Jack Wolfskin High Amperage Jacket Review
The Jack Wolfskin High Amperage Jacket retails around £380 making it by far the most expensive in our three-way test but it’s also packed with the most outstanding technology. Read on to see what we thought.
Opinionated World wanted to find out what your hard-earned money will buy you when it comes to premium, top-of-the-range jackets. We selected three pricey models from three of our providers – Jack Wolfskin, Craghoppers and Salomon – to show you what the differences are and to highlight the positives and weaknesses of all three. To answer the question – which one is best?
For the first time, we will be using a rating system to test the jackets on a number of abilities and features that will give us an outright total and a score-based winner. Plus, you’ll still get to read the in-depth, look-at-every-aspect reviews we pride ourselves on.
The three jackets we have selected are listed below and you can click to head over and read the reviews – links will be updated as the other reviews roll out.
Jack Wolfskin have transformed their clothing range in the last couple of years, bringing in a new and pleasing style that is impossible to mistake for any other brand – one that brings vibrant and lightly contrasting colours with alluring highlights, suitably placed logos and inconspicuous technology descriptions. High Amperage Jacket demonstrates this to full effect, particularly in the ‘Night Sky’ variant we were sent. This jacket takes a couple of different blues with light grey zips and yellow/green accents on the logos and security pockets to give us one of the most aesthetically pleasing layers currently on the market.
The Jack Wolfskin paw print is prominent on the left bicep and along with the full logo on both the front and back of the jacket. The almost fluorescent yellow used as an accent colour couldn’t have been better selected to mix with the blues covering the rest of the jacket. Aesthetically I cannot find fault with the High Amperage Jacket.
Texapore Softshell Infinity Hyproof is used as the fabric throughout the jacket. This is a fifty-fifty mix of polyamide and polyester which gives it not only a nice stretch but the most luxurious softness you will find in a rain jacket. Technology names tend to mean very little when it comes to the actual product but rest assured, the High Amperage jacket is definitely worthy of the ‘softshell’ name they applied to it. This material also alleviates creases and crinkles throughout, even when it’s been shoved tightly into a rucksack.
The result of this technology when you’re getting rained on is even more impressive. Boasting a 30,000mm waterproof rating, it beats the Salomon Tour2 by a multiple of three and even sits comfortably above the Goretex used in the Bear Grylls Expedition Jacket. Anything above 20k has little significance but it is impressive none the less. Taking into account the breathability ratings of the other two jackets, the 35,000g/m²/24h (grams of water vapour through a metre square of fabric over a 24 hour period) rating of the High Amperage is even more profound. This means you stay bone-dry dry in any conditions while remaining, dry and sweat free on the inside.
Waterproof ratings are measured by placing a 1” square tube over the fabric and determining how high a column of water – measured in millimetres – can be suspended over it without leaking. The higher the number, the more waterproof the jacket is.
Breathability ratings are generally measured by how much water vapour – the evaporation of your perspiration – can pass through a square metre of the fabric from inside to the outside over a 24 hour timescale. The higher the number, the more breathable the jacket is.
Given its velvety properties I was mostly concerned about the wear rate of the jacket and how it would hold up to rucksack straps, tree branches, and long brambles. I expected to see fine marks across the material or even a snag but nothing presented itself. Thankfully the material seems more robust than the svelteness would have you believe.
I never found myself feeling too hot while out hiking and my other layer/s were moisture free too. Down both sides of the jacket are two gargantuan ventilation zips which run from the centre of your midriff all the way up and then part of the way down of the arm; they’re huge. Once again, I only used the ventilation zips for testing purposes but found the airflow through the jacket to wrap around the body acting like a band of air-conditioning.
At 535 grams, the High Amperage jacket isn’t the lightest and most definitely not the heaviest on the market, it sits firmly in the average weight bracket. According to Jack Wolfskin and the product specification, it is cut short for freedom of movement. While the latter isn’t untrue, I don’t agree that it’s cut short. It’s not longer than others, just not shorter – at least not enough to suggest it’s a deliberate feature. Even so, the length doesn’t affect the fit and didn’t hinder my movement.
