Head to the hills with impunity under the protection of a new walking jacket
1 Mammut Teton
Made from the same Gore-Tex C-Knit fabric as the Berghaus Civetta, the Teton boasts similarly effective pit zips to combat clamminess. On both jackets these zips are a potential weak spot compared to the closed construction of the Sprayway and Rab, but we’d take that risk for the luxury of staying cooler and drier as we head uphill. The Teton has an excellent two-way adjustable hood and two good pockets, but no external chest pocket. It’s a slightly shorter, closer fit than the Berghaus, and the sleeves are better shaped, so if you’re looking for a walking jacket that might occasionally double up for mountain biking, this has the slightest of edges.
Verdict: If it’s in your budget, don’t hesitate.
2 Lundhags Greij jacket
If you’ll definitely head to the hills and mountains regardless of the forecast, then skip to the next jacket now. But if you reserve your walks for drier days with the prospect of showers, the Greij could be just what you’re looking for. The soft polycotton fabric is soft, quiet and moves easily, compared to the stiffness of some of the shell jackets. The pockets are easily accessed when wearing a rucksack, and the hood and cuffs fasten tightly to thwart the elements. But only the hood and shoulders are waterproof – the main body is merely water resistant, and after 90 minutes in a downpour the sleeves started to saturate.
Verdict: Supremely comfortable, but not fully waterproof.
3 Jack Wolfskin Firebow
The only insulated jacket on test, the Firebow offers a different type of solution for winter walking. On the plus side, it’s comfortable with nothing but a baselayer underneath on cool days but on the downside the padding denies the full layering flexibility of its rivals here. It’s certainly the warmest jacket on test, and if you need a waterproof for family strolls or even watching the kids play football, the Firebow is a competitively priced offering. But for serious walks, a rucksack belt makes the hand pockets inaccessible, and it lagged behind the others in terms of breathability when we raised our effort levels.
Verdict: Good for slower paced, lower effort outdoor activities.
4 Berghaus Civetta
A top dollar price for top-drawer performance from this three-layer Gore-Tex jacket that uses Gore’s new C-Knit fabric, like the Mammut Teton. It’s the most breathable Gore construction yet, and allied with pit zips for ventilation the Civetta and Teton are the coolest jackets here when the going gets hot. The stiff-peaked hood is excellent in a gale, and it’s really useful to be able to tighten the hood with one hand. The deep chest pocket takes a map, and the high chin guard leaves little but the eyes exposed if rain, hail or snow fall horizontally, although it soon gets steamy when fully zipped up over nose and mouth.
Verdict: Pricey, but with first class performance.
5 Rab Bergen
The Bergen exudes a sense that when the going gets tough it will prove to be the toughest of shields. Its key details are all reassuringly robust, from the external storm flap to the zips, pockets and excellent wired hood; it feels equipped to face down the heaviest deluge. Its slightly longer cut even covers your backside for greater protection, and the relatively long sleeves mean your arms stay covered when reaching up to cross a ladder style or for scrambling. Slogging up a lengthy hill carrying a rucksack, this eVent jacket felt every bit as breathable as its Gore-tex rivals, although frankly all of them led to a sweaty back.
Verdict: An excellent hill-walking jacket for wet British peaks.
6 Sprayway Zeus
Made from tried and tested three-layer Gore-Tex there should be no weatherproofing issues with the Zeus, even if there are more modern and breathable Gore fabrics available. It’s a generous cut, which offers the opportunity of a billows effect as you walk to circulate air if the cuffs and neck are open. And when it’s time to batten down the hatches, the jacket stands up to monsoon-level rain. The adjustable hood, which is spacious enough to accommodate a helmet for climbing, moves really well with the head, and the large chest pocket easily swallows an Ordnance Survey map.
Look carefully, and you’ll find it on sale for the bargain price of £187 at GoOutdoors.co.uk.
Verdict: A robust, reliable walking jacket.