If you are fed up trying to find a conventional windproof and waterproof jacket, the Craghoppers Robens Stretch Jacket is well worth a look.
For me, keeping dry, rather than warm, is the main priority when I am looking for a new rain jacket. I tend to wear layers on the basis it's easy to remove them. An old bass fisherman once told me that people don't realise how much heat is trapped between each layer and it's always better to plan for the harshest temperatures than go out with a single layer under a jacket (however breathable or windproof the jacket your're wearing might be)
This golden nugget of advice has served me well over the years, even on the harshest, coldest days in December, fishing from the rocks in the far west of Cornwall, hunting down that elusive, double figure bass!
As a lure angler, I have worn many gore-tex based products, including waders and jackets. I have also worn through many windstoppers and 'breathable' waterproof jackets.
I use 'breathable' lightly, as I have never found a sub £200 jacket to be breathable when put through it's paces, in terms of a brisk walk round the town or a dogged climb down a cliff edge.
Although the Robens comes with underarm vents to help it's advertised breathability qualities and bearing in mind I am fairly active and fit (with a little puppy fat) for my age, I did sweat a little with just one breathable layer underneath on a pleasant Autumn day with temperatures around 12c. The vents made little difference.
I don't normally sweat, so on this particular day, I ended up taking the jacket off!!
I have tested the breathability again on colder days, with single layers and I have still felt myself 'heating up' around the underarm areas.
The next and most important test for me is finding out just how 'waterproof' a jacket really is and the Robens has so far come through with flying colours. I have been out in all weathers, including the weekend of Storm Brian and spent a good hour exposed to a deluge of rain for over an hour. I can therefore certainly vouch for the 'waterproofness' of a jacket that is rated to 12,000mm which is impressive at the price.
A jacket only needs to be able to withstand 1,500mm of water under pressure to be classed as waterproof, so the Robens is 8 times more waterproof.
The water beads off nicely too - it's a pleasure to behold!
The last test centred around the windproof qualities of the jacket and I tested it on a cold winters day with a standard, short sleeved thermal t-shirt underneath. That was impressive! I could feel no cold spots anyway around my torso and my arms remained at ambient temperature. I certainly couldn't feel the cold.
The fitting of the jacket is lovely and snug and it fitted me true to my normal sizing (medium in my case)
When I first purchased the jacket, I was a little put off by the fixed hood but I have found myself using it more than I would have, if the hood was tucked away. I would also question the point in buying a jacket with a detachable hood, as it may look a little more fashionable but you are likely to leave it at home or in the car when you need it.
I suspect there is a lot of loose hoods in people's homes that never get used!!
Another nice feature of the jacket is it fits over the back of your bottom area nicely, so there is little chance of your getting a wet bum, even if your're wearing jeans or non-waterproof trousers!
The side pockets protect your hands from the cold and I have found them very useful.
The last feature I tested was how waterproof the outside pocket was for storing a smartphone. All seems fine on that front but if you are ultra cautious, you can use the waterproof pocket inside the jacket to be 100% sure electronic gadgets are safe.
I have been really impressed with the jacket so far and will update this post if any issues arise in the future.
- Quality waterproof jacket at a wonderful price
- Keeps you dry and protects you from the wind
- Looks very smart
- Flexible material that feels comfortable
- Internal 'dry pocket' for electronic devices or valuables, including wallets
- Warm hand pockets
- It's not truly breathable
- The velcro cuffs often need adjusting
- Heat accumulates around the wrist and underarm areas at times
Take a closer look at the Robens Jacket here > Craghoppers Men's Robens Waterproof Jacket