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GROUP TEST: Mountain Shells Around £200

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Can you pick up a decent shell for only around £200? We think so! While top-end technical waterproof jackets cost big money, less specialist alternatives are available for lots less. In terms of quality and functionality, our benchmark budget is a bit of a sweet spot. In this group test 10 alternatives go head to head. 

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1
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

I'll add another to the mix - one of the OEX waterproofs (~£85) from GoOutdoors. I bought one whilst one of my other jackets was sent in for a warranty defect. It is a great jacket although only 2.5L, it nice and soft, fairly breathable and keeps the majority of the wet out! My version has two high pockets that work with a harness and are large enough for a map too, although the new version seems to have lower pockets..

Post edited at 09:53
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

I just don't get the obsession with water resistant zips without a storm flap on waterproofs. It's a low cost way of increasing weather protection, although it carries a slight weight penalty. I can see the logic on lightweight running kit, but not on 'mountain' jackets.

3
 simoninger 10 Feb 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Fit is a main constraint for me: Rab stuff is nearly always the wrong shape (made for long narrow people), Mountain Equipment right (bit more square, like me).

Oh, and can't remember the last time I had to pay full RRP for a jacket.

1
 r0b 10 Feb 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Is £200 now considered a budget price point for a shell jacket? Don't think I've ever paid more than £150

5
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

The 'Best in Test' lasted 4 months for me before the wetting out became 'lets water in like a windshell'.

It was across shoulders directly where rucksack straps had been - after 10 days with a rucksack on.

I have replaced with an ME product - which is noticeably better cut.

2
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Personally eco credentials is not something that crosses my mind when I'm buying a 4 season waterproof, obviously it's important to note but from experience it normally suggests less durability, especially in the DWR. 

A lightweight summer offering ye, skimpy is better but if this is a jacket for Scottish winter, A couple of winter wainwrights and use all year round I'd rather a burlier option with the thought I probably won't wear it during the summer (hopefully drier) months. Or even as Garethza says an OEX offering from Go for the summer! 

3
In reply to matt_outandabout:

> The 'Best in Test' lasted 4 months for me before the wetting out became 'lets water in like a windshell'.

> It was across shoulders directly where rucksack straps had been - after 10 days with a rucksack on.

I think this is a significant issue with outdoor kit. Lightness, and to an extent fashion, seem to dominate over practicality. Yes, a waterproof that packs up to the size of a cherry tomato is a great weight and space saver, but it's not much use if it drops to bits or leaks.

Also I suspect most jackets perform very well when brand new and the manufacturer's DWR is intact. The big question is how well the jacket performs after a bit of wear and tear.

2
 pec 10 Feb 2022
In reply to Ridge:

> I just don't get the obsession with water resistant zips without a storm flap on waterproofs. It's a low cost way of increasing weather protection, although it carries a slight weight penalty.

Yes absolutely. Water resistant zips aren't waterproof, at least probably not for the life of the rest of the jacket, they are more likely to break than a regular zip and much harder (if not impossible) to replace if they do.

I've never had a double strom flap leak and the weight penalty is trivial, around 10g.

If anyone is interested, Sprayway do a 3 layer goretex very much like the 2 layer jacket reviewed here called the Torridon. It's RRP is £300 but I've just bought one for £210 online. Unlike the jacket reviewed here, the pocket zips are of the waterproof type and also have storm flap and the hood is fine with a climbing helmet.

2
In reply to Ridge:

> I just don't get the obsession with water resistant zips without a storm flap on waterproofs. 

All the modern-ish jackets I've tried don't have an external storm flap like in the old days - it must be 25 years since I last bought one that did, but all have a flap behind the zip. Maybe I just don't go out enough in bad weather, although this seems unlikely, but I can't remember ever noticing a problem with water coming in through a waterproof/water-resistant zip. Even if water did get in the zip, I suppose it's not going to go further because of the flap behind the zip?

I purposely went for a walk in the pissing rain and a gale on Saturday early evening because I was writing up another jacket for a UKC review and really wanted to decide if it was waterproof or not (weird fabric choice). I was up on the moors above Sheffield - it was proper minging but I walked for an hour in wind driven hard rain and tested the jacket some more while getting to listen to my fave US politics podcast uninterrupted! Anyway, the main point for this discussion is that once back to the car I took the jacket off and studied it very carefully for water inside. The inside the uncovered waterproof zip and the flap behind it was completely dry. I totally understand that they must wear out if you use them enough, but I'm still using waterproof jackets that are a decade old and the zips still seem to be fine. 

