Mountain Equipment call the Squall Hooded Jacket “the ultimate rock climbing softshell", which might sound like a bold claim except that this jacket really is excellent. So what does the ultimate climbing softshell have going on?
For a start, it’s lightweight. When you’re scaling crags in the Peak District, the last thing you want is your outerwear weighing you down. The Squall is made from Exolite 125 fabric which weighs in at just 310 grams, so there’s no such danger with this Mountain Equipment Jacket.
You also need a full range of motion when you’re climbing, so don’t want a jacket that’s going to restrict you. Again, the Squall has got your back. That clever fabric has enough stretch to let you move, while the cut and design are built to give you unlimited mobility.
“The Squall Jacket is a great piece of kit, and one that you should really consider investing in if you’re planning on doing any climbing this summer."
When reaching up to hand-holds, the pre-shaped sleeves are engineered to not ride up your arms, saving your skin from being exposed to the elements. The body has a slim, active/athletic cut, but the sleeves have a little additional length, again, to keep your arms covered when you’re climbing.
Exolite 125 is also very durable, so the jacket is good and tough. The outer skin is fully abrasion resistant, so you don’t have to worry about scraping it across sharp rocks as you climb. The inner is soft and comfortable - trying this on is like zipping up a cosy hoodie.
Mountain Equipment have also thought about your head. The hood on the Squall Jacket is what they call Mountain HC - helmet compatible to you and me. The hood isn’t simply designed to just fit over your climbing helmet. It’s also adjustable, ensuring you get a snug fit around your lid. The design team at Mountain Equipment have also made the front zip fasten off-centre at the top, so the days of your chin and lips chafing against the fastening are over. It’s also something you’ll definitely appreciate if you’ve got a beard.
The chest pocket on the Squall Hooded Jacket, or the “Napoleon" chest pocket, as Mountain Equipment call it, is a generous size, and has a zip fastening to keep the things you need to hand safe and secure. Furthermore, it’s designed so that you can wear a backpack or climbing harness with this smart shell, and still have easy access to the pocket, should you need to reach for essential items in a hurry.
All in all the Squall Jacket is a great piece of kit, and one that you should really consider investing in if you’re planning on doing any climbing this summer. Is it “the ultimate rock climbing softshell?" It just might be…
Mountain Equipment Squall Jacket