Sprayway Women's Era Jacket | Review
'Proper traditional waterproof that does a dependable, no-nonsense job without glitz or glamour - think of it as the baked beans on toast of walking jackets and you won't go far wrong'
Outdoors Magic: Solid design, plenty of pockets, capable roll-down hood, affordable price tag. Generous sizing.
Outdoors Tragic: A little heavy and bulky, 'throwback styling' is a tad frumpy
Outdoors Grabbit? 'Throwback styling' is one description and it's a solid, traditional hill-walking jacket that's not pretending to be alpine sexy, light or packable. No frills, handy for the hills sums it up. The baked beans on toast of waterproof jackets.
Women's-specific traditional walking jacket / 2-layer Gore-Tex fabric / Fold-down hood with wired peak / twin zipped venting hand-pockets / main zip with storm flap / adjustable cuffs and hem / map pocket under double storm guard / Mesh/Taffeta combination lining
Full Review Below
Era Jacket - The Tech
The Era uses the base Gore-Tex fabric in two-layer form. That means it has an additional drop liner that's part mesh and part solid fabric. That adds some weight and bulk, but is sometimes preferred by walkers who want a more traditional-feeling jacket.
'It’s not pretending to be a glammed-up mountaineering, scrambling, climbing or fast-moving alpine shell, but is proud to be an out-and-out walker’s jacket'
The rest of the design is best described as solid. You get plenty of pockets - two outside ones, an internal one that's about the right size for a phone or wallet and a map pocket that's tucked away under the double storm flap and outside the main-zip in time-honoured fashion.
Everything's adjustable and, for more general use, the jacket has the bonus of a fold-down hood that uses press-studs to hold it together then sits under a Velcro tab at the base of the neck.
Era Jacket - Performance
The Era really is a no-nonsense, slightly weighty, traditional walking jacket with the sort of classic features and styling that wouldn't have looked out of place 20-odd years ago. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but the general feeling was that it was aimed at a more traditional hill-walker than other jackets we tested.
It's generously sized too. Our size 12 test jacket fitted more like a 14 giving loads of space for warm layers underneath. It's not exactly fitted either, but hem and cuff adjustments mean you can seal the weather out.
'It's like something I used to sell when I worked an outdoor shop back in 2002'
The separate liner adds to the traditional feel as well, though one of our testers was very taken with the soft fleece panels around the back of the next and chin area. To be fair, the conservative styling wasn't helped by the sombre dark blue colour, which Lukasz our alpine-orientated photographer took quite badly...
The hood was decently effective. It fits well, moves with the head and gives decent peripheral vision at the expensive of a little bit of cheek protection. It rolls away and tabs down too, handy in town or if you don't like to trail a flapping hood in your wake.
Finally, no problem with the adjustability of the generous provision of pockets including a map-pocket tucked away under the double storm-flap. Happily it's below breast level too. Good call.
Era Jacket - Verdict
The baked beans on toast of waterproof jackets, the Era doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is: a solidly built, slightly bulky and heavy, traditional walking jacket with generous sizing.
If you're after something that looks like it's just emerged from an ascent of the North Face of the Eiger, you'll be disappointed, but if you just want a well-priced waterproof with a decent hood for day-to-day walking it's a decent, unspectacular call.
Interestingly, Sprayway also produces a slicker, non-lined Gore-Tex jacket called the Pandora, which would be our choice from the brand for mountain walking. We've used the men's equivalent, the Zeus, and it works very well.