- Polaris Scandium jacket
Venerable UK clothing company Polaris appears to be having something of a renaissance at the moment, with lots of new stuff coming out. The Scandium is at the upper end of Polaris’s waterproof jacket range, but at under £100 it’s still not crazy money.
Pretty much every clothing manufacturer has its own waterproof and breathable fabric these days, or at least has its own branding on whatever fabric its chosen to use. Polaris’s offering goes by the name of Hydrovent Active. Waterproofness is boosted by fully-taped seams and welded zippers, and while a mesh liner doesn’t make a jacket any more breathable it does reduce the feeling of dampness from any moisture that does accumulate inside.
This summer has definitely been wet, but often relatively warm. This is a challenging scenario for a breathable jacket – the fabrics rely on it being warm inside and colder outside to do their moisture-transporting magic, and the warmer it is outside the more those pesky laws of thermodynamics get in the way. The Scandium put up a decent showing, though, and if you do get a bit overwarm then there are lengthy underarm ventilation zips.
You get plenty of pockets – one on the chest, one on each side at the front and one at the back, drawcords at the hem and collar (with the latter being a neat one-sided arrangement for single-handed adjustment), reflective trim on the back and sleeves and those rubbery Velcro-adjustable cuffs that seem to be de rigeur on high-end jackets these days.
Polaris has been in the clothing business for a long time, and it’s clearly got the cut of its jackets sorted – plenty of bum-protecting length at the back, not ludicrously short at the front, good arm length. It’s inevitably bulkier and heavier than an unlined jacket, which means it takes up more room in your pack when you’re not wearing it, but if it’s likely to be wet out the extra comfort of the mesh liner is worth it.
Ups and downs
Positives: Gimmick-free, subtle looks, works great
Negatives: Makes Polaris’s own cheaper jackets look better value, mesh liner adds bulk
Polaris isn’t the trendiest of companies, but this is a good-looking and effective jacket that anyone using purely functional criteria would do well to consider. And if £99.95 is a bit spendy for you, the Polaris Chromium jacket gets you the same fabric, taped seams and mesh liner in a slightly less feature-laden package for just £60. More on that one soon…