The Lush Parka by Didriksons is the first jacket I’ve tried for ages that is a decent length. I’ve mentioned previously that I have a habit of buying men’s walking jackets as I find most women’s too short, so this is a really pleasant change – it’s 178cm, which means it’s long enough to sit down in and be able to sit on the material, rather than the more usual approach where whatever soggy bit of wood you’ve found to perch on wicks water slowly up through your trousers towards your nether regions. Brrr.
It’s testament to the Swedes – who clearly have experience of actual bad weather – that the other features of the jacket are eminently practical. First up, the pockets: it has excellent, massive pockets to shove your hands/gloves/food/small mammals into, with comfy slanted zips at the top so you can choose to either walk along with your hands in your pockets without cutting off your circulation, or let your arms swing free without fear of losing your car keys.
There’s also a great map-size internal pocket, and a vast ‘Napoleon’ pocket outside of the zip and inside the wind-proof placket (the flap bit that covers the zip) poppers, allowing you to stash your phone/camera/polos in an easy to get to storage area complete with a separate cord exit for headphones, or just walk along holding your boob if you prefer…
Next on the list of congratulations for the Swedes is that this jacket is windproof, breathable – so no drowning in your own sweat – and 100% waterproof to boot (the technical rating is 5000mm). It has taped seams that let not a drop of water in, and a great high neck to really keep the wind and rain out.
The hood is excellent too – combined with the high neck it’s nigh impossible for the wind to blow it down – it’s one-hand adjustable at the back – and while it isn’t a wired peak, the stiff fabric means it isn’t flopping around in your eyes either.
The parka itself isn’t lined, which I prefer as it makes it ideal for summer thunderstorms, or it can be teamed with different weights of fleece to suit. This brings me on to the next plus-point – the sleeves are roomy enough to allow you to wear a big chunky fleece underneath without simultaneously turning your arms into robot arms – you know the ones, where you can’t bend your elbows properly, like a few ‘three season’ jackets that passed through GWA headquarters last year were guilty of. (I’m looking at you Regatta.)
Other points to note are the adjustable cuffs and adjustor cords at the waist and base of the jacket so you can tighten each of those areas to your liking. A double-ended zip means you can stride away without restriction, while remaining dry and wind-proofed round the neck. The inside of neck has a comfortable coating on the lining so that you don’t feel chafed or cold from the waterproof fabric, which I think is a nice touch. The fabric itself is tough and durable, and has stood up well to a selection of brambles and hawthorn trees that I’ve encountered/waded though/hugged recently.
This parka has been my first foray into the world of Didriksons, and as you may be able to tell, I am an instant fan. This is a really great jacket – it’s design touches are simple and above all practical, and it feels like it does what it says on the tin, and does it well.
Available in a range of colours, my only negative about the whole jacket is that mine came in a fetching shade of Sand, which I’m trying to convince myself is ‘country’, but has also garnered the description ‘hearing-aid beige’. Pah. I’m warm and dry, so I simply don’t care, I love it!
Price: £140 (RRP)
More: Didriksons (For UK stockists call 01275 390451)