Opinionated World

Clothing

Salomon Tour2 Jacket Review

First up in our premium jacket reviews comparison is the Salomon Tour2, a lightweight ClimaPro waterproof shell that retails at around £200.

Preface

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.

Salomon Tour2 Jacket
Jack Wolfskin High Amperage Jacket
Craghoppers Bear Grylls Expedition Jacket

Review

The Salomon Tour2 Jacket, available in both male and female sizes, comes in both black and blue for men with a purple model for the ladies. There’s a few other colours which seem very difficult to get a hold of but should you be able to, you will be able to choose from a bright orange variant as well as a modest green.

Resembling any standard rain jacket, it’s at first glance quite difficult to justify the £200 retail price but don’t be fooled because they’ve packed some good technology and a decent finish into this jacket. It is made using Salomon’s ClimaPro Nylon which offers a nice balance between performance and protection. While the 10k/10k waterproof and breathability rating is far from the highest available, it does allow the jacket to perform well in a light to medium downpour. This obviously doesn’t mean you’re going to get soaked as soon as it gets heavier but the rating simply acts as a guide as to how much it really will withstand.

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.

In comparison to the other two jackets in our test, this number is significantly lower and it’s a certainty that it’d let water in long before the other two. Even so, throughout our tests we didn’t get wet through the material and nor would I expect to. Only in the longest, hardest downpours would I expect a bit of moisture to seep through.

Despite another low figure on the breathability rating, I found it quite comfortable to wear – which just goes to show, number aren’t everything. On a fast-paced hike up and down hills and through overgrown areas I didn’t find I was too warm despite the temperature hovering around 20C. On occasion I did feel myself start to get hotter but opening the ventilation zips slightly cooled me back down almost instantly.

The material is more robust than you might think.

The material is more robust than you might think.

So what about the aesthetics? I personally think they’re pretty nice. The Tour2 is a simple design with one main colour which is then accented with a yellow-orange on the zips. No qualms here. Another huge positive is the weight, or rather the lack of weight, which at just 440 grams is the lightest in our test by quite some margin. That’s thanks to the brilliantly thin fabric they’ve used but that same fabric also presents a downside.

The neck is shaped so that it rises up to meet at the main zip, for a small amount of added protection and probably some extra styling. The inside is also softly coated so it doesn’t rub on your face. The problem with fabrics as thin as this is that they have a tendency to collapse on themselves around the collar and annoy you. When the jacket is partially un-done, the neck folds over on one side into your face regardless of whether the hood is up or down. It’s only a minor annoyance but a ‘grown-on’ collar might’ve been a good solution here.

The hood is comfortable, not helmet compatible (a good thing unless you’re a full-on mountaineer wearing a helmet) and nicely adjustable with toggles at the side and one at the back.

Thin material means it often folds into your face.

Thin material means it often folds into your face.

The fit of the Tour2 is really very nice – not too tight in the body so you’ll be able to wear a fleece when it gets colder and not so loose that you feel like the Michelin Man. I also found the cut length to be acceptable because they’ve gone for a hem quite a bit higher up the body than a lot of other jackets. The bottom hem of the jacket is adjustable with toggles, as usual, but I didn’t have to use these as the fit was already comfortable.

The sleeves are slightly less close-fitting in comparison to the body. At the end of either sleeve is a very thin, rubberised and knobbly cuff adjuster which secures to the velcro on the other side to keep the rain out even more. I was pleasantly surprised with how well it stayed in place – a million times better than the Karrimor Elite Alpiniste I tested some time ago.

Both zip pullers leave something to be desired.

Both zip pullers leave something to be desired.

The Salomon Tour2 has four pockets – two hand pockets, one chest pocket and a small arm pocket. All of these have a taped mesh interior which I’m not a huge fan of. I’m sure it saves a bit of weight and adds dramatically to the breathability but it also means things snag and catch easily making it difficult to easily get things in and out. The pocket on the top of the sleeve is also very difficult to open – requiring you to use one hand to hold the material taught while the other pulls the zip down. It’s big enough to fit a 5” Google Nexus 5 in so any of you out there with an iPhone will not only be able to carry yours but all of your friends’ iPhones too!

Down both sides of the jacket are large ventilation zips that allow a significant amount of air through when open – great on a wet but warmer day where you want to keep some airflow through the jacket without having it open at the front. To my surprise, I used these on a number of occasions and they did their job well.

Let me quickly talk about the zips used across the jacket because Salomon are using two different pullers and neither are very good. I’ve already mentioned the rubbery plastic zip when I reviewed the Discovery HZ Midlayer and they’re using that again for the main zip. The others though are curiously even worse. Just a very thin piece of material that feels incredibly weak (it isn’t, but that’s how it seems) and is also difficult to grab. I can’t imagine trying to locate these with gloves on.

The body is nicely cut and so are the sleeves.

The body is nicely cut and so are the sleeves.

Reversed zip. Odd.

Reversed zip. Odd.

The Tour2 has just one strange thing going on and that’s the placement of the main zip. It’s reversed. By reversed, I mean it’s on the right hand track, which is distinctly odd and while it’s technically no more difficult to use than a standard, left sided zip, I did find it took a bit of brain-engagement to get used to.

So to finish, what do I think of this jacket? Is it worth the RRP of £200? I’d say yes. The great news however is that it’s now available through various places – including Amazon – from £120 depending on your size. Which in terms of pricing, really doesn’t make it a premium one at all. Because of this, you’re really going to get a bang for your buck. There aren’t really any downsides to the jacket besides the fairly low waterproof and breathability rating – and of course that reversed zip – just some small things I think Salomon would do well to improve on.

In terms of overall rating, the Salomon Tour2 scored generally well across the board, scoring an average of seven.

Rating



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