The Big Test: Waterproof Jackets reviewed (2018)

Staying dry during a hillwalk can be a challenge, but pack the right waterproof jacket and you’ll be warm, dry and comfortable no matter what the mountain throws at you. We put six jackets to the test on the Lakeland fells.

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The Runners Up


Sprayway Santiago / Atlanta £90

Tester: Jon Bennett

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  • Materials 2-layer hydrodry with loose mesh lining

  • Men’s XS-XXXL (Santiago)

  • Women’s 8-20 (Atlanta)

  • Weight 606g (M) 

This jacket is made with 2-layer Hydrodry fabric. Although on paper this is not the most breathable fabric, the mesh lining on the inside very effectively managed condensation and kept me drier from condensation than the other lower-priced jackets. There are two handwarmer pockets and a map-sized chest pocket. The foldaway hood has face drawcords and rear volume adjustment. Compared with the other lower-priced options there’s a good length to the jacket and it felt warmer owing to the air gap provided by the mesh lining. However, although the hood protected my face it did not turn well with my head. The handwarmer pockets were also not easy to access when wearing a rucksack and the chest pocket was closed by Velcro, rather than a more secure zip.

Pros

Price, condensation management, lots of features and good protection in general.

Cons

Heavy compared to others and hood does not move with the head.

Buy it if...

You want a good all-rounder at a superb price and don’t need either the lightest or absolute best performance on the hill.


Berghaus Stormcloud £100

Tester: Graham Thompson

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  • Material 2-layer Hydroshell

  • Men’s XS-XXL  

  • Women’s 8-18 

  • Weight 324g (L)

The big advantages here are the price and weight, as both are very appealing. The fabric is a 2-layer Hydroshell, which kept the water at bay while scrambling up the gill but soon became very sweaty inside as there is no inner layer to hide or soak up the condensation. But importantly the pockets are not mesh lined, unlike some higher-priced lightweight jackets, so even if water entered the pockets I didn’t get wet inside. The hood fits quite close and did move a little with my head, but higher-priced designs offer better adjustment. When scrambling the cuffs and hem tended to ride up far too easily, which left my body more exposed to the elements than all the other jackets here. The two main pockets are both annoyingly small and too low to allow the optimum access while wearing a rucksack hipbelt. 

Pros

Price and weight are the main benefits here for hillwalkers.

Cons

Lots of condensation build-up, and not the best pockets nor the best hood design.

Buy it if...

You want a lightweight low-priced jacket for stowing in your rucksack and just wearing during short showers when any condensation will be tolerable.


Rab Ladakh DV £275

Tester: Tim Butcher

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  • Material 3-layer Event

  • Men’s S-XXL 

  • Women’s 8-16

  • Weight 604g (XL)

The Ladakh DV is made using the durable 3-layer Event fabric, which is superb at controlling condensation and keeping the rain out. The size XL is roomy and nicely long, with adjustment in all the right places, including waist and hem drawcords, plus longer sleeves, all of which kept out draughts and stopped the jacket riding up. The large hood is helmet compatible and has sufficient volume adjustment to keep it in place in wind and rain, and it moves nicely as your head turns to look for holds or take in the view from under the stiffened peak. With pit zips open and just a long sleeve base layer beneath I was never damp from condensation on scrambles or walks. The only design drawback is the lack of a decent third chest pocket, whilst some may consider it heavy in terms of weight and price for hillwalking.

Pros

Durable waterproof and breathable fabric, great pockets, great hood, great sleeves.

Cons

No third chest pocket, and others are lighter and lower in price.

Buy it if…

You want a durable waterproof jacket with generally great features and don’t require a third chest pocket.



The Top three


Montane Atomic £125

Tester: Graham Thompson

The low price and light weight make the Atomic instantly appealing, but how does it compare to higher-priced and heavier alternatives?

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  • Material 2.5-layer Pertex Shield

  • Men’s S-XL 

  • Women’s 8-16

  • Weight 331g (L)

It’s good

This light jacket packs down small, so you’ll hardly notice it in your rucksack. The weight saving comes from the use of 2.5-layer Pertex Shield fabric, and there’s no inner layer, just a printed surface to manage condensation. The fabric is quite thin and supple too. This all adds up to this being very comfortable. 

