I’m fickle, I admit it. But whenever a new jacket comes in for testing, all my old jackets get stuck into storage or given to charity and I wear the new one in all weathers until I’m either sick of it or ready to elope. And in the case of the Eider Target Jacket, I’ve packed my bags and we’re heading for Gretna Green in a minute.
Made from Gore-Tex’s Active Shell Fabric, which Gore claim is their most breathable fabric ever, the jacket is a gorgeous, expensive looking piece of kit which oozes appeal from the shelf and makes you think you look like a catalogue model when you put it on. The fit is flattering but not too snug, with room for layers underneath if it’s chilly out, but not so loose that it flaps around annoyingly in the wind.
The enormous side pockets are big enough for your hands, a map and a small choir should you need to shelter one, and with downward opening zips and a high start point, should be usable with a harness around your waist.
The Target is aimed at fast-paced and sweaty sports like running, climbing and fast hiking. I’ve been trying it out on the latter, in weather which was written about in the latter pages of the Bible and seeing what all the fuss is about.
With very subtle (so subtle I didn’t realise that they were there until I read the press release) underarm zips, the Target is a jacket which vents heat well, and the pit vents are pretty good at keeping out the rain unless it is coming down sideways. If you’re so hot that you overcome the vents and still need to wear the jacket, then the Gore Active Shell seems to do its job very well. I never managed to get a sticky wet feeling, or build up any perceivable moisture on the inside of the jacket to the point of being uncomfortable. I have to say that, as it was raining cats, dogs and zebras for much of the test period, it was often difficult to determine what was damp and what was just damp from wet air.
The Eider Target has a full hood which did a great job of keeping rain and hail off my face. A wired peak and 2-way bungee adjusters make for a fit which isn’t too loose, despite Eider’s claim that it’s helmet compatible. The Target has a little sales label which promotes a “Hood Attachment System” – seemingly using one of the adjustment toggles to hold the hood down when rolled up. I can’t work out how to use it!
The main zipper and pocket zippers are all rainproof and finished under little flaps. They’re all reassuringly difficult to do up, so you feel like you’re sealing out the weather. Indeed you are, with my phone having survived dry and safe after hours of rain pelting against the pocket.
Gore has done wonders with the fabric. It feels soft and matt, with none of the plasticcy feel you get with some hard shells. The Active Shell fabric is a 3-layer fabric, which is to say that the waterproof membrane is trapped between the outer black fabric and an inner, soft-feel fabric. Essentially it’s a single thin skin, which makes the jacket very lightweight (Eider claim 400g) and easily packed down into a bag. And it’s very, very waterproof too. Gore’s statistics say it has a 28,000mm hydrostatic head, which means that no amount of leaning on walls is going to force water through at the elbows.
Eider is known for making high-end Alpine and snow wear, and have a reputation for quality and style. This Target Jacket is no exception, but it comes with a hefty price tag at £299 which puts it at the very top of Active Shell apparel. It’s a jacket that works for what it’s designed for, and is very breathable. It’s absolutely gorgeous, but is it worth £100 more than other Active Shell alternatives? I don’t know. I always fall for the expensive things.
SUMMARY: A very waterproof, very breathable, very lightweight and very gorgeous jacket for outdoor activities. It battens down the hatches against the very worst wet weather expertly and lets you get on with things, but equally looks great at the local wine bar. It’s a ‘piece’ of gear to be seen with, as well as being functional. It’s expensive though compared to similar garments, which has to affect the rating.