1
In reply to pec:

I thought I remembered reading about the 'new' Torridons here - so had a quick look https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/clothing/waterproofs/sprayway_torridon-12321 Seems Rob and Rachel gave the men and women's version a good review!

1
 pec 10 Feb 2022
In reply to TobyA:

Yes, it's a great jacket with a lot of useful features hard to get hold of these days like pockets big enough to put maps in, long enough to cover your arse and of course a double storm flap.

Whilst designed as a walking jacket it's perfectly suited to climbing.

1
In reply to pec:

> Yes, it's a great jacket with a lot of useful features hard to get hold of these days like pockets big enough to put maps in, long enough to cover your arse and of course a double storm flap.

Agreed, I've really rated mine and still use it for those days when it is totally and utterly awful. I've forgotten the phrase Rachael used, but wasn't it that it was an "umbrella". Thought that was pretty appropriate. In a day and age of more minimalist jackets, the Torridon provides something a little (or even a lot) more substantial.

> Whilst designed as a walking jacket it's perfectly suited to climbing.

I'd agree with this too, it's got a great cut with excellent freedom of movement. Definitely something that would work well for Scottish winter climbing/mountaineering. Burly too, seriously burly!!

1
In reply to McKEuan:

> Personally eco credentials is not something that crosses my mind when I'm buying a 4 season waterproof, obviously it's important to note but from experience it normally suggests less durability, especially in the DWR. 

It may not cross your mind, but I'm intrigued as to why - is it because you don't care or think it doesn't matter?

I think there's a lot of work to be done about the awareness of why a product's eco credentials are important and the damage that PFCs have done - and continue to do - to the environment, because I suspect if more people knew, more people would care. As climbers, we care a lot about the environment, yet we're complicit within the damage done if we willingly turn a blind eye, and surely it's better to be educated and make a decision accordingly.

When it comes to the matter of the durability of the DWR you're quite right, they're not as durable - that's a fact. To put it into further context I'm going to take a bit of a tangent and talk about cars. We all know burning fossil fuels is bad, but we still do it. There's a lot of reasons for this, but one is that it's unbelievably convenient compared to electric. Whereas the latter takes a long time to charge, then gives us limited range thereafter, petrol/diesel takes a matter of minutes to fill up, then goes for miles.

Bringing it back to waterproof jackets, I think we're going to have to get used to the fact that we're going to have to wash and proof our jackets a lot more than we once did. Legislation has already come in to prevent brands from using the most harmful chemicals and more is coming. I've no doubt that DWR will evolve and improve within a more sustainable form, but in the short term - my prediction is that you'll be buying a lot more Nikwax/Grangers.

I'm not for a minute saying that I'm some sort of environmental saint because I'm not, but I guess my point is that it does matter, we should care, and whilst it may not have been a part of our buying decision previously - it should be going forward.

Post edited at 23:10
In reply to TobyA:

> Even if water did get in the zip, I suppose it's not going to go further because of the flap behind the zip?

Putting the flap in front of the zip would be even better 😃

I've had leaks through Lowe alpine waterproof zips before, (and Paramo Velez, but they're not waterproof, and the flap behind the zip didn't work).

Maybe zip technology has improved since my Lowe alpine jacket, but it strikes me as a potential weakness that could be removed by a couple of grammes of fabric.

On the subject of Sprayway (there's a blast from the past), Mrs Ridge has a Jura(?) that must be pushing 20 years old. It's bulky and now used as a riding jacket, but it's absolutely bombproof.

If the new Torridons are similar build quality I'd be tempted to get one as a winter jacket.

Post edited at 23:17
1
 fire_munki 10 Feb 2022
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Better buy some Buffalo shares before everyone rushes back to pertex and pile.

1
 Michael Gordon 11 Feb 2022
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I can't speak for McKEuan but I suspect most people's key concern when buying a jacket is how well it performs - waterproofness, breathability, weight, durability. Not everyone wants to get hung up on environmental questions for every spending decision they make in life.

7
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I can't speak for McKEuan but I suspect most people's key concern when buying a jacket is how well it performs - waterproofness, breathability, weight, durability. Not everyone wants to get hung up on environmental questions for every spending decision they make in life.