The sleeves don’t ride up badly when scrambling and the hood has good face drawcords and rear volume drawcord adjustment, so it was easy to see even as I moved my head around to look for good holds during scrambles. 

The two main pockets are well placed to allow access while wearing a rucksack, and both are large enough for a map too. These pockets are lined with mesh, which improves condensation control by allowing a means of adding airflow, while a pair of pit zips add further venting. So in many ways there is lots to like here and for general walking in warmer wet weather this is a superb choice.

However

Problems start to show themselves when you really challenge the material. Firstly this jacket is not as stiff as others and the fit is slightly closer than some, so in the wind it feels a bit chilly. Also as it is only a 2.5-layer fabric condensation develops easier than the 3-layer fabrics, so did get pretty clammy once I overheated. 

Those mesh pockets also allow water to pass right through the jacket, meaning I had to keep them closed properly during the gill scramble – not a problem you’d get with sealed pockets. 

Other jackets also have a useful third pocket for a guidebook or phone, but here you have just two. Of course all these small drawbacks could be reduced by adding features that would increase both the weight and the cost, so you need to decide if weight or comfort is your priority before parting with your money.

Verdict

The weight and price are great, and the design is ideal for milder conditions, but in really wet and windy mountain conditions you may prefer different features.

  • Features 4/5

  • Weatherproofness 3/5

  • Condensation 3/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 5/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

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Paramo Alta III £295

Tester: Jon Bennett

Does Paramo’s unique fabric combination improve comfort to a level that overcomes any drawbacks of the design?

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  • Material Nikwax Analogy

  • Men’s S-XXL

  • Women’s XS-XL

  • Weight 832g (M)

It’s good

The unique Paramo fabric delivers far greater breathability and better condensation management than the other fabrics on test, and this is why I love wearing the Alta in cold, wet conditions.  

The incredible six pockets – two inside, two chest (one map-sized), and two handwarmer – are all useable when wearing a rucksack. The jacket is a good length and zipped upper-arm vents offer top ventilation. The wired hood also moved really well with my head, with excellent hood adjustment. The Alta is the warmest jacket on test, so when the others were reaching for extra layers at the summit I just zipped up. 

And good to know is that Paramo has strong ethical manufacturing standards, and doesn’t use environmentally hazardous polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).

However

While I love wearing the Alta in cold conditions, it can be overly warm in summer (although Paramo does now make a lighter version of its fabric for summer use). Consequently, the Alta is the warmest and heaviest jacket here, and would bulk up a ’sack if solely being carried waiting for a shower. 

Some care is also needed when leaning on wet rock during a gill scramble, as water can pass through the jacket under high pressure. The fabric dries exceptionally fast though, so I was totally dry during our waterfall adventures. 

There are cheaper jackets than the Alta, but if you sweat a lot then it will at least quickly pass through this jacket to the air so you’ll be dryer than in a cheaper one!

Verdict

Unique fabric ensures that condensation is managed far better than other jackets but the extra warmth, extra weight and extra cash are the main drawbacks to consider.

  • Features 5/5

  • Weatherproofness 3/5

  • Condensation 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 84%


Mountain Equipment Lhotse / Manaslu £350 

Tester: Tim Butcher

This is a well established 3-layer Gore-Tex jacket but is it really worth paying all that extra cash? And could this classic be even better?

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  • Material 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro

  • Men’s S-XXL (Lhotse)

  • Women’s 8-16 (Manaslu)

  • Weight 531g (XL)

It’s good

The Lhotse continues to be the benchmark against which other jackets are measured. Built of tough 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro it’s incredibly durable, giving armour-like protection in storms and high levels of waterproofness and breathability, so I was never damp on our final test day in Langdale, even with changing conditions. 

The design also delivers when it comes to practical features, providing both good body coverage and unrestricted movement, with sleeves and hems staying put when reaching for holds on the steep rock. The three external pockets are in just the right places, clear of rucksack straps, allowing ‘hands in pockets’ walking and a chest pocket large enough for a map or guidebook. 

Pit zips, which aren’t stiff under the arm, open easily to improve ventilation, and the hood with a well-stiffened peak and rear volume adjuster kept the wind and rain out without restricting vision whilst walking and scrambling.

