Filed under:News, Product News, Agon Jacket, Agori Jacket, Dako, Duin Jacket, Dusa Jacket, Kalmar Jacket, new for 2019, Palmer Jacket, Sprayway, Torridon, Variance Range
We’re just back from a flying visit to Sprayway HQ on the eastern fringes of Manchester. From the upstairs windows, you can see the foothills of the Peak District and in 15 minutes or so, you can be on the ground in the UK’s most popular National Park.
It’s quintessential walking country with a smattering of iconic gritstone crags thrown in. All of which makes it a bit like Sprayway itself, a hillwalking brand with a little bit of added big mountain heritage. “Hillwalking,” says Sprayway’s Duncan Machin, “is where we’re at” and the new collection for spring 2019 reflects that. Here’s a quick run through of some highlights before a smash-and-grab early, retro-tastic, preview of what’s coming your way next winter.
Spring 2019: the Variance range
Variance is a cool-sounding, erm, capsule collection sort of thing that consists of four men’s a two women’s jackets that are aimed squarely at hillwalkers, but with a more modern look and interesting fabrics. The message, I guess, is that you can be a hillwalker without either looking like an old git or a refugee from K2 base camp or the North Face of the Eiger. They’re all ‘sort of’ softshell of different types with varying levels of water resistance.
Men’s Palmer Jacket – £100
The Palmer Jacket is made from an effectively waterproof stretchy, soft-feeling Polyester/PU laminate fabric called TecWEAVE that reminds us of Rab’s excellent Kinetic Plus material. It’s not 100% waterproof but ‘critical seams’ have been taped, so it’s likely to stand up to anything other than properly heavy downpours. It gets a proper, fully-adjustable hood with a wired peak for proper hill use plus adjustable cuffs and hem. There’s a single zipped chest-pocket plus, a neat touch this, a tab across the main zip at chest level making it easy to vent by holding the jacket closed even when it’s partly unzipped. There are two hand pockets as well. Weight is just 350g, so it’s easy enough to stash in a pack when not needed.
Kalmar Jacket – £110
The Kalmar is a hybrid mix of a similar but softer feeling TecWEAVE fabric for main body and sleeves but with a TecSHELL rip-stop overlay on the lightly insulated hood and chest area. The inside of the fabric is brushed for comffort. Again it gets a full hood with wired peak, all-round adjustability and mesh vented chest and hand-pockets. Looks svelte and contemporary, ‘sportier’ says Sprayway.
Duin Jacket – £65
The Duin is an oddly rare animal, a fully windproof jacket that’s not a specialist flimsy ultra-lightweight runners stash-and-forget shell, but a proper hill and mountain-walking jacket. It’s made from a windproof polyester fabric with the same PFC-free water-repellent treatment as the two jackets above. It gets an adjustable hood with wired peak and has venting hand-pockets with a mesh lining. The cuffs and hem are elasticated to save weight and it comes with a colour-matched stuff-sac. A medium weighs bang on 163g with the stuff-sac adding an additional 8g if you choose to use it.
Also in the range is the Marq Jacket, a non-membrane, non-hooded, classic looking double-weave stretch soft shell fabric with a retail price of £90.
There are only two jackets in the women’s range. The Agori Jacket which is, like the Marq, a stretch double-weave soft shell without a hood priced at £80.
And then there’s the Dusa, a women’s version of the men’s Duin windproof with a near-identical spec but a slightly lower weight and a price-tag of £60.
Dako Marl Crew And Quarter-Zips
The final two items in Duncan’s gear cupboard were the Dako Crew(£45) and Dako Half-Zip(£50) tops. Made from a soft, polyester marl fabric, they’re designed either to be worn next to skin as luxurious baselayers or, alternatively, as a lightweight midlayer over an additional baselayer tee.
Personally I quite fancy them as luxury PJs on colder evenings… the CoreC fabric is claimed to be fast wicking and drying and seams are flat-locked for comfort. And guess what, the Dako Crew has a crew-neck design, while the half-zip has a half-zip. Understated but pleasing in a somewhere between a baselayer and a fleece sort of way.
Back to the future: Winter 2019 and the new Torridon Jacket
You know the bit where I said that Sprayway was a hillwalking brand with a touch of mountain heritage? Well, anyone who was around in the 1980s and 90s will remember the iconic Sprayway Torridon Gore-Tex jacket, a near ubiquitous sight on UK hills until the turn of the century.
Well, as we revealed in our recent ISPO – oops, nearly typed Brexit – report, the Torridon is back in modern form this autumn and we got a more detailed look at it and the story behind its revival.
The original version launched in 1988 as a sturdy, 3-layer Gore-Tex shell complete with multiple pockets wired hood and so on. Back then it was actually cut shorter than most waterproofs. It gradually developed until it reach the 1996 version in the pics, which is what the revamp is based on – spot the differences. Sprayway bought the original on eBay and used it as a styling template. And a quick look suggests it’s still in pretty good nick apart from the seam tape, which has mostly left the building. Oh, and if you were wondering, the TL bit stood for Therma Link, which was an integrated, zip-in fleece system. So now you know what the TL in TL Torridon stands for.
Anyway… the idea behind the new Torridon is that it’s a fully-functional, dedicated, hardcore hillwalking shell with those classic 90s colours thrown in. The fabric’s a super tough-feeling 75D 3-layer Gore-Tex – it’s not Pro by the way, that would have pushed the price from £300 up to nearer £450. Ironically by modern standards, it’s longer cut for added crotch protection. It has a classic, stiff-brimmed, wired-peaked and fully adjustable mountain hood that might just about take a helmet if you really tried, but isn’t really meant to. It has huge chest pockets that’ll take not just a map, but a library of the things, pit-zips for a bid of added ventilation and adjustable hems and cuffs. And in true, traditional fashion, there’s a Velcro-fastened, double storm-flap over a plastic-toothed YKK zip.
What’s nice about it, is that for all the retro colours – other options are available – it simply feels like a neatly fitting and frankly bombproof walking shell. It should be too, this is the same sort of weight fabric usually specced on serious mountaineering shells aimed at guides and lunatics who drag their clothing up endless abrasive chimneys and off-width cracks.
The downside is that in a medium it weighs around 640g, which feels slightly heavy by modern standards, but really isn’t a big deal when stacked up against the robust feel of the jacket. And of course it’s not as breathable or as light as Gore-Tex Pro, but then it’s intended as a hill and mountain-walking shell rather than a technical mountaineering one.
Early days, but we have a sample 2019 Torridon to play with and so far it’s been endearingly solid and functional in a slightly nostalgic way. It’s a little odd finding storm-flaps over pocket openings and main zip after years of naked, water-resistant zippy-ness. And having a (half) waist cord feels a little novel, but there’s something reassuringly dependable in a solid, modern tech belt meets traditional braces sort of way about the Torridon. It might just be a modern classic in the making. And yes, like the original, it’s also available for women.
And one more thing…
Smack bang in the middle of the showroom was what looks for all the world like a micro-baffled down jacket. Turns out that it’s actually called the Agon Jacket I think (my handwritten notes are terrible) and actually full of blowable synthetic fill with down-like properties. Looks good and a bit of a bargain too at £110.
More Sprayway info at