Swedish brand Haglöfs produces some of the nicest technical kit on the market, we check out the latest from their clothing range with packs to follow shortly.
We spent yesterday closeted in Haglöfs modish,
Scandinavian-style pine hut offices being plied with black coffee and
shown the latest savory snacks from the Swedish outdoor company's
range of outdoor clothing and equipment.
Although the brand isn't huge in the UK, they're stellar in
Scandinavia and have sold over one million of their classic Tight day
sacs over the years and have a reputation for high quality technical
kit which has been born out by the Haglofs stuff we've used.
The kit below is a selection of the clothing from both the
current, spring / summer 2006 range, which is in the shops right now,
and the autumn/winter 2006 collection, which won't be in the shops
until around late summer. More on the packs shortly.
One thing we do like, is that from later this year, the company
will be placing its clothing in three different fit categories to
help you work out what's what. Loose-ish fit stuff will be dubbed
'Regular', more tapered, closer-fitting kit will carry a 'Technical'
label, while clingy, very close-fitting clothes will be 'Tight'. We
reckon it's a great idea, particularly for internet shoppers.
Lighter Than PowerStretch (Autumn 2006)
One scary dilemma facing the modern outdoors person is what to
wear instead of Tracksters... PowerStretch is great for winter use,
but too warm for the rest of the year. The Haglöfs solution is
the Extender Top a fabric with a soft inner and harder outer
fabric that's stretchy and not as warm as PowerStretch.
The fabric is a mix of Polyester, Nylon and Spandex and as well as
a zip neck, the top features thumb loops for, well, thumbs really and
you get a nice, soft, inner collar. The price will be £55
and it looks like a good choice for those days when you need a bit
more protection than a baselayer, but not too much warmth. Also
available in tights form.
Zoned Base... (out now)
Zoning is the current industry craze with Gore-Tex announcing its
'Comfort Mapping' concept for this winter. The idea is that you use
different fabrics in different areas to cater for different needs.
With some fabrics it's hard to detect any real advantage - a
baselayer is a baselayer usually, even with a marginally different
weave, but Haglöfs stuff takes it a stage further.
Kit like the Active Zone 30 uses a mix of standard wicking
PowerDry fabric and a PowerDry fleece in areas where you really need
extra insulation. In this case, the upper back and shoulders. You can
see the fleece areas in the pic because they're the black ones. It
makes far more sense to us than simply using different weaves for
marginal differences in properties. Price is £50 and it's in the
shops now. Tights available too...
Zoned Softshell Too (out now)
Zoning gets a look-in with the brand's Windstopper-based softshell
too in the form of the Traverse Jacket which uses a mix of
thicker, insulated Gore-Tex Windstopper Soft Shell fabric with the
much thinner Windstopper N2S. The thicker, warmer stuff is, again,
the black stuff, and features on the top of the shoulders and the
upper back area. Interesting stuff and £155 to you, sir
And A Proper Hooded Softshell Too
We're always whining about how softshell tops lack the sort of
technical cut and hoods that would make them properly useable in
place of a full waterproof for more of the time, so we were reminded
that Haglöfs produces the very serious Sharkskin Hood
Jacket, a very technical Windstopper Soft Shell top based on the
Sharkfin but with a full-on technical hood with full adjustment,
wired peak and so on.
It's not a cheap garment at £210 but if you're looking
for a full-on mountaineering softshell, it could be spot on. It's a
current model, but may be hard to track down until the winter due to
Ozone Jacket With Gorilla Grip (out now)
Dunno how we missed this one. It's a 420-gramme, lightweight 3-ply
Gore-Tex XCR jacket with some bonkers shoulder reinforcements made
from something Haglofs is calling 'Gorilla Grip', that looks not
unlike the palm of a gorilla's hand and should be momentously
This is it, think high tech donkey jacket ;-)
The jacket uses a very soft feeling but tough polyamide face,
that's probably abrasion-resistant enough to do without the
reinforcement anyway. Haglöfs say that they use Polyamide face
fabrics rather than Polyester like some manufacturers because it's
far tougher, so even their Paclite has a Polyamide face.
Seriously Expensive Comfort Mapping (autumn '06')
The Krypton Jacket pictured, is Haglöfs' take on
Gore's Comfort Mapping concept. It's going to cost a cool
£350 and is made from a mix of three-ply Gore-Tex XCR and
insulated Gore-Tex Soft Shell fabric with a thin fleece grid
laminated to it. There won't be any Gorilla Grip stuff on the final
production version though.
If you read our recent article about Gore's Comfort Mapping,
you'll know that the idea is that you put small areas of insulated
fabric in the zones where you feel the cold most, which makes for
greater comfort, but without overheating the rest of the time. You
can see the gridded insulation in the upper back and shoulder
Will it work? We have a sample Gore-Tex jacket here on test, so
we'll let you know in due course.
More Haglöfs information at www.haglofs.se