In Review: 3-in-1 Jackets
Words & pics Marthinus Esmeyer
Capestorm - Entrada
This jacket took me a bit by surprise as it’s so different to the other jackets I tested. It is fashionable, looks very smart and is much more ideal for a cold night out on the town than the bush. This jacket attracted the most compliments whenever I wore it; it really looks smart. The cut is more body hugging than the other jackets, which does makes it restrictive. The sleeves crop up if you get too active or, say, want to take your kayak off the roof rack. The tight cut also limits the numbers of layers you can wear when it gets really cold.
The outer material tends to make 'creaking' noises (for lack of a better word), even when you're sitting still. It did not bother me too much, but this could be irritating to some. The stitching was not finished off well, and I found myself having to cut away a number of loose strands, mainly on the inner fleece.
Final verdict: A quality, fashionable jacket for travelling and city use, but not for any outdoor pursuits.
Columbia - Evergreen
This is an awesome multifunctional jacket you can take anywhere and do anything with. The jacket fits well, is very comfortable to wear and doesn't restrict your movement at all.
The thermal-reflective technology used inside the inner fleece makes this fleece warmer than other fleece linings. The outer shell material was my favourite of the jackets. I also found it to be the most abrasive resistant and breathable of the jackets tested.
Final verdict: It's a great jacket and can handle whatever the weather throws at you; it’s my first choice as a multipurpose outdoor jacket.
First Ascent - Avalanche
As advertised, this jacket is meant for the slopes. It looks good and has a number of cool features for convenience on your ski holiday.
The jacket sits comfortably without restricting your movement. After a cold day out kayaking or canyoning, it’s great to put on as it warms you up really quickly.
I am not sure how durable the material will be long term if used for other mountain sports, and further testing over a longer period is needed for me to give a more accurate account.
I do notice things most people don’t and since it’s such a nice looking and detailed jacket I was a bit disappointed with the stitching not being finished off neatly. There were some strands unravelling in a few spots. This jacket also showed early signs of wear, which does not bode well for long-term durability.
Unlike the other jackets tested, this is a one-piece jacket without a removable inner fleece. Avalanche does have a 3-in-1 with a removable inner for R1,499.
Final verdict: This jacket was the warmest of the lot, with good looks to match.
K-Way - Romulus
This jacket is great for anything and can be taken anywhere. Once rolled up, the lightweight outer layer is the most compact of the jackets tested, so on a mountaineering trip, where weight and space is a factor, it's ideal.
This jacket is also at home in snow environments and features a snow skirt. The soft shell that comes with the Romulus is a nice change to the regular fleeces most 3-in-1 jackets come with.
I often went rock climbing in it on the cold winter days, as it has the most functional inner layer.
Final verdict: I was very impressed by this jacket and consider it a great all rounder. This jacket comes in a very close second choice to Columbia's Evergreen.
I found this jacket to be a hardy, everyday outdoor working jacket and very reasonably priced.
The outer material’s specs feature a high waterproofing/breathability rating and you can feel it is a quality outer layer that will be very durable.
This is the only jacket I had to wear in a medium though, so make sure on the sizing if you order online. The arm lengths are shorter than the others tested and this is one area where I found the jacket to be restrictive when getting very active, as the sleeves kept on cropping up on me. The cut is not very body hugging on me, but will allow for more layers to be added if needed. It comes in a number of color options to suit all tastes.
Final verdict: This jacket is good value for money, with quality material that competes well with the more expensive brands.
Care tip: With new outer fabrics, all the jackets were well waterproofed, but this could change depending on hard use, care and how much each one's material could resist abrasion. All waterproof breathable fabrics have a durable water resistant coating that aims to stop the external fabric from becoming saturated with moisture. When a fabric becomes saturated, the breathability is compromised. All these coatings eventually wear out due to abrasion, dirt and use.
Therefore, keep your jacket clean and restore its coating regularly in order for it to last you and stay waterproof.
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