Gear: HI-TEC ORION 3-IN-1 JACKET
I've eagerly been awaiting a cold, wet winter's day here in Cape Town so that I can finally put my new Hi-Tec Orion outdoor jacket to the test. Call me mad, and trust me, I like a Netflix and chill as much as most, but this jacket was screaming for a test drive. So when the perfect storm hit, I was out the door with my new jacket in tow. The elements vs Hi Tec...let the battle begin!
So first off, comfort is key for me, I've made the mistake of buying gear that just isn't "user-friendly" and they always end up unused. This jacket is different - yes the fit is great, very comfortable over the shoulders, arms and hips (i have a size medium by the way). But it's the small things that make you want to run for the hills (in a good way!) when you are wearing this jacket.
The adjustable velcro strips at the wrists and the drawstrings at the neck & hips allows me to adjust the fit to suit my needs. So when it's pouring with rain, or freezing cold, I can either tighten them or release them. I also love the attention to detail that shows how high comfort was on the priortity list when this jacket was designed. Small details make the difference like the soft lining over the zip just to protect your chin and neck from chafing when the funnel neck is zipped to the top.
Due to the fleece inner, this jacket offers superb warmth. This inner, combined with a very technologically advanced outer, are a kick ass combination to keep the cold at bay. The inner fleece is made from 100% poly, which has the ability to wick moisture away from the skin, hence keeping you dry, hence keeping you warm.
By the way, one can easily wear the inner as a jacket on its own, which is another reason why this jacket offers such good value in the market place.
For the trail-run, I removed the fleece and was still more than happy with the level of warmth maintained. The jacket outer was absolutely fantastic in the rainy conditions, allowing flexibility and off course keeping me dry. The jacket is also wind-proof, so I hardly felt the cold despite the dropping temperatures. Out of interest sake, I recently returned from a trek in the Himalayas, and I wish in retrospect that I had this jacket with me - I am just amazed how warm this jacket actually kept me.
So you get 'waterproof' and then you get 'waterproof' and I have been around the block a couple of times (no pun intended) in gear claiming to be so, only to be very disappointed and off course sopping wet...
Therefore, this test really was key for me, and boy did I test the waterproofing! The Tecproof 3000 waterproof membrane ensured that the raindrops bounced off the jacket as the rain poured down. The seams are taped to ensure no water can do a sneaky-sneaky and the jacket didn't soak up any water and hence remained lightweight. I kept my cellphone in the chest pocket before the run and can confidently say that it was still in a working condition afterwards!
The design of the hood is one of my favourite features. It's easily accessible as required during activities and can also be tucked away during a trail run. The hood is very stable and it offers good protection from the rain helping with visibility during the run.
Overall: A must-have jacket in your wardrobe that will add immense value to your outdoor gear collection. It may be perceived as a bulky jacket when trail-running or hiking, but rather leave the unnecessary items and keep space for your Orion 3-in-1 jacket. This jacket offers all the bells & whistles yet is much more affordable than others like it in the market place. The Orion offers exceptional quality so save it for a rainy day!
Good job Hi-Tec, impressed again!
Below a short video of my adventure in the Orion 3-in-1 waterproof jacket.