Back at the ISPO Trade Show in January 2019 Sprayway unveiled something of a blast from the past, with their classic Torridon Jacket back in modern form (albeit with some hyper cool old-school colours available for those who appreciate the retro style). Its launch created something of a stir, not least because it seems to buck the current market trend towards the minimalist and dainty. That's two things the Torridon is not! However, at the time of writing we've just had one month of rain within a single day, proof that the British climate doesn't always do lightweight. Heavyweight rainfall requires heavyweight solutions and the Torridon is just that. It's a jacket that knows what it is and isn't pretending to be anything else - it's content within its own shell. This is a good, honest, old-fashioned walking-oriented waterproof... and sometimes that's exactly what the situation calls for.
We've divided this section into men's and women's, as both are on review here. After all, both male and female products should get equal weighting. We're hopefully seeing the back of the days when women's gear was an afterthought - and there's certainly no 'shrink it and pink it' going on with the Torridon.
Men's - Rob
The Men's Torridon has what could be described as a 'generous fit', but this doesn't quite do it justice due to negative connotations of this meaning overly large, baggy, or just plain ill-fitted. For such a burly feeling jacket that's almost what might expect, but it's certainly not the case here. Yes, it's a big jacket - and definitely comes up quite large for the size (worth knowing if ordering online) - but it's impressively cut too, with good breadth across the shoulders and fantastic manoeuvrability around the arms. It's got plenty length to keep the weather out of your midriff, with the added coverage of a drop seat at the back, but it isn't so long at the front that it impedes your step (particularly on those steep uphill slopes). The only gripe I have is that, at least for me, there's maybe a little too much room across the chest, but given that it wasn't personally tailored to me I think I'm willing to let this single point slide.
The Torridon features old fashioned storm flaps. Not only do they protect from the weather but they protect the zip too, especially when coming into contact with rough mountain rock. Bring back the storm flap!
Women's - Rachael
Contrary to the 'generous' sizing of the men's fit, the women's version is more true to conventional clothes sizing. It has quite a straight cut, with a long seat that comfortably covers your bum (nice for wet days when the rain will do anything to reach your pants!). The longer length, something I'm not so used to with more "mountaineering" style jackets, feels protective and effective, even whilst scrambling. The arms and shoulders are roomy but not baggy but if you have a larger deirriére (or carry big bags up hills like I do) then it might feel a bit snug around the bottom. I do find the fit to be a "proper" size 10, rather than the more generous sizing that some jackets have edged towards these days. As an example, I wear size 10 in Rab but I find, due the the fit and shape of the Torridon, that I might have preferred a size 12. Worth thinking about if you are a borderline size, or buying online.
It will come as no surprse that the Torridon excels throughout the wetter months of the year, making it ideal for autumn and winter on the hills. Weight-wise you'll realisitically be looking for something a little less bulky in summer when - you'd hope - it isn't raining quite so much (although whether the weather chooses to stick to that is another matter altogether).
Whist hillwalking is undoubtedly its main focus, the cut is remarkably active, hence scrambling is completely on the cards. This is further aided by the fact that the Torridon's face fabric is highly abrasion resistant, and hence won't disintegrate at the first sign of some rough mountain rock.
The original Torridon featured Gore-Tex XCR, but a lot has changed in the membrane market since that point, not least the industry aim of removing PFCs and introducing more recycled materials into the mix. Sprayway have integrated this here, using 3-Layer Gore Tex that is PFC free and constructed using recycled polyester. The 75 denier face fabric has a solid and protective feel, further adding to the Torridon's reassuring nature in the event of a downpour, and general weatherproof feel (a thicker fabric will flap less in the wind, which helps you stay warmer inside).
From an environmental perspective it's worth applauding the fact that the Torridon is constructed of 100% recycled materials. The added fact that it is built to last further adds to the Torridon's green credentials.
One thing that is worth mentioning about the progressive shift away from PFCs, which is undoubtedly a good thing as far as the environment is concerned, is that waterproof jackets have - over time - got less durably waterproof. As such, with the modern generation of PFC free jackets (of all kinds, including Gore Tex) you'll ultimately be needing to re-proof them more often than you would have previously.
