I was recently contacted by an up and coming (according to their website) local business, Polo-shirts.co.uk, part of the Quayside Group which is based in nearby Trafford Park.
“Would you be interested in reviewing some of our items of kit?”
After looking at their website, which states ‘The Quayside Group was established in 1995 and has since grown to become a leading online supplier of wholesale and personalised clothing’, I was pleased to receive this jacket for review.
Here are my initial observations:
The manufacturer’s product details and specification is provided at the foot of this posting. I do not take issue with them.
This garment is not one you will find in outdoor shops, and it isn’t suitable for backpacking as its weight of 740 gm is not exactly light (my ‘medium weight’ RAB jacket weighs 465 gm). The jacket is manufactured by Russell Intelligent Clothing and is basically a breathable PU coated nylon outer with a polyester lining. It doesn’t state the country of manufacture. The current price is £50.00 plus VAT and delivery, less if you order more than 10 jackets. That’s a fraction of the cost of the RAB jacket I used for the weight comparison.
On receipt I immediately donned the jacket to complete an errand on a wet day. It felt like a solid, effective shell, and on a later evening walk at a brisk pace its breathability seemed fine, with no condensation appearing, though I feel it isn’t likely to be as breathable as higher spec Goretex or eVent jackets.
The beading on the new fabric was fine, as you would expect.
- the medium size fits my 38” chest with room to spare
- the jacket is comfortable without being snug
- the length is good
- the handwarming pockets are …. handwarming (note – I hadn’t fastened the velcro cuffs at this point)
- the hood folds away neatly, but the peak isn’t stiffened and hasn’t got a volume reduction cord, so it slightly obscures my vision when used in anger, but for the price of this jacket the hood may be regarded as a bonus
- the soft touch collar feels … soft – here’s another picture
- the arms are a good length, with effective velcro adjusters for the cuffs
- the drawcords for the hood and the hem are effective
- the YKK zips on the front and on the pockets are of good quality and have cord pulls for use with gloves. The small zip for the ‘discreet concealed decoration access at hem’ (presumably to give access for embroidering, etc) doesn’t work properly on my jacket, but I suspect most users probably wouldn’t even notice this zip
- the storm flap, secured by velcro, should be effective in most weathers, but there could be ingress in severe weather as the zips aren’t waterproof
- the main zip has a top ‘garage’ and a well designed internal rain flap
- the handwarming pockets are reasonably spacious and the external chest pocket will take a large ‘phone or GPS, but not a map unless folded. There are no internal pockets. So pocket space is limited compared with specific (and more expensive) hiking jackets
- at 740 gm, this is not a lightweight garment, but it’s certainly fit for use as a waterproof jacket for casual use and day walks
- a smart (by my standards) jacket ideal for casual use and for day walks, especially during the cooler months
- for energetic mountain days a more technical jacket may be preferable, but as a budget item this jacket may cope with most conditions
- numerous manufacturers make similar products, but I’m not aware of any that are as robust as this one appears to be, for such a cheap price
- if you are looking for a cheap but solid waterproof jacket, I doubt you’ll find better value than this
- the jacket is ideal for going out in the rain all year round, and should be good for day walks from autumn to spring (it’ll be too hot for many summer days)
- the jacket is already my first port of call as my outdoor jacket - I’ll be using it for day walks, trips to town, and general casual use – you could do a lot worse than replace your tatty old day to day jacket with this excellent, at first sight, product.
Finally, given the discounts available for bulk orders, and the printing and embroidery services offered by Quayside Group, this jacket or one of the company’s other products may be ideal for those requiring garments for a team, company, or other group that may want (or be required) to wear the same clothing.
Incidentally, I notice that Alan Rayner has recently reviewed Polo-shirts.co.uk’s softshell product here. He likes it, and it appears at first sight to be at least as waterproof as the Hydraplus Jacket, though it lacks a hood and has a smaller chest pocket.
That’s it for now. I’ll add to this review when I have been using the jacket for a longer term.