A synthetic insulated jacket that is ideal if you want to face very cold temperatures and do this in style!
Thrudark was set up by two Special Forces soldiers, and the Thrudark Engage Jacket is a serious piece of kit with seriously good features. It is designed to keep you toasty warm in tough conditions so if you’re after a jacket that will look stylish, while protecting you from the elements, the Engage is for you.
Thrudark Engage Jacket: The stats
|Best for:||Winter hiking and as a warm outdoor layer for various activities|
|Weight:||630g (size L)|
|Waterproof:||No, only resistant|
|Outer fabric:||Pertex Quantum|
Features of the Thrudark Engage Jacket
HoodThe storm hood is top-notch. The synthetic down within the hood makes it really cosy and means there is rarely any need for a hat underneath. Use the draw cords to get the perfect fit – it moves when your head moves!. The neck is adjustable and sits high enough to protect most of your face. All said, it could be blowing a gale outside, and your noggin would be warm and dry.
Fabric and insulation
The Engage is filled with PrimaLoft synthetic insulation, both an ethically responsible choice and a highly effective one. It has a water resistant coating (Pertex® Quantum Proto) giving it a decent level of water resistance should you get caught in a shower and combines comfort with being durable due to its Pertex Quantum Diamond Fused Shell.
Internal mesh pockets
On the inside, there’s one phone-sized internal zip pocket at the chest and, at the bottom, there are two generously sized elasticated non-zipped pockets for stuffing things (e.g. gloves) into.
It has two external pockets with YKK zips. These are a good size, fitting an OS map comfortably and a good place to warm up cold hands.
The cuffs of the sleeves have a slightly elasticated section which not only looks great, but also gives a slimmer fit around the wrists to keep the draft out. The length is spot on, too.
The Engage can be packed down reasonably well and comes with a roll-top style stuff sack for this.
Thrudark Engage Jacket review
When walking mid-winter in the Peak District and during cold snaps down south, the Engage comes into its own and I wouldn’t be without it. I’m able to wear it with just one long sleeve baselayer underneath. It’s breathable, comfortable, and does a good job of keeping off the wind and rain, thanks to its water resistant outer fabric. It did better than I had expected in its first outing in reasonably heavy rain. Yes, there was seepage when I had a backpack on but then technically it’s not classed as ‘waterproof’, so that’s to be expected. You can’t really fit a waterproof over the top, and nor would you want to heat-wise, so if it is likely to bucket it down over many hours maybe choose something else. However, the excellent water resistance is a super appealing feature of an already high-performing jacket, and an excellent argument in favour of synthetic insulation over down insulation. Whilst many down jackets will resist water in a similar way to the Engage, once seepage occurs the insulation properties are seriously affected. Synthetic insulation, however, continues to provide warmth when wet. And it also dries much more quickly compared with down insulation.
Additionally, the outer fabric of the jacket holds up to already high expectations on the durability front. It’s one hardy jacket, dealing very well with hikes through dense undergrowth and prickly overgrown paths.
Above all, the Engage is a very warm jacket! I know that’s perhaps stating the obvious, but I live in the south of the UK and cycling is my main outdoor activity. Unless it is seriously cold, the jacket is overkill when riding, even with just a t-shirt underneath. So, it tends to get left unzipped to keep the air flowing. I wore it recently in -4ºC on my slowish morning commute to work (12km ride, going 20km/h average, with two short hills). It was great for the vast majority of that ride, but at the top of the first hill I had to unzip a bit! Where it properly comes into its own, however, is as a warm outer layer on winter hikes during windy and changeable conditions.
As mentioned above, the hood is fantastic. It’s another level of insulation to any down jacket I have previously owned, boasting a peak that keeps the wind out further. It can also be tightened right in to feel proper snug.
Comfort and fit
The jacket is really comfortable and allows for a decent level of movement when engaging in higher intensity activities. I am between two sizes and opted for the smaller of the two (the small over the medium). The fit is absolutely perfect everywhere (arm length, chest, shoulders etc), aside from the waist and hips, where it hugs a little too tight. It would have been great had it been a smidge wider at this point, because its draw-cord(see image below) could then still have provided a way of tightening for slimmer folks!
I am really impressed by the pockets in general. The outer ones are a good size, and a nice place to put hands for some extra warmth! I also like that the zip doesn’t go down to the bottom level of the pocket, meaning there’s no danger of things falling out when you’re on the go. You may need deep pockets to buy this jacket, but you’ll get deep pockets in return! Sorry.
The internal chest pocket is phone-sized. Plus, there are two big elasticated “stuff” pockets at the bottoms – perfect for putting an unused hat, or (for me on one occasion) a snack lunch: freezer-bagged sandwich on one side, crisps/bar on the other.
The coat has an inner-lining that, aesthetically, I think might divide people. I’m not a great fan and would prefer a cleaner look over the somewhat arty lining they have chosen. But obviously, normally the coat is zipped up so this makes no big difference and might well be your thing!
On the packability front, the synthetic nature of the insulation means that the Engage will struggle to compete with its down-filled counterparts. And although it packs into its own stuff sack, as a serial bikepacker, it doesn’t go quite as small as I would need (with some effort I managed to get it into a 3l roll-top bag, just). However, I think this squishability is most certainly limited by the undeniable increased warmth it offers compared to more lightweight alternatives. Overall, I’d say this is best for shorter/slower/very cold rides (where you don’t need to pack much), winter walking/hiking or, indeed, for standing around in the cold for long periods of time (e.g. was out on strike recently and it was perfect for 2hrs on a below-freezing picket line!).
What I love the most about the Thrudark Engage Jacket
The Engage is, all in all, a very comfortable and snug jacket. The warmth is unlike anything I have previously experienced making this an excellent choice for below freezing conditions. Their specs say it can go up to -10 C, and I can say that I was very comfortable at around -5 C. It looks great as well, so it’s perfect too for the cold walk to and from the pub on a winter’s night! Oh, and did I mention that it has a hood I would happily live in forever?!
What I don’t love so much about the Thrudark Engage Jacket
The only big issue, for me, is that the waist being disproportionately small compared to the rest of the fit. Given that it is not at all elasticated, this is the one part that felt a bit restrictive for me when moving around in it. I’m not a big guy (!), but I could have done with a bit of (just had a big dinner) leeway!
The Thrudark Engage is the perfect jacket if you want to stay super-warm in very cold conditions and look stylish and, dare I say it, hard-core while doing so! It has a high price tag, but performs fantastically in tough conditions, so might be worth the splash.
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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.