In the last couple of years, we have seen more and more so-called “functional fashion” in the outdoor clothing market. Clothing that is not only technically well made but also looks in such a way that your friends won’t immediately ask if you are going on an expedition. The clothing technology that ensures that products are weather-resistant and suitable to be active in, is trickling down to garments that are not out of place in an urban setting.
Windproof, Waterproof, breathable: three properties that make a product suitable for being active in the outdoors. But also properties that fit perfectly in everyday use: if you cycle to work on a regular basis in a north European country (or places with similar wet weather) then you’ll be very happy with a jacket or pants that have those qualities.
The Haglöfs EcoProof Jacket is a product that has these functional features, looks great outdoors, and is stylish enough to fit into a working environment. Added to that, it has been developed with a very interesting take on sustainability. In our preview on the jacket we already wrote:
“It does this by using the PROOF ™ ECO 3-layer shell made for 52% of recycled polyester and 48% regular polyester and is fabricated according to” reuse is better than replacing ethos “. This means, for example, that zippers and buttons can easily be replaced if they are broken. Which means the jacket’s lifespan is increased.”
It is an unlined three-layer hardshell jacket. It has a comfortable backer (the fabric that you wear against your skin and/or mid layer), the Proof Eco membrane that ensures water-tightness and breath-ability, and a durable outer layer that feels natural and ensures wind-tightness. By the way, Haglöfs does not market this jacket as an extremely technical high-performance jacket. In terms of outdoor, they indicate that it is very good for hikes, but it is not made for very high-intensity activities such as (ski)touring or climbing.
Circumstance and conditions
I have used the EcoProof Jacket a lot in recent months. Well before the summer I went to Scotland for a couple of days, where I enjoyed the most Scottish weather that you could imagine. Pouring rain and a strong Atlantic wind. In addition, I have worn it many times in daily life, on the bike, to business appointments, walking the dog and last but not least, on the amazing micro adventure with Jeffry Oonk, on a 24-hour trek and camp with backpack.
Wind and waterproof
Windproofness: in a word, absolutely no problem. Especially with the well-fitting hood you can really nice shelter in the wind. The jacket is also quite waterproof. That was well proven during a beach walk on the Isle of Skye in a north-Atlantic downpour. It has a fluor-free DWR (Durable Water Repellent) layer that works well. A DWR coating ensures that the rain forms drops on the fabric and actually rolls off the fabric instead of saturating it. This effect can be important because if the outer layer becomes saturated, the water-tightness is not necessarily less, but the breathability often is.
You will still see a lot of use of fluor based DWR coatings, which is very bad for the environment. More and more brands are working with PFC or fluor-free coatings, which is good news of course. But unfortunately fluor based DWR coatings remain the best performing coatings, and the effect of water droplets being formed on the fabric and rolling off, is just less with non-fluor based DWR. That is also the case with EcoProof. With most moderate rain showers the rain will roll off nicely, but with those Scottish downpours, the jacket on the outside was saturated at some point. Once again, that does not mean that the jacket is not waterproof.
There was no leakage on the front zipper even though it has a less technical watertight finish than other shell jackets I have known. You do need to take into account that the flaps to the hip pockets (more about those later) are closed, because they are quite wide, and rain can gather in them.
The rain does roll off the fabric fairly well, and I did not actively feel that the breathability was significantly less. I hiked in the rain, with a day-backpack, but not super heavily loaded or extremely intensive. So the performance challenge to the jacket was not at it’s highest.
I did that with dryer weather on Terschelling, where especially in the cool morning the hiking with a 25 kilo backpack and the EcoProof Jacket felt really fine. When the temperature was above 12/13 degrees (rough estimate) I did take the jacket off. I have used the jacket on my bike commute to work on a number of occasions and never felt too hot or clammy or sweaty.
As mentioned, the jacket is made of partly recycled material. But sustainability can also be found in how durable the jacket is. Let me first say that after so much use the jacket still shows no signs of wear or tear. The fabric still feels nice, all zips and buttons still work as they should (and if they don’t, they can be replaced easily by a tailor).
Versatility is a part of sustainability as far as I am concerned. The more uses you have for a product, the less reason you will have to buy something else. Buying less is less pressure on the environment.
Comfort and fit
Before I forget to mention it, the fit and comfort of the jacket were quite good. The jacket has a tailored cut. The fabric feels very nice, the sleeves are long enough (you can tighten the cuffs with button closure). The inside of the collar feels good. The jacket is also comfortable when you move with it.
I’ve already briefly mentioned the hood. Together with the high collar, it has a very good fit and provides some great wind and rain protection. With a beanie underneath, you can weather many a storm. The jacket has no inside pockets, but a nice chest pocket to fit something like your mobile phone. It doesn’t close with a zipper or a button, just with a tight-fitting cover.
On each hip, you have two pockets on both sides: one top-loading horizontal pocket with a buttoned flap, and one side pocket I used mainly for my hands; it’s not deep enough to store items safely without running the chance of stuff falling out.
The Haglöfs EcoProof jacket is a very nice, durable, stylish technical jacket for light/medium intensity outdoor activities and daily use, even in a workplace environment. The jacket is functional and has a good comfortable fit. The jacket is available in three colours, Slate (the colour of our jacket), Tarn Blue, and Deep Woods (shade of green).