Choosing the right waterproof jacket for the adventure

posted in: Hiking & Walking | 0

When choosing a waterproof jacket, it needs to fit the adventures you have in mind.

I have picked four different waterproof jackets as a guide to help you buy the right one for the job.


1.  Mountain Equipment Lhotse Waterproof Jacket

Features

The fabric of the Lhotse is 3-Layer Gore-Tex Pro 40D, which is highly waterproof, windproof and breathable. The shoulders and upper arms are 3-Layer Gore-tex Pro 80D providing additional wear resistance for when wearing a backpack or scrambling up mountains. The hood is helmet compatible and fully adjustable, with a firm wired peak and fleece like chin guard.

All zips are waterproof and strong YKK moulded Aquaguard. There is a 2 way front centre zip with an inner rain baffle. There are 2 large zipped, laminated side pockets and a zipped, laminated, Napoleon pocket that easily fits an O/S map. The laminated Pit Zips provide additional ventilation when needed.

Storm construction techniques have been used throughout. The Lhotse is an Alpine fit with articulated, pre-shaped arms, adjustable laminated cuffs and dual tether hem drawcords.

My thoughts

The Lhotse Waterproof  Jacket is designed for constant extreme weather. When I first put the jacket on it felt stiff and solid, giving me the confidence to face any weather, but still moves easily. The pockets are large with ample room for a map. I am not sure I would make use of all the pocket space that is available to me, but it gives you many storage options. The jacket is a good length on both the body and arms.

I liked the hood. The draw cords are easy to use, even with gloves on. This provides minimum face exposure with ample flexibility for movement. The peak is strong and large enough to provide protection – which I liked because I wear glasses.

For people who like the challenge of wild weather, I am not surprised that this is a popular waterproof and is Mountain Equipment’s best selling waterproof. This retails around £297 – the most expensive jacket I am reviewing, but it is a good investment.


2. Rab Firewall Waterproof Jacket

Features

Made from Pertex Shield +3-layer stretch fabric, the Firewall is waterproof and breathable. All the zips are YKK AquaGuard. There is a 2-way central front zip with dual internal storm flap system, 2 zipped A line chest pockets with rain drain and 1 large Napoleon zipped pocket with rain drain. The arms have full venting YKK AquaGuard “Escape Artists” pit zips.

The hood is helmet compatible with a wire peak and a brushed-tricot lined collar which can be rolled up and secured with Velcro when not in use. The Firewall has anti-snag Velcro adjustable cuffs and an adjustable hem cord.

My thoughts

I liked the feel of this jacket, it is much softer than the Lhotse. It is lighter but still feels capable of protecting you from very heavy rain. The jacket is a good length and so are the arms. It is very flexible allowing maximum movement. I would definitely consider the Firewall for climbing or scrambling and since it is easy to fold down and put away in a rucksack, it’s useful for walkers as well.

This jacket also has a fully adjustable hood with a firm peak. I found it comfortable allowing easy head movement.

I am not sure I really understand the ‘Escape Artists’ pit zips, I think they would irritate me if fully undone. Perhaps the idea is to give more options for ventilation? The Napoleon pocket is large enough for a map, the other two pockets are a good hand size. The jacket retails at £178 which is a worthwhile buy for any serious mountain activist.


3. Montane Atomic Waterproof Jacket

Features

The Pertex shield fabric of the Firewall is waterproof, windproof and breathable. It is DWR coated so any water beads and rolls off the jacket. All the seams are micro taped throughout to increase breathability. The hood has three adjustment points for a snug fit and a wired peak. This can be rolled away and fastened with an internal tab to stop it flapping around.

The front zip is full length YKK with an internal storm flap and rain drain. There are two zipped side pockets with internal vent mesh, specifically positioned so that they do not interfere with any backpack straps.

Especially useful for active outdoor pursuits, the jacket’s mountain cut has articulated arms and a tailored hem that will not rise when stretching. The cuffs can be closed with hook and loop Velcro, with mitt grab tabs for easy use with gloves or mitts. To avoid weather entry or heat loss, the hem may be adjusted with a single hand elasticated draw cord.

The Montane Firewall has subtle Scotchlite™ reflective details for mountain safety.

My thoughts

The simplicity of this jacket is what strikes me first, but I do not doubt its weatherproofness. Montane’s motto is “Further. Faster.”, so the jacket is constructed to be light and highly breathable. The hood was snug and like the previous two, it had a wire peak – perhaps not quite as stiff.