However

With top-spec gear, the cons are often weight and price, and it’s not the lightest jacket available. It could be argued that it’s over-specced for most Lakeland days out, and a lighter jacket would suffice, but if you walk year-round in the UK as we do, and you’re looking for one jacket that’ll tackle everything, then the extra weight is worth it. 

Moisture management relies on having the right combination of base layers underneath, so in changing conditions it was fleece on/off a number of times to maintain ideal temperature and prevent overheating. 

However, I can’t fault the fabric or the design, and coming onto the summit of Harrison Stickle into a cold, rain-laden wind, with both test jackets in my pack, it was the Lhotse I instinctively reached for.

Verdict

A seasoned performer, with high-end fabric and brilliant design, I’d wear it with confidence in any conditions in the British mountains.

  • Features 5/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • Condensation 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%

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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

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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

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Regatta Vapourspeed (2015)

Features

The Regatta Vapourspeed’s weight of 301g (size L) and a cost of just £90 are the main attractions. For that weight and price you get a 2.5-layer fabric that cannot boast the performance of pricier jackets. There are two main pockets, without mesh linings, so they won’t leak easily, while the hood gets a wired peak. Not outstanding but excellent at this price. 4/5

Size

It comes in men’s size S-XXXL and women’s 8-20, a wider range than many jackets. Also it is longer than most and just about covered my bum. The cuffs and hem do ride up a bit when the arms are raised, but the hood fits and moves really well with the head and has a wired peak to protect the face. 4/5

Comfort

The Isotex 10,000 fabric feels a bit clammier than others (it lacks the breathability figures of jackets twice its price, and there is no liner to soak up any condensation). But the pockets are sealed, so they keep you dry. It covers more of your body too, so in some ways it is comfier than others. 3/5

In use

The Regatta Vapourspeed’s length is a bonus and the hood is excellent. But the two main pockets are very low so rucksack hipbelts can easily obscure access (although as this jacket is quite long that isn’t always the case). The two main pockets are map-sized, but a chest map pocket would be good. 3/5

Value

The Regatta Vapourspeed was the best jacket we looked at below £100 and while not perfect it competes well with higher-priced options. 5/5

Verdict

If your budget is under £100 then the Regatta Vapourspeed is an excellent lightweight jacket for hillwalking, but if you pay more you do get a better product. 3.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine July 2015

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Keela Saxon (2015)

www.keela.co.uk

Features

The Keela Saxon is a very lightweight jacket at just 263g (size XL), and it benefits from a hood with a wired peak and two main pockets. There is reflective piping as well, which would be useful at night. For such a lightweight option the jacket is slightly longer than might be expected. But it does lack the extra pockets and pit zips of heavier models. 4/5

Fit

Available in men’s sizes XS-XXL and women’s 8-20, the Saxon did not quite cover my bum but was longer than some lightweights. The fit was slightly looser than some, while the sleeve movement was excellent with cuffs and hem staying put when I raised my arms. The hood also fits and moves exceptionally well. 4/5

Comfort

The Saxon is made from a 2.5-layer FlyLight Aqua fabric, which is light and thin, which means it tends to buckle in the wind and does not hide condensation as well as 3-layer or mesh lining alternatives. The pockets are also mesh-lined so care is needed to prevent leaks through them. But the low weight aids the comfort of course. 3/5

In use

The two pockets are mesh-lined and placed where access is easily obscured and there is no third chest pocket, so in use this is not as good as other jackets. The hood and sleeves are both great though and a major benefit. The weight is the biggest plus point here though, and for some it will be the feature that overrides any other drawback. 3/5

Value

The weight is superb and the price is superb, and if you are able to accept the drawbacks with the pockets this jacket will be considered stunning value. 5/5

Verdict

If you want a lightweight jacket this is the best here, but the features are not as good as in many higher-priced alternatives. 3.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine Spring 2015

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Craghoppers Kimba/Ruhi (2015)

www.craghoppers.com

Features

The price is the main feature here as the Craghoppers Kimba/Ruhi was the lowest-priced jacket we received for our test. It weighs 505g (size L), which is reasonable. The hood has a stiffened peak, and there is a rear volume adjuster and captured face drawcords. There are only two lower pockets, which are not large enough for OS maps, plus a third OS map-sized chest pocket on the inside. 4/5