I was also pleased with the fit of the ‘basic hood’, despite it being helmet compatible and labelled in a way that I believe there’s a better one in the Jack Wolfskin range – something you wouldn’t expect for the £380 price tag. Toggle adjusters sit either side of the hood and there are a couple at the back too. It is adjustable around the back of the head, base of the neck and the overall tightness, meaning it stays in place no matter how quickly you move your head. It’s missing a wired peak which would have given it more shape but when it’s raining hard and you have battened down the hatches, there would be little need for it anyway. The best bit of the hood is that it has a rollaway option which is something we don’t see very much anymore and you’d be lucky to find it on most rain jackets. This solution adds no weight and is just a simple popper system – roll it up and clip the popper in. There are two further poppers on the front side of the collar which allows it to stay up around your neck rather than flopping down under the weight of the hood.
The zips used throughout the jacket aren’t quite as nice as used on some other Jack Wolfskin clothing. In place of the softly-finished paw-printed version is a u-shaped piece attached to string. What this means is that they will be ridiculously easy to grab even in the coldest, harshest conditions while you’re wearing a thick pair of winter gloves. However, they’re not the most pleasing thing on the eye and I prefer the zips I previously mentioned – they are used on the Composite Action Jacket.
The finish of the jacket is incredible. It is something I have mentioned before and never has it been more true than with the High Amperage Jacket. The entire layout, every seam and every join is finished with the utmost precision. There aren’t many products in the world where you find no flaws but this is one of them. The finish provides a further benefit by making it strangely comfortable on bare skin.
The pockets are both plentiful and humongous in equal measure. On the chest there are two vast zips hiding a pocket large enough to carry an entire collection of magazines, a fridge pack of corona, twelve cats and probably the rucksack you’re wearing on your back. If a world atlas had any use on a hike in the Lake District, you’d be able to take that instead of the OS map the front pockets are intended to carry. Inside one of these cavernous space is a concealed chest pocket which is great for carrying your phone when you need to protect it from the elements – it’s highlighted yellow on the zip to associate it with the bright yellow pocket covering. Then there’s a pocket on the arm which I still have to find a use for – it’s also big. Finally, there’s an inside security pocket which in contrast to the others is relatively standard.
So after all this praise and all the positives, is there anything wrong with the Jack Wolfskin High Amperage Jacket? Unfortunately, yes and from a personal perspective, it’s a fairly big negative too. Despite the wealth of pockets adorning the jacket, there are no hand pockets. Before you say it, I know when you’re scaling mountains and ascending steep gravelly paths you’ll need the use of both of your hands but what about the times when you’re stopped or when you’re using the jacket for less intense activities? There is no option to get your soaking wet hands out of the weather or simply to warm them up. It seems like a strange omission for Jack Wolfskin to make. It is something I’ve gotten used to and it certainly wouldn’t stop me from buying the jacket but there have been a number of times when I’ve reached up to put my hands in the jacket pockets only to realise there aren’t any. Everything has to have a negative point, and this is the only foible I could find.
Jack Wolfskin are charging a premium price for this jacket – £380 to be exact. Though you do indeed get what you pay for, it’s a steep price nevertheless. One that is fortunately negated somewhat by various lesser-known retailers bringing the price down to a much more respectable £265.
Be clear, this isn’t a jacket you should buy for walking around town, unless you’ve got money to burn. But for someone regularly on the mountains who is in need of a top-notch waterproof jacket that is comfortable, breathable and waterproof to the highest extent with pockets big enough to literally pack the kitchen sink then the near £400 price tag is going to be worth it.
In terms of overall rating, the Jack Wolfskin High Amperage Jacket scored very well across the board, aside from a score-depleting zero for having no hand pockets.
You Can Help
If you’re looking to purchase any products after reading the reviews on Opinionated World, we’d really appreciate you following the links through from here to the web-stores (links are highlighted orange) before buying – we get a very small commission which helps to keep things up and running. Thank you for any help you can give us.