Maybe not, but this might be worth a read on the effect of manufacturing DWR coatings, (amongst other things):

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/27/chemicals-dupont-rob-bilott-toxic-america

The film is worth a watch too. I'm sure our government can't wait to adopt US environmental practices:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9071322/

 neuromancer 11 Feb 2022
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Perhaps they bloody should? 

3
In reply to pec:

> Yes, it's a great jacket with a lot of useful features hard to get hold of these days like pockets big enough to put maps in

You'll be pleased to hear that Dan (UKH editor/UKC gear editor) makes us all shove OS maps into jacket pockets before he accepts a review, to check exactly this!

Interestingly I find my relationship with British maps is definitely changing in recent years, after an OS was previously a constant when doing 'outdoors stuff' from childhood. I now often find that's its the BMC/Harvey's Lakes or North Wales map I'll use there. They are waterproof so don't need a bulky case, and lighter and more flexi than standard OS paper, so fit more nicely into more pockets. I do sometimes put it in a plastic zip lock bag, but haven't used my Ortleib map case much in recent years. I also have OS mapping on my phone and find I'm using that more and more, although when you need to use a bearing, paper maps still rock! (pic from end of November in a cloud on the top of Carnedd Dafydd.) 


 gman2012 11 Feb 2022
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

UKC carries adverts and promotes products that contain PFCs. It may not cross your mind, but I'm intrigued as to why - is it because you don't care or think it doesn't matter?

2
 elliot.baker 11 Feb 2022
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> Bringing it back to waterproof jackets, I think we're going to have to get used to the fact that we're going to have to wash and proof our jackets a lot more than we once did. Legislation has already come in to prevent brands from using the most harmful chemicals and more is coming. I've no doubt that DWR will evolve and improve within a more sustainable form, but in the short term - my prediction is that you'll be buying a lot more Nikwax/Grangers.

I don't want to start a debate and I have no idea of the relative impacts but is there a possibility that the environmental impact of washing a jacket X multiple times more (and the associated water, energy and detergent usage) could be worse than whatever the other issue is with non-eco jackets?

Like... what's the environmental impact of making and transporting a bottle of Nikwax (I have no idea)?

I read a book (Flood, Stephen Baxter) where the sea level keeps rising forever and some billionaire starts selling clothes branded as "durables" and they end up lasting lifetimes. I'd like to move to that model (for clothes and white-goods)! I have the odd t-shirt (that cost more than an average t-shirt) that I bought when I was in my late teens and I'm now 33... not that my wife lets me wear them outside anymore 😂

 r0b 11 Feb 2022
In reply to TobyA:

The mini Harvey's maps are amazing, they're all I use these days.

In reply to gman2012:

> UKC carries adverts and promotes products that contain PFCs. It may not cross your mind, but I'm intrigued as to why - is it because you don't care or think it doesn't matter?

That's a really good point/question and one without an entirely satisfactory answer.

To go back to my car analogy, I suppose you could pose a similar kind of question in relation to that: why do we all continue to use them despite the fact know they're bad? Part of the answer is because, at least at the moment, electric alternatives cost a lot and have less range, hence are less convenient. In the case of waterproof jackets, we're moving from an age where almost all waterproof jackets featured PFCs and where there were very few alternatives, to one where there's a whole host of different options. Within this review we've tried to highlight those, and make clear - where appropriate - which products contain PFCs and explain why that's a problem. If people are aware of the issues, and the options, they can make their own choices. If we sweep the issue under the carpet then we aren't going to achieve that.

I'm aware that this isn't a very satisfactory answer, and I'm not intending to be evasive, but I think the point I'm trying to make is that we're not trying to hide the issue - we're trying to discuss it openly. It is also a massive and complex issue that is beyond the scope of any single review. We're hoping to run more on this topic, but understandably these things take time and - perhaps most importantly - need to come from someone who's an expert (i.e. not me).

Post edited at 11:19
In reply to elliot.baker:

> I don't want to start a debate and I have no idea of the relative impacts but is there a possibility that the environmental impact of washing a jacket X multiple times more (and the associated water, energy and detergent usage) could be worse than whatever the other issue is with non-eco jackets?

> Like... what's the environmental impact of making and transporting a bottle of Nikwax (I have no idea)?

Nikwax and Grangers are fairly positive on this front, as they're both PFC free and each use recycled materials within their packaging. They're also both manufactured in the UK - Nikwax in Sussex and Grangers in Derbyshire.

