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Midlayers

Gear Review: Kathmandu Aikman fleece jacket

Recommended price: £64.99Weight: 430g (women’s size 8) Once ubiquitous, fleece jackets have fallen from favour somewhat in recent years, with many walkers switching to synthetic insulation that offers more warmth to weight. They are, however, usually more breathable which makes them still a great choice when it’s slightly less cold or when your sweating heading uphill. This fleece jacket from Kathmandu is made from Polartec Thermal Pro, a high performance fleece. In addition to the usual soft fleece inner, the outer surface is a knitted structure giving the garment a distinctive look. The surface has proved robust with no piling

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Posted in Gear reviews, Jackets, Magazine, Midlayers

Gear Review: Mammut Whitehorn Jacket

Recommended Price: £199Weight: 640g (men’s large) The Whitehorn is a new insulated downjacket from Mammut, with a few innovative features. The 115g of filling in the main part of the jacket is recycled 650 fill power goose down, but the shoulders are filled with a recycled synthetic insulation – which should boost durability when worn with a pack as well as aiding performance in damp conditions. Not only are both fillings recycled, the face and lining fabric is too; the Pertex Quantum Eco has been treated with a durable water repellent finish – PFC free, to complete the impressive environmental

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Posted in Gear reviews, Jackets, Magazine, Midlayers

Gear review: Patagonia Micro-Puff Hoody

Recommended Price: £200 – £250Weight: 295g (men’s large) The Micro-Puff is a truly ultra-light mid-layer jacket. Patagonia state the weight as being 264g – my large comes in at 295g and packs down to a tiny size in its own pocket. The amount of warmth on offer here for such a slight jacket is phenomenal – I’ve found it as warm as fleeces at around twice the weight. The outer is ripstop nylon Pertex Quantum – which is ultralight and windproof, whilst the insulation is PlumaFill – a synthetic that is claimed to be almost as warm as down, whilst

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Posted in Gear reviews, Jackets, Magazine, Midlayers

Gear review: Vaude Rienza pull-over II

Recommended Price: £70Weight: 385g (men’s large) Fleece jackets (and sweaters) were once the ubiquitous outdoors kit. Easily to wash, pretty durable, comfy to wear and warm for the weight, it’s easy to see how they expanded out from being walkers’ gear into the mainstream. There were downsides though – the fabric tended to pill over time, leaving the jacket looking a bit of a mess, whilst synthetic insulated jackets surpassed fleeces for warmth-to-weight ratio. Fleece does remain popular, though, whether worn as a mid- or outer-layer. The Vaude Rienza – which is available both as a pull-over as reviewed here,

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Posted in Gear reviews, Magazine, Midlayers

Gear review: Rab Cirrus Flex hoody

Recommended Price: £125Weight: 404g (large) This reasonably lightweight synthetic insulated jacket is filled with Cirrus 3M Featherless insulation – which Rab reckon is equivalent to 600 fill power down. That’s a little way short of the the warmth and loft properties of the very best quality down – but then synthetics are also easier to wash, perform better when wet, and are cheaper. There are thinner fleece panels down the sides of the jacket, along the bottom of the arms and the sides of the hood. When working hard in an insulated jacket I often find the surface fabric ends

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Posted in Gear reviews, Jackets, Magazine, Midlayers

Gear review: Mammut Chamuera Jacket

Recommended Price: £99Weight: 600g (men’s large) Fleece jackets seem to have fallen in popularity a little in recent years, with more walkers opting instead for mid-layers filled with synthetic insulation which offer the best warmth-to-weight ratio. There’s still a lot to be said for a good fleece though; they wash well, dry quickly, and whilst cheaper ones are prone to pilling, the best are very durable. Few fleeces, though, look quite as smart as the Mammut Chamuera. Whilst the interior is conventionally fleecy and warm, the outer face of the jacket has a woven finish which avoids any pilling. It’s

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Posted in Gear reviews, Jackets, Midlayers, News

Gear Review: Alpkit Keeshond women’s fleece

Recommended Price: £55 Weight: 410g (size 10) This is a very warm and comfortable fleece from Alpkit. Most of the material is a high pile, fluffy fabric, with a much stretchier gridded fleece down the sides including armpits and around the cuffs. This combination seems to work well, with reasonably good wicking properties. A single chunky full-length front zip has a baffle behind it and there are two generous non-zipped hand warmer pockets. A smaller Napolean pocket at the chest will take a mobile phone or GPS but I don’t find this the most comfortable place to store these items,

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Posted in Gear reviews, Midlayers


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