Kit review: Jack Wolfskin Flyweight Jacket 2013
Strange things have been happening since I started writing about Jack Wolfskin. Well, perhaps they are not strange, but they are unusual. Over the months, random followers of my blog have been spontaneously emailing to say how much they love Jack Wolfskin products, and to say how they have only just found these products. So, it seems, that Jack Wolfskin’s goal to get more people to use their product is working.
I have always known of Jack Wolfskin clothing, but I had seen it as a more rambling/Countryfile style of clothing. Added to this I’d rarely seen products for sale outside of the Lake District (don’t ask me why but that’s where I recall spotting Jack Wolfskin a couple of decades or so ago!)
Then Jack Wolfskin contacted me and asked me to try some of the new products. I was happy to do so because I am a fan of their logo – and because I was intrigued by their new offerings in outdoor clothing.
This summer I am testing some of the new range of Jack Wolfskin 2013 products, which aren’t yet available to buy but will be next year. I loved the
Jack Wolfskin performance fleece, so soft and lightweight and cosy.
Cycling with the Jack Wolfskin Flyweight Jacket
While in the French Alps on a cycling holiday I put the Jack Wolfskin Flyweight Jacket to the test. The Alps were toasty warm for most of the week but when you’re cycling in high mountains it is vital that you carry some kind of weather protecting outer layer.
Being so super lightweight and compacting into the smallest of balls to fit in the outside pocket of my cycling jersey I decided to take the Flyweight jacket with me. I didn’t want to be weighted down by a heavier and bulkier cycling jacket, so the Flyweight version from Jack Wolfskin seemed ideal.
What Jack Wolfskin says about the Flyweight jacket:
“This is the lightest softshell jacket from Jack Wolfskin. The double-faced fabric weighs just 58g/m² (only half that of a sheet of paper), but has all of the performance characteristics you would expect from a softshell: water resistance, windproofing, stretch properties and extreme breathability. This superlight, technical summer softshell has a compact pack size and is ideal for trail running.”
In addition: “Trimmed down to the bare essentials, this softshell can be stowed in a chest pocket or even a hip pocket to be carried with you.”
My test-cycle with the Jack Wolfskin Flyweight jacket
It is uber-light. Amazingly light! It popped inside the back pocket of my cycling jersey and I never again thought about it. Which meant it must be light because I hate anything too bulky and heavy in my pockets.
I also wore the jacket while cycling uphill and downhill. Going up hill can be a sweat affair in the Alps. Many of the uphill col bike rides last one to two hours and so you end up a bit sweaty. On most of the rides I didn’t bother with a jacket but once morning felt a little chilly when we set out and so the lightweight jacket seemed like a good idea.
The jacket feels lovely and light to wear. The inside material also feels ok against the bare skin of my arms. Not sweaty and clingy at all, but light and feathery. Although I did sweat a lot on my back I didn’t feel sticky and clammy and I’m pretty sure the sweat was able to evaporate through my cycle jersey and the flyweight jacket. Certainly, when I stopped to remove the jacket because the sun was in full force I didn’t feel that usual wet and sweaty way that often happens when wearing other cycle jackets. You know the situation, you’re sweaty and damp and you can see sweat dripping down the inside of a jacket. Not with the flyweight jacket though.
The biggest test was windproofing, however. And it was easy to try this out while cycling downhill in the Alps. At the top of some of these cols you’re very high indeed, up to 2600m, and the minute you stop cycling uphill you start to feel the chill. It’s the height, exposure and breeze that does it. But being able to quickly pull on the Jack Wolfskin Flyweight jacket really helped. It immediately seemed to insulate me against the breeze.
When whizzing downhill I often needed a bit of insulating protection. I reached speeds of up to 45mph and so you can imagine the windchill factor on my body was high. While wearing the Flyweight I felt brilliantly cosy. I didn’t want to be hot but I did want to stop the wind chilling me. These descents can last quite a time and because you rarely pedal you are not building up any natural body heat to keep you warm. I loved the flyweight jacket for its ability to keep the wind out.
Another time, when we’d been cycling all day and were heading back in the cooler early evening, the jacket became even more useful. It was my only insulation other than what I was wearing for the day’s ride and it offered protection against the cooler temperatures as the sun dropped behind the mountains. For such a lightweight fabric it was surprisingly good at keep the warmth in and the chill out.
Other things I like about the Jack Wolfskin Flyweight jacket
- It’s a fresh white colour and has reflective detailing (even the Wolfskin prints on the outer sleeves are reflective!), which means you’ll be seen, whether out for a run or on a bike
- The woman’s version fits nicely and has pink detailing, which looks good
- The arms are long enough for even me. I have long arms and when on a bike I need a jacket that has arms long enough to reach my hand seven when in the cycling position, and the flyweight jacket does that.
- It packs up into a tiny ball for ease of stowing when out in the hills walking, running or cycling.
- Useful breast pocket is great for stowing small things, such as a key or a handful of jelly babies.
- It feels good to wear. It’s light and airy feeling but without being baggy. It feels summer sporty.
- It looks smart enough to wear to the pub if that is the only jacket you have taken with you on holiday!
Please note that I did not test the jacket for its water resisting properties. There wasn’t an opportunity because it didn’t rain. This jacket isn’t meant to be robustly waterproof anyway so it’s not ideal for very wet days. It’s for times when you need protection from a bit of rain but mostly wind and chilliness.
In conclusion: This is a superb lightweight jacket that is great for keeping out the wind. I would wear it for hill walking, running and cycling, mainly in the summer months in Scotland and abroad. The range of colours on ofer for next season look good, but I like the white and pink. You’ll need to keep an eye out for the new Jack Wolfskin range in shops and on the Jack Wolfskin website.