Weight-wise the Men's model comes in at 640g (size M). This isn't the lightest, but it certainly isn't the heaviest either. At the end of the day, this isn't the jacket you would be considering if weight was your prime concern, as its focus is fundamentally elsewhere, namely durability and protection from the elements.
Men's - Rob
If you've read this far it will come as no surprise that the Torridon has an absolutely whopping hood. Again, the priority of this jacket is to keep the elements out and if there's one thing on a wet and windy day that is guaranteed to annoy and ruin the experience, it's a hood of insufficient size.
The hood featured here is large enough to take a helmet, but has ample adjustment courtesy of the bungee cords at the side and back. A wired peak means that even in the gustiest of gales it stays still and - on those rare occasions when it is calm and dry - there's a velcro tab at the back so you can roll it away.
An excellent mountain hood, this was tested out on a rather breezy day in Snowdonia, where it stayed put and protected me from everything the Carneddau could throw at me.
All the features of the Torridon accord with some basic priorities: protection against the elements; comfort; and ease of use.
When it comes to the former, the Torridon features a beefy two-way zip down the front with a traditional double storm guard. These have become less common in recent years, with many brands preferring so-called waterproof zips (they never are entire'y), but we still see the double flap design as being the gold standard in weather protection. Yes it adds a fraction more weight and bulk, but only a very little.
Whilst on topic of zips, the Torridon features two large hand pockets, both of which are capable of fitting a map inside. On the inside there's a further two pockets: one with zip closure (ideal for valuables) and the other with an open top elastic (ideal for fleece gloves, hand warmers, or hats). Finally, like them or loathe them, the Torridon features pit zips. Speak to some people and they love them, speak to others and they don't, but whatever your position they do have a place in increasing the jacket's breathability during long approaches and/or uphill slogs.
Pit zips: Whilst I really like pit-zips for those wet days when I am working hard, I find these pit zips to be positioned right beneath my rucksack straps, which makes it difficult to open/close them whilst wearing a pack. But once open they do the job really well.
Pockets: There is a really neat little 'shelf' inside the pockets to solve that annoying problem of doing up your pack straps and then realising your phone/compass/snacks have dropped down into the depths of the pocket, trapped by the waist belt.
Storm flaps: These took a little while to get used to but, again, we are left wondering why manufacturers have moved away from this style. They may be retro, but they work! Not only do they protect from the weather but they protect the zip too, especially when coming into contact with rough mountain rock. Bring back the storm flap! The Torridon also features double zips all over: great for movement and getting to things when you need to.
Cuffs are easily wide enough to accommodate a mountain glove but not so wide as to become a wizard's sleeve, and the hook-and-loop fastening is durable and stitched on well, unlike some 'bonded' fastenings on other jackets.
Referring back to a line from earlier in the review, the Torridon is built to meet some basic but important needs: protection against the elements; comfort; and ease of use. It may not be rocket science, but this jacket does these well. It's a no-compromise mountain walking jacket that is built to be pitted against the elements in highly unfavourable conditions. The fact it's built to last is an added appeal, because whilst it may not be the lightest, this is a jacket we can see ourselves wearing for a long, long time before any sign of wear becomes apparent. Being made using recycled materials should also add to its appeal. For wet weather scrambling, hill walking in the foulest ming, and winter hills, this solid and protective shell is all the jacket you're likely to need. At £300 it's a premium product, but the cut and quality reflect this. Top marks to Sprayway for pulling off this revival of an old classic.
Our pinnacle hillwalking shell. Fully featured and built around our function first ethos.
- Weight: 640g (men's size M)
- 3-layer GORE-TEX 75D PFCec FREE recycled polyester plain weave fabric
- Grown on, fully adjustable Hill Hood with a wired peak and roll away tab feature
- 2-way centre front zip with double storm guard
- 2 zipped hand pockets with map shelf, 1 inner zipped stretch softshell pocket, 1 inner stretch mesh elastane bound stash pocket
- 2-way pit zips
- Concealed drawcord waist adjustment
- Adjustable cuffs
- Adjustable split hem drawcords
- 100% recycled polyester, PTFE membrane
For more info see sprayway.com