Montane Atomic (2013)

One of Montane’s stable of thoroughbred jackets, the Atomic is a well-proven performer. It is made from 2.5-layer Pertex Shield, so you tend to notice any condensation that forms on the inside a little more easily than jackets with a mesh lining or 3-layer jackets. But the benefits are low weight and small packed size, which make this ideal for stashing in a rucksack and travelling light. Get it on and it is a bit short, but it does have a scooped tail to protect the bum a little more than its length might suggest. The front zip doesn’t have an external stormflap and it’s not one of the more water-resistant zips, but there is an internal stormflap to catch leaks through the zip. The Montane Atomic isn’t the best solution for driving rain, but it’s a good compact lightweight choice. The main chest pockets are easily accessed while wearing a rucksack and again there’s an internal flap on those zips to keep water out (but the pockets are mesh-lined, so if water does encroach you’ll get damp). The hood is particularly good with a wired peak, neat drawcords and decent adjustment to allow a snug fit.

Weight 332g (size L)
Fabric 2.5-layer Pertex Shield
Lining none
Men’s sizes S-XXL
Women’s sizes 8-16
External pockets 2
Wired hood yes
Side/pit zips no
Website www.montane.co.uk

 

Verdict

The Montane Atomic good option if weight and packed size are your priorities, but one of Montane’s 3-layer jackets will provide better performance for year-round abuse. It won Trail’s ‘Best Value’ award. 

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2013

 

 

waterproofs    

general

men’s

 

Craghoppers Hsuki 2013

Price £120

Our rating 4

 

The Craghoppers Hsuki is made from a very soft and slightly stretchy fabric with a loose mesh lining, which makes it instantly more comfortable to wear than many waterproof jackets in our test. Like many jackets it is a little short and the two hip pockets are easily obscured when wearing a rucksack, so it could be much better. But you do get two Napoleon chest pockets that are map-sized and very useful when hillwalking for maps, guidebooks or a GPS receiver. There are pit zips too in case you should overheat. The main zip isn’t protected on the outside by a stormflap but it is a water-resistant zip and there’s an internal flap to funnel leaks away. The zip-off hood fits well and moves well with the head. The peak is stiffened but not wired, although it still provides a good degree of protection. A nice addition is the brushed lining to the collar, which further adds to the comfort – and all that for £120 is a good deal.
But it is a bit heavy.
 

Weight 661g (size L)
Fabric Aquadry polyester ripstop
Lining mesh
Men’s sizes S-XXL
Women’s sizes none
External pockets 4
Wired hood no
Side/pit zips yes
Website www.craghoppers.com

 

Verdict

The Craghoppers Hsuki is a good hillwalking jacket at a good price that’s particularly comfortable, but some others have better-designed features.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2013

 

 

waterproofs    

general

men’s

 

Berghaus Vinson 2013

Price £120

Our rating 4

 

The Vinson is made from Berghaus’ own-label AQ2 fabric, which is a 2-layer material. It doesn’t claim to be as breathable or as waterproof as Gore-Tex, but it is a much more competitive price. The Vinson is a notch longer than some others here, but it’s still pretty short. The main zip gets an external stormflap to keep the rain out, but you have to open the zip to access the large internal chest pocket, while other jackets make this pocket accessible without having to open the main zip, which is clearly more useful in the rain. There are two main pockets and they can be accessed while wearing a rucksack, although the bottom of the pocket does drop beyond any rucksack belt. The hood is the main drawback of this jacket, though, which is a pity as Berghaus provides superb hoods on many of its jackets. The Vinson’s hood is quite small, has a soft and large peak, and doesn’t move very easily with the head – which means it isn’t ideal in really testing weather, though it is adequate in easier conditions and is still better than lots of other hoods.

Weight 539g (size L)
Fabric 2-layer AQ2
Lining mesh
Men’s sizes S-XXL
Women’s sizes none
External pockets 2
Wired hood no
Side/pit zips no
Website www.berghaus.co.uk

 

Verdict

The Berghaus Vinson is a good design for the price, although fabric performance isn’t the best and there are better hoods available if you’re heading into wild weather.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2013

 

 

waterproofs    

general

men’s + women’s

 

Adidas Terrex Swift Climaproof Storm 2013

Price £120/145

Our rating 4

 

Adidas isn’t the first brand I’d think of when it comes to outdoor gear, but this product proves they know a thing or two about heading to the hills. The jacket is made from a 2.5-layer fabric so it isn’t ideal for condensation control, but it gives a healthy tick in the box for low weight and packability. Comfortingly for such a lightweight jacket, the Terrex Swift Climaproof Storm is also longer than most so you get a little more protection below the waist than many lightweight jackets. The front zip isn’t a water-resistant design and doesn’t get an external stormflap – just an internal one – so this isn’t the most water-resisting opening for a jacket. You get venting from pit zips and the two main pockets are mesh-lined too, which is great for venting; but of course if water gets into the pocket you’ll get wet. The two chest pockets are map-sized and can be accessed while wearing a rucksack belt, and there’s an additional chest pocket that’s great for a GPS receiver. The hood is excellent, thanks to a wired peak, superb fit and great movement.

