I was handed this jacket to test on a cold, grey New Year’s morning as we went off for a damp walk.
Straight away, I was delighted with it because I was a bit hungover and it was snuggly.
But I didn’t really get the chance to test it properly until a few weeks later.
I took it out for another damp walk when I decided to go geocaching in the fields around my house, but this time the weather was blowing a freezing hooley. There was ice on the puddles, and I’m pretty sure ice formed on the outside corner of my left eye going up the hill.
And, although I love this jacket, that eye-ice highlighted one big problem with it: the size of the hood. But I’ll come back to that. Let’s begin at the beginning.
This jacket is great. It could do with being slightly longer in the body, but with a decent pair of trousers you’ll be fine. Here’s a hint: don’t go out walking in the wet in jeans.
The back of the jacket is slightly longer, to keep the wind away from your nether regions and to prevent it whistling up your back, presumably. This is cool. There are three very roomy pockets – plenty of room for a map, your keys, and probably a small packed lunch. Two pockets are where you’d expect them to be: just above hip-height.
The third pocket is breast height on the left, and is a great place for storing your phone or anything you need to get to fast. Again, I’m pretty sure you could fit a smallish map in here. The pocket zips are sturdy and there was no sign of leakage.
So far so good.
But what I really like about this garment is that it’s a two-piece really. The outer shell is great – totally waterproof.
And the inner fleece is just snuggly. It’s lovely. It zips into the outer jacket and stays really solidly in place – no bunching up or moving around.
The only mild gripe I have about the inner-outer interface is that sometimes the fleecy sleeves poke out of the jacket sleeves. There is a little loop and button that keeps the sleeves in place, but I don’t think they’re in quite the right place because they still escape. And that means the end of the sleeves get wet.
And I have this thing about wet fleece: it’s like fingernails down a blackboard for me.
A bit of adjustment usually sorts it, but still.
When I was on my way back, it really started throwing it down and the wind picked up even further – and I stayed toasty warm and dry. It really is totally waterproof. If I’d worn waterproof trousers, or at least not jeans, I’d have been fully toasty. I was really impressed.
And this isn’t just a minor niggle: the hood is too small! For an outdoors jacket, a waterproof jacket, this is just silly.
I mean, I have a tiny head. Really small. It’s one of those things I focus on. You know that thing about you that other people don’t notice but it bothers you? Well, for me it’s my head. I have a pin head.
And yet, this jacket hood didn’t fit. It let the wind in. It froze the outside corner of my eye. It’s a shame, because other than that, this jacket is just about perfect. The hood does have adjustable elastic, but even at full stretch it’s not big enough to encase my head and keep it warm and dry. It does have a stiff peak, which is cool… but it doesn’t come far enough over my face.
If Regatta fix the size of the hood, I’ll give it 10 out of 10. But my frozen eyeball means it only gets a 7.