Alpkit Definition Waterproof Jacket | Review
Alpkit's new Definition technical mountain jacket is a brilliantly-specced, neatly-cut slice of mountain burliness at a killer price.
'Alpkit's full-on mountaineering shell, the Definition is reassuringly burly but properly refined - think James Bond reincarnated as a waterproof jacket. And the price is fantastic.'
Outdoors Magic: Tough-feeling fabric, sleekly cut, good hood, top-spec zips, great Cohaesive adjusters for gloved use, excellent value, Kermit green rocks.
Outdoors Tragic: Bordering on tight around the seat/hips for us causing minor riding-up in use. Uncompromising general fit.
Outdoors Grabbit? The Definition is arguably as good or better than some jackets costing twice as much. The cut is sleek and efficient, components are top-notch - we love the glove-friendly embedded Cohaesive cord-grips - and the unbranded fabric works well and feels reassuringly tough. The effective helmet-compatible hood means you can use it for anything from full-on mountaineering to general hill-walking. Stupendous value, but bear in mind the the sleek fit doesn't play well with excess baggage...
Waterproof mountaineering jacket / PU-PTFE waterproof membrane fabric / helmet hood with wired peak and Cohaesive cord grips / 2-way YKK Vislon front zip / twin map-sized, harness-friendly hand-pockets / single chest-pocket / core vents with inverted YKK zips / Embedded Cohaesive™ hem adjusters, cord-pull inside pockets / adjustable cuffs.
Full Review Below
Alpkit Definition Jacket - The Tech
Alpkit sources its own unbranded waterproof fabrics and the one they've used for the Definition combines tough-feeling Nylon inner and face fabrics with a 'bi-component PU/PTFE membrane'. No more info on how the fabric is constructed, but bear in mind that both eVent and Gore-Tex fabrics also use a mix of the two.
In the lab, results are an impressive 30,000mm hydrostatic head waterproof measurement - right up there with the best fabrics on the market - and 20,000 g/sqm/24hrs breathability, which is in the ballpark for a general use shell. On paper it all looks pretty good.
Alpkit hasn't skimped on the other components either. There's a moulded tooth YKK Vislon main zip which is tough, very water-resistant and has a great, smooth, non-snagging action. Plus hood and hem adjustment cords run through the excellent and distinctive Cohaesive adjusters.
They're flat, large, round and very easy to use, even with gloves on. Other brands using them include Berghaus for its top-end Extrem 8000 Pro Jacket and Black Diamond - the difference is that the Definition costs less than half the price of the Berghaus shell.
In broad terms, you're getting top-end components, but without a top-end price-tag, which is down to Alpkit's direct sale model rather than any reduction in quality.
Alpkit Definition Jacket - Performance
All the latest clothing we've had in from Alpkit has been cut above its previous stuff and the Definition is no exception. It has a proper feel of sturdy quality to it, looks great in what we think of as 'Kermit Green', but is officially 'Rocket' and rocks a wonderful, sleek, athletic cut.
That's a bit of a two-edged sword. It does mean that the jacket isn't forgiving of excess ballast either natural or artificial and a snug fit around the hips and seat meant it had a slight tendency to ride up when worn without a pack.
Also on the fit front, the cuffs are quite tailored and we found that meant that while they worked fine with shorter cuffed gloves like the MHW Hydra Lites in the pics, they struggled to accommodate bulkier gauntlet-style ones like, for example, Rab Guides. Worth bearing in mind if you prefer longer gloves.
Otherwise though, the cut is impressive. Gives plenty of mobility without excess fabric and stays nicely anchored when moving about. No complaints from us about the two big hand-pockets and the chest one is just right for stashing a mobile or a couple of energy bars.
We like the fabric too. It's not quite as breathable as the market leaders like NeoShell and Gore-Tex Pro, but it's not bad for steady use and twin pack-friendly core-vents give you handy cooling potential if needed. One bonus is that its not as 'crackly' as Pro, which can get a little noisy in windy conditions particularly.
We're big fans of the Cohaesive cord-grip adjusters. They're big, round, flat and supremely easy to use even with thick gloves on, which isn't always the case even with jackets from established outdoors brands. The same's true of the other adjusters and the zip-pulls.
Speaking of adjustment, the hood is generally good and complete with a wired and stiffened, UK-friendly peak. It doesn't have quite the cavernous helmet-swallowing powers of some full-on technical shells, but it'll still take a climbing lid and give facial protection up to chin level and without restricting head movement.
Alpkit Definition Jacket - Verdict
Alpkit's most technical waterproof is a tough, but thoroughly refined mountain hardshell that mixes a burly-feeling, effective waterproof fabric with an impressive mix of components and neat design details topped off with those Cohaesive adjusters.
It feels impressively protective helped by a very effective hood and so far has shrugged off everything the British winter hills have thrown at it. The sleek, athletic cut is excellent, but does mean it's a little uncompromising. We found it just a little snug around the hip-seat area - quiet at the back please! - and also found that the cuffs struggled to fit over bulkier, gauntlet-style gloves.
Those quibbles aside though, the Definition walks an impressive Kermit green line between burliness and refinement at a killer price. Recommended and not just to those on a budget.
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