Looking for an affordable waterproof for UK hillwalking? There are a lot out there, it has to be said. Some stretch the boundaries of affordability, while many of the cheaper jackets on offer just aren’t that great at keeping the weather out.

I tested the Nomad Jacket from Sprayway, over a summer of mixed fair and foul weather.

The Sprayway Nomad Jacket in use on a wet, woodland walk
The Sprayway Nomad Jacket in use on a wet, woodland walk

There are many things I like about the Nomad. It’s comfortable to wear, is not too long at the waist, and I love the big, face-protecting hood. It’s easy to adjust, and to close down right around the face in really horrible weather, and for me that’s important. The vented pockets are good too, being in just the right place. All good so far!

One thing I did notice about the jacket was that, for me at least, the arm length was a little short. The rest of the jacket was the perfect size, but the arms just rode up my wrists a bit too much. The lining to the sleeves is a bit loose too, so I found that whenever I put it on, the lining would slip down beyond the cuff of the sleeve, and have to be pulled back in again. A minor inconvenience, but a slight pain to have to do every time. Longer sleeves would certainly help.

The clingy lining riding beyond the cuff on the sleeve.
The clingy lining riding beyond the cuff on the sleeve.

The jacket gives great waterproofing though. Sprayway tell us that the Nomad’s “Hydro/dry fabric has a minimum performance of 5,000mm hydrostatic head and 5,000g/m2/24hrs MVTR”, which sounds impressive, and it is. I took this jacket out on many a hillwalk where I’d usually be packing a much more technical (and expensive) mountain jacket, and found it more than capable of staying off the British mountain weather. So far, on scores of days out, it’s kept me dry on every occasion. That’s really saying something, given that I live and work daily in the mountains of Wales!

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A couple of minor details I’d like to see Sprayway change though. One was that the zip came undone a couple of times from the bottom, if I forgot to use the press-stud that’s in place to stop that happening. Maybe a sturdier zip might be the answer? Also, the map pocket, which is large and tucked away under the ‘double storm guard’ is actually under the front zip, so if you want to navigate in wet weather (and let’s face it, that’s when you’re most likely to need the map handy!) then you get a wet chest every time you get the map out. That said, in bad weather I’d usually have my map out permanently anyway.

So, all in all, I think this is a pretty straight forward, reasonably well made, wind, water and storm-proof jacket that comes in at a remarkable £100 retail price. That’s a great deal from Sprayway! Well done guys!

http://www.sprayway.com/nomad

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