Whenever I go outdoors for a longer period of time I used to bring two jackets: one softshell that’s perfect for outdoor activities and one rain jacket in case the weather would turn nasty. After having done this for several years, I got tired of always carrying two jackets “just in case the weather would change”. Recently I got the chance to try the Fjällräven Eco-Trail jacket during one of my trips.
The reason why I chose this jacket is because it’s wind- and waterproof, and because it’s lightweight. When trekking a lot, lightweight is of the biggest importance. At the beginning of my trekking carreer I always carried way too much stuff around but by now I’ve learned to choose smart and live by the famous saying “less is more”.
Patagonia would be the perfect place for testing this Fjällräven jacket. Down there, it’s always windy (believe me, ALWAYS, I’ve been two times already and get blown away all the time, go here if you don’t believe me) and it rains a lot. I repeat: A LOT! Already after 2 days my jacket came in handy, when hiking out to Cochamó Valley (also known as the Yosemite of Chile) it was pouring with rain. As it turned out, the rain never stopped during the 48 hours we were there…
The jacket proved to be extremely useful when hiking through the Lakes Districts of Chile and Argentina. While walking along the shores of Lago Todos los Santos and while experiencing great winds (just look at the hair) at Lago Trafull. Also when hiking out through the rainforest to the Chachin waterfalls in Lanin National Park.
During our hike up to Refugio Otto Meiling in between several glaciers it was extremely hot (yes, not all the weather was bad) but when the sun started to set, it cooled down immediately. To let’s say almost freezing point. Luckily, my jacket turned out the be on the large side so I could easily wear my down jacket underneath. As I sat down beside the glacier, I lived one of my most gorgeous sunsets ever!
When climbing Villarrica volcano the jacket was just awesome. Even though it was cold as the wind was blowing like crazy, I could open up the zipper under the arms for some breathing. Eventually, I didn’t make it to the top because of too much ice…
The final test for this jacket would be the cruise with Australis Expeditions, all the way to the end of the world. Here, we visited several glaciers that come from the Darwin Range, some by boat such as Holland Glacier, some by foot.
The itinerary includes several landings, including one at … Cape Horn! Yes folks, the southernmost piece of land on earth before Antarctica. It’s known to be incredibly windy and quite a few times, landings are canceled because of the extreme weather. However, we were lucky as the captain approved the landing. When I set my first step onto Cape Horn Island I pulled my hands up in the air and screamed “yaaaay, I’m at Cape Horn!!!!”. Unfortunately, within minutes it started pouring, the rain went into my face horizontally and onto the lens of my camera which made photograhing almost impossible … Back on the boat, it turned out that the rain had entered my down jacket underneath, which probably had to do with the fact that my sleeves were soaked and my gloves were too. After testing it thorougly in the in the shower later on, no water came through. It passed the test!
I think you could easily say that I have been to the ultimate place on earth to test this jacket. The place where the wind never stops blowing, where you experience sun and bitter cold in one day and where the rain downs on you horizontally. My opinion on the performance of the jacket is as follows:
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– It’s windproof and waterproof as Fjällräven promises. I’ve not been cold at all, which is pretty unique for someone who carries the nickname “walking fridge”.
– The fit is very feminine. I like my jackets longer at the back so that when I bend over to (for example) tie my shoelaces, my builders ass doesn’t show.
– The color. I know, for some of you this might not be important. However I’m a woman who does not grow hair under her arms or behave like a guy and still wants to (try to) look good. Even in outdoor clothes.
– The openings under the sleeves. Those are a must for me when considering a new jacket. When walking up, I always get extremely warm, especially when carrying a pack. Those zippers are perfect for making your jacket breathe. Whenever someone comes to me for advise on purchasing an outdoor jacket, checking for zippers under the arms is my number one recommendation.
– The hood is adjustable. Sometimes I like to tighten it when it’s windy, sometimes I just want to wear it to protect me from the rain without being strangled.
– The jacket is made from from recycled and recyclable polyester which makes it the most sustainable piece of clothing I own so far. Thumbs up for sustainability!
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– The jacket turned out to be larger than I expected. I ordered it online but went to our local outdoor store to see which size I’d need. I was in doubting between size S and M but picked S in the end. As it turned out, this was on the large side for me when just wearing a t-shirt. For colder weather it’s perfect as it fits various layers underneath.
– It took quite long to get dry. When getting off Cape Horn Island I hung it up to dry in the shower (the very same one I used for testing) in the morning and by the end of the day it was still moist.
– The pockets work “backwards”, meaning you have to put your hands in from the front side. I probably just have to get used to this since I’ve never had a jacket like this before, however when I had my other zippers opened up it happened to me various times I’d mistake that one for the pocket and my iPhone fell on the ground.
Out of 10 I would give the performance of this Fjällräven jacket a 9. I’ve been a fan of this Swedish brand ever since I started wearing their G-1000 pants years back but now I know that their jackets are definitely value for money. This one has kept me dry and warm for weeks and will definitely accompany me on many more trips in the future!