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Jackets

Gear Review: Rab Kangri waterproof jacket

Recommended Price: £275Weight: 465g Rab is now making their long-popular Kangri jacket with recycled outer fabric – I’ve taken full advantage of the shockingly wet Scottish autumn to put this updated classic through its paces. Made from 70 denier 3 layer Gore-Tex, I’ve found it to be a reliable hardshell with excellent features that make it comfortable for all day wear. The fabric feels very robust but is still reasonably flexible and doesn’t make too much noise during wear. I found the sizing true to size; I’m 5’3″ and it properly covered my bum and the arms are long enough

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Gear review: Synthetic insulated jackets

When it comes to keeping warm on the hill, there are three main options. A traditional fleece offers warmth but very little protection from the wind, and so is best as a mid-layer. Down jackets offer the most warmth for the weight and pack the smallest, but lose most of their insulating properties when wet. Synthetic insulated jackets offer warmth but also protection from wind, and perform much better than down when conditions are wet. Highlander Lewis insulated jacket Recommended Price: £99Manufacturer Weight: 350g Livingstone-based Highlander Outdoor produce a range of outdoor gear towards the lower end of the price

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Gear Review: Fjällräven Expedition Pack Down Hoodie

Recommended Price: £275 (£255 without hood)Weight: 435g (S) This retro-styled mid-warmth down jacket is part of Fjällräven’s new Expedition range. An extremely cold night in a snow hole bivouac in 1974 inspired company founder Åke Nordin to come up with the original Expedition jacket – basically two down jackets sewn together. I’ve been using some recent cooler weather to check out this modern product of the intervening four decades. Constructed with wide sewn-through baffles, the insulation consists of 110g of down (90% warmer goose and 10% duck) with 700 fill power and a reinforcement of synthetic padding at the shoulders.

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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 – Alpkit Definition Jacket

Usual Price: £229 (currently on sale)Weight: 545g (men’s large) The Definition is Alpkit’s top of the range mountaineering jacket. On handling, you can immediately tell this is a serious hardshell; the fabric feels quite stiff and very robust and the fit is quite generous. The Definition feels like a waterproof built to inspire confidence that it will cope with the toughest conditions Scotland can offer. The fabric is a 3 layer laminate, with a nylon inner and outer, enclosing unbranded waterproof membrane. It may be the latter that is key to the very competitive pricing, but the specs show high

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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: Rab Flashpoint 2 Jacket

Recommended Price: £220Weight: 185g (large) The Flashpoint 2 is a truly ultralight waterproof jacket. Weighing in at just 185g in men’s size large, the jacket squashes into a tiny stuff sack and is barely noticeable in your pack; runners could even simply attach it to a belt. So where are the compromises? The fabric is 3 layer Pertex Shield. I’ve found it to be surprisingly breathable, and it also seems pretty robust for the weight. I’m sure these qualities are partly down to it having 3 layer construction – I typically find 2 and 2 and half layer waterproofs feel

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Posted in Gear reviews, Jackets, Magazine

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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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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