Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

An insulated jacket for downpours

2nd February 2022

One of the problems with a down jacket is that it loses its heat retention properties when it gets wet. Hence, I am reluctant to use them whenever rain is forecast. Jackets with hydrophobic down are available and I have one of those made by Rab but even these cannot be assumed to be downpour proof, particularly the outer does not feel rain resistant and the Rab jacket is like that. Whenever I have got caught out in the rain with it on me, a Mountain Equipment that I acquired years ago did not suffer too much and even that still does not assuage my concerns.

Having gotten baptised by heavy rain at the start of the year, my mind turned to a solution I had known for some time: insulated jackets with synthetic fillings. These are not as susceptible to lowered performance as their down counterparts but have not been as warm. With the latest materials, that has changed a bit so I started looking at possibilities.

Haglöfs Särna Mimic Jacket

Thus, an item from the Swedish manufacturer Haglöfs has come into my possession and it’s a Särna Mimic like the one in the photo except that mine is blue. Mine came at a reduced price from Cotswold Outdoor, which was even nicer. It can be ordered direct from the manufacturer too but that means paying full price and possibly incurring the delivery costs and extended delivery times as well.

So many jackets like it come with hoods that some might wonder why I went for something without a hood but I tend to wear caps and hats instead. The fit is slim but still fine for me and the bulk is not as much as the jackets to which I am accustomed. The pockets are not lined like the down jackets that I have so you might wonder how it works on winter nights.

It looks bulkier in the photo than is in the flesh but this did not affect how warm it felt while wearing it. For really cold nights with no chance of rain, a down jacket remains my preference and I have no qualms using them in snow or hail. Nevertheless, the new jacket has supplanted what I used to wear a lot because of the added assurance of its wet weather performance. It also has helped that I walk everywhere a lot and so heat up, especially when out walking for evening exercise after working from home during the day. As I had hoped, the jacket works well in the rain too so I am happy with this purchase.

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