Lightweight waterproof shell jacket from giant German outdoors brand.
You might have noticed a fair bit of promotion for German outdoors brand Jack Wolfskin recently as they aim to make an impression in the UK market with kit like the Accelerate XT Jacket, a lightweight mountain waterproof made from their own-brand 2.5-layer Texapore fabric.
In the past, a lot of Wolfskin kit has been, well, defiantly and eccentrically Germanic, particularly in colour terms, but the current kit seems a little more restrained and our test jacket is a very muted 'silver / grey' combo. Don't fret though, it's also available in bright orange and green variants.
It's reasonably light too, our medium test jacket weighs a genuine 410g on our digital scale. Not ultra-light mind, but this is a fairly substantial feeling bit of kit complete with a full helmet-compatible hood and pit-zips, so it's on the money.
One of the reasons for that is a lightweight 2.5-layer version of Texapore, which saves weight by eschewing - great word - a full inner liner in favour of a protective print on the inside of the membrane. On the outside, there's a 'taslanized' face fabric, which is claimed to be good and durable.
We have no idea what 'taslanized' means, so we looked it up. Apparently it's a yarn production method which uses high air pressure to force fibres together through a nozzle to create a smoother yarn which is less likely to pill - so there you go, you learn something every day. And indeed the face of the fabric does feel very smooth.
It's very thoroughly specced too with two big hand-warmer pockets with venting mesh liner bags and two-way pit-zips protected by Velcro-tabbed storm flaps. Up top there's a high volume hood which sits fine over a helmet, but still has enough adjustment to cope with a bare head though the lack of any stiffening in the peak area is unlikely to go down well with some British buyers.
The cut could also be problematic. It's a little short and boxy, a bit like an older North Face jacket, which means it'll probably work best with a matching shell pant to give enough crotch protection for prolonged comfort on wet days.
In other words, the Accelerate is maybe a little bit too alpine for general UK mountain use. We'll be interested to see how the fabric performs. Wolfkin makes some serious claims for the PU-based membrane both in terms of waterproofness and breathability.
Recommended price is £200 and you can find more information at www.jack-wolfskin.co.uk.