Grangers increased their concentrate a few years back too, so you essentially get more from each bottle, and they also offer a refill pouch which contains 74% less materials than the bottle they'd previously been using.

Nikwax offer Tech Wash + TX Direct in a variety of different sizes too, ranging from 100ml all the way up to 5L, meaning that you can reduce the quantity of packaging you use by buying more at a time.

When it comes to the water/energy issue, I think that's relatively minor compared to the matter of PFCs. The article/film that Ridge referenced are well worth reading/watching if you want to know more.

 jimtitt 11 Feb 2022
In reply to pec:

My experience with climbing jackets on my motorbikes is waterproof zips are actually partially shower proof. They are noticably absent on my motorcycle jackets whereas large and complex double storm flaps are normal.

DWR coatings don't seem to work at speed either, that raindrop at a hundred miles an hour seems to overcome the hydrostatic head rating!

 r0b 11 Feb 2022
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Think I saw the other day that Alpkit (IIRC) are doing Nikwax refills if you take your empty bottle

In reply to r0b:

> Think I saw the other day that Alpkit (IIRC) are doing Nikwax refills if you take your empty bottle

Funnily enough I was going to mention the refill service, but couldn't for the life of me remember where did it, so thanks for that -it's good to know.

 jezb1 11 Feb 2022
In reply to r0b:

> Think I saw the other day that Alpkit (IIRC) are doing Nikwax refills if you take your empty bottle

V12 in Llanberis too

In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

And Outside!

 pec 11 Feb 2022
In reply to TobyA:

I realise that lots of people don't routinely carry OS 1:25000 maps like they used to but many people still do, at least some of the time. I wouldn't argue that all waterproofs should have a big map pocket but their scarcity is just another example of designers pushing customers in a direction they don't all want to go in instead of providing a range of choices that customers can choose from.

Waterproof zips and jackets that barely cover your waist are just more examples of this. There's a place for these things but it's not on 95% of jackets.

In reply to jimtitt:

> DWR coatings don't seem to work at speed either, that raindrop at a hundred miles an hour seems to overcome the hydrostatic head rating!

I've always understood that DWR was purely to prevent wetting out of the outer fabric to maintain breathability, and wasn't related to how waterproof a garment is. However I wonder if the DWR does have an impact on HH rating, and that the 'real world' rating deteriorates over time?

On a bit of a tangent, 20,000mm HH sounds impressive, how does that relate to windspeed? 
 
Note: Someone who can count might want to check this next bit:

20,000mm = 20m. 20m column of water exerts 1000kg (density)x 9.81m/s (g)x 20m = 196kPa

Dynamic pressure = 1/2 x density x (velocity (m/s) squared)

so water at 20m/s would give 500kg x (20x20) = 200kPa

Does that mean that driving rain travelling at 20m/s (45mph) exceeds the quoted waterproof rating of the jacket?

In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I think Rob that for me Eco credentials are no guarantee for performance of the product. It's important yes but when it's a waterproof jacket I want to to know it's going to keep me dry first and foremost.

For example of those jackets on review the one I'm most drawn to purely by name and nothing are the ones with GTX in the name. Admittedly there is only one jacket in that review with GTX in the name and I have to admit a slight biased view towards that particular brand but then we've got the Berghaus with Paclite, again another tried and tested Gore product.

For me Eco credentials are important for the customer to be aware of but they shouldn't be at the expense of the performance of the product. Especially when the product in question is in a review for Winter mountain jackets where it's pretty important to have a jacket that will perform. It is interesting that the product that got best in test is the one that seems to have been the worst performer for most end users.

Working for a brand like Haglofs (a few years ago mind) showed me what is possible from a sustainable side but also be adventurous with their R&D. They had a huge sustainable story but they didn't wave it in peoples faces as, being Swedish, they just assumed people would learn about it themselves and would let the products do the talking.

Sorry for a long waffling epilogue Rob. Chances are what I wanted to say I have written totally badly!!

 jimtitt 11 Feb 2022
In reply to Ridge:

I've read in a book that 20000 HH leaks at 65km/h, there's a non-hydrostatic test which uses a sample rotating on a lever in an artificial rain shower. Decent gear companies test in a rain wind tunnel or go bust very quickly.

Motorcycle gear has an additional layer of much heavier material laminated over the membrane though to get the crash protection rating so the raindrops are probably actually stopped and disentigrated before they get to the membrane, 600D or 1000D Cordura are the norm, probably not what the purchasers of lightweight mountaineering shells want!

