The North Face Apex Bionic

A perfect fit and we really liked the snug high collar, which was very reassuring in really horrible conditions. The inner fabric is luxuriously soft – great against the skin – and, although it actually feels quite thick when you pull it on, it stretches well so doesn’t obstruct movement too much. It has a drawcord hem, which traps heat nicely, and Velcro adjustable cuffs. The thick Apex fabric makes it a warm jacket and it keeps pretty much all wind at bay, as well as coping superbly with drizzle, snow or even a brief heavy shower. Breathability is good, too – a real advantage with a warm jacket. It’s definitely best as an outer layer but, saying that, it will work beneath a waterproof if it turns really bad.

Colours: Seven, including cardinal red/asphalt grey, black, deep water blue
Sizes: S-XXL
Fabric: Polyester Apex ClimateBlock
Weight: 655g
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 01539 738882,
Verdict: A warm, weather-resistant, highly breathable soft shell that excels as an outer layer on cold, dry days. It will also work as a mid-layer – albeit a warm one – and looks good enough for casual use, too.