Haglofs Essens Mimic Jacket review


Price: £160 (Jacket), £180 (Hood)


Durable lightweight insulated jacket featuring the latest in synthetic insulation technology

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Paul Smith and Chris Kempster try out the latest innovation in insulation, Haglöfs’ QuadFusion Mimic…

The last few years has seen a revolution in insulation used in clothing and sleeping bags, initially with various types of waterproof down seeming to offering the best of both worlds – the high warmth to weight of down combined with the water-resistant properties of synthetic – and more recently with the mixing of down and synthetic fibres in PrimaLoft’s Down Blend. Now prepare for the next wave in the insulation revolution, as Haglöfs launch their QuadFusion Mimic filling – a synthetic insulation that looks like, and acts like, down.

The Essens Mimic comes in two styles – Jacket and Hood – for men and women, and visually it looks like a typical micro-down garment, with thin, horizontal baffles running down the torso and arms. How does it compare to a typical micro-baffled down jacket though? Trek & Mountain’s Paul Smith and Chris Kempster have been testing the jacket over the winter, in some pretty testing conditions, and this is what they have to report…

Handy on Aconcagua
Chris: “I was supplied with the Essens Mimic Jacket just in time to take with me on Trek & Mountain’s Aconcagua ’15 reader expedition and, since I lost all my kit on the flight over, I was thankful I’d chosen to wear the Mimic on the plane! From thereafter I wore the jacket virtually every day (and often at night) during the three-week expedition and it performed brilliantly. The jacket has two handwarmer pockets and one chest pocket and simple elasticated cuffs and hem which help keep its weight down. I liked the stretchy arm panels that allow you to reach upwards without restriction, and the amount of fill is just right, giving you plenty of warmth but allowing other layers to be pulled on over the top. What I liked the most though was the robustness of the jacket – both the outer shell of the Mimic and the water-resistant fill which stayed lofty no matter what was thrown at it. Despite the dusty atmosphere of base camp, the Mimic dealt with day-to-day expedition life well and after a wash, looked as good as new.”

Winner in winter
Paul: “I have loved using the Essen Mimic; the cut is slightly larger than the Essen Down Hoody that I have been using pretty much constantly since my review for Trek & Mountain, and I welcome this. Where it comes into its own is in damp conditions – I used it in Scottish and Welsh winter conditions, both as a midlayer and as a mini belay jacket, and even when soaked through it still proved the right level of warmth. More recently I’ve had some issues with the insulation moving around a bit, but Haglöfs have told us that this has been rectified on production models by increasing the filling. The synthetic insulation was not as soft as that with the Essen Down Hoody, and gave the jacket a more rigid feel, both to touch and when being worn, however this has started to ‘give’ slightly now. Personally I feel it does lack a hood, but there is now a hooded version, so that particular issue has been solved!”

Lofty ambitions
Overall then, we both enjoyed using the Essens Mimic and found that its synthetic construction came into its own when in damp conditions and the materials used throughout make it pretty durable too. If you want the performance of a ‘micro down’ jacket but with increased durability, then the Essens Mimic could be exactly what you are looking for.