FurTech Claw 2 & FurTech Trousers Review

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.

12 thoughts on “FurTech Claw 2 & FurTech Trousers Review”

  1. Two good hoods in as many days – now that’s what I call progress. Furtech is a different beast that certainly seems worth a look.

    I’m with you all the way on sewn-in gaiters. It’s why I wear Keela in the winter – no problems with snow ingress and there is no pratting about with overtrousers every ten minutes.

    As you say, it’s good to see interesting kit evolving bit by bit.

  2. No, sorry – I tried to just ignore the nonsense and go to bed, but I couldn’t sleep – I had to get up & switch the thing on again and re-read it just to prove it wasn’t some bad dream, but no – it actually does say “…take your arms out, tie the sleeves loosely behind your head…” you are having a laugh, right?

    Venting I get, I get it – zips under the arms, that old ski jacket of mine (the purple one) has them. However, when you open those zips, there’s an inner, open mesh lining. But your jacket above has no such lining? You can pop your arms out completely and tie the sleeves (loosely) behind your head! It’s just as well you can’t be arsed taking the pack off your back as you’ve just tied yourself to it. (Curiously, that photo is conspicuous by it’s abscence.)

    Doesn’t anybody just “pull down the big zip thingy at the front” anymore, when they want to vent on the move? Why not just go the whole hog and have zips at the shoulders and make the sleeves completely detachable, but no – you’re going to tie them round the back of your head.

    You’ve been cinching that hood a little too tightly round your head, mate.

    Step away from the keyboard and raise your sleeves in the air, where I can see them!

    … says the guy, sitting in his dressing gown at 3am ranting at a machine – madness (, madness, they call it madness!!!)

  3. Just back from a well-timed Lakes trip (caught the snow again!) Had my eye on a Claw 2 for some time now & nipped into Cunninghams at Ambleside, who hold stock. You’re spot-on about sizing. I’m currently a good XL in Rab gear(hopefully getting smaller as I get fitter!) but found the largest available (XL) in Furtech just too restrictive around the shoulders, even with just the baselayer that I’d expect to wear with it. Until they get their fittings right anyone buying XL on-line should ensure they’ll fit as the quoted chest size can be misleading. Or maybe I’m just an odd shape? Usually if I can get my belly in the shoulders are OK!
    Shame, ‘cos its nice gear but I’ll have to wait to check out the lightweight Velez when it’s on sale.

  4. I’d hoped that Version 2.0 would be a bit more “relaxed” across the back and shoulders but it seems not as I’ve read several folk saying the same thing.

    Not to worry, with their inconsistent sizing, most folk can find something from Paramo that’ll fit :o)

  5. Das, I kid you not. And it workd very well, the only reason there’s no photie of the arm thing is the same reason that all the photies in the review got taken under the same crag, the battery in the camera died. I’ll get one up at some point though.
    And yes when I got back to the motor I took the jacket and pack off as one.
    Also Paramo do a removeable arm thing…

    tgs & Kev, the fit is indeed at the other end of the scale from Paramo. When I put it on, the tightness across the back of my shoulders is really noticable, but with a pack on and after I start moving I stop noticing it. After that I only feel it occasionaly if I’m doing a really big reach or stretch and pull a seam tight across my back.
    I don’t think it would take much to fix it, just relax a seam here or there.

  6. Pete, how’s the long term test of Furtech gone? Or with the amount of kit you get to play with has it not been used since March last year??

    Have been fairly happy with my jacket/trouser combo over the last few months so far…full length zip on the trousers great on warmer days. Mid week walk with no-one around allowed me to tie the arms behind my head when the sun came out – and yes it does work! :-)

  7. I still used the jacket now and again, I had it on a couple of weeks ago. I do quite like it, the slimmer fit’s great.
    The trousers need a bit of work I think, and I believe there was talk of an updated version.
    The fabric is fine, I think there’s a few design quirks need sorted and they’re away.

    Done the arm thing, I was hoping sopmeone would spot me and ask what the hell I was doing :o)

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