Some time ago, Jake wrote an in-depth review of the Apricoat Adventure jacket. All I can say is that he wasn’t impressed! Recently, the manufacturers approached us to carry out a follow up review of their latest offering: the Apricoat Adventure 2.0 (a review Jake declined to wite!)
The task was left to me. And I decided to unleash the full force of the Scottish Highland weather on the Adventure 2.0. The results? Let’s take a look…
Overview of the Apricoat Adventure 2.0
When I first unwrapped this jacket I was a little puzzled. On the surface it looks to have all the features you’d expect and want from a decent shell layer, and I felt Jake may have been a little harsh with his initial assessment. That said, he did review the original version of the jacket and I’m inclined to believe his rating of ‘toiler paper’ (I’ll leave that one to your imagation).
The Adventure 2.0 has an interesting texture, one that’s hard to describe. To me, it’s a little like the Jakes’s Rab Phantom description: something akin to a paper suit you see decorators and workmen wearing which is probably due to the 300 recycled plastic bottles used in the manufacturing process – a big high five for Apricoat’s green credentials. But at 800g, it’s no lightweight jacket.
And there’s plenty of storage, which we’ll look at soon. Maybe too much, although I can see Apricoat to build a jacket for nearly every activity which is kind of cool, but the Adventure 2.0 is a 3 season jacket which means there will be limitations.
- 600g weight which is towards the heavy end of the jackets we’ve reviewed recently. But, really, who cares once you’re wearing it?
- Made from 300 recylced plastic bottles. Brownie points for environmental awareness.
- Rated for 3 seasons only. If you need a 4 season jacket, don’t scrimp!
The style is pretty typical of the kind of jacket you’d chose for outdoor activities. There are quite a few design decisions that initially made me wonder which market Apricoat are catering to, and I’ll go over those points soon. So what does this jacket have goign on?
A removable hood
When I first pulled on this jacket and zipped it up, I found the fit comfortable and forgiving – there’s a fair amount of stretch in the nylon shell which is good if you need a wide range of movement. But what really struck me was the way the hood moves when I turned my head. The old days of geting a face full of GORE-TEX are gone (not least because this jacket is made of nylon!)
But for some reason, the designers at Apricoat have decided to make the hood removeable. For you this might not be an issue, but I recently took the jacket into the wild mountains of the Scottish Highlands. This environment is unoforgiving as is the torrential rain that can appear out of nowhere – which it does on a regular basis. Literally! One moment you can be climbing a hill, the full heat of the midday sun caressing your neck, the next a cloud moves in and unleashes cold, wet fury!
As it did on the day I decided to test this jacket.
The howling wind forced rainwater up the back of the jacket, through the zip and down my back. Not a pleasant experience when you’re already cold and tired. My preference is for a fixed hood or, as a last resort design, one that can be rolled away into the collar. Removeable hoods don’t do it for me and I suggest you think long and hard before deciding if you want, or need, to unzip the hood.
General fit and comfort
The first thought that comes to mind when sizing your jacket is to go a little larger than you’d ordinarily wear. The Adventure 2.0 has enough room for a couple of thin layers, but you’ll find it hard to get a decent down jacket in there. This might not be a big issue for you as many lightweight down layers will keep you warm on a chilly day. But if you’re planning to use this jacket in a very cold environment you’ll need plenty of room to comfortably fit you cold weather gear.
Thinking of comfort levels brings me on to the question of flexibility. Many outdoor activities require a good amount of give in the clothing you wear, and this latest version of the Apricoat scores well. Whilst in the Highlands, I spent a good deal of time walking up very large hills for fun. And with walking poles, which require the user to have a good range of movement – and the Adventure 2.0 performed as promised.
Built-in sleeve gloves
Although these are nothing special, I love them. A few years back I skied to the North Pole and my shell layer was made by a Russian company called Redfox, and despite my initial concerns their gear turned out to be incredibly rugged. The cuffs of the jacket ended in deliciously soft and warm sleeves gloves which helped keep my wrist warm (a very important consideration) and keep out the polar winds.
Ever since then I’ve always looked for jackets with this feature, or have them stitched in by a professional seamstress.
- Standard design features found in most shell jackets.
- Comfortable with a decent range of movement.
- Removeable hood not great as water ingressed through the zip.
- Aim to buy a size larger if you want to fit multiple extra layers of clothing underneath the shell.
- Soft and comfortable sleeve gloves help keep your hands warm and the wind out!
It’s made from plastic bottles and spandex! Here’s the blurb direct from Apricoat:
- Outer Shell: 91% Polyester + 9 % Spandex.
- Lining 1-2: 100% Knit Brushed Polyester.
- Lining 3: 100% Polyester Taffeta.
- Lining 4: 91% Single Jersey Polyester + 9 % Spandex
Whilst the fabric does allow for a good range of movement, I’m not entirely convinced it is durable enough for hikers who want to get to grips with really rugged terrain. I didn’t get to find out how the jacket coped with the inevitable scuffs, scrapes and snags that come with scrambling over rocks, or simply falling flat on your face whilst jogging down a hill. Oh, actually I did do the latter and granite rock I landed left a scar in the material, although it didn’t penetrate the jacket, or me!
Not a great fan of this phrase as it suggests you can keep the weather at bay for all time. Which is less true than a conspiracy theorist insisting the Earth if flat.
