Craghoppers Roag Softshell Jacket
Similar to a Buffalo Windcheater Jacket, the fibre pile inner lining provides warmth in colder temperatures even when wearing just a base layer or directly against the skin. The outer shell offers good protection against the wind and will keep all but the worst rain out. Works well even when wet.
- Manmade micro fibres do not have good environmental track record.
- Tight around the arm pits
This is similar in principle to a Buffalo Designs Windcheater Jacket, but significantly cheaper, which suits my Forest School budget. I have worn this since the beginning of the new year during chillier days in the forest. Worn with a buff around the neck this jacket kept has me warm whether standing still or on the move in temperatures down to freezing.
The jacket has a warmth rating of 1 which is "regular" on the Craghoppers scale (temperatures ranging from 15 down to 5 Celsius) so it performs better for me than the rating suggests. Resist the temptation to wear too many layers underneath this jacket. It is best worn with just a base layer or even directly next to the skin so that the inner fleece lining works at is most efficient like this. I wear a buff around my neck to prevent heat escaping from the neck area and I have been very comfortable all day through. It does not build up sweat as there is no waterproof membrane and it has kept me dry in showers or steady rain.
The jacket has a full zip and generous pockets which I find are very comfortable (some pockets have a really itchy, scratchy feel which I find really uncomfortable). There is a drawcord around the hem which can be tightened to trap more heat inside the jacket, though I rarely use this on any jacket.
At £40 this is significantly cheaper than a Buffalo, so it is good value for money and the quality of construction suggests it will last for several seasons if well looked after.
The only issue I have with this jacket is that it is a bit tight around the armpits; Craghoppers could have been a little more generous here. The jacket does not come with a hood. I actually prefer this as I find attached hoods restrict my field of view and I prefer to wear a hat.
Finally, the issue of micro fibres is a significant factor here as the jacket is made from synthetic material. Whilst Cragghoppers are making every effort to reduce the environmental impact of their products (the jacket is PFC-free) there is no escaping the fact that when it is washed, fibres will be shed.
Over all, given the price tag I have been very impressed with this jacket, which actually performs better than the rating suggests. The pockets are generous and comfortable but it will not suit people who "work out" and have a large chest. Then there's all those fibres being released into the rivers and oceans...
I have worn this jacket extensively since the new year all day through when the temperature has dropped below 10 Celsuis down to 0 at my Forest School. This involves periods of standing still as well as walking but nothing strenuous.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £40
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Historic Range: $69.73