Opinionated World

Clothing

Warm Up This Winter With The Jack Wolfskin Composite Action Jacket

The cold months ahead demand a warm selection of clothes – thicker socks, winter-lined boots, a highly insulated jacket and more. A lot of people forget that insulting themselves underneath the top layer is also very important – after all, in most situations you’d be better off with an extra layer than a slightly thicker coat.

Above your base-layer, you should be wearing a fleece or a warm jumper (try and avoid cotton in both instances) and I’ve got one that should feature highly on your to-buy list – the Jack Wolfskin Composite Action Jacket that I’ve reviewed below.

You’ll all know by now that I’m a firm believer in the phrase: “you get what you pay for,” and this jacket is certainly no exception, so I’d like to start by saying this isn’t a cheap buy; it’s not entry level. Windshield jackets are never low-cost but when you consider the highly rated Bear Grylls Windshield Jacket is £80, then the extra £20 you’ll have to spend to get the Composite Action Jacket suddenly makes the £100 price tag seem a lot more.

The inside is lined for warmth.

The inside is lined for warmth.

The collar is a single, separate piece to keep it upright.

The collar is a single, separate piece to keep it upright.

Still, you do get what you pay for and that’s why I rate the Composite Action Jacket so highly. It’s made from a lightweight, two-way stretch fleece with a smooth exterior and a fluffy warm interior. The front is a bi-stretch, windproof and extremely breathable material with ‘optimum tear resistance’ as well as a synthetic multi layer insulation. Jack Wolfskin throw a lot of technology terms into their jacket detail list including: ‘Nanuk Dynamic Jersey’ and ‘Stormlock Active Minirip Stretch’. Lets put those into easier language.

In short, the Nanuk Dynamic Jersey is a stretchy, slightly lighter version of the original Nanuk Fleece which allows for better freedom of movement while being low maintenance and quick drying. All made from polyester. Stormlock Active Minirip Stretch is an extremely light, windproof, water-repellent fabric made from 40D nylon yarn which makes it tear resistant despite the low weight.

Lots of stretchy material equals flexibility.

Lots of stretchy material equals flexibility.

Spacious, warmly lined hand pockets.

Spacious, warmly lined hand pockets.

I appreciate I said I’d describe them in short, but when the description for each of those technologies extends into 47 and 88 words respectively, I think my combined 58 words was fairly short! Back on topic. You’ll be immediately aware of the high quality stitching and materials; the overall finish is fantastic. You won’t find a single loose thread, sticky zip or a poor fit. In-fact, it’s one of the nicest fitting jackets I’ve ever worn – I have not a single gripe.

Even in cooler climates, the jacket does a great job as your top layer.

Even in cooler climates, the jacket does a great job as your top layer.

On either side you’ll find a pocket with a generous amount of room inside – they’re also nicely lined for warmth. The chest pocket foregoes the plush inside, but is still perfectly big enough to store anything up to 15cm squared. Each zip pull feels of high quality, a kind of soft touch plastic. They’re easy to grab with gloves on and they all sport the Jack Wolfskin paw print which is a cool touch. The sleeves are supposedly cut ‘extra long’ but that shouldn’t put you off. They’re long enough to allow you to make use of the thumb holes in the cuffs, but due to the stretchy, hugging material, they will still remain well clear of your hands if you’re not using them – which is most of the time.

Thumb holes allow you that little bit extra warmth.

Thumb holes allow you that little bit extra warmth.

Besides the windshield front panel, all of the outer material is a stretchy 6% elastane which helps to give incredible flexibility along with a figure hugging fit. It’s cut nicely in length, just below the belt and the collar is a sewn on, separate piece of material that stays up even when the zip isn’t done all the way to the top.

In performance terms, the jacket does what is promised. It’s insulating, the front portion (negating the arms) is windproof and it’s also very stretchy. I found the windproof section to allow light rain to bead off pretty nicely too. In effect, it lives up to all expectations in performance and exceeds them in aesthetics – at least in the black and red version I was sent.

The fit is in no un-certain terms; perfect.

The fit is in no un-certain terms; perfect.

There are three other colours available – Black Original, Woodruff Green and Electric Blue. Black of course isn’t best if you want to be seen, but it works incredibly well with casual clothes too. With jeans, chinos – even shorts – you’ll probably find yourself wearing the Composite Action Jacket more than any other because you get the utmost performance along with something very good looking.

I have found a small amount of bobbling on the stretchy material when it’s been in contact with a rucksack strap for a long period of time. The abrasive cord attaching the rucksack strap to the bottom of the bag rubs on the stretchy material just below the armpit. The longer that happens, the more bobbling you get. It’s one of those annoying things, but there’s unfortunately no way to avoid it unless you’re wearing the jacket below a coat. Happily, it’s unnoticeable unless you’re specifically looking for it close up. And that really is my only problem.

For £100 it’s a budget stretcher but if you’re looking for a super high quality, well fitting layer that’s pleasing to the eye, the Jack Wolfskin Composite Action Jacket is something you should seriously consider. Sometimes it’s better just to spend that little extra and be safe in the knowledge you’re buying a product that’s truly worth the money you’ve paid.


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