Mountain Equipment Vulcan MRT Jacket – Reviewed in North Wales

Two days in the Snowdonia National Park, was an ideal time put the Mountain Equipment Vulcan Jacket through its paces.

Clive on Moel yr Ogof 3

The Mountain Equipment Vulcan Softshell Jacket

The British weather is no respecter of seasons, we can have wet summers and mild winters. The M.E. Vulcan Softshell Jacket is a weather resistant softshell jacket, that is suitable for all year round use. In a recent visit to Snowdonia I put the Vulcan Softshell Jacket and Mountain Equipment Ibex Pants to the test.

The fabric of the M.E. Vulcan is Gore® Windstopper®, the totally windproof membrane of the jacket gives complete protection from the chilling effects of the wind, while it is also highly breathable. The outer face of the fabric is highly durable, with DWR treatment to protect you from all but the heaviest of showers.

There are several features which are listed below that make the M.E. Vulcan jacket, a very useful softshell jacket for mountain and hill work all year round, if you are looking for a weatherproof softshell jacket for 2018 – read on.

Features

The hood is helmet compatible. It has side drawstrings to cinch the hood close to your face, sealing off the wind and the rain, and a stiffened peak to protect your eyes. The stitching on the hood is twin needle to give added weather protection.

The stitching on the body is over-locked and topstitched construction, again to give added protection from wind and rain penetration. The arms are active fit with pre-shaped and articulated sleeves.

There are four pockets, two zip hand pockets and one Napoleon pocket, there is also a security pocket inside the jacket.

The front centre zip is 2-way YKK with an internal baffle, the M.E. Vulcan also has underarm pit zips, adjustable cuffs, and a hem draw cord.

Wearing the M.E. Vulcan Softshell Jacket

I would like to say from the start that the Vulcan Softshell Jacket that I wore, is Mountain Equipments mountain rescue version, hence the bright red colour and the reflective detailing on the arms and hood. It is designed to be highly visible, if you prefer a more conservative colour we stock a dark version of the jacket called cosmos, – take a look.

The first day in Snowdonia I climbed Moel yr Ogof in search of Owen Glyndwr cave. It was a dry cold day, there was snow on the mountains and a slight wind chill.

The Vulcan Jacket is relatively thicker than most softshells, the backer fabric inside the jacket has a polartec type finish to it, although this is not specified on any of their descriptions. However I did not find the Vulcan particularly warm when not moving, I think that is because it is designed to retain active body warmth. My solution was to wear a down jacket over the Vulcan. The Vulcan does fit very comfortably under a down jacket with no great restriction of movement.

The whole point of the Vulcan is to provide weather protection when active in the hills/mountains, so really it is not meant to be an effective thermal jacket. It’s breathability was ok, this is however a very subjective matter – so enough said. I did find the under arm pit zips very helpful when I heated up ascending the mountains, they provided useful ventilation to keep me cooler.

The thicker softshell fabric of the Vulcan is not restrictive at all, when I was on the side of Moel yr Ogof, there was quite a bit of scrambling to do to get to Owain Glyndwr’s Cave. I found the Vulcan suitably flexible, and the Vulcans pre shaped sleeves helped arm movement without any access material inhibiting the inside of my elbows. At this point I must say though, that I did not find the adjustable cuff system very comfortable, the elastic part of it is a bit cumbersome.

It is 100% windproof.

The hand pockets are a good size and well placed. I could easily get an O/S map in them, and they worked well with the waist and sternum straps of my backpack. I was very pleased with the placing of the pockets, some jackets claim to be backpack compatible but I find them sadly lacking.

The second day I walked in the woods above Betws-y-Coed, this was a wet day. Not the sort of day when the heavens open and full waterproofs are required, but the sort when there is a constant drizzle occasionally evolving into a shower. I was impressed with the protection that the M.E. Vulcan provided, and was pleased to see the water ‘beading’ on the fabric. I was warm and comfortable for most of my walk, I just felt a bit chilly when sitting eating my lunch, as I have said it is an active jacket not a sitting one!

My conclusion

There are times when it is not cold enough to require a thermal jacket, or wet enough to need a waterproof, but when some weather protection is needed. The Vulcan Softshell Jacket fulfills this need well, it is well designed for hill walking, scrambling and climbing in such weathers, with or without a backpack. I did not like the cuff fastening but loved its robust feel and flexibility, and it is completely windproof.


Tech info

  • WINDSTOPPER® 290 Soft Shell fabric; completely windproof and highly water resistant
  • Mountain HC Hood
  • Active fit with articulated and pre-shaped sleeves
  • Overlocked and top stitched construction throughout
  • 2-way YKK® moulded centre front zip
  • 2 hand pockets with breathable mesh lining
  • Napoleon chest pocket and inner zipped security pocket
  • YKK® underarm pit zips
  • Adjustable cuffs and dual tether hem drawcords
  • Weight: 695g/24.5oz
  • Buy from e-outdoor Mountain Equipment Vulcan Softshell 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.