It only has two pockets which have internal weather flaps. These are not big enough to take an O/S map, but are a comfortable hand size so I assume they are just for essentials.

Slightly shorter than the other two jackets, it would be ideal for hill runners or other high activity adventures.

Staying dry and comfortable is worth the £102 if you are on the run!


4. Berghaus Stormcloud Waterproof Jacket

Features

This is a basic non-technical waterproof jacket. Protection from the rain is provided by Berghaus AQ2 fabric, with a DWR finish. The jacket has a centre front reverse coil zip, and two zipped pockets placed high enough in the jacket to enable access when wearing a backpack. The hood is adjustable and has a non-stiffened peak.

The cuffs are hook and loop adjustable. The hem is sealed with a drawcord.

My thoughts

Although it is a simple waterproof jacket it is capable of protecting the wearer from the rain. I would not wear it for more extreme conditions or high activity hill/ mountain work. The jacket is shorter than the others reviewed in this article, and feels lighter.

The hood has very basic adjustments and the peak is not really a lot of use.

I would recommend the Stormcloud for those who do regular walks, with walking groups for example, or those engaged in activities such as the D of E. It will easily roll up into your backpack and require little room. It is a non-expensive waterproof retailing at £71.


Summary


1. Mountain Equipment Lhotse Waterproof Jacket

  • Material: 3-Layer Gore-Tex Pro 4oo, Pro 800 on shoulders and upper arms
  • Centre zip: 2-way YKK moulded AquaGaurd
  • Pockets: 2 large pockets, 1 Napoleon all laminated with YKK moulded AquaGaurd zips
  • Hood: Fully adjustable, helmet compatible, wired peak, fleece chin guard
  • Hem: Tethered hem drawcords
  • Cuffs: Laminated and adjustable
  • Weight: 530g
  • Price: £297
  • Features: Storm construction techniques throughout, with pit zips
  • Comments: Built for extreme conditions
  • Buy now: Mountain Equipment Lhotse Waterproof jacket

2. Rab Firewall Waterproof Jacket

  • Material: Pertex Shield+3L fabric with stretch
  • Centre zip: 2-way AquaGaurd with dual internal storm flap system
  • Pockets: 2 A line pockets, 1 Napoleon all zipped with YKK AquaGuard zips with rain drain
  • Hood: Fully adjustable, helmet compatible, wired peak, tricot lined collar
  • Hem: Adjustable drawcord
  • Cuffs: Anti-snag Velcro adjustable cuffs
  • Weight: 500g
  • Price: £178.45
  • Features: Stretch fabric for maximum freedom of movement
  • Comments: Active mountain waterproof
  • Buy now: Rab Firewall Waterproof Jacket

3. Montane Atomic Waterproof Jacket

  • Material: Pertex Shield with DWR finish
  • Centre zip: YKK zip with internal storm flap and rain drain
  • Pockets: 2 YKK zipped side pockets
  • Hood: Fully adjustable, wired peak, fleece chin guard
  • Hem: Single hand operated, adjustable, elasticated drawcord hem
  • Cuffs: Hook and loop adjustable cuffs with mitt grab tabs
  • Weight: 310g
  • Price: £102
  • Features: Micro taped seams to increase breathability, Scotchlite reflective details to increase mountain safety
  • Comments: Good for high activity pursuits
  • Buy now:   Montane Atomic Waterproof Jacket

4. Berghaus Stormcloud Waterproof Jacket

  • Material: AQ2 with DWR finish
  • Centre zip: Full zip
  • Pockets: 2 zipped hand pockets
  • Hood: Fixed hood
  • Hem:  Drawcord adjustable
  • Cuffs: Hook and loop Velcro fastening
  • Weight: 285g
  • Price: £71.95
  • Features:  Lightweight, simple construction
  • Comments: Good for regular walkers and  D of E
  • Buy now:   Berghaus Stormcloud Waterproof jacket
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Content Writer

I have loved walking in the in the great outdoors as long as I can remember, weather is not an issue and any landscape is a new adventure. Personal details:- Height 5'10"(1.78m), Wt 12st10oz(81kg) Chest 41"(104cm) Trouser size 32"W,32"L, Baselayer/midlayer size medium. Hardshell layer size large.