are large enough for maps and easily accessed above a rucksack hipbelt. I’d prefer a third pocket, but this is not essential. The hood peak is wired so it is easily reshaped if needed and this ensures vision is great when wearing the hood. Movement in the sleeves is good too, with very little sign of hem or cuff creep when raising my arms. 5/5

Value

The Rab Bergans / Vidda offers far better performance than most lower-priced jackets and makes it hard to justify paying more, so the price is good. 4/5

Verdict

To get anything better you’ll have to pay a lot more, and for most hillwalkers the Bergans ticks the most important boxes. 4.6/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

rab%20bergan.jpg

Marmot Precip (2015)

Features

Marmot’s Precip is a modern classic and is now using its new NanoPro 2.5-layer nylon fabric for durability and a little more condensation control. This material isn’t the best for breathability but it’s better than most at this price. You also get pit zips and two main pockets, which are mesh-lined rather than sealed, plus a hood with a large peak that isn’t as stiff as others. 3/5

Fit

The men’s Precip is available in sizes S-XXXL and the women’s in XS-XXL, with the fit being quite relaxed compared to some lightweight jackets. The hem tended to rise when raising my arms, despite the looser body fit here. The hood fit isn’t as close as higher-priced jackets and doesn’t easily move with the head either. 3/5

Comfort

At 327g (men’s L) this is light and the NanoPro material controls condensation better than other lower-priced fabrics, but a 3-layer jacket or a mesh-lined jacket is more comfortable, but of course heavier. The hood movement and fit are not great though and this affects comfort. Overall if you pay more you get a comfier jacket, but the Marmot Precip is good for the weight and price. 3/5

In use

The NanoPro material is a nylon ripstop so it’s very durable and also very lightweight. The pockets do take OS maps but access is easily obscured by a rucksack with a hipbelt. The hood lets this jacket down quite a lot though, as it doesn’t move well and the peak is not as good as a wired or more stiffened design. It is useable but not ideal. 3/5

Value

You are paying for a very breathable fabric. For the price the Marmot Precip offers good performance, but the design lets it down. 5/5

Verdict

The Marmot Precip features great fabric and comes in at a great weight, but its performance on the hill is limited by its design.  3.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

marmot%20precip.jpg

Vaude Fjordan (2015)

Features

The big plus here is that the Vaude Fjordan only weighs 380g (size L), and that is due in part to the use of a 2.5-layer stretch Ceplex laminate membrane fabric, rather than a 3-layer option. This material is also Bluesign-approved to meet environmental standards. There are three outside pockets, the hood has a wired peak and you even get pit zips for this weight. 5/5

Fit

Men’s sizes are S-XXL and women’s 34-46. My L had a much closer fit than others of the same size. The material is thinner and stretchier than others, so it still allows good freedom of movement in general; although I did notice the cuffs and hem moved more easily than others when I raised my arms. The hood fit and movement are very good though. 4/5

Comfort

The weight and soft material make the Vaude Fjordan comfy, although the 2.5-layer fabric is a bit clammier than 3-layer materials used in other jackets. As it’s a closer fit and softer it can’t trap as much warm air inside, so in heavier weather it feels less comfy than a stiffer jacket. The small movement of the cuffs down the wrist means this area is less well-protected. 4/5

In use

In summer the Vaude Fjordan would be great due to its weight, but in winter or wild weather others feel better in use due to the comfort they offer. But the two large main pockets are good and can be accessed above a hipbelt. The third chest pocket is small but it’s useful for a GPS receiver. The hood works very well and sets this apart from many other jackets. 4/5

Value

There are compromises and benefits here, and while this price isn’t a bargain it’s still good compared to some. 4/5

Verdict

If you want a lightweight jacket with a closer fit and some good features the Vaude Fjordan is worth a closer look. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

vaude%20fjordan.jpg

Sprayway Nomad/Topaz (2015)

Features

The Sprayway Nomad/Topaz is a mesh-lined jacket with a 2-layer HydroDry waterproof and breathable outer, and so while this isn’t the most breathable material, that mesh helps manage the comfort better than an unlined jacket. There are two pockets, which are also mesh-lined, and the hood has a wired peak. But higher-priced jackets have more sealed pockets and other benefits, so this is a limited feature list. 3/5

Fit

The Nomad is available in men’s sizes S-XXL and the women’s Topaz comes in 8-18. The jacket has a shorter body than average with a relaxed fit so you can easily wear it over insulating layers. Movement in the sleeves is quite good. The hood’s wired peak is great, but fit and movement aren’t as good as others. 4/5

