Craghoppers Kiwi Gore Tex® Jacket Cadet
The single most difficult item of kit for me to get right has been wet weather gear, sure a full sailing rig would be guaranteed to keep me dry but I just don't want to be humping heavy weight waterproofs about if it isn't actually raining. The thing with the weather here is that rain can come at any time, the most beautiful morning can give way to an afternoon of squalls or heavy downpours. In fact it is actually quite rare for it to rain all day long. Given the unpredictable nature of the weather you can do one of two things - just wear your normal gear and if it rains you get wet, I have done that in the past even though there was a fair chance it might rain, it's an uncomfortable way to endure a days archery and I won't be doing it again. Another option is to carry some serious waterproofs which are cumbersome and just get in the way.
The option I chose last time was to use a cheap plastic type jacket with taped seams - it did stop the water getting in, but it also stopped the vapour getting out , and when you are negotiating a really steep course the exertion will leave you wetter in this type of jacket than if you had not bothered with it.
Once again Craghoppers were tasked with solving this problem for me. The brief, "it looks like it may rain but it might not, I need a jacket that is light, waterproof, breathable and one that is loose enough to allow me to scramble about but not so baggy that I can't shoot." That should cause them a few problems, I thought.
The Craghoppers solution is the Kiwi Gore Tex ® Jacket. This is a serious jacket, I know that some people might class this as expensive but for folk that spend so much time outdoors and at the mercy or the weather it's hard to put a price on being dry and warm when the weather is foul. I have learned the hard way that almost every time you get what you pay for and buying cheap generally means you will be purchasing again fairly shortly. My motto is most definitely buy quality and you buy just once.
The Jacket itself is billed as an interactive performance shell which sounds pretty impressive, performance I get and shell I understand, not entirely sure how I will interact with it other than wear it. However the first and very reassuring thing ( other than the price) is the fact that it is Gore Tex ® , that means it will let moisture out but not in, it means it is breathable so I am not going to end up drenched whilst climbing up to the top of a hill. The material the jacket is made from is polyester with a Gore tex membrane and is quite light and folds easily, so if I don't want to wear it right now I can carry it in my belt pack ready for when I need it. The back has a mesh lining which also helps to keep body heat from building inside.
In addition to the main zip there is a storm flap on each side with poppers, the cuffs are part elasticated but have Velcro closures to secure the wrists - I like that as I hate water running up my arm.
There are no inside pockets and I am guessing this is on account of the inside zip where the jacket is designed to take a zip in lining like a fleece - this I guess makes it interactive. There are however two good deep pockets on the outside at the sides which have storm flaps and zips. There is also a concealed pocket at the breast inside the main storm flaps, it's designed to take an OS map, which could be a useful thing. One thing for sure is that for me you can never have too many pockets.The collar is quite plush with a soft felt feeling lining around the inside. The collar also contains the hood which has a wire peak - thank god, I do hate hoods with no peak stiffening mechanism, if there is nothing then it just flops over the face, this one can be adjusted to allow a brim, something which makes it especially important to me as I wear glasses and shooting in the rain can be a real issue. There are draw cord adjustments at both the waist and hem.
So, it is breathable, waterproof and light as I wanted, it is also wind proof. Craghoppers are so confident that they have guaranteed it's waterproofness and windproofness. The question is, is this a jacket that makes sense for archers? As I said right at the beginning, for me a waterproof jacket solution has thus far eluded me - happily I can report that it does exactly what it promises to do- I shoot happily in the knowledge that I have in my small pack a proper waterproof that will keep me shooting in comfort when the weather turns ugly - and if it doesn't I am still happy because it weighs so little I won't even notice it.
Reviewed By Caroline, 24 May 2010
WOMENS KIWI GORE TEX® JACKET
I wore this jacket on a particularly wet day for a shoot in the woods, a great opportunity to see how it performed under field archery conditions. For one thing it was certainly waterproof. By the end of the day I was still totally dry and I had been warm with only a few thin layers underneath, namely a t-shirt and micro fleece. There is the option to zip in a compatible fleece. Yes it was breathable as I did not feel sticky and uncomfortable throughout the day.
The most impressive feature for me was the hood. Most waterproof jackets I have worn for archery have useless hoods that just get in the way when you are shooting and you are left with a blind side as you turn your head to shoot. With the Kiwi jacket I secured the hood and found that the brim had a thin wire that I could bend into a shape so as to keep it clear of the string when I shot. It also helped to keep the rain out of my eyes, a good thing when you wear glasses as you do not have to clean them every 2 seconds. When I turned my head the hood moved with you so visibility was clear all the time.
It has the usual zip secure deep pockets and a deep zipped map pocket inside which I could keep all my bits and bobs dry. Nothing worse than a soggy tissue and unreadable score card.
I can roll this jacket up quite small to fit into my waist bag which is a bonus. I hate carry a jacket that takes up so much room, it tends to get left in the boot of the car. But I will not be caught out again in the rain. It is so lightweight to carry, only 800g and very handy, giving all the benefits you need on a very wet day. Afterwards it really dried out quickly. Having this jacket in the rain made me forget about the weather and left me to concentrate on my shooting. You can’t get better than that!!
It comes in two colours and starts from a size 8 up to size 20, Craghoppers have a good size range for women in all their garments.
Features & Design
This is right at the top of the Craghoppers range, a high performance jacket designed to keep out the elements yet keep you from steaming up inside it.
It guarantees to work ..... and it does.
Value for Money
£160 is not an inconsiderable sum and this should be regarded as an investment in yourself as much as an investment in a quality garment.
If like me you haven't addressed the wet weather gear problem, then you need to take a close look at this jacket, remember, if you don''t buy quality then you are just buying yourself a problem.