In reply to jimtitt:

> I've read in a book that 20000 HH leaks at 65km/h

I wasn't that far off then!

 Myr 11 Feb 2022
In reply to Ridge:

> Also I suspect most jackets perform very well when brand new and the manufacturer's DWR is intact. The big question is how well the jacket performs after a bit of wear and tear.

This is the biggest issue for me that is not covered by these short-term reviews. I buy waterproof jackets very infrequently, for environmental reasons, and so I was gutted when the inner lining of the last jacket I bought actually disintegrated after less than a year. That particular jacket performs very well in short-term magazine/website reviews, but really badly in long-term user reviews.

Would it be possible for UKC to do an occasional longer-term durability review? This would allow readers to distinguish between jackets on long-term performance, arguably the most important variable. 

In reply to Myr:

> This is the biggest issue for me that is not covered by these short-term reviews. I buy waterproof jackets very infrequently, for environmental reasons, and so I was gutted when the inner lining of the last jacket I bought actually disintegrated after less than a year. That particular jacket performs very well in short-term magazine/website reviews, but really badly in long-term user reviews.

> Would it be possible for UKC to do an occasional longer-term durability review? This would allow readers to distinguish between jackets on long-term performance, arguably the most important variable. 

This is probably going to be too expensive. Most reviewers will be wearing this season's kit as ultimately UKC is a business which needs people to continually buy shiny new kit to survive. Kit that only lasts a year isn't actually a problem (aside from if many people start to complain). 

This isn't a criticism and they probably do their best in trying to estimate durability but reviewing a jacket in the same way as a user would just isn't feasible. You might best best posting about a particular jacket you like the look of on the forum and asking for other people's experiences.  

So yes, the whole environment thing is a bit of a con, if you're still rocking a jacket from 10 years ago, you're miles ahead of someone who buys the latest 5% more eco friendly jacket every couple of years. 

In reply to SomeWittyClimbingPun:

> You might best best posting about a particular jacket you like the look of on the forum and asking for other people's experiences.

I think that's the best advice, although the rapid changes in materials and design probably mean the 2020 version of Jacket X isn't the same material as the 2022  version (which is now thinner, lighter, more packable etc..). However once a company gets a reputation for biodegradable equipment that falls to bits in a year you at least know to avoid them.

Unfortunately marketing has crept into outdoor clothing, with sponsored athletes and brand ambassadors. As long as the item survives a few days of the spine race, (for example), the manufacturer and the runner wearing it aren't bothered if it delaminates in a years time, it's worked well for the duration of the race and the photos are with the marketing department.

 Myr 11 Feb 2022
In reply to SomeWittyClimbingPun:

> Most reviewers will be wearing this season's kit as ultimately UKC is a business which needs people to continually buy shiny new kit to survive. 

If it's true that UKC need people to continually buy shiny new kit to survive (?), I'm not sure it's relevant when talking about reviews. UKC's goal in reviewing isn't just about promoting a product. They have advertisements for that purpose (e.g. here https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/footwear/walking_boots/dolomite_tamaskan_gtx_15-13847). Reviews provide information that brands would not necessarily like to make public, but which is of use to a potential customer. Presumably at least part of the money UKC get from reviews is through increased footfall to the website due to readers looking for quality information. UKC could provide its users with information that was of greater value by doing longer-term reviews.

> This isn't a criticism and they probably do their best in trying to estimate durability but reviewing a jacket in the same way as a user would just isn't feasible.

Anything is feasible, UKC would just have to review fewer items if they reviewed them long-term. It is a trade-off between reviewing many items inaccurately and reviewing fewer items accurately.

 neuromancer 11 Feb 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Presumably all anyone reading this is wondering is 'are any of these worth it over an Alpkit definition' (which is regularly circa a smidge over 200 in their every second month sales). Which, aside from fit, a 3l fabric and weight, has the eco credentials they all envy (b corp) and Alpkit will fix it for free if it starts wetting out.

Post edited at 19:45
1
In reply to neuromancer:

The Definition got reviewed in the bombproof winter shell review two winters ago. I can't remember if it got best in test or something, but Dan definitely noted it was ridiculously good value compared to similar jackets over twice the price!

In reply to TobyA: podcast - gabfest?

In reply to Ridge:

> I think that's the best advice, although the rapid changes in materials and design probably mean the 2020 version of Jacket X isn't the same material as the 2022  version (which is now thinner, lighter, more packable etc..). However once a company gets a reputation for biodegradable equipment that falls to bits in a year you at least know to avoid them.

