Last weekend I got to try the new Fjällräven High Coast Wind Jacket during a trip to the Lake District and here is my review of the product.
The jacket is made from a waxed polyamide and organic cotton material and is very light and breathable. As the name suggests, this is a windproof jacket as well as being shower poof so will keep you a little dry should you get caught in light rain showers.
My first use of the jacket was during a hike up Blencathra. It was a clear day and quite warm when I started the hike, but as I got higher up the wind started to pick up and started to feel a little colder, so on came my High Coast jacket. The jacket certainly did its job of keeping the wind off me and help maintain a comfortable body temperature.
Although it was windy as I got closer to the summit, my baselayer top was damp with sweat in the usual places where you sweat when on a hike, however I was surprised how quickly my baselayer seemed to dry under my High Coast jacket and how breathable the jacket actually was when wearing on top of a damp baselayer. I often find when hiking that you always seem to be taking layers off or putting layers on in order to get the right body temperature based on how strenuous the hike conditions are, I was very pleased with the combination of my baselayer and jacket and just pulled down the jacket zip if I felt I need to cool down or let more air to my upper body.
When I finally got to the summit and stop for lunch, it was a lot more windy and cooler, yet I didn’t need to put any extra layers on, I just zipped up the jacket and hood and pulled the cords to tighten the hood around my head. The jacket has a single zipped chest pocket on the left and two zipped hip pockets either side. The cuffs are elasticated and the hem of the jacket can be tightened by hidden chords at either side.
I continued to wear the jacket for whole of the descent and I just unzipped/zipped up as and when my body temperature dictated it. I also wore the jacket for most of my hike the following day in warmer, yet more changeable conditions while doing the Fairfield Horseshoe; both times the jacket protected me from the wind when needed and helped maintain my body temperature at all times.
The biggest thing that impressed me with the Fjällräven High Coast Wind Jacket was its breathability. I have worn lightweight windproof or showerproof jackets in the past and one thing what always happened was condensation/sweat inside the jacket. This never happen once with the High Coast jacket. Even when the temperature increased as I got lower down towards the start of my hikes, I never once felt condensation or sweat inside the jacket. I was actually amazed how dry the jacket was inside when I took it off.
Although I never got caught in any rain showers during the weekend (which makes a change for the Lake District), I’m sure the High Coast jacket would keep me dry in any light rain when the time comes. The waterproof level of the jacket can also be enhanced a bit by waxing it with the Greenland Wax as used on the other G-1000 based Fjällräven products, though I will wait to see how the jacket performs in light showers before giving it the waxing treatment.
I would thoroughly recommend the Fjällräven High Coast Wind Jacket as a perfect jacket for Spring or Summer adventures and look forward to putting it through its paces more over the coming months.
UPDATE 7th May 2015
Last weekend I got to test this jacket in more wet and windy conditions. Last Thursday I got caught in strong winds, hail, snow and light rain for nearly 2 hours during a hike in the Lake District. The jacket held up very well in the light rain, snow and hail showers, in that the jacket kept my baselayer completely dry. Two days later I was caught in much stronger winds and heavier rain while on another hike for a period of over 5 hours.
This time the jacket did become a lot wetter than previously in lighter showers and shorter time. The jacket was wet through but I was wearing it on top of my Keb Loft down jacket. Although my Keb jacket was damp on the outside, it still kept my baselayer completely dry. So basically the High Coast Wind Jacket certainly does its job in more moderate conditions over a shorter period of time, but if caught out in more heavier rain and for longer periods then the jacket will get wet, but it’s not designed for such conditions and would be best with a more heavy duty waterproof jacket.