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Review: Fjällräven High Coast Hydratic Jacket

A versatile rain jacket for everyday wear and general outdoor use, made from recycled fabric

The Fjällräven High Coast Hydratic Jacket is a lightweight and packable rain jacket with some really nice design features and the usual Fjallraven high quality construction. So long as you don’t intend spending prolonged time hiking in heavy rain, this is a superbly well-made waterproof jacket for hiking, biking, paddling and camping.

Fjällräven High Coast Hydratic Jacket: The stats

Best use:Everyday wear and general outdoor use
Weight:281g (size s)
Waterproof?:Yes
Eco info:Fluorocarbon-free impregnation and made from recycled materials

Features of the Fjällräven High Coast Hydratic Jacket

Fabric

Ripstop fabricThe 2.5 layer construction is made from 100% recycled polyamide with a PU-coating, a ripstop face and PFC-free impregnation. It is waterproof with a water column of 10k which means that it can deal with rain showers but not prolonged exposure to heavy rain. It also has a breathability rating of 6000 g/m²/24h.

Hood

Jacket hoodWith two-way toggle adjustments at the back and opening, the peaked hood provides really good protection from the wind and rain. Cinch it right in and it equates to a very well fitting hood. There’s also a reflective strip on the top of the hood.

Zip and pockets

two way jacket zipThe two-way zip makes adjusting mid layers and pants really easy without undoing the whole jacket. Plus, the zip is protected from the elements by a storm flap which is secured closed with a popper button at the base.
The jacket also features two good sized hand pockets. They are both zippered with small cord pulls, and storm flaps add a degree of protection against the rain.

Hem

Jacket hem toggleThere is extra length at the back of the jacket which is really useful when wearing a backpack and it gives your backside a little extra protection. The overall length is good, with enough fabric to cinch in the hem without it riding up shorter. There are two toggles at the hem which adjust the elasticated drawcord.

Cuffs

Rain jacket sleeveBoth cuffs are secured in place with wide Velcro tabs that stay put securely. The tabs also feature reflective strips for a little extra visibility at night or in low light. Additionally, the sleeves are on the longer side of average, which provides a little extra hand protection from the rain.

Vents

Jacket Side ventsUniquely, the High Coast has side vents down the flanks of the jacket instead of pit vents. These keep air flowing around the torso on warm days or steep ascents but they’re also not affected by the shoulder straps of a backpack quite as much as pit vents. Their positioning means you can access the pockets of your mid layers without taking the jacket off. Plus, the zips are much easier to access and use with one hand compared with pit vents.


Fjällräven High Coast Hydratic Jacket review

The outdoor industry is just storming right now when it comes to sustainable practises. More and more brands are turning to recycled fabrics and PFC-free treatments to create gear and clothing that stands up to the elements. But without the pioneering brands leading the way, I’m not sure the industry would be quite as progressive in this area as it is. Brands like Fjllaraven, who have stood by their planet-friendly roots, developing new sustainable lines, push other brands into following suit. They pave the way for progress, keeping quality high and design appealing to consumers.

So it’s no surprise that amongst Fjallraven’s outerwear range is a waterproof jacket that is made from recycled polyester with PFC-free impregnation: the High Coast Hydratic Jacket.

Though it’s certainly not as stylish as other Fjallraven clothing, and it unmistakably looks like a waterproof jacket, the simple and practical design offers just enough aesthetic appeal for everyday wear.

Woman in hooded jacket

Fit and sizing

The size S fits really well and is my usual size choice. The fit is loose without looking or feeling baggy. The benefit of this is that there’s lots of space to fit mid layers underneath. A base layer and a fleece feel the most comfortable. But surprisingly, it’s also just about roomy enough to add in a mid-weight down jacket to this layering system. This instantly ups the ante in terms of its use right through the seasons.

Weather protection

This jacket has endured some pretty heavy downpours as well as prolonged exposure to light rain. In both scenarios it has dealt with the rain with no problems at all. No leakages at the sealed seams and no wet patches on my internal layers. However, after a recent bike ride in pretty heavy rain the inside fabric was slightly damp throughout, but especially at the chest. This is to be expected with a 10k water column as the wind was blowing, further adding to the pressure on the fabric, and I was creating internal moisture from sweat, too. There’s only so much moisture a jacket of these specs can deal with, in terms of breathability and waterproofness, without moisture building up.

It’s not designed for prolonged use in heavy rain. But in showers and short downpours, the waterproofness of the fabric is perfectly sufficient and stand up well.

Water on rain jacket

Versatility

As mentioned, the ability to fit the jacket over a down mid layer adds an appealing degree of versatility. It makes it an ideal option for chucking in the backpack as a ‘just in case’ rain coat on winter hikes when the forecast is good. I really like knowing that it’s there as a backup without having to shed warm layers.

The bright colour, comfortable fit and reflective strips also make it suitable for casual cycling trips where being as streamlined as possible isn’t a priority. It would be good if it had a tab at the neck to secure the hood down. But aside from that, it feels really comfortable (and visible) to cycle in.

Cyclist in Fjallraven High Coast Jacket

What I love the most about the Fjällräven High Coast Hydratic Jacket

Badly designed hoods can ruin rain jackets for me. But the High Coast hood is great! It cinches down tightly and easily in all the right places with a high neck for extra rain and wind protection around the chin.

I also really like the side vents. They don’t provide quite as much airflow as pit vents. But they’re much easier to use with one hand and they also provide access to mid layer pockets.

What I don’t love so much about the High Coast

This jacket is lightweight and packs down pretty small (both positives!). But it lacks a stowable pocket which would really make the most of its packability.

It’s also hard to ignore the high price tag. Yes, you’re getting Fjallraven quality, which is certainly desirable. However, I’d expect a little more waterproofness for a jacket of this price. Or a lower price tag for an everyday rain jacket.


Woman hiking in red jacket on coast

Verdict

With unique and highly usable side vents, a tough ripstop exterior and a very well designed hood, the Fjällräven High Coast Hydratic Jacket provides comfort and practicality in a range of outdoor and everyday scenarios. The waterproofness could certainly be better for a jacket of this price. However, if you’re looking for protection against heavier showers and prolonged light rain with the added bonus of getting behind a planet-friendly brand, then it’s got you covered.

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Fjällräven

Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.

About the author

author-joey

Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard, and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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