The last month I’ve been buying more gear that I’ve got on my list. I’ve done my research and I (mostly) know what I want to get. The main reason that I’m getting the gear now is so I can test my gear in cold and bad weather. It’s winter here in The Netherlands, so I can try my gear out in weather which I will get traveling.
The gear I did the most research on was a Hardshell jacket. It’s hard to get the right one! When you look at prices, they start around 100 euro’s all the way up to 900 euro’s. So what is the best jacket for my travel plans? And also, if you wind up buying expensive gear, it’s also nice that you can use it for muliple circumstances.
A hardshell jacket will protect you against the elements. No mather what mother nature will throw at you, snow, rain or hard winds, a jacket like this should protect you from this.
After googling and talking to some people working at outdoor shops, I found out what the minimum requirement is for a decent Hardshell Jacket. There are a number of different fabrics that are used for Hardshell jackets, and Gore-Tex is well known for it’s quality. When you look at Gore-Tex, there are a number of different fabrics. For example, the normal Gore-Tex, Gore-Tex Active and Gore-Tex Pro. When you look at a specific fabric, there can be differences in that also. It can be a 2 layer, 2 and a half layer and a 3 layer fabric. It’s recommended that you can the 3 layer fabric for durability and breathability.
So what are the differences? The standard Gore-Tex product is used for allround products. Gore-Tex Active is a fabric that is mostly used for sports like trail running, mountainbiking or day hikes. The fabric is thinner then the normal Gore-Tex fabric so it’s lighter and you can move better in the Active fabric. Because the fabric is thinner, it is less durable. The Gore-Tex Pro fabric is for more extreme conditions. The material is thicker then the other two so it is more durable. WATCH OUT: The “Pro” fabric is the new fabric, there are also jackets that use “Pro Shell” fabric. This is the previous version of the “Pro” fabric. It’s not a bad fabric by any means, but the new Pro fabric is much better.
There are more fabrics, but to be honest. I don’t know them that well. Fjallraven has created their own fabric, but in reviews they say it is less durable then Gore-Tex. If you wanna read more about the different fabric, I would recommend reading this article.
In the next part I will talk about the design of the hardshell jacket. What to look for and also, what to avoid!