Gear review – Alpkit Arro wind shell

Price: £35
Weight: 140g (men’s large)

I never really understood the point of windproof jackets – until I actually tried one in the hills. Can’t your waterproof hardshell jacket do the job of keeping the wind out when needed? Well, yes, it will… but when it’s not raining, a dedicated windshell is so much lighter, less restricting and more breathable – especially on warm summer days – that it makes a huge difference to your comfort.

The Alpkit Arro is made from nylon and has an admirable simplicity of design. The jacket has been treated with a durable water repellent finish so that it shrugs off light showers (you’d want your hardshell for anything more); there’s a full length front zip with a reflective line. The Arro has no hood but the collar stands up and provides some protection. This all helps to ensure that the jacket is extremely lightweight and packs down extremely small into its one pocket. The position of that pocket is my only drawback – it goes around the rear, a great position for cyclists but not for a walker wearing a pack, though I’m happy just to use it as a stuffsack.

On the hill, on a warm day but with a decent breeze, performance is excellent – keeping the wind off whilst preventing any overheating. I’ve walked uphill briskly in this jacket with just a thin baselayer underneath in some very muggy weather and found it barely caused any extra sweating at all. In cooler conditions it can be worn over a fleece or insulated mid-layer to give wind protection. Some walkers still seem to think windshells are an unnecessary garment – but after having used one extensively, it’s something I wouldn’t be without in my pack on the summer hills and exposed coastal walks. Alpkit have built a reputation for good quality kit at a low cost, enabled by selling direct, and the Arro offers a supremely functional garment at a great pice.

Likes: breathable, lightweight, packable, value for money
Dislikes: pocket positioned to rear is only good for cyclists

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