The Claw 2 came in from FurTech for test some months back, and the Trousers followed on a bit later. I’ve been wearing them on and off through winter, usually in some minging conditions, and I think I’ve got a handle on them.
There’s the obvious comparisons going to be drawn to Paramo as it’s a two layer system, an inner drawing moisture out from your body and an outer dealing with the wind and rain. But after that very general summary the two manufacturers part company, one stays and the meeting for more coffee and biscuits, and the other’s running for a cab to get back to the office.
The Claw 2 is a nice looking jacket. It’s got all the regular stuff that a mountain jacket should have, but tweaked in an individual fashion.
The cut is slim, if you wear Haglöfs or perhaps Rab, you’ll know what to expect here. I’m on the limit of the size large on my shoulders with a base layer underneath, the XL was too long and baggy and still neat on the shoulders. But, fit is such a subjective issue.
The point here being, it’s got a technical cut, no extra baggy flapiness, and that makes me happy.
There’s no riding up at the hem in general gadding about mode or when lifting your arms, and that arm movement is completely free. The arms are also nicely long and have old style fabric velcro adjusters, prasise be!
One of the big talking points has been the clear visor on the hood, and maybe disappointingly it didn’t goad any kind of big reaction from me. It works well at keeping snow and rain out of my eyes, and does let light in so the “hooded” sensation is definitely less. I think maybe I was expecting to walk around looking at it all the time or something. So, the point I’m driving around the roundabout twice to get to is that it’s not an issue.
The drawcord adjustment here is interesting as it draws the hood around your head in a single movement, another piece of design that feels a little different. The hood does roll down to make a collar, and that’s the configuration in which it arrived, but I popped the poppers right away and I’ve never done it up again. That’s a biking or climbing thing I think, I haven’t climbed in years and I ain’t biking in the Claw, so hanging loose is good.
The four chest pockets are high up, the napoleons being perfectly placed for keeping kit handy. The handwarmers are a bit high for me, using them gives me a kangaroo-esque posture, and I think this makes the internal pocket bags overlap too much as well.
The pocket bags though, are shaped to give you plenty of storage space.
There are pitzips (you’ll see they’re a little open in one of the photies above), and they’re very long with two zip pulls for torso or upper arm venting, and work well. There is an option here which I thought might have been a little bit of cheeky bullshitting by FurTech, but it’s not.
You’re descending out of the weather, the temperature is rising, the motor/train station/Real Food Cafe isn’t too far away and you can’t be arsed stopping and taking your pack off to take off the jacket. So, you undo the pitzips all the way and take your arms out, tie the sleeves loosely behind your head which pulls them clear of your shoulders and instantly you’re wearing a lightly insulated gilet with all your stuff still in the pockets and all without stopping walking or taking your pack off. This works on some climbing specific hardshells, but the softness of the FurTech fabric means it’s more comfortable and the knotted sleeve thing is easier to acheieve and the knot stays in better. Genius.
The fabric performance is very good, working with a variety of baselayers from the heavy synthetic of Haglöfs Actives 031 Polo, to Paramo’s Cambia Sport Tee and various Chocolate Fish Taranaki merino’s.
You stay dry and comfortable inside regardless of the weather outside, but of course the venting is vital here as it’s a warm jacket. In cool and cold weather it’s all-day wear no problem, although on very cold and windy ridges I found it’s limits for warmth. That’s not an issue as the slim cut lets you layer a synthetic insulation piece over the top and carry on. That’s layering the right way round, none of this taking your waterproof off to put a layer underneath while getting wet and cold nonsense.
The trousers are in the same fabric and have some nice features, zip fly, zipped pockets and full length leg zips for venting. The lower leg tightens in with poppers to clean up your lower leg for crampon and snowshoe use.
They feel very soft on, and on miserable days they’ve performed well. FurTech advise using mini gaiters with them as they don’t have their own internal gaiters, this is fine to an extent but means that the top of mini gater is sawing away at your sock or shin. I’d like to see gaiters sewn-in, It’s a better system and it’s my preference these days in my winter legwear. I haven’t worn proper gaiters all winter for the first time, er, ever I think?
The leg vents are brilliant, a feature all mountain legwear should have.
Going from legwear with stretch to the FurTech’s was always going to show the differences in a harsher light. There is some articlutaion at the knee and little extra fabric around the thigh and the ass/crotch area (is there a proper word for that? Trunk, lower torso or something, pelvic zone?) that lets you lift and swing a leg, but to compete with the freedom of movement from the current array of stretch softshells we’ll need a little more from the Furtech Trousers. Better articulation will reduce the need for gaiters as well, your ankle will be less exposed when lifting your leg for high steps.
For general winter or miserable weather walking the pants are ideal as they are.
I really like the jacket, I think it could be tweaked. The pockets, a little more slack around my shoulders and we’re pretty much spot on. The pants are the same, a few wee tweaks to improve mobility and maybe cut down bulk would be perfect. As a matched set, they work very well together.
It’s very individual, some of the quirks will endear or perturb, but that’s all down to us and our ability to deal with “new”.
It’s good to see innovation. I hope FurTech can keep pressing forward and developing the clothing. The fact the jacket is version #2 is a good sign, I’ll be looking forwad to seeing what’s next.