Apricoat’s adventure 2.0 is not made of GORE-TEX. It does not fearture a DWR coating. And it certainly isnt’ waxed.
What this means is: water can and will get through, at some point. The jacket is rated ‘waterproof’ 10,000mm – 15,000mm after which point it’s no longer waterproof. Do you have a puzzled look on your face right now? It’s okay, I did too when I wrote that and it’s time to clarify the above statement.
The Apricoat Adventure 2.0’s rating means it can withstand (an important word to consider when choosing a hiking jacket) most heavy downpours. Water will find a way through at some point – as it did in Scotland – and external pressure, such as rainwater is trapped under your rucksack straps, will definitely accelerate the process.
It is not 100% waterproof. The Adventure 2.0 is a 3 season jacket so please bear this mind when considering your needs.
How breatheable is the Apricoat Adventure 2.0?
I’m going to quote this direct from Apricoat’s site: “The jacket’s exterior is made of a super breathable polyester-based fabric.” According to the blurb, there’s a breathabile membrane that works a little like GORE-TEX in that sweat can permate out keeping you warm and dry underneath.
And the Apricoat does a reasonable job. Until you get into red zone of hard work, like climbing huge hills with a heavy pack on your back. I wore the Adventure 2.0 on the day I walked up Bein na Cro – a 565m climb over a distance of about 10km – and at the top I did feel sweaty.
There are no pit zips under the arms, a massive fail! These are super-useful if you need to ventilate fast and Apricoat should add some in the next iteration of the Adventure (and they need to be long enough to allow the wearer to cool off fast).
The jacket does a reasonable jacket of letting sweat wick away, but it’s not the best I’ve used over the years.
- Hydrostatic Head of 10,000 to 15,000mm.
- Kept most of the rain out on a hike along Hadrian’s Wall.
- Good breathability, but the jacket can’t keep up with you pile on the speed and start to sweat hard.
- A unique membrane allows the jacket to breathe. The question is: will this membrane wear out over time? No answer yet.
- Pit zips would be useful great, but need to be way long – from mid-waist to elbow – to be really effective at venting heat.
This jacket has an insane amount of storage. Maybe too much, which is the point I made earlier when I suggested Apricoat were attempting to build a jacket for nigh on every eventuality. In total, there are like a gazillion pockets, or pouches dotted around the interior and exterior of the Adventure 2.0.
Some of the pockets are useful. Many feel like a waste of material and the time the designer took to come up with the various hidey holes stitched into the interior. Here’s a quick rundown of just some of the storage options:
- a pouch for a hydration system (which to my mind is a complete waste of space. The likes of Camelbak may look and be convenient, but you can’t see how much water you have left and this can be a risk… you’re an intelligent person and I’m sure you can work out why).
- on the inside of the jacket is a keyholder, which I will never use. My keys are stored in my ruck, which is a much safer option.
- MP3 pouch.
- an inner chest pocket with a velcro fastening. To be honest, this needs to have a zipper unless you’re happy with losing your Oakley sunglasses after taking a tumble.
- utility pouch on the left sleeve. Apricoat’s promotional shots seem to suggest this storage is a good place to store a knife. It’s not! Once, years ago, and after watch a good advertisement I decided to carry a knife in the chest pocket of my jacket. Great idea until I tripped over and stabbed myself in the chest! In all honesty, I can’t see a good use for this pocket.
- the skirt of the jacket has an array of storage, most of which I will never use. Take a look at the images below and let me now if you can find a good use for the pockets (unless you’re a poacher, like my grandpa. He would have had rabbits galore stuffed into every nook and cranny).
One point to note about the storage: where zips are fitted, they are weather resistant type with quite fine teeth. I don’t like these as I’ve found they can easily clog with grit, dirt and ice. Give me big, chunky zippers any day of the week.
Before we wrap up, I did see mention of Apricoat’s unique DWD (Differential Weight Distribution) system, which according to the designs is a clever way of distributing loadly evenly. Even when it’s not! And it seemed to do what it says on the tin – until I placed a very large rock inside and inner pocket (you gotta test it right, right?.
- 16 pockets in total which is way to many, unless you’re Batman. But if you are you’ve probably built your own system.
- Lots of storage, much of which I honestly couldn’t find a real use for especially the key pocket.
- Zipper teeth are too fine.
- DWD system does a good job, up to a point.
It’s not bad. Which is a far higher rating than Jake gave to the version 1. My gut feeling is that Apricoat are trying to be the jack of all trades with this jacket even when it’s clear they’re not. If you’re a veteran hiker who needs the solid reliability and toughest engineered into the likes of Mountain Equipment or Rab, then go buy one of those models as I’m not happy to say the Apricoat can go head to head with the big players. Not yet.
Now, if you’re the kind of person who wants to stay dry, up to a point, and needs a jacket that is functional and cost-effective, then this jacket might be just up your alley. Give it a try and if it doesn’t work out you can always return the jacket for a refund. You may also be interested in Apricoat’s insulated ‘EcoDown Jacket’, which Jake has reviewed here.
As I said earlier, this Apricoat Adventure 2.0 review was requested by the manufacturer. I’ve been honest. I’m not going to lie to my fellow hikers and other outdoorsy-types. This jacket makes it onto my list of ‘clothes I wear on short hikes, not multi-day events.’ Hope that helps.