> Unfortunately marketing has crept into outdoor clothing, with sponsored athletes and brand ambassadors. As long as the item survives a few days of the spine race, (for example), the manufacturer and the runner wearing it aren't bothered if it delaminates in a years time, it's worked well for the duration of the race and the photos are with the marketing department.

Agree. At the end of the day outdoor gear is part of the fashion industry so you're not going to have the same product around very long. New materials or design might as well be this season's colours and they aren't necessarily an improvement. It's tough for consumers to know what will stand the test of time until after it has been discontinued. Some brands have better reputations than others as you say. 

1
In reply to Myr:

> If it's true that UKC need people to continually buy shiny new kit to survive (?), I'm not sure it's relevant when talking about reviews. UKC's goal in reviewing isn't just about promoting a product. They have advertisements for that purpose (e.g. here https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/footwear/walking_boots/dolomite_tamaskan_gtx_15-13847). Reviews provide information that brands would not necessarily like to make public, but which is of use to a potential customer.

Well, it is relevant. That's why some places e.g. Outdoor Gear Lab don't accept free samples, or accept advertising money from the same brands they review. They still rely on people buying stuff, but unlike UKC they can't be cut off by say, Petzl if they make a series of very critical reviews about their products. 

I suppose someone like Which would be the gold standard for editorial independence and lobbying for consumers where as UKC is a bit closer to an advert. 

> Presumably at least part of the money UKC get from reviews is through increased footfall to the website due to readers looking for quality information. UKC could provide its users with information that was of greater value by doing longer-term reviews.

The increased footfall leads to greater advertising revenue in one form or another. That's the game.

> Anything is feasible, UKC would just have to review fewer items if they reviewed them long-term. It is a trade-off between reviewing many items inaccurately and reviewing fewer items accurately.

I think you mean possible, feasible is something easily or conveniently done, and it's not going to be either of those for UKC to reduce the amount of stuff it can review by 90% because everything is getting a year-long review. That would probably not be a great balance for readers either, mind, so as I said you're probably better creating some sort of facility for user reviews for durability or Q/C related issues.

3
In reply to vscott:

> podcast - gabfest?

It was indeed! Have I mentioned it that many times that people know? I just listened to this weeks edition as I cycled home from work, which has become a bit of a tradition in recent years. I think last week the weather had been so miserable on Friday I hadn't cycled in, so had "saved it" for saturday. My Saturday podcast if I'm doing anything on my own is normally Wittertainment/Kermode and Mayo's film reviews. I've listened to both shows weekly since I got my first MP3 player - which was around when my first kid was born. He's 18 in a couple of months! :-0

 neuromancer 12 Feb 2022
In reply to SomeWittyClimbingPun:

Laudable, but OGL is laughably famous for favourably reviewing and preferring the products it can earn the most referral commission for. 

In reply to neuromancer:

Is it? Never heard that before. Their link often seem to be just to Amazon or REI, presumably affiliate links to anything could make them some money.

In reply to neuromancer:

> Laudable, but OGL is laughably famous for favourably reviewing and preferring the products it can earn the most referral commission for. 

I've not heard this myself, have you got a source for this?

 Run_Ross_Run 12 Feb 2022
In reply to r0b:

And trekkit 

In reply to McKEuan:

> I think Rob that for me Eco credentials are no guarantee for performance of the product. It's important yes but when it's a waterproof jacket I want to to know it's going to keep me dry first and foremost.

I think I acknowledged this within my previous post, but so too have we acknowledged performance within this group test, so I'm failing to see where we've fallen short exactly?

> For example of those jackets on review the one I'm most drawn to purely by name and nothing are the ones with GTX in the name. Admittedly there is only one jacket in that review with GTX in the name and I have to admit a slight biased view towards that particular brand but then we've got the Berghaus with Paclite, again another tried and tested Gore product.

It's potentially a little ironic that you're drawn to GORE, given that of all the waterproof membranes on test they're the only ones that don't release their performance figures. We an accurate indication of how waterproof and breathable each and every other brand are, but are left guessing with the market leader.

Whilst I'm not denying that GORE are indeed 'tried and tested', not least because I've tried and tested them for years myself, and they are the products I've come to favour (give or take a few exceptions); however, it also makes you aware of the power of marketing, because if the figures were that good - why hide them?

