This autumn/winter I vowed that there would be no meltdowns when I went out walking with my daughter due to her getting wet and cold. A soggy, whinging nine year old does not make a great rambling partner. So, imagine my delight when the GearWeAre team sent a set of waterproofs for her to test from Sheffield-based Spotty Otter, comprising waterproof cagoule and waterproof trousers from the Breeze 3L Range (3L refers to the lightweight, 3 layer fabric used).
“Wow! Love the colour mum,” was my offspring’s first response, followed by; “Awww, the otter logo is so cute.” To say the cagoule and trouser set was a hit would be an understatement. However, my next challenge was to explain that we couldn’t go and test them out in the barmy hot and dry weather (even though it was September) and we needed it to be rainy and windy to test the gear properly. This didn’t go down well. Then finally the heaven’s opened – Spotty Otter kit was donned, along with wellies, which slipped on nicely thanks to the generous leg zips at the bottom of the trousers, and off we went.
During a six mile walk we encountered blustery wind and heavy showers, with the added fun factor of splashing in puddles. Thanks to the waterproof fabric (to 20,000mm) with DWR coating, which Spotty Otter charmingly calls ‘OtterTex 20000’, combined with the taped seams, my little bundle of joy (not so little as she’s now nearly taller than me) was lovely and dry and happy to keep plodding on without a single cry of ‘I’m soaked – are we nearly there yet’. The wind was kept out nicely too as the fabric has the bonus feature of being windproof and breathable.
The design of the hood is ingenious. Not only does it come with a clever cap design to shelter the face from the wind and rain it also has an impressive Velcro pull-tab at the back which can be easily adjusted with one hand to ensure the hood fits snugly to the head – big Brownie points to Spotty Otter for this feature.
Size-wise the cagoule and trousers are available in sizes from 1-2 years, right up to 13+ years and there’s a handy size chart on the Spotty Otter website to ensure you select the correct size. My nine-year old is quite tall for her age (well her dad is 6ft 4”) so the age 11-12 cagoule and trousers were a perfect fit. The cagoule is ideal as an outer shell in autumn/winter when used as part of a layering system and was tested out with a base layer and mid layer underneath. It’s also super-lightweight and packable (the jacket handily packs into the large front pocket) for the spring/summer months and unpredictable downpours, so overall an all-season versatile jacket.
The jacket is slightly longer at the back which, when not wearing waterproof trousers, would help to keep bottoms dry. The trousers were a great length too, something we struggle with normally.
The Velcro adjustments on the wrists and ankles served to keep the garments secure and kept the elements out. The side pockets, with through access, meant hands could be clasped together inside the cagoule to keep warm and the zip protector cleverly stopped the top of the zip from catching on her chin – a thoughtful design.
While walking we noticed the cagoule and trousers made quite a loud rustling sound but that wouldn’t deter us from recommending these garments. After all, the giggling we did while splashing in the puddles drowned out any other noise. Taking off the cagoule was a little bit difficult. My daughter said she’d prefer a full zip rather than half zip for ease of taking it off – but that is a personal thing. The trousers slipped off quickly and effortlessly over the wellies, once the zips had been undone. The set then took a spin in the washing machine and despite lots of mud splats both items came out looking brand new.
There’s a variety of colour options available in the cagoule range from navy and petrol blue to brighter raspberry and limeade. The trousers are only available in navy but that’s fine for both girls and boys. From a hi-viz point of view the reflective logos and otter detailing on both items are well positioned and worked a treat when worn on the walk to and from school.
Spotty Otter positions its range of outdoor gear for kids as functional and fun. We couldn’t have described it better. We certainly had fun testing the Breeze 3L cagoule and trousers out and they kept my little explorer dry, happy and eager for her next outdoor adventure.
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