Fit

The Kimba comes in sizes S-XL for men and the Ruhi in 8-20 for women. The fit is shorter and closer than pricier jackets here; and the mesh lining protruded from the cuffs in use. The hem and cuffs also ride up more easily than higher-priced jackets. The hood can be adjusted to fit, but does not move so well. 3/5

Comfort

It is made from AquaDry fabric with a mesh lining. The waterproofness and breathability figures are as good as the much higher-priced jackets, while that mesh lining aids comfort. The short body, close fit and sleeves riding up limit the comfort a little, compared to better-fitting jackets. 3/5

In use

The lower pockets are not easily accessed with a rucksack and the OS map-sized chest pocket is inside the jacket, so you have to open the zip and will potentially get wet if you want to read your map or retrieve your GPS or compass. The hood movement, short length and other features combine to make the Craghoppers Kimba/Ruhi less than ideal in wet and windy weather. 3/5

Value

It is a very low price and if this is your budget then you may be able to tolerate its drawbacks, but more cash brings far better performance for the British mountains. 5/5

Verdict

The Craghoppers Kimba/Ruhi’s value for money is superb but the performance is the bare minimum for staying dry and comfortable in the hills. 3.6/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine Spring 2015

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Regatta All Peaks (2015)

www.regatta.com

Features

This is a new jacket from Regatta and part of the Point 214 range, which was created to provide fellwalkers with technical gear they can rely on. It boasts four external pockets, including two huge chest pockets and a hood with a wired peak. It is also longer in the body than many jackets so overall it appears well-featured for hillwalkers. 5/5

Fit

The Regatta All Peaks is available for men in sizes S-XXL and for women in 8-20. The body is long enough to just about cover the bottom, but slightly longer jackets are available. The cuffs and hem do ride up a little too easily though when raising the arms above the head. The hood fits closely and moves very well with the head. 4/5

Comfort

The material is Isotex 15000, which cannot boast the absolute best waterproof and breathable lab results, but for this price its performance is excellent. You get a mesh lining for further comfort and the material is slightly stiffer than some, which allows it

to fend off wind better. The length also improves comfort. 4/5

In use

The weight of 611g (size L) is a drawback but for me the extra length, a functional hood and four external pockets are more important when hillwalking. The two Napoleon chest pockets are great for maps, compass or GPS, but the two lower pockets are not so easily accessed while wearing some rucksacks, which is the main drawback with the Regatta All Peaks. 4/5

Value

The price is superb when you consider what else is available, making this the best jacket for hillwalkers below £100. 5/5

Verdict

You can get a better jacket if you want to spend more than £100, but for many on a budget the Regatta All Peaks is a great option. It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine Spring 2015

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Keela Saxon / Storm (2014)

Features

At just 251g (men’s L) the Keela Saxon definitely won’t weigh you down – and that is the big feature here. To save weight, however, it is a little lacking in features. So there are just two body pockets, no external stormflap on the main zip, and no pit zips. But you do get a hood with wired peak, plus rear and face drawcords that can be rolled to the collar. 4/5

Fit

The men’s Saxon comes in sizes XS-XXXL and the women’s Storm in sizes 8-20. The body is short (as are most lightweight jackets) and did not quite cover my bum. The body does fit very well though with excellent movement in the sleeve without the cuffs or hem riding up. The hood fit is outstanding with excellent movement to allow really good vision. 5/5

Comfort

The Keela Saxon/Storm made from 2.5 layer Flylite Aqua, which won’t be as comfortable as those made from 3-layer laminates or those with mesh linings. But it is still waterproof and breathable of course. There is no external stormflap over the main zip, so it’s possible this area may be cold or even damp in really bad weather. Also, as this is quite a thin fabric, it generally does feel a little colder than stiffer, air-trapping fabrics. 3/5

In use

The low weight is a real performance benefit. The pocket access is not ideal when wearing a rucksack, however, which is a drawback, but the hood is superb and really is better than many higher-priced options. So it’s a mixed bag of pros and cons here depending on what your performance preferences are. 4/5

Value

The Keela Saxon/Storm’s performance and features are limited and I suspect many would prefer a more general hillwalking jacket for a few pounds more. 4/5

Verdict

Ideal if on a budget and low weight is your main need.

