Altura Kielder jacket £99
From: Zyro PLC 01423 325325
Test Logbook: We haven’t had it long so these are initial impressions after a few damp and windy days.
Altura haven’t yet got the kudos of the ‘big’ names, but then again they don’t charge big name premiums. Instead they’ve taken a good long look at what features their competitors use, and asked shop owners and jacket users what they want to create a range that is essentially a “best of” other people’s stuff.
Slightly baggy for a fleece underneath, but good length in arms and tail to stop cold spots (even with a 6′ tester in a medium jacket). Lightweight material in multi panel cut with mesh inner keeps movement free and easy without billowing – ideal all rounder cut.
For a start this means a fully waterproof but reasonably breathable ‘Sympatex All Weather’ fabric to keep the water rolling off. Storm flaps over the main zip and all the pockets keep rain out of potential trouble spots. One handed draw cords on (fleece lined) collar and hem are easy to use for keeping out draughts and the cuffs get elastic and a wrap over Velcro strap. The elbows get lightweight “Race Face” style reinforcement for fending off light scrapes and shrubberies. For those without mudguards there’s a press stud secured drop tail to cut out colonic irrigation. If you’re thinking of using the jacket off the bike then you can even buy a zip on peaked hood for an extra £9.99.
For storage they’ve fitted two way main zip plus zips on the front handwarmer pockets, and the two rear pockets (which are each big enough for a water bottle or other assorted clobber). Our only niggle are the small metal zip tabs which are hard to find under the storm flaps with gloves on, but apart from that it’s all very much present and correct. As you’ll have gathered from the photographs there’s a load of reflective piping too.
We’d say the Sympatex is medium breathable on its own, but the Kielder maximises air conditioning with 3 vents on the shoulder yoke and two short zip vents under the armpit. These don’t scoop in as much air as bigger vents but it’s the largest gap Symaptex will allow them to use and still keep the waterproof tag. With everything gaping it’s warm but not too sweaty at a steady pace, which is all you can expect from a mid priced waterproof. Make sure you flip it inside out when you get home though, as the protective mesh liner can stay soggy otherwise.
For the price this jacket is absolutely packed with features and offers excellent climate protection. It’s fully taped and stormflapped for true waterproofing and elbow protection is a useful longevity addition.
It’s a reasonable weight but pack size is still large, making it a ‘start to finish’ jacket rather than a ‘just in case’ pac a mac but underarm and back vents make it bearable on climbs.
In short, they’ve been smart enough to swipe the best bits off other peoples stuff, but keep fabric and finishing quality high making this a cracking winter jacket.For the rest of the well thought-out range (from the more breathable Summit at £129.99 to the simple but effective Nevis at £49.99) check out www.zyro.eu.com