> For me Eco credentials are important for the customer to be aware of but they shouldn't be at the expense of the performance of the product. Especially when the product in question is in a review for Winter mountain jackets where it's pretty important to have a jacket that will perform. It is interesting that the product that got best in test is the one that seems to have been the worst performer for most end users.

I think we've balanced things pretty well within this review and, if anything, we've mainly focussed on performance. The eco credentials are more of a footnote in comparison. I'm not sure where you've got the Best in Test being the worst performer for most users from either? Dan doesn't give these things away lightly, and if he thought it was the best I have absolutely no doubt that it is indeed the best

It's also worth noting that this isn't a winter mountain jacket review. We've done these in the past, but that's not what this is. The brief that was sent out was:

Mountain Shells c. £200
These versatile midweight waterproof jackets are suited to a range of 3-season mountain uses, from hillwalking to backpacking, scrambling to climbing. We'll judge on fit, features and breathability, with an emphasis on value for money.

> Working for a brand like Haglofs (a few years ago mind) showed me what is possible from a sustainable side but also be adventurous with their R&D. They had a huge sustainable story but they didn't wave it in peoples faces as, being Swedish, they just assumed people would learn about it themselves and would let the products do the talking.

Again, I'm a little confused at why you think we're waving it in people's faces when all we've done is draw people's attention to it at the base of each product's review. In many ways it feels like you're making a bigger deal out of this than we are.

In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Interesting response Rob and not one I'm going to pick apart on here. 

My main point on the eco credentials was in response to your original response to my response which tbh wasn't relevant to the group test I just put it in as the Best in Test was a proclaimed Eco jacket and that for me would make me not want to buy it.

I think 6th comment in remarks on how poorly best in test works and 2nd was how the fit wasn't good.

edited to be less flammable.

Post edited at 13:21
3
In reply to Myr:

From some of the comments in this thread maybe there is a use for a non-breathable totally waterproof, non-absorbing jacket to be slipped over a softshell in torrential conditions. Basically a tougher Woolworths  type plastic Pac a Mac. As mentioned for alpine use in Joe Brown's The Hard Years.

IIRC before goretex many people in the hills used yellow HH jackets (PVC?). Looked stiff and heavy. Don't know how they performed

 Doug 14 Feb 2022
In reply to oldie:

I remember climbing in a Henri Lloyd neoprene proofed jacket, totally waterproof when new. Condensation started to build up within minutes of any activity, but would freeze while you were belaying on winter routes - Goretex was much better even if much more expensive when it appeared in the early 1980s.

Fairly sure that Decathlon sell a very cheap (10 - 20 Euro), lightweight non-breathable waterproof jacket

In reply to Doug:

My memory at fault. Probably was Henri-Lloyd. My pondering was more about using over a Buffalo type softshell in heavy rain and taking it off when possible so then condensation water would evaporate. I suppose there's been ample opportunity for people to try that as a system, presumably without success. 

In reply to McKEuan:

> My main point on the eco credentials was in response to your original response to my response which tbh wasn't relevant to the group test I just put it in as the Best in Test was a proclaimed Eco jacket and that for me would make me not want to buy it.

I'm not entirely sure I understand what you're saying here, as it's a bit of a tongue twister.

There seems to be something about the word 'eco' you find really off-putting, to the extend that it seems to have caused you to ignore everything else we've written. The Arc Eco is case and point, because of all the things that Dan has laboured on, it's performance - the factor that you deem to be the most important - has been his primary focus.

Dan really does put these products through their paces too. He's been out in full-on Scottish conditions, which have likely varied from a fairly unromantic quantity of rain through to a slightly more romantic amount of snow, and has done so pretty intensely over the space of several months. If he didn't think this jacket worked, he'd not only know, but he'd tell you about it too.

> I think 6th comment in remarks on how poorly best in test works and 2nd was how the fit wasn't good.

Am I right in thinking that you've based all of your feedback on the Arc Eco around a single comment (and the fact it contains the word 'eco' in the title, which you find off-putting)? 

When it comes to fit, you of all people know that this is a very personal thing. As a result of this we don't always award Best in Test (in fact, I'd say it's relatively infrequent that we do these days), because it's such a subjective thing - what's best for one person isn't necessarily what's best for someone else.

In this case we made an exception and the reason for this was because here we had a jacket that not only performed exceptionally well, but also had the strongest environmental credentials of any jacket on test.

Post edited at 15:22

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