4.0/5

www.keela.co.uk

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2014

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Marmot Precip (2014)

Features

The Marmot Precip has been a stalwart of lightweight hill and mountain travel for many years. Its low weight of 325g (size L) is a mammoth feature when backpacking. It also has a two OS map-sized hip pockets, pit zips to aid ventilation and a hood with a rear volume adjuster and face cords that can be rolled into the collar. The front zip also gets an external stormflap for better weather protection and there are pit zips.

5/5

Fit

Like most modern jackets the Precip is relatively short in the body but it is not the shortest jacket around and it did almost cover my bum. The sleeves fit reasonably well, with only a small amount of movement in the cuff when I raised my arms to scramble over rocks. The hood does let the jacket down though as the peak is large and easily obscures vision particularly as it does not move well with the head.

3/5

Comfort

The Precip uses Marmot’s latest 2.5-layer NanoPro fabric, which boasts impressive lab results. On the hill I get condensation inside more than a 3,layer jacket, but it certainly out performs most 2.5-layer fabrics. The pockets are mesh-lined so if water gets in them this area of the waist can become uncomfortable due to dampness. The weight does improve comfort overall though as this jacket feels so light and unrestricting to wear.

4/5

Performance

If you want a lightweight jacket then this is ideal in many ways but the absolute performance is less impressive apart from weight benefits. The pockets are map-sized but they’re placed where a rucksack belt sits, so access is not ideal. That hood tended to drive me insane as its peak and movement are poor and for me that is a major problem. In really wet weather I would prefer sealed rather than mesh pockets for optimum performance.

3/5

Value

The Marmot Precip is far better than most jackets at this price and while its overall performance lets it down you cannot grumble too much at £85.

4/5

Verdict

If you rank low weight as your main performance criterion the Marmot Precip is excellent and if you add in the price this jacket is stunning, but other features are not so hot.

3.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

Just missed out on being in Trail magazine November 2014

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Marmot Precip (2014)

To stay dry in the hills, walkers need not only great clothing design but also a great fabric. The Precip is a well-established lightweight jacket but this year Marmot has introduced a new fabric to its range called NanoPro, claiming it is 43 per cent more breathable than the brand’s previous coated fabric. This could make the Marmot Precip the must-have jacket of the year, and with a price tag of just £85 it demands a closer look.

NanoPro is a microporous material, with tiny holes small enough to prevent rain from coming through but large enough to allow water vapour out, so there is no build-up of condensation on the inside. In the lab it has breathability figures of 17,000g/sq m/24 hours, which puts it up there with the best on the market. There’s also a NanoPro Membrain fabric available that is even more breathable with figures of 47,000g/m2/24 hours and this is being used on the Marmot Artemis jacket, which is priced at £200.

Both fabrics can withstand the pressure of a 10 metre high water column, which is lower than other high-end fabrics, which often can withstand a 20 metre water column. However, in reality it can be argued that a jacket that is durably waterproof to 10 metres throughout its life is more than waterproof enough for hillwalking; indeed, it is well above the 1 metre British Standard for a jacket to be called waterproof. The fact here is that the more waterproof you make a fabric, the less breathable it may become, and so to stay dry in the hills walkers need to find a balance between breathability and waterproofness.

NanoPro and NanoPro MemBrain are both 2.5 layer fabrics. This means they don’t have a full scrim on the inside to soak up any condensation, so if condensation does form it is going to be visible and the jacket will feel a little clammy in those situations.

Lab testing is all very useful, but what really matters is how a jacket performs on the hill in a wide range of temperatures. I’ve been using a NanoPro jacket since summer 2013 and I have been amazed at the ability of the fabric to manage condensation. It’s certainly the best 2.5 layer fabric I’ve used, with barely any condensation developing in the summer weather of the Lake District. As the temperature cooled during autumn and winter, the performance hasn’t been quite so good, although it still outperforms any 2.5 layer fabric I’ve used. I have managed to get some condensation build-up though, and on those days a 3-layer fabric with a scrim on the inside would feel drier and more comfortable – but such a jacket would also cost twice as much and probably weigh far more too.

So what this boils down to is that NanoPro is a great fabric. Here it is being used on the Precip, which now benefits from a wired peak on the hood and it also has good large pockets that can be accessed reasonably well while wearing a rucksack. Pit zips are provided, which hints that Marmot realises ventilation is still important if you want to stay comfortable. At £85 the Marmot Precip in NanoPro fabric is a bargain when you consider its breathability performance.

