With my head down I battled into the wind and rain. Helvellyn’s summit was close, but the weather was doing its best to prevent me from taking another step forward. In these conditions, it is the hood of a jacket that really makes the difference. With a great hood you can continue more comfortably into the wind and rain, reach the summit and return to the valley in safety. With a poor hood you cannot see where you are going and may even be forced to beat a hasty retreat.
I was wearing the new Sprayway Nyx (the women’s fit is called the Eos), a jacket that boasts a new design of hood which performs superbly thanks to a close fit and wired peak. The close fit is obtained by drawcord adjustment at the rear as well as the face. The drawcords were nicely tucked away too, to prevent them whipping you in the face. The wired peak was particularly good as it allowed me to keep my head down and see where I was going without the hood whipping my face or obscuring my vision. Most importantly of all, the hood moved with my head – so I could keep an eye on my pals as well as the summit without it blocking my vision.
The hood of the Nyx is also designed to be neat when rolled down. Often hoods have to be rolled into a collar, which restricts how they are designed, but this hood can be neatly press-studded to the collar.
But a jacket needs more than a great hood if it is going to be practical for hill-walking. The Sprayway Nyx is made from two-layer Gore-Tex Performance Shell fabric. This is very good fabric, but for more cash Gore-Tex Pro Shell offers higher levels of breathability. There is also a mesh lining, which adds weight and bulk, and can also be slightly irritating as it tends to snag.
The jacket is very short compared to other options, which may match the needs of climbers or less tall individuals. But for hill-walking, and being six foot myself, I’d prefer a longer design that was less likely to ride up and expose my midriff area.
There are two large pockets, which can be accessed while wearing a rucksack hipbelt, but they would be much more user-friendly if they were placed higher on the body and if their lining did not extend to the hem. There is also an additional chest pocket that is useful.
The hood sets the Sprayway Nyx/Eos apart from the competition but the body design may not match the needs of every hill-walker. So this is good jacket, but not a great jacket, despite the exceptional hood.
Outer 2-layer Gore-Tex Performance Shell
Inner polyester mesh
Fabric waterproofness extremely waterproof
Fabric breathability very breathable
Sizes S-XXL (men’s Nyx); 8-18 (women’s Eos)
Weight 576g (size L)
Made in China
Stockist details – tel. (0161) 430 1388; www.sprayway.com
The Sprayway Nyx/Eos is an excellent price for the performance; relatively lightweight; new design of rolldown hood with excellent performance. But the
pockets are annoying; very short body; mesh lining can be irritating compared to 3-layer jackets; not as breathable as Gore-Tex Pro Shell jackets. Overall, the excellent hood and price are let down by the pockets and the length of this jacket.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine March 2010