Wanderlust – one of these English words that cannot be easily translated into any other language. If was asked to define brand’s philosophy or mission in case of Craghoppers I would probably choose this very word. They don’t make stuff designed for some very specific activity. No climbing jackets, no skitouring pants. No accesories that would be used in some strictly defined scenario only. They make versatile, universal clothing and items that you can take for any journey, however long would it be, and be certain that:
one – they will be as waterproof or as warm as expected
two – they will last forever. I’m dead serious – forever. All their clothing gets lifetime warranty. Let me say that again – life time warranty for clothes! Hard to beat.
This jacket is fairly Simple. Straightforward cut, basic features – but these should be seen as compliments since it does not lack anything.
The most important part of such piece is the insulation. Craghoppers uses their own patent – ThermoPro. Irregularly placed fibers are supposed to mimic natural down, trapping as much warm air inside as possible in the smallest possible space. The jacket is indeed very light and thin. There’s a lot of quilting which means lots of seams where you get no insulation, but…
The fabric on the inside is using technology with a flashy name – Dynamic 12000. By the way, they got an award for that at the biggest outdoor fair – ISPO. Some of its claimed benefits are, to put it mildly, debatable. Stating the material would improve your well-being is not totally scientific, sounds a little like referring to cosmic energy – you just have to believe it I guess. The fact that it reflects some heat that human body emits is very down to earth though. Nothing sketchy about it. It’s working similarly to NRC foil (the silver and gold blankets you see at the finish line of every marathon event) which – funny enough – is cosmic technology, inveneted in the 60’s for NASA. It seems to work indeed. I say “seems” since it would be hard to measure. My impression is it takes less time to feel warmth in this jacket than in other ones of similar weight. Outside fabric is ripstop, light and thin, and DWR treated. It will stand only light rain, but since synthetic insulation, unlike down, still works when wet – you don’t have to run for cover as soon as it starts raining or snowing.
There are three pockets. Two side, handwarming pockets with the right one acting as a stuff sack for the jacket. It’s quite spacious so you won’t struggle trying to put it inside. And large enough that I used it as a pillow. The third pocket has “invisible zipper” with a tiny handle and might be somewhat hard to locate but this is the whole point. It is kind of a secret pocket. Especially since inside it there’s another internal pocket that blocks RFID signal. Bank cards or passport hidden there will be safe, and it’s not that paranoic when you check how cheaply you can get an RFID reader.
Ends of the string that’s around the hem and used to adjust it are a little too far on the inside, slightly awkward to reach to – the upside is they work both ways one handed. I was slightly surprised they did not use YKK zippers – and that’s a widely accepted quality standard – but since you get lifetime warranty I would not worry about it too much. A nice details is the button at the bottom of the zipper. You can have the zipper open and keep the jacket from flapping around.
The cut is quite loose. This is an M, the one I should have based on their size chart and it is quite large. It does not have to be close fitting though since it was not designed for any highly intensive outdoor activity. You can put it on just about any number of layer you have already put on so it will be a great choice as a backup, extra layer you would take for a hike, just in case. Don’t know about you, but in the winter I take a backup insulation layer for every hike.