I went to California and walked across the mountains in a record snow year. To see me though those weeks and miles, I took a very particular set of kit. Not least because I was going for 30 days and didn’t want to have to carry any more weight than absolutely necessary. Since a 200 mile kit test is uncommon, I want to go through and give you feedback on how this kit went. Here is the first of my reviews from the John Muir Trail: my adidas Terrex insulated jacket. (Full disclosure, adidas sent me this to review along with some other kit like the adidas Terrex Techrock Trousers and the women’s trainers I took on the Lydford Bounds walk, all part of their Terrex range.)
What you get
The adidas Techrock Primaloft Jacket is a synthetic, insulated jacket designed for the outdoors. It has two pockets and tucks nicely inside one of those pockets for storage. Some other tech specs:
- Sizes 2XS to XL
- Elasticated helmet compatible hood
- PrimaLoft® Gold Active insulation
- 2x waist pockets and a small chest pocket
- Glove compatible zip pulls
For more details on the exact tech specs have a look at the adidas Terrex Techrock Primaloft Jacket official page. (It looks like they might have already updated/rereleased the version I have, so to look at all Terrex insulated jackets have a click of that link instead.
Using the adidas Techrock Mountaineering Trousers
This was my only warm jacket for 250 miles of trail across California. (That’s me walking the JMT, plus also time in Yosemite and then day tripping in San Francisco.) I did also wear this enough in the UK for me to be happy to take it to the US as my only warm jacket for a month and a bit!
So, first a little bit about the features. It’s not the thickest synthetic jacket, but it is warm enough that you can use it as a big layer in the weird summer-winter conditions we had across the Sierra this summer. I was never cold wearing it and a thick fleece and a baselayer. Okay maybe a tiny bit at 2am starting the long hike to Mount Whitney. But otherwise it was plenty good enough. For comparison, I’d definitely use it as a big layer in winter in Scotland if we were doing a mostly-walking day out. It’s probably not enough of a duvet jacket to use for prolonged standing around in snow.
The main zip is double way (unzips from top and bottom) and it has only a single adjustment toggle on the back of the hood. All around the waistline has a mildly elasticated hem. The hood has no peak and some very minor elastication around the front edge. The whole jacket stuffs into one of the waist pockets, with a double sided zip. But honestly it felt bulkier to do it that way than simply roll the jacket into the hood like normal.
What went well
As ever, here are a few main points of what went well about this adidas Terrex Techrock Primaloft Insulated Jacket.
It just works
Everyone who reads this blog knows I really appreciate kit that just does its job. The best kind of gear for me is not one that constantly reminds you of its existence. It just works. And this jacket just works.
Synched in Cuffs
I love the cuffs. They are elasticated and smooth, like you get sometimes on gloves (although a lot thinner). It’s such a simple design feature but makes such a difference to comfort when wearing. It keeps the wind and weather out very effectively, which makes your wrists warmer. It makes a smooth transition from the end of the jacket, which again sounds stupid but I have some great jackets that it’s impossible to write in without catching the velcro cuffs on the floor/paper/desk. I could merrily lie in a tent and write away the evenings without frustration.
Could do better
And for balance, on the other side, here are a few things that came up.
Since coming back I discovered that there is a small toggle at the back of the hood to adjust it. However, that is the only adjustment: nothing on the front or sides. I have quite a small head and the hood was just too big for me. It wasn’t a problem, it was just a bit irritating at times, having to push it back to be able to see properly looking uphill. On the flip side, I probably could have got a helmet under it.
The Sewing Quality
I have never had a big trip without sewing up a hole in my trousers. But I did also have to sew up a hole in this jacket on the shoulder. It wasn’t a hole caught on a tree or rock. It was the stitching coming undone on the right shoulder. Not the arm falling off, but the padding could have come out, so I stitched it back up in the tent one afternoon. (P.S. That’s why I always pack a sewing kit in my first aid kit.) I have no idea how or when it came undone, but my best guess is that it was broken by the abrasion of being under the rucksack strap. Which, after only a few weeks of use, is no ideal.
This is a great mid-weight insulated jacket that just works. It has good sized pockets and great synched in cuffs. It seems pretty durable but after heavy wear some stitching did come undone.
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