Price £85

Material NanoPro 2.5 layer

Men’s sizes S-XXL

Women’s sizes 8-16

Weight 320g (size M)

Stockists www.marmot.eu

Verdict

NanoPro is probably the most important development in waterproof jacket technology in the last 12 months, and when combined with the great Marmot Precip jacket design and a superb price for the performance, this could be the best buy of the year.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine March 2014

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Regatta Wayseeker (2013)

New for 2013, the Wayseeker is competitively priced, but in performance it's outgunned by the more expensive jackets. The Isolite fabric keeps water out, but is not particularly breathable and the zip is backed up by a flimsy storm flap that allows wind-driven rain in. The hood keeps the head dry but has no protection for the eyes or face in wind-driven rain. It has two big zip-access handwarmer pockets, which will take a map, Velcro at the cuffs and drawcord hem adjustment.

 

Sizes: S-XXL
Fabric: Isolite
Weight: 420g
Women’s version: Yes, Riko
Contact: 0843 309 0199; www.regatta.com

 

* Review from Country Walking magazine, May 2013.


Peter Storm Escape (2012)

This is a heavier jacket at over 400g. It’s warmer than many others too, with a mesh lining and tough outer fabric. It’s comfortable to walk in, though – it covers the hips and there’s plenty of length in the arms. There are even stretch panels under the arms to enable better flexibility. It has a nice, fleece-lined collar that feels great against the skin, although it’s quite tight when done right up. The hood is on the small side and the peak isn’t stiffened at all, so it won’t provide enough protection in heavy rain. The fabric is waterproof, but doesn’t breathe nearly as well as the higher-cost models. Shame about the cheap zips, which have a tendency to get stuck and break.

Sizes: 8-16
Fabric: Nylon Taslan
Weight: 410g
Men’s version: Yes (Revolution)
Contact: 0800 389 5861; millets.co.uk; www.blacks.co.uk

 

Review from Country Walking magazine, May 2012


Columbia Mission Air II (2012)

The Columbia Mission Air II is a soft and lightweight jacket that is also compact enough to stash in a rucksack, just in case it rains, while being comfortable enough to wear as a windcheater when there’s a breeze. It’s made from Columbia’s Omni-Tech fabric with a mesh lining for added comfort. The style is quite short, so like most jackets here it is not ideal for scrambling in really wet weather as it can ride up easily. The main zip gets a single external stormflap to keep the worst of the rain out. The pockets have a nylon lining and are placed high enough to allow reasonable access while wearing a rucksack. The pockets do extend below a rucksack belt, though, so they are not ideal. There is good movement in the sleeves of the Columbia Mission Air II, so they don’t ride up too badly when scrambling. The hood can be rolled into the collar if not needed, and when on the head it fits reasonably well. But it does not move with the head as well as it could, and the peak has no stiffening, so it does not offer the best protection.

Weight 558g (L)

Fabric Omni-Tech

Lining polyester mesh

Men’s sizes S-XXL

Women’s sizes none

External pockets 2

Wired hood no

Side/pit vents no

Website www.columbia.com

 

Verdict

For the price the Columbia Mission Air II is an excellent jacket for the hillwalker who wants a reasonably light and comfortable jacket, and has no desire to spend extra cash to get better features. It won the ‘Best Value’ award in our test.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine Spring 2012


Kathmandu Monrovia (2012)

Put on a Kathmandu jacket and people may assume you’ve just come back from New Zealand, because down under everyone’s wearing this popular Kiwi/Aussie brand. Well, it’s now in the UK! The Monrovia is designed to be lightweight and easy to pack when walking or travelling. The jacket is made from a 2.5-layer fabric with a print on the inside, so it feels a bit more clammy than 3-layer jackets or 2-layer jackets with a mesh lining. You get two large pockets on the hips, but when a rucksack is also worn access to these is severely restricted by a big hipbelt. The hood has drawcord adjustment at the face, but no volume adjustment; and when on the peak is a floppy, misshapen mess that does little to protect the face. The hood does move with the head surprisingly well though and at least this jacket is slightly longer than some options. At around 500g the Kathmandu Monrovia is quite light, though better jackets are available if you are prepared to pay more cash. It packs down small too, thanks to the minimalist design.

