'New UK start-up Dannah hits the hills running with a meticulously-designed, fully-functional all-round mountain shell that's up there with the best on the market'
Outdoors Magic: Meticulous design, ace hood, great fabric with UK-made membrane, excellent cut, Vislon main-zip, glove-friendly features.
Outdoors Tragic: Very slightly tight on the OM test chin.
Outdoors Grabbit? The Dannah brand name may be new, but eponymous founder Rich Dannah has been designing outdoor clothing for years and it shows. Take a great UK-developed fabric, add an innovative, easy-to-use helmet hood, a well-developed fit and features that just do the job and you have a cracking and versatile all-mountain waterproof shell jacket that you can use for everything from hill and mountain walking through to technical mountaineering. A great start for the new brand.
Waterproof mountain jacket / Porelle Dry microporous 3-layer fabric / A-line hand pockets with Aquaguard vislon zips / Watertight Vislon front zip / reduced seam construction with microtape / Dannah 3D wedge grip corded zip-pull / soft cuff tab with Velcro closure / Dannah High density cold flexible peak / helmet-compatible hood with twin easy to use rear adjusters / scoop hem / pit-zips
Full Review Below
Dannah Alpine Jacket - The Tech
Dannah founder, Rich Dannah has been working as an outdoors clothing designer for almost 20 years. His CV includes spells with top brands including Mountain Equipment, Rab, Montane, Peak Performance, Sprayway and more. He's even been involved in designing the England football strip with Umbro.
UK-made Porelle Membrane
The big difference now he's working for his own fledgling start-up, is that he can pick and choose components and design to achieve what he feels is the absolute best result. Take the fabric: it's based on a micro-porous, highly-breathable Porelle membrane which is made in Norfolk.
That in turn is laminated in the Far East to two carefully chosen fabrics, one Chinese and one Japanese to give the best combination of durability, breathability and wicking performance. Or the zip-pulls, which Dannah designed himself to be wedge-shaped in every direction and with a thumb-friendly curve.
Frozen-friendly Hood Peak
The hood visor is made from a specially-produced plastic that's aligned at a molecular level to be super robust and still flexible at temperatures as low as -30˚C. You can fold, it bend it, screw it up in your pack and it'll still retain the original shape rather than distorting like some outwardly similar materials.
We could go on, but you've probably got the idea. It's all about attention to detail and choosing the best components for job, not 'regardless of cost', but without compromising performance.
Dannah Alpine Jacket - Performance
The first time we used the jacket was in the midst of brutal afternoon deluge that flooded not only the local roads, but a number of town centres too. Hunkered down in the Dannah, we felt secure and protected. And nothing since has changed that impression.
At 480g it's not a heavy jacket, but the three-layer Porelle-based fabric feels sturdy and reassuring. The cut is right on the money too and compares with anything else out there including our favourite ME and Arc'teryx designs. Trim and medium length, but with enough space to accommodate extra winter insulation when needed.
The fabric performs well. It's not quite as breathable as class leader, NeoShell, but then not much is. But it's definitely up and swinging in the breathability bun fight and we have no complaints.
Also impressive is the hood. Rich observed that many users are slightly perplexed by classic hood adjusters, so he set about designing one that just works with minimal effort. There are two adjuster cords, both at the rear of the hood.
All you do is pull the hood on and pull gently on the righthand cord to take up slack and leave the hood sitting neatly on your head. If you need to snug up the face opening a little - mostly we didn't - you pull on the lefthand adjuster and bingo, it's done.
Just Two Cords
In practice, once you know which cord does what, it works really well. The hood fit is good, the collar section covers your chin, and if you want some more space, just undo the top of the main zip slightly. The chunky cord grips are easy to use with gloves and there's space for a helmet too wth good lower face coverage.
No issues with the elasticated peak either, it just works like cap visor. If we were being really fussy, a smidgeon of extra chin volume would work for us, but it's fine as is and your face fit may vary.
Everything else on the jacket works well too. Pit-zips are slick, effective and work with a pack on. The main YKK Vislon zip is typically buttery smooth in operation. Cuffs are neat, easy to adjust and can be rolled up for extra cooling.
And plenty of thought has gone into the pockets. Not only do they work with pack or harness, the big 'hand-warmer' pockets are actually at exactly the right height to rest your hands in. Plus the internal zipped pockets double as Napoleon-style stash ones when your main zip is open, handy for climbers and instinctive to use.
Dannah Alpine Jacket - Verdict
Normally with a start-up, we'd expect some teething problems or hiccups, but Rich Dannah's extensive outdoor clothing design experience and the 12 months he's spent focussing on this jacket alone means it's actually very hard to fault as an all-round mountain shell.
'The result is a jacket that's right up there with anything else on the market and should appeal to walkers and climbers who want something slightly different from the norm.'
The fabric, patriotic overtones and all, works well. The cut is as good as anything else out there. The innovative hood just works in a straightforward, unfussy way. And everything else is similarly slickly functional and carefully designed or selected.
The result, we reckon, is a jacket that's right up there with anything else on the market and should appeal to walkers and climbers who want something slightly different from the norm and appreciate how much thought has gone into the design.
Finally, if you want Napoleon chest pockets for climbing use, watch out for a Mk2 version featuring just that and manufactured in Scotland, but at a price.
The Dannah Alpine Jacket is also available in stealth black.