Choosing a waterproof for adventures in spring and summer can be a tricky balancing act. It’d be overkill to carry a fully-featured, winter-ready jacket – it’ll just be way too heavy and clammy. But, at the same time, you don’t want an excessively flimsy and lightweight jacket either – one unexpected downpour and you’ll end up wetter than an otter’s pocket. Somewhere in the middle is the perfect halfway house: a jacket that’s lightweight-ish, packable and breathable, but waterproof enough to cope with Britain’s unpredictable weather. Step up the Fjällräven High Coast Hydratic series, which aims to hit that sweet spot with arrow-like precision.
New for the 2021 spring/summer season, the Swedish firm will launch a new waterproof jacket (the High Coast Hydratic Jacket) and pair of waterproof trousers (the High Coast Hydratic Trousers) billed as the “perfect adventure companions” for warmer climes.
The High Coast Hydratic Jacket has a 10,000mm hydrostatic head (the technical measure of waterproofing, meaning a 10m column of water can stand on the fabric before water penetrates it). We reckon that’s more than sturdy enough to cope with spring-time downpours, while the 6000 g/m2/24hr breathability rating is pretty decent too.
The jacket is made from a 100% recycled polyamide face fabric, with a 2.5-layer construction, and a durable water resistant (DWR) coating that is 100% PFC-free, ensuring polluting fluorocarbons aren’t released into the planet. It’s the same eco-friendly impregnation that’s used on Fjällräven’s technical waterproofs, such as the Keb Eco-Shell.
“ideal for taking on changeable weather anywhere”
Features include a protective hood that can be adjusted for a tailored fit, reflectors on the hood for increased visibility, hand pockets, and side ventilation zips for letting off excess heat when you’re working hard. The jacket weighs 317g in a men’s medium, which is mid-range. It’s heavier than ultra-lightweight, trail running jackets such as the Haglofs L.I.M jacket (230g) and the Berghaus Hyper 140 (138g), but far lighter than bombproof waterproof jackets like the Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity Pro Shell (600g).
The aim is to strike a fine balance between weight and performance: light enough to carry in a backpack without giving you back ache, yet sturdy enough to repel heavy downpours if you’re unlucky enough to get caught in one.
We haven’t tested out one of these jackets yet, so we can’t judge whether Fjällräven have pulled off this tricky balancing act. But the Swedish brand certainly believe they have, claiming the High Coast Hydratic is “ideal for taking on changeable weather anywhere” and “perfect for everyday wear as well as active days out”.
The Hydratic Jacket is joined by a matching waterproof trouser – the High Coast Hydratic Trouser. This is similarly breathable (6000 g/m2/24hr), lightweight (267g), packable and waterproof (10,000mm HH) and made from the same eco-friendly, recycled and PFC-free material with a 2.5-layer construction. The trousers have a loose fit that’s easy to pull on over the top of your clothes during sudden showers, while ¾-length side zips offer ventilation when required and also aid with getting the trousers on and off quickly. You also get Velcro tabs for adjusting the width at the lower legs, if a tighter fit is preferred, and leg lengths are available in regular (32″) and long (34″).
Both the jacket and trousers have a unique printed lining on the inside, specially designed by Swedish artist Erik Olovsson. This adds a touch of understated style to the range, which is what we’ve come to expect from Fjällräven – with its cool arctic fox logo and distinctive designs, the Swedish brand certainly makes good-looking kit.
Price-wise, the jacket retails at £230 and the trousers are £180, with both available in men’s and women’s versions and in sizes XS to XXL (available online and in stores from late February). This is slightly on the expensive side, and some outdoor enthusiasts will prefer to go for ultra-light waterproof jackets and trousers with higher HH ratings. But, if you love Fjällräven’s style and eco-friendly approach, and you’re looking for a packable, breathable and waterproof offering for spring and summer, the High Coast Hydratic series appears to fit the bill.