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Kit review: Jack Wolfskin waterproof jacket

Written by Fiona April 19 2012

Don’t ask me why, but I have long coveted a Jack Wolfskin jacket. It could be the name… I like the sound of “wolfskin”! But more likely, it’s the logo. I love the wolf pawprint! I know this shouldn’t be the basis for choosing a jacket, and until I was offered one to test by the company itself, I hadn’t been swayed to buy a jacket simply for its logo, however you will believe that I howled with excitement when I was sent the Jack Wolfskin Women’s Ascent jacket.

First impressions of the jacket included:

* Great fit, especially for my long arms and long-ish body.

* Really nice feminine-fit shape.

* Fab bright red colour (the Glacier Blue also looks cool)

* Good number of pockets (I like my pockets!)

* Excellent and adjustable hood

* Lovely details, such as arm pocket and arm-pit zips for ventilation.

But the proof is always in the testing…

Jack Wolfskin jacket in the Scottish mountains

I took the jacket on a Munro walk and a walk into Sandwood Bay. By chance, the G-Force and Mr and Ms Awesome also sported red waterproof jackets so I felt like I was part of their gang! I think mine was the smartest, and no-one else had the Wolfskin pawprint!

Red alert: Ms Awesome and FionaOutdoors in red!

Red alert: Ms Awesome and FionaOutdoors in red!

The jacket is designed for high energy outdoor sports, such as fast walking. It has the benefits of “more stretch comfort, more breathability and more protection” to cope with all that the elements might throw at you. Indeed, I experienced sunshine, rain, snow and hail during my test walks.

While I would normally choose a jacket that is slightly looser fitting I found that the Ascent jacket moved with my movements, so to speak. It felt great to have a well-fitting jacket (I could still fit several layers underneath) yet enjoy full movement of arms and shoulders.

The technical details: Jack Wolfskin call it “dynamic breathability”. The blurb adds: “This jacket is tailored from TEXAPORE AIR O2+ STRETCH, a weather-protection fabric with cross stretch properties for enhanced freedom of movement. It is this fabric that is also responsible for the remarkable climate comfort, with constant air exchange through the air permeable, waterproof and windproof fabric membrane accelerating the moisture vapour transmission rate, so that the breathability increases the more you move.”

Wanna be in our "red" gang?!

Wanna be in our "red" gang?!

Certainly I suffered very little in the way of dampness inside my jacket. The rain stayed out and the sweat mostly evaporated. I was able to unzip the pits for extra breeze when the going became brisker and warmer, and then rezip when we reached cooler, higher levels.

When the wind and rain hit us, I made good use of the “integral summit hood” with its “adjustable volume and field of vision and reinforced peak”. This is the first time I have used a fully adjustable hod and I liked it very much. I could adjust the hood to fit snugly around my head so that the wind was kept out but I could still see all around me.

However, there were a couple of aspects that I didn’t rate quite so highly. These wouldn’t stop me buying the jacket but they are worth considering. The “extra high storm collar” was great for protection but it would benefit from a softer inner fabric. Most jackets have a lightweight fleece protection on the inner part of the collar, which feels nice and soft against the face. It wasn’t much of a problem but more of a tiny irritation.

Great hood! Having a lie down on the Munro top

Great hood! Having a lie down on the Munro top

The two raised side pockets were also rendered useless when wearing a rucksack with a waistbelt. Perhaps it was my rucksack or my body shape, but with the rucksack waistband done up I couldn’t easily access the side pockets. I noticed that the G-Force’s pockets on his Changabang jacket are more central and higher up, so that he can still get into them when the waistband of his rucksack is done up.

To be honest, I wouldn’t usually use the pockets so it wasn’t a big problem but when given a handful of Sports Mixture by Ms Awesome, I wanted a place to keep them dry while I snacked on them one by one. I ended up stuffing them all into my mouth at once because I could easily access the pockets! As I said, this wouldn’t be a deal breaker but it is worth thinking about if you constantly use the front pockets and wear a rucksack with a waist belt.

I would also happily use this jacket for cycling, running and snowboarding.

Overall, for looks, fit, performance, versatility and useability, I would give this jacket a hearty eight out of ten.

There is a men’s Jack Wolfskin Ascent jacket, too

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