Weight 334g (size 40/42)
Fabric 2.5-layer ripstop Climaproof Storm
Lining none
Men’s sizes 32-54
Women’s sizes 6-20
External pockets 3
Wired hood yes
Side/pit zips yes
Website www.addidas.com/outdoor

 

Verdict

The Adidas Terrex Swift Climaproof Storm is a superb lightweight and packable performance with particularly good length to offer more protection than most lightweight jackets.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2013

 

 

waterproofs    

general

men’s

 

Keela Cumulus MR Pro 2013

Price £140

Our rating 4

 

The Keela Cumulus MR Pro is designed as a 4-season jacket and it was developed in partnership with mountain rescue teams. On paper it sounds great and there are some instant boxes ticked in terms of its design. Firstly it’s made from Keela’s waterproof and breathable fabric, which has a wicking liner that rapidly moves moisture away, and this works well. You get four main external body pockets, plus a dedicated map pocket under the main stormflap and a small sleeve pocket. Only the dedicated map pocket is map-sized, while the two hip pockets have limited access when wearing a rucksack and the two chest pockets are a touch small for a map. The hood is pretty good, though, with a wired peak and good movement when adjusted. The body length is about average, but there are plenty of good longer jackets available. The major downside is that the Keela Cumulus MR Pro is quite warm and heavy, meaning in winter when it is worn all day it is good, but on a mild, wet day it may be too hot and when it is stashed in your pack its 900g weight (size L) will make a significant difference to your rucksack.

Weight 900g (size L)
Fabric Innovation 8 with System Dual Protection
Lining polyester mesh
Men’s sizes XS-XXXL
Women’s sizes none
External pockets 6
Wired hood yes
Side/pit zips yes
Website www.keela.co.uk

 

Verdict

The Keela Cumulus MR Pro is a great winter jacket, although extra length and improvements in the pockets would make it even better. The drawbacks are the weight and excessive warmth.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2013

 

 

waterproofs    

general

men’s + women’s

 

Rohan Atlas 2013

Price £140

Our rating 4

 

At last, I hear you cry, a jacket that’s long! Yes: the Rohan Atlas is longer than most waterproofs. It is in fact long enough to cover a suit jacket when in town, and long enough to protect your butt and groin when walking in the hills. The other advantage of all that extra length is that you can put your hands in the base pockets as they sit below the area where a rucksack hipbelt sits. There is a chest pocket too that’s ideal for maps, guidebooks or a GPS receiver. The hood has a wired peak and when adjusted this fits the head closely and moves really well with the head. The fabric is Rohan’s own Barricade with a mesh lining, which has breathability and waterproofing performance that’s up there with the best. So what’s the drawback? The sleeves do ride up a little when you reach up to clamber over rocks or a stile, the jacket is a little heavier due to all that extra length, and it is perhaps less ‘mountain fashion’. But for hillwalking, trekking and bagging British peaks it’s great. When walking into the eye of a storm, the Rohan Atlas provides more protection than any shorter jacket.

Weight 790g (size men’s L)
Fabric 2-layer Barricade
Lining mesh
Men’s sizes S-XL
Women’s sizes S-XL
External pockets 3
Wired hood yes
Side/pit zips no
Website www.rohan.co.uk

 

Verdict

The Rohan Atlas is a long jacket that offers more protection below the waist and benefits from a great hood, but it’s heavier to stash in your rucksack.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2013

 

 

waterproofs    

general

men’s + women’s

 

Sprayway Nyx/Eos 2013

Price £150

Our rating 4

 

The Sprayway Nyx (men’s)/Eos (women’s) is a former winner of a Trail ‘Best in Test’ award in Spring 2012, and it’s still a great a jacket. It’s made from Gore-Tex Performance Shell, which isn’t as breathable as the higher-priced versions of Gore-Tex but it’s still perfectly good and just as waterproof. There’s a mesh lining to add a bit more comfort, although this does increase the weight a little. Get the jacket on and it is quite short, which isn’t ideal. The front zip gets a double external stormflap to keep rain out, and the zip runs nice and smoothly. You also get a traditional map pocket inside that stormflap, which is ideal for a map, GPS receiver or guidebook. In addition there are two cavernous main hip pockets, which are great for protecting hands and stashing gear, but access to the base of these pockets is easily obscured when wearing a rucksack belt, which is very annoying. These pockets are mesh-lined too, so if water gets inside them you get wet. The hood is the best feature of this jacket, though, as it fits well and moves with the head, and the wired peak provides great protection.

Weight 574g (size L)
Fabric 2-layer Gore-Tex Performance Shell
Lining mesh
Men’s sizes S-XXL (Nyx)
Women’s sizes 8-18 (Eos)
External pockets 2
Wired hood yes
Side/pit zips no
Website www.sprayway.com

 

Verdict

The Sprayway Nyx/Eos is a good jacket at this price with a superb hood, but the length and pockets could both be better for regular mountain use with a rucksack. It won Trail’s ‘Best in Test’ accolade.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2013

 

 

waterproofs    

general

men’s + women’s

 

Bergans of Norway Super Lett Jacket 2013

Price £150

Our rating 4

 

The Super Lett from Bergans is a lightweight jacket at 435g (size men’s L), but what makes it better than many lightweight jackets is that it is made from a 3-layer fabric, so you get less clammy when wearing it. The price is a bit higher than other lightweights, but you do at least get a proper hood, unlike many lightweight jackets, and that’s what sets the Super Lett apart from many of the other contenders here. The hood has a wired peak, fits well on the head and moves well when you look around, while providing far more protection for the face than the cutaway hood designs of many lighter jackets – handy in the British hills! The front zip gets an external stormflap, which keeps rain out better than the exposed zips used on other lightweights. There are also pit zips for venting. Sadly the Super Lett’s pocketing isn’t so great. It has base pockets large enough for a map but access to them is easily obscured by rucksack hip-belts, and this is a problem with lots of the lightweight jackets. Unfortunately the price is fairly steep for what you get, too.

Weight 425g (men’s size L)
Fabric 3-layer Toray Dermizax
Lining none
Men’s sizes S-XXXL
Women’s sizes XS-XL
External pockets 2
Wired hood yes
Side/pit zips yes
Website www.bergans.com

 

Verdict

The Bergans of Norway Super Lett Jacket is a 3-layer garment with a great hood and a good weight, but the pocketing and price could both be better.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2013