Hey, nice to see you again! Hope you are doing well and came well into 2018!
I might have found the perfect shell jacket – at least for me. Of course there does not exist any jack of all trades device (or how we say in Germany … Eierlegende Wollmilchsau which means a pig that gives us eggs wool milk and meat), allthough the often praised swiss army knife has a really good mix of functionality and minimalism.
A shell jacket does primarily have to protect me from heavy rain – at least for a short amount of time. It also should be wind-tight and at least a bit breathable. It has to fit snug, but also has to give room for a bit of layering underneath, and should not restrict my movement. Colour-wise i want to have a dark, possibly black, jacket, and might expand my colour pallette later.
jackets i wear at the time
For the last few years i had a red 2.5 layers Jack Wolfskin Jacket as a hardshell. Quality wise, it is great – it protects me from wind and water and is a well made garment for its price. The problem is it does not fit me. It is a size L and while it fits OK on my neck, the arms are really short for my long thin arms, and the bottom of the jacket bulks out at the waist to a circumferece of … way too big. Here is this jacket on me:
I then bought my Icepeak softshell jacket, on which I got lucky with its arm length. All the jackets a mall here in Aachen had in the store were at a normal arms length, but this one had longer arms than all the others – and i bought it. I now have this softshell for around one year, and it serves me well. Had to re-coat it with a DWR coating a few weeks back, though.
But both jackets do not fit all my needs: the Jack Wolfskin one is too short and too bulky at the same time, while the softshell is not waterproof, so i wet out after an hour of walking in the rain – heavy hikes in it are not possible either.
The Zeno Jacket
The hardshell i found is the Mountain Equipment Zeno Jacket. ME have their so-calles mountain fit, which gives you much room in the shoulders and arms area, but the jacket tapers down to the waist. This makes you move comfortably with your arms, even lifting the hands far up to reach for a gripping bar in the bus, for example, while the bottom of the jacket does not move anywhere. They really perfected this fit for climbing in high mountains, but of course it is also great in urban areas if you want a jacket you really can move in. Their sleeves are cut longer than usual wich makes up for my long arms and they are cut for a maximum range of motion. I tried on their Janack Jacket and it fits perfectly.
The pockets are set in high enough that you can use them with a waist belt, which does perfectly fit to my new backpack, the Tasmanian Tiger Modular Pack 30, on which I will do a review soon.
The Zeno Jacket uses a 2.5 Layer hydrophilic DRILITE membrane system. This membrane is not as wear and tear resistant than a full gore tex shell, but since it is hydrophilic instead of a hydrophobic membrane like gore tex, it has a greater resistance to all the oils and fats our skin perspirates permanently into the jacket. So while it is not as durable as full priced jackets, it fits my needs as a city dweller perfectly.
Now I only have to wait until the ordered black Zeno Jacket arrives at the store – which will be in a few weeks.
I will wait until the ordered Zeno Jacket has arrived and will then write a proper review about it. until then, i hope that the weather does not get too bad here.
Do you already have a well-built rain jacket that fits your needs ? If yes, which would you recomment others?