I think that this is the first gear review I have ever written. I don’t have or buy much outdoor gear and most of the stuff I have is pretty standard (e.g. Montane Terra pants) and there’s nothing much I can say about it that hasn’t been said before.
However, this year for the TGO Challenge, I decided not to use my Paramo Velez smock because in some circumstances, it leaks quite badly. Instead, I decided to buy a jacket in the relatively new Polartec Neoshell fabric and, after some research, settled on the Rab Myriad jacket. I haven’t really seen decent review of this jacket so I thought that it might be useful to talk about my experience with the jacket and the companies that supplied it. Because we’ve had such a dry winter, I didn’t get a chance to properly test this jacket before I left.
Good things first. The fabric is fabulous. It is very waterproof but breathable at the same time. After several hours of walking in driving rain, my back under my rucksack was dry (breathability) as were my shoulders and arms (waterproofness). I wore the jacket in both wet and cold (but dry) conditions, and there was never a trace of condensation. The fabric is not 100% windproof, which adds to the breathability, but even in very cold winds, I never felt that this was an issue.
Unfortunately, the design of the jacket lets it down. The zip is a so-called Aquaguard zip which is not 100% waterproof and there is no storm flap on the jacket. I found that even after a relatively short time in driving rain, the front of my base layer was damp. After several hours, I really was quite wet. So, advertisements that this jacket is waterproof are being rather economical with the truth. Although I don’t expect any jacket to withstand hours of driving rain, this one leaked almost immediately through an obvious design flaw.
Naturally, I contacted the retailer (Go Outdoors) where I bought the jacket and expressed my concerns that they were selling the jacket as waterproof when it was no such thing. I made clear that I understood that this was not their fault but that my dealings were with them and they sold an item which was not as described.
Their so-called customer service simply sent me a standard letter suggesting that I return the item to my local store (which is about a hundred miles away from my home) and suggesting that they would examine the ‘tent’ with me. They said that they could return the item to the manufacturer for assessment – which is something that I could do perfectly well myself. In short, they didn’t really read my email and weren’t in the slightest bit interested in my complaint because I’d had the jacket for more than a month. I won’t be dealing with them again.
Rab were no better. They had the grace to admit that the zip was not waterproof in driving rain but suggested that any rain that entered should follow the internal storm flap down the jacket. Apparently, the reason it leaked in my case was because I wasn’t wearing the jacket properly – I hadn’t checked the positioning of the internal flap. Maybe their jacket testers (I wonder if there are such people) are sent on a course on how to wear a waterproof jacket to avoid these problems.
Well, it seems to me that an internal storm flap on a jacket is a bit like an internal gutter on a house. It may be theoretically possible to avoid leaks but it’s much more effective to put the gutters on the outside of the house. But if its theoretically possible for this jacket to be leakproof, then obviously the best strategy is to blame the customer for getting themselves wet.
Apart from the zip, I like this jacket. I’ll be keeping it to wear on showery days and around town. But I won’t be taking it on another Challenge. Basically, I don’t think this jacket is suitable for the kind of rainy weather that we get in Scotland, Wales or the Lake District. I’m still looking for a decent waterproof jacket.