I was asked recently if I’d like to review a couple of different Soft-shell jackets from the range at Outdoor Look. I’ve never been particularly convinced of the need for a soft-shell and I’ve never owned one as a result. However they were to be provided free and I can keep them after the review, so I thought “nothing to lose” and I always enjoy doing these reviews, so I had a browse on their site and chose two jackets from Regatta.
The first one I’ve tested is the Regatta Uproar Soft-shell. This comes in a range of garish colours, or this rather tasteful Navy, which is what I went for. Out of the bag it weighed 616g for an XXL, so that should be a maximum weight, as most people will probably take a smaller size. It retails at about £43, but the price on Outdoor Look is about £30.
I’m a big chap, particularly around the waist and chest, so I needed the XXL for those dimensions. I’m also 6’4” tall, so I tend to need the biggest fit for things like body length and arm length. The Uproar was just about big enough for me. Across the waist and chest I have enough room for a base layer and probably a very thin fleece. In the arms I felt like I could have done with another inch at least, and possibly two, but the body length was about right. If you’re a tall guy, with a slim build I’m guessing you’re going to struggle with arm length in anything less than an XXL.
Soft-shell jackets are designed for the sort of weather I was walking in last weekend, mostly dry but with light showers during the day. The sort of day that doesn’t quite justify a waterproof jacket, but where a fleece alone would probably result in multiple stops to sling on the coat.
The jacket was perfect for the walk I did. It repels water without being too hot, as you can see from the picture below it worked well during the light shower I had in the morning. I used it all day and it was generally windproof, it didn’t make me sweat and it zips up quite high for when the temperature dropped. There is no hood, but if you need a hood then you probably need a waterproof jacket.
The one and, if I’m quite honest, major downfall of this jacket, is the pockets. It comes with two side pockets, but they aren’t deep enough and there is no chest pocket, so nowhere to put your map or GPS (or mobile phone in my case). The side pockets are zipped, but they are hampered by the hip belt on my rucksack, so I couldn’t put the phone in there. Although it would have been safe from falling out, it was inaccessible.
In the end I had to use an inside flap, low down, next to the side pocket, which may have been designed as an internal pocket, but that meant that every time I needed to check my position, I had to unzip most of the way down and fish out the phone.
For those intermediate days when a waterproof is too much, this Regatta Soft-shell would be fine. I could probably live with the pocket problem, in favour of the flexibility of the jacket itself. It’s certainly a two-season piece of clothing and it will live in the boot of my car for the next time I’m out just in case the weather is suitable.
Next time, I’ll be trying the Regatta Nitrus Soft-shell jacket.