Comfort

The mesh lining ensures the Sprayway Nomad/Topaz is more comfortable than some other jackets. Its weight of 473g (size L) doesn’t really impact on comfort or performance for most hillwalkers. But the pockets are mesh-lined so water could creep inside through them. That hood isn’t ideal either. So overall this is tolerable, but other jackets offer more comfort. 3/5

In use

You can put maps in the two lower pockets but your access to them is severely impeded by a rucksack hipbelt. There are no other pockets so this really limits performance. The hood movement isn’t great, so when walking in rain it’s a little frustrating as you have to turn your whole body rather than just your head when looking around. 3/5

Value

The Sprayway Nomad/Topaz’s price is very good, but if you can pay more you will get a far better jacket. 5/5

Verdict

If this is your budget then the Sprayway Nomad/Topaz is a workable solution, but it has many drawbacks compared to higher-priced jackets. 3.6/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

sprayway%20nomad.jpg

Craghoppers Ashton (2015)

Features

The Craghoppers Ashton is all about the length, as it’s one of those rare models that’s long enough to really cover the bum and allows you to get your hands into the hem pockets below a rucksack hipbelt. It uses 2-layer Gore-Tex with a mesh lining, which makes it heavy. The hood is also not quite as well-featured as the better jackets. But if you want length, this is it. 4/5

Fit

The men’s Ashton comes in S-XXL (the nearest women’s option is the Madigan – £100, 8-20 – which is of a similar length but uses AquaDry, not Gore-Tex). The long body fully protects the top of the legs and fit is similar to most general jackets with some movement in the cuffs when you raise your arms. The hood fits closely but doesn’t move with the head easily. 3/5

Comfort

The Craghoppers Ashton is a heavy jacket at 771g (size L) so in your pack it weighs you down. When worn it feels more restrictive than others, but it is made from a soft version of Gore-Tex while its 2-layer construction means there’s a mesh lining for more comfort. Some will feel this is comfier than skimpy lightweight jackets; others will feel it is cumbersome and obtrusive. 4/5

In use

This jacket’s length is the real bonus here for walking in foul weather as it offers so much more protection than others. You can access the base pockets below a rucksack hipbelt but you have to open the front zip to find a map-sized pocket. The hood has a stiffened peak, but it doesn’t move well with the head so it’s a little irritating compared to others. 3/5

Value

The Craghoppers Ashton is made from 2-layer Gore-Tex and it has a long length that makes skimpy, shorter jackets appear quite pricy by comparison! 4/5

Verdict

If you want a longer jacket then the Craghoppers Ashton is a rare example, but it has drawbacks in terms of weight and features. 3.6/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

craghoppers%20ashton.jpg

Keela Prosport (2015)

Features

The Keela Prosport features System Dual Protection comprising of a 2-layer waterproof and breathable stretch outer with a high-wicking ADS laminate lining to manage any condensation, so you stay dry from both rain and sweat. You also get pit zips for venting, and three outside chest pockets plus a dedicated map pocket under the stormflap. The hood has a wired peak too. 5/5

Fit

The size range is huge, with the men’s version available in XS-XXXL and the women’s in 8-20. The four-way stretch fabric allows a closer fit and movement in theory. On me the fit was slightly looser than some and did not quite cover my bum, which is like many jackets. The hood fits closely though and moves well with the head. 5/5

Comfort

The Keela Prosport is heavy at 837g (size L) and feels bulky and obtrusive compared to other jackets. It’s also a little warmer due to the System Dual Protection construction, so in summer it may be too warm, but you can wear less underneath in winter of course. The good news is you don’t get any condensation build-up inside as this system does manage it very well. 4/5

In use

The weight and bulk are drawbacks for year-round use but the features are quite good. The hood fits and moves well and has a wired peak so vision is great. The two main pockets are map-sized and easily accessed while the third chest pocket is great for a GPS receiver or phone. The dedicated map pocket inside the main zip stormflap is great. 4/5

Value

There are a lot of features here so the Keela Prosport has to be good value compared with many jackets, but it is very heavy. 4/5

Verdict

If you want a lot of great features and can tolerate the weight and warmer design then the Keela Prosport is ideal, particularly at this price. It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

Keela-Prosport.jpg

Rab Atmos (2015)

Features

Pertex Shield Plus is the main fabric: a well- proven 3-layer laminate with extremely high levels of waterproofness and breathability. It is also thin, making it lighter than most, hence the Rab Atmos only weighs 303g (size L). You get two good chest pockets and a hood with a stiffened, but not wired, peak. Other jackets have more features, but this is lighter. 4/5

