The Sasta Peski Anorak is very different to the weatherproof jackets we normally review on Outdoors Magic. It doesn't use Gore-Tex, eVent or any other type of waterproof membrane but is instead made from a single layer, 100 per cent cotton weave, which, despite coming under many different names over the years, is commonly known as Ventile.
Plenty of people will already be familiar with this, it's a more traditional form of protective fabric – developed just before the Second World War – that was one of the first technical materials adopted by mountain rescue teams in the UK. The cotton is woven so densely that it's able to completely block the wind and it'll also provide a strong degree of protection from the rain.
But it won't provide complete waterproof protection however, and that, some people argue, is Ventile's big drawback when compared to modern membrane-lined jackets. When the fabric gets wet, the yarns expand to increase the density of the weave (and its protection) even further, however, with constant exposure to heavy rain the fabric will eventually become saturated.
Sasta Peski Anorak: Performance
Ventile does have an advantage over modern waterproof jackets, and that's when it comes to breathability. Wear it in steady rain and you can expect to feel a lot less clammy than you would in most waterproof membrane jackets. It's also a 'quiet' fabric, meaning that it doesn't rustle with your arm movements like most membrane-lined jackets (a notable exception being Páramo).
“I'd say is that it's a fantastic jacket, so long as you know what kind of use and conditions it is made for..."
This balancing of breathability and weather protection, plus its quietness, makes Ventile a popular choice for northern Scandinavian hunters who expect more snowfall than rain and therefore don't feel at risk from the kind of weather that will soak through. It will come as no surprise that Sasta is a brand based within Finland's Boreal, or 'Taiga' forest.
So what about wearing this in the UK? Well, I've tested this out on a number of hikes and I've really enjoyed wearing it.
The breathability has been the factor I've appreciated most. I took the jacket (plus Sasta Anton trousers) on a two-day hike and camp in the Brecon Beacons last December and due to the cold weather and the continuous light misty drizzle, I was forced to wear it continuously while walking. But I never felt overheated or clammy enough to need to take it off, even when hiking up Pen y Fan with all my supplies plus a two-man tent on my back.
Sasta Peski Anorak: Features
I was also very grateful for the protective hood which has a moudable peak that's probably the longest I've ever worn. In strong winds you would expect this to catch a fair bit, but there are enough adjustment points to make sure the whole hood will hold closely and effectively.
As this is an anorak, there's no full-length zip, only a quarter length one from the sternum to the chin, then on the lower half of the jacket, there is a big kangaroo pouch that is sealed by a zip with a protective flap. In combination with this there are two zipped handwarmer pockets, which are set fairly high in comparison to normal jackets. Some may appreciate their high setting but I actually found they were a bit uncomfortable to use while walking.
Sasta Peski Anton: Fit
It has a long cut that completely covers the backside; it's long enough that you can even sit down on the fabric and not worry about any damp grass soaking you. I also liked its use of two adjustment toggles on the torso, with one at the lower hem and one around the waist. They give the potential to close up the volume of the jacket for a warm, protective and dynamic fit when walking, or to widen it, either for airflow when walking or to provide greater comfort when sitting down.
At 710g the Sasta Peski Anorak is on the heavy side, which tends to be the case with most Ventile or Ventile-type jackets, so it's therefore not the best option for trips where your coat might stay in your backpack for long spells. Still, for day hikes, the weight shouldn't be an issue – I haven't found it to be anyway.
Sasta Peski Anorak: Conclusion
A final note on the wet weather protection. I haven't had any problems with the jacket's performance and it's never become saturated when I've worn it. That said, I've only tested it in short spells of heavy rain and in long spells of drizzly rain (and in sunshine as you can see from the pictures), so I haven't seen how it would perform in any really, really persistent, horrible weather. As previously mentioned, Ventile jackets are generally regarded as being able to perform in all but the wettest of weather conditions, and I'd say this is likely to be the case with the Sasta Peski Anorak.
So what I'd say is that it's a fantastic jacket, so long as you know what kind of use and conditions it is made for and where the limitations of its Ventile fabric might lie when it comes to UK hiking.