Very comfortable well built 3-in-1 system from Craghoppers…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 100 dollars / 60 pounds
Very comfortable well built 3-in-1 system from Craghoppers which presents excellent value for money. Jacket is longer-cut with subtle looks making it ideal for travelling and more casual walking and hiking. The hood is excellent, and the amount of pockets and storage are more than adequate.
- Longer-cut to cover your backside
- Overall good construction (minus zipper, see cons)
- Good fleece inner
- Nice feel to fabric
- Great value-for-money
- Good (subtle) looks
- Heavy (1459 g)
- Zipper for shell sticks and is very difficult to align and Zip-up (similar on many models I tried, not just mine)
I'm personally not a very big fan of 3-in-1 systems, especially for hiking as they usually present a huge compromise in performance, and especially weight. This jacket is no different, and weighing in at nearly 1.5 kg, is pretty heavy, and unless I have to, I would not take it out on any serious hikes (although I have and it performed well enough!).
However, for travelling, where you are not aiming to do any particular hikes or are likely to encounter highly variable weather, 3-in-1's are ideal. The jacket is made of a polyester outer (Craghoppers AquaDry, which has a really nice smooth feel to it), with a removable 200 weight fleece inner (with lined sleeves, which is a nice touch).
Fit and Comfort: I found the overall fit to be excellent. Typically UK brands are sized quite differently from North American and I have to size up sometimes as much as two sizes to get a proper fit (at which point the sleeves can be too long), however for me (5 foot 10 and 1/2, 200 lbs), a Large fit perfectly and allowed for plenty of comfortable layering underneath. I found the hood in particular to be quite good with a nice hardened but flexible peak and overall good adjustment (a lot like you would expect from more technical garments).
There are no points of friction or tightness anywhere, and overall its just a great fitting jacket. Its also cut a little bit longer so its perfect for walking in foul weather. There is also a very substantial chin guard which prevents chaffing from the zippers. Removing the fleece and wearing the shell on its own is also an option, and when done that way the shell is lined and is also fairly comfortable.
Adjustability: The adjustability of this jacket is particularly good. It has Velcro cuffs, great adjustability on the hood (which can also be removed), as well as cinch chords for the hem/waist.
Water Resistance: The outer shell is Craghoppers' proprietary AquaDry polyester outer. I have worn it in very rainy Belfast weather for an entire weekend and never had it wet through to my inner layers. It also dries fairly quick once you are inside.
Breathability and Moisture: I didn't find the breathability particularly good, but also not terrible. It was quite good for my back where I managed to dry off quite quickly after some substantial exertion (800 m ascent), but my sleeves remained soaked through for quite a while.
Warmth: Being in Europe, I haven't taken this Jacket down to any very cold temperatures. It has seen weather as cold as -5 C with windchill, and it was adequate for that (but I also tend to run hot), but I wouldn't take it any lower without some serious layering underneath. The combination of a heavier outer shell and 200 weight fleece liner make it adequately warm, and its cut generous enough to allow layering underneath.
Layering: A size large for me (see above for details) is more than adequate to layer over a shirt, baselayer, plus another micro fleece or sweater and still remain substantially comfortable.
Abrasion: So far there are no signs of wear anywhere on this jacket and I have used it extensively all winter.
Ease of Use: Other than the zipper on the shell sticking and being quite difficult to get going, everything is well thought out. I thought this was just an issue on mine, but I tried several others in two other stores, and all had a similar issue, some worse than others, and mine is on the better end of the spectrum so I decided not to return it. Once you do get the zipper going, it is perfectly smooth.
Features: For a not-too expensive jacket, its loaded with nice features like a very nice adjustable and removable hood with a shaped peak, great adjustability via cinch chords throughout, and a good chin guard.
Construction and Durability: Aforementioned zipper issue aside, this jacket is built very well and has proven to be very durable throughout a good deal of use. The materials have maintained their integrity throughout several washes, and overall my impression of this product is very good.
Because of this jacket being quite heavy and the non-technical cut, I do not use this as a hiking jacket, but rather as a walking and travelling jacket. I have used it for more impromptu hikes while I was away and it has performed well enough, but I have much better options. However as a travel jacket, or evening walks in winter/bad weather this has performed brilliantly.
Zipper issue aside, it is very good and is easily on par with TNF jackets costing nearly twice as much. The value for money for this jacket is very good. The 1.5 stars I have taken off in my rating are for the zipper issue, and for the weight. Either way, its a great product and I would happily recommend it for somebody looking for a great all weather, all around jacket without breaking the bank.