WHW Kit Review
These have got a few trips behind them now, and on the WHW they really came into their own as I wore the jacket almost constantly from late on the first day and the pants were on for about half the time as well.
The WHW is, on the face of it, not the first place you’d think of to go and get the measure of a mountain jacket and pant. But driving rain, snow and bitter winds made waterproofs essential kit for the three days.
The Ozone has a nice slim cut, a super light weight of 380g for a mountain jacket and has all the features to go with the job description. All the zips are water resistant to cut down on faff with flaps (and I don’t care what anyone says, they don’t leak unless the design is shoddy or you keep a grapefuit in each pocket and strain the zip), the velcro cuffs roll right up past your elbow for cooling, the pocket vents look wacky, but work. The pockets themselves are great, internal bags for expansion and volume. The hood works as well, the laminated peak stays put after a little adjustment to the drawcords. The shoulder reinforcement is in the right place as well.
The build quality is fantastic, fine stitching and finishing. There’s wee touches all over it that tell you they didn’t hold back and went straight to the top of the range with it. I love the charcoal and yellow look, some folk will say it’s a 1983 track suit top. Aye, and?
The Ultimate Pants are the perfect match. Good leg length, great articullation without exposed ankles when taking a high step-up and double ended water resistant leg zippers. We’ve got a zipped fly (oft missed out on shell pants by stupid designers) with a double press stud waist, a clever half webbing/ half elastic belt and again a light weight at 290g.
I’ve spent a long time in these the last three weeks or so. On the second training outing around Ardgarten I took a detour looking for a hidden track and ended up in a tight conifer plantation, eyes tightly shut, bursting my way through the sharp low branches that we all curse when we have to get through them. I took the jacket off and there wasn’t any holes in it, I was surprised. A combination of the polyamide outer and luck? A couple of hundred miles later they’ve been washed and scrutinised and it’s still in good order. I’ve maybe only done 60 or 70 miles in the pants. But I’ve done a single Munro in Paclite pants in the past and came home to flecks of white on the inside of the ankle where I’ve scraped off the outer fabric and eaten into the membrane and beyond. The pants don’t have any damage. Again, I’m blaming the tougher face fabric.
The leg zips allowed me to vent through to the skin if I used the zipped vents on the Haglöfs Rugged Mountain Pants I was wearing, as well as letting me into my pockets. They’re on in seconds as well.
Now here’s a thing. I converted to eVent a good while ago because it really was better. I was surprised by Paclite when I wore the Oz through winter. The Ultimate Pants performed the same, the Paclite worked fine. The Ozone is Gore-Tex Proshell, and a lighter variety than I’ve tried before. I had it on while keeping up the pace through all the daft weather and temperatures I found on the WHW, the very embodiment of Four Seasons in One Day, but for three days in a row. It worked as well as any of my eVent jackets. I didn’t suffer unwanted wetness in it at all. I know there’s many varieties and grades of ProShell, but this is definitely one of the good ones.
I like both of these a lot, they’re comfy, light, well featured, user friendly, unobtrusive, feel quickly familiar and even look good. All we need now is something bright yellow with charcoal zips for a bit of contrast…