* Prices may differ from that shown
After many years of wearing deeply unattractive green pac-a-macs, I decided that it was time to splash out on something a bit more cheery to wear on my rainy English camping trips. Apart from a brighter colour, I also wanted something that was breathable and comfortable, as I found that wearing a plastic raincoat for prolonged periods left me a bit sweaty.
All of the walking and camping stores sold lovely lightweight raincoats which cost a small fortune, so I was delighted to find a Regatta lightweight jacket in my local TK Maxx for £30.
Regatta was a familiar and trusted name for me; I had previously owned Regatta Dare2b skiwear and been very happy with the quality. The company is a family owned company that has been around since 1981, and sells clothing, rucksacks and footwear.
I love purples and lilacs, so this jacket was just right for me. The main part of the body and sleeves are a dark lilac colour, with a thick stripe of purple running up each sleeve and each side. A very sturdy lilac zip opens the jacket fully and Velcro straps can be tightened around each wrist to keep out the rain.
The hood is large enough to comfortably cover my head, coming down low onto my forehead to keep drips off my face - and can be rolled up and tucked into the collar compartment when not in use, kept in place by three Velcro strips. Tucking the hood inside the collar really gives the collar shape, making the whole jacket look much more stylish and substantial and less like a mac.
Both the hood and the bottom of the jacket can be tightened via an elasticated drawstring, and held in place by clear toggles.
Two large zipped pockets provide excellent space to carry mobiles, tissues, or money, and the left hand pocket can be turned inside out so that the whole jacket can be stuffed into the ready-made pocket and held in place by Velcro. As well as holding the jacket in place, this Velcro also forms a belt loop which means that the jacket can be attached to a belt when not worn.
The inside of the coat has a white mesh lining which prevents the waterproof material from clinging to clothes and allows it to fall naturally away from the body. The sleeves are lined with a light grey material, giving them warmth and extra substance.
The jacket is made from Isolite lightweight polyester fabric. Isolite is part of the Isotex family and is 100% breathable as well as having a hydrostatic head of 5000mm. Rain resistance is measured as a hydrostatic head in millimetres, indicating the pressure of water needed to penetrate a fabric. European Standards say that a fabric must have hydrostatic head rating of 1,500mm to be classified as waterproof. Fabric with a hydrostatic head rating of 1000 mm or less is best regarded as shower resistant, so having a hydrostatic head of 5000mm makes this jacket very waterproof.
~~Wearing the Jacket~~
I have now owned this jacket for nearly 2 years and still love to wear it. It is much more stylish than the normal raincoat and I like it so much that I often throw it on for general use as well as walking and other outdoor sporting activities. It has always kept me perfectly dry, whether I am walking the hills or shopping around town. The taped seams which make it very waterproof have not started to peel away from the fabric, as some of my cheaper waterproofs do very quickly.
It is very light, and very breathable. My old cagoules used to make me a bit sweaty if I wore them for too long, and condensation would quickly form on the inside. This jacket avoids all of these problems as well as being very effective in keeping out the wind.
The jacket can be washed normally at 40 degrees, and I have done this twice so far. I always wash my waterproof clothing with a wash-in water proofer to make sure that it keeps its resistance to rain. Each time my jacket comes out perfectly clean and perfectly waterproof.