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A guide to 3-in-1 jackets for winter

Written by Fiona

October 22 2015

This weekend the clocks go back in the UK and many people view this as the start of winter proper. The chances are we will now be seeing far more rain, wind and cold.

Here, kit reviewer Helena Walden, gives her thoughts on 3-in-1 jackets, based on the selection available at M and M Direct.

A 3-in-1 coat is generally a wise investment for varied climates and people with different activity levels. The jacket is essentially comprised of two separate layers: A fleece (inner) layer and a shell (outer) layer.

Also advertised as “two-layer” jackets, these combine the two separate elements to create a customisable garment for different needs.

So, a base layer can be worn on its own for a brisk walk on an autumn day. The shell can be worn on its own on a wet day. And, then, when it’s cold and wet the 3-in-1 jacket can be utilised together.

These jackets offer great versatility and excellent value for money.

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In rainy Britain, a waterproof layer is going to be the most important thing to focus on in a jacket, so keep an eye out for the grade of protection you’ll need. There are lighter “showerproof” shell materials, and fully weatherproof materials, which will be made from a watertight membrane and ensure all zips and seams are fully sealed to protect you from leaks. Usually the main difference between shower proof and fully waterproof is price because the latter is more costly to design and produce.

The most waterproof membrane is usually made of Gore-Tex or eVent, or a similar brand-designed version. It works wel because as well as being waterproof it is also breathable, which means that sweat can evaporate out of the jacket. If sweat doesn’t escape it will stay inside the jacket and make you damp.

These jackets work well with the artificial fleece of the inner layer to wick moisture away from the body to keep you warm and dry, even during sweaty athletic activity.

While a 3-in-1 is probably a little too light for snow sports, it’s perfect for walking, climbing, running or cycling in rain or shine.

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In terms of style, it’s fairly easy to find a length and colour to take your fancy. All manufacturers will create a bog-standard black model, but many offer a few different bright block colours (usually variations of blue, pink, and purple) for you to stand out at no extra cost.

A good quality 3-in-1 will start at around £45 and go up to £150 (and far more!), and the price different largely depends on the level of insulation needed and the designer/brand.

Be sure to look out for extra features such as big pockets, adjustable cuffs and detachable hoods.

* Thanks to writer Helena Walden for assisting with this blog.

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