New this winter, the Haglöfs Barrier Pro Jacket – and its close relative, the Barrier Pro Hood – is the PrimaLoft-filled Barrier Jacket’s scrawnier, lightweight cousin with a genuine measured weight of just 330g for our medium sample. The hooded version, if you were wondering, is just 65g heavier.
It’s designed to be lightweight, packable, water and wind-resistant insulation that you can pop in your pack with minimal impact and pull on when needed over or under other layers.
Haglöfs has cut weight both by using a lightweight face fabric inside and out and a light – 60 g/m² – Primaloft One synthetic fill. That outer fabric is a recycled 20-denier polyester with a hologram-look face and micro rip-stop pattern. It’s light and also pretty much windproof and water resistant.
Inside there’s PrimaLoft One. PrimaLoft is probably the market-leading synthetic down alternative, it’s warm, packable and best of all, highly water resistant, so you can use it even in damp conditions and over wet clothing to provide extra warmth. PrimaLoft claims that the insualtion is 14% warmer than comparative fabrics when dry and 24% warmer when wet. All we know is that it works well.
Jackets like the Barrier Pro are all about packability rather than outright insulation – if you want that, go for a heavier jacket like the standard Barrier. Great for packing small and light when you’re watching pack weight, just whip them out when needed and layer under or over your other clothes.
The big plus over fleece is additional warmth plus the windproof shell, which makes for a deceptive level of insulation. The Barrier Pro isn’t quite as small and light as Rab’s Xenon, but it’s not far off and does a very similar job.
Like pretty much everything Haglöfs makes, it’s neat and well featured – we like the way the belt-clearing hand-warmer pockets are inset discretely into the side seams and there’s a big chest pocket. Collar, cuffs and hem are elasticated rather than adjustable to save weight and we found hem and wrist fit close enough to keep the draughts out.
Fit is just about generous enough to layer over a snug fitting shell and thin mid-layer for us, but that’ll depend on your build, so check fit if you do want to over-layer the jacket. Like we said, it’s not super warm, but the combination of the PrimaLoft fill and windproof outer mean it gives about enough warmth for a quick stop if you’re moving fast.
It’s also possible, in really cold conditions, to use it on the move. It’s not super breathable, but when you’re really cold, that’s fairly low on your list of priorities.
The big plus over down is that it still works reasonably well even when wet. That means less obsessing over waterproof stuff-sacs and no worries if you choose to wear it over a damp shell jacket. And it dries fast too.
Cracking bit of lightweight, packable insulation that doubles as a sort of insulated windproof if needed in really cold conditions and can be worn over or under other layers. It’s water friendly too and warmer than you expect with the windproof outer helping to up comfort levels.
What it won’t do is take the place of a full-weight down or synthetic jacket for prolonged stops, but as long as you understand those limitations, like Rab’s Xenon, it’s a brilliant piece of gear, though at an RRP of £160, not a cheap one.