Weight 504g (men’s L)

Fabric 2.5 layer NGX

Lining none

Men’s sizes S-XL

Women’s sizes 8-16

External pockets 2

Wired hood no

Side/pit vents no

Website www.kathmandu.co.uk

 

Verdict

The Kathmandu Monrovia reasonably light and packable jacket; but while it is okay for hillwalkers, it doesn’t offer anything more than you would expect at the price.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine Spring 2012

 


Target Dry Pioneer/Odyssey (2012)

The Pioneer/Odyssey forms part of Target Dry’s Xtreme range, and it is designed as a 4-season garment. It’s made from a very robust nylon fabric that feels quite capable of withstanding years of abuse in the mountains, and there is a mesh lining to increase comfort too. The drawback of this combination is that this is the heaviest jacket on test. There is a double stormflap over the main zip to keep rain out, and you get pit zips to help vent the jacket. The two main pockets are not fully sealed, but they are not open mesh either, so they will keep some water out. What is annoying is that the pockets are map-sized and placed reasonably well to allow access while wearing a rucksack, but the pocket bag extends down to the hem. As the pocket lining is loose this makes it a struggle trying to retrieve items compared to better-designed and more user-friendly pockets. The hood fits quite well and has reasonable movement but the face drawcords are left to fly in the wind, which is not ideal in a jacket designed for 4-season use.

Weight 815g (men’s L)

Fabric 2-layer Teflon-coated Oxford nylon

Lining polyester mesh

Men’s sizes XS-XXL (Pioneer)

Women’s sizes 8-18 (Odyssey)

External pockets 2

Wired hood no

Side/pit zips yes

Website www.targetdry.com

 

Verdict

The Target Dry Pioneer/Odyssey has reasonable features and performance for hillwalking with the benefit of a more durable material, but the weight and details in the design let it down for regular hill use.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine Spring 2012


Dare2B Trilight

A fairly lightweight jacket that’s long enough to cover the hips. It’s nicely styled for walking in, with fabric that flexes easily and arms that don’t ride up when you reach forward. Disappointingly, the hood is rather small, and won’t keep your face dry in heavy rain. However, elastic adjusters at the sides and back allow you to cinch it down tightly over your head, and it rolls away in the collar when you don’t need it. Despite its low price, the fabric is waterproof and breathes okay, with a mesh lining to wick sweat away from your body. The handwarmer pockets are too small to be of any real use. There are Velcro adjustable cuffs to allow a bit of extra ventilation, and there’s a drawcord at the hem to help you get the right fit.

VITAL STATS
Sizes
: 8-20
Materials: Ared 5000
Weight: 400g
Pockets: 2
Men’s version: No
Contact: 0844 811 2939; www.dare2b.com


Peter Storm Trail

A comfortable jacket with a long hem that covers the hips easily.
It has got a decent-sized hood – great if you’ve got long hair – with baffle adjustment at the sides and back. You can also roll it away in the collar if you want a smarter look. It’s made from Peter Storm’s Stormshield fabric, which is waterproof and breathes fairly well, with a polyester mesh lining inside to help wick away sweat. There are five pockets – two water-resistant, zipped chest pockets, a lower internal pocket that looks as though it should take an OS map (but doesn’t), and two deep fleece-lined handwarmer pockets that feel great on cold days. Velcro adjustable cuffs pull up easily when you get warm. The only real downside is that it’s heavy and bulky.

VITAL STATS
Sizes
: 10-20
Materials: Nylon with PU coating
Weight: 650g
Pockets: 5
Men’s version: No
Contact: 0800 3895861; www.millets.co.uk

 


Regatta Magnitude III

An inexpensive jacket, the Magnitude III is as classic an example of a cagoule as you’re likely to see. In use, perhaps not surprisingly, it’s not the most technical, although it is one of the few to come with a mesh-lined inner to help the outer fabric absorb condensed moisture. The face fabric is not that effective when it comes to breathability, and it is also quite noisy, with a solid and constant rustle from the stuffy fabric. Inside there is a loose lining in the sleeves that serves to get in the way of your hands, and elasticated cuffs that aren’t great either.

VITAL STATS
Sizes:
S-XXXL
Fabric: Isolite 5000
Weight: 479g
Women’s version: Joelle III
Contact: 0161 749 1313; www.regatta.com
• Review from Country Walking magazine, May ’11