I’ve been after a waterproof jacket for, ooh, years now. A proper one that rustles when you move, so it’s impossible to sneak up on your little brother while you’re wearing it. A nostalgia mac, if you will. Then GWA presented me with an alarmingly coloured garment to review. In purple and a kind of neon-lemon-yellow, it’s certainly eye-catching (and, in fact, the colours have grown on me).
With the Gore-tex branding stitched inside, it is, and I quote, ‘guaranteed to keep you dry’. While I was waiting for a suitable testing occasion, the jacket got a good old once-over. I’ll start from the top and work my way down.
Useful letters and numbers
- Full zip
- Pockets: 4
- Storm flaps: several
- Weight: 506g
- Sizes: 8-18
Head and neck
Unlike the lightweight waterproof macs of yore, this one has a useful hood. It won’t flap around ineffectually; instead, this one has a wired peak that can be manipulated into the best position and which will keep the worst of the weather out of your face.
The hood itself is nice and deep, giving your face a little cave to snuggle back into. The overall effect is not unlike Kenny from South Park – particularly if you take advantage of the exciting range of drawstrings in and around the hood. It’s easy to decrease the size of the opening, leaving just a little room to survey the clouds. The drawstrings themselves can be released using the hidden catches. Clever.
Sprayway has put some real thought into comfort with this jacket: it zips right up past the chin, and the internal storm flap at the top is fleecy. Which brings me to the interior of the jacket! I like the little touches; small things that make a big difference.
This jacket has a fleecy panel all around the neck, which is absolutely delightful. It’s a very lightweight garment, so it would have been easy to make it prickly and uncomfortable, but this panel gives the impression that a kitten has gone to sleep on your neck.
When the weather improves, you can just snap the front of the hood to the rear of the neck, and then Velcro the whole lot out of the way at the back. So there’s no flapping around when it’s out of use and no fiddly pockets to stuff it into.
Zips and pockets
The main zip is covered by a double layer of storm flaps secured with Velcro in the middle and press-studs at the top and bottom. I was at the top of a very big hill in a very wet gale, and not a drop of moisture made its way through the zip.
A similar storm flap system protects the outer pockets. The zip is covered by a lower flap, which is a little short, then an outer flap that extends well past the lower one. I wouldn’t trust the pockets to stay dry if the wind is behind you, but they fare pretty well with the wind in your face.
There is an inner breast pocket with a Velcro tab in the mesh lining. This is just about big enough for a mobile phone and a wallet. However, a particularly nice feature is the SECRET pocket in the storm flap! It took me a while to find it, but it’s big enough to hold a map. In fact, it’s the perfect size and shape for an iPad, but that does create a bit of clockwise drag…
The blurb on the Sprayway website claims that the whole shebang will ‘pack away into the interior pocket’ but it doesn’t specify which pocket or show you how to do it. I don’t believe it will fit into the left-hand breast pocket, and I can’t figure out how to store it neatly in the secret pocket. So I ended up stuffing it into the hood, which works perfectly well and is probably easier to unravel again.
Sleeves and cuffs
The sleeves are plenty long enough (a little too long for me, but I have a jacket that’s a couple of sizes too big for me – not complaining, it kept my hands dry and warm!) with a slightly adjustable cuff. There is a little elastic at the ends of the sleeves, and a whole lot of Velcro to adjust the fit if you’ve got tiny twig-like wrists.
More drawstring adorns the jacket’s bottom, with loops on the sides. This makes it easy to seal the bottom of the waterproof quickly – just grab a loop with each hand and pull.
The Fraser family goes up a big hill every year, a couple of days after Christmas. Come rain or shine (unlikely) or snow (more likely), we mooch up Moel Ffamau, slurp a hot toddy, then trek back down for a pub lunch. What better place to test a waterproof?
This is a really lightweight jacket (it weighs about the same as an xBox controller) that performs impressively in strong winds and rain. I like the hood features and the extra layers of protection at the weak points. It kept me dry and warm at the top of Moel Ffamau, and the exciting colours meant that my companions could find me easily should I fall down.
Its lack of bulk meant that the cold did creep in after a while, but that’s more my fault for not wearing enough layers. However, if you’re like me and you hate wearing too many bulky layers, you may find you have the same problem. It’ll be perfect for the warmer months though.
I could do with a smaller one, but frankly I’m dead impressed. And the fact that it’s a bit big meant it covers my bum (I hate it when I have a jacket that lets draughts go up my back). Having sung its praises though, for the price it retails at, it should be impressive. I’m looking forward to testing it again throughout our Great British Summer.
Would I buy one? Maybe; it is very expensive. I’d have to test a few cheaper versions first.