Fit

In men’s sizes XS-XXL and women’s 8-16, this jacket has a fit that’s slightly closer than some others but there’s still room underneath for insulating layers such as fleeces. The body is typically short but you get slightly better movement in the sleeves than other jackets, without even a hint of a cuff or hemline rising. The hood also fits superbly. 5/5

Comfort

The weight and slightly closer fit coupled with the unrestrictive movement make the Rab Atmos feel very comfortable. As with all thinner fabrics, though, it does buckle more easily in strong winds so it can feel a little chillier than a stiffer and heavier garment. The pockets are sealed, however, so no water can creep through them. Overall this is excellent. 5/5

In use

The Rab Atmos has two large chest pockets that are great for hands or maps, but a third would be useful. The hood fits well and has a very good stiffened peak. I’d prefer this to be wired for maximum performance, but to be fair it is very well-designed. This is not as durable as higher-priced jackets, so some care is needed if you scramble or treat jackets roughly. 4/5

Value

The price is very good for what you are getting here – namely great fabric, great features and low weight. 4/5

Verdict

If you want a lightweight jacket with practical features for hillwalking then this is it, but heavier jackets have advantages too. It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

rab%20atmos.jpg

Berghaus Stormcloud (2015)

Features

Berghaus’s AQ2 material used in this jacket is a 2-layer fabric, which means it keeps weight down and improves suppleness, but also it doesn’t control condensation as well as a 3-layer or mesh-lined jacket. You get two main pockets too, which are also sealed rather than mesh, so they’re watertight, plus a hood with a peak, but it’s not wired. 3/5

Fit

The men’s Berghaus Stormcloud comes in S-XXL and the women’s in 8-18. The fit is slightly closer than other jackets and more tailored, but there’s still room underneath for insulation layers. The body is short, like most jackets. The hood has an exceptionally good fit though and really sets this apart from many in its price range. 5/5

Comfort

The closer-fitting 2-layer material isn’t as breathable as fabrics used in higher-priced jackets, so it feels a bit clammy. It’s also quite soft so it easily allows warm air to be squeezed out when walking into the wind. So it feels a bit chilly compared to higher-priced jackets that offer more protection due to a looser cut and stiffer fabric that may be more breathable. 3/5

In use

Pocket access isn’t great as there are only two pockets and these are easily obscured by rucksack hipbelts. But you can get a map in these pockets and they’re sealed so water does not easily pass through them. The hood would benefit from a wired or stiffer peak, but its fit and movement are great and allow good vision. The weight of 319g (size L) is a bonus too. 3/5

Value

For £70 the Berghaus Stormcloud is good; it’s just that you don’t get much at this price. A great option if this is your budget though. 5/5

Verdict

If you cannot spend more the Berghaus Stormcloud is a decent option but a higher price brings many comfort and performance advantages. It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 3.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

berghaus-stormcloud.jpg

Marmot Alpinist (2015)

Features

The 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro fabric used in the Marmot Alpinist provides durable levels of waterproofness and breathability and is combined with four external chest pockets, pit zips and a removable snow skirt. The hood is helmet- compatible too, making this a belt-and-braces feature list that ups the weight a little. 5/5

Fit

Men’s sizes are S-XL and women’s are XS-XL and the fit is described as ‘Athletic’, which in me was similar to others here, but a little lengthier in the body so this offered the best protection for my bum. There was a tiny movement in the cuffs when raising my arms, but nothing to worry about. The hood fitted me very well and easily moved with the head. 5/5

Comfort

The Marmot Alpinist is a stiffer jacket than some, which is great in the wilds of winter or on windier mountain days but in mild weather you’ll likely prefer less substantial designs. But it feels great in wild weather thanks to the protection it affords, combined with a durable fabric that breathes well and you can always use the pit zips if needed. 5/5

In use

The Marmot Alpinist is heavy so when not in use it really weighs down your rucksack if stashed. The main two chest pockets swallow maps, but the Napoleon pockets are too small, which is a pity, as they can only be used for a GPS receiver or a very small guidebook. The hood peak is lightly stiffened but has no wire and so overall it may not always afford the best protection. 4/5

Value

The four pockets, pit zips and snow skirt have added to the price but it feels steep compared to some others however you try to justify it. 2/5

Verdict

The Marmot Alpinist is built for winter weather and it is mostly up to the task, but it is not perfect in terms of design and it is not perfect in terms of price. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2015

Marmot.jpg