Men’s Xenon Jacket – £140 / 380g
The Xenon is Jack Wolfskin’s intriguing lightweight winter insulation top. What makes it a little bit different is that while the main body of the jacket uses 700 fill power duck down – probably to keep the price down over goose – the sleeves, hood and shoulders, where the filll is more likely to get wet or compressed uses Wolfskin’s own Fibercloud fill.
At 380g for a medium its not super light, but it’s still more than adequately portable. The windproof and permananetly water resistant Nylon fabric feels reassuringly tough and fit is about right for wearing over a microfleece or similar lightweight mid-layer insulation – it’s very definitely not cut as a belay jacket.
Hem and cuffs are Lycra bound to save weight. One thing we noticed on our test jacket is that the sleeves were quite tight, but as it’s a sample, production jackets may be roomier.
The hood’s well shaped and though it’s not adjustable, envelops your head securely. All in all it feels pleasantly warm and snug untll you go looking for a handwarmer pocket and realise there’s just a small chest pocket specced.
Seems like a good value, halfway house between down and synthetic that might work well in UK winter conditions. Check sleeve tightness though and make sure you’re happy to live without handwarmer pockets.
One other thing, the jacket has a distinctive ‘downy’ smell, probably because duck down is oilier than goose down and has a reputation for smelling more strongly.