Reviewed by Olivia Abbott
Let’s get the superlatives out of the way straightaway: Vaude’s Croz 3L jacket is the most comfortable waterproof jacket I’ve ever worn. This is due in no small part to the styling – the shape is just great; fitted and slim enough to be stylish and flattering, but not so figure hugging that you can’t get a fairly substantial fleece on underneath it. So far, so what you’d expect from a jacket designed for mountain sports. But the thing that’s really different about the Croz is the material. It’s brilliantly soft, stretchy and flexible; it feels almost like a soft shell rather than an outer layer, and to the touch, it’s luxuriously satiny (if luxurious is a word you can use to describe outdoor gear…) It feels like putting on a second skin.
All this and the jacket is breathable, waterproof and totally windproof too. It’s all to do with Vaude’s exclusive Ceplex Advanced membrane, which is laminated with the outer material, to give it its wind and waterproof qualities. This is what it says on the website: ‘A Ceplex membrane is applied by attaching a thin layer of synthetic laminate to the fabric surface that reaches every inch of the material and has a totally even thickness. Another advantage is that this membrane not only creates a barrier against moisture, it also allows the moisture that forms underneath the fabric to escape. A membrane also fuses with the fabric, making it more durable and long-lasting. It is extremely resistant against abrasion and also easy to clean.’
I don’t know much about the technology, but having worn the Croz out in howling winds and driving rain, I can tell you that it works.
There are lots of little details that I really like about this jacket, too: the collar comes up to just under my nose when fully zipped up but there’s enough room around the neck to fit even a quite chunky snood. There’s a carefully designed but simple flap of material over the top of the zip to protect from chafing. The big, square pockets are pleated for extra roominess so you can get plenty of stuff in them, and they look really funky.
Other things I’ve found are that the helmet-compatible hood stays up even when its windy, the sleeves are nice and long, and I like the subtle hint of extra length at the back. There are really generous ventilation zips at the armpits. And of course the jacket is made to Vaude’s stringent green standards – using sustainable materials and eco-friendly manufacturing techniques – and is bluesign certified.
My only criticism of this jacket – the one slight thing wrong with it that I could find – was that the zips on those lovely, stylish, generous pockets, go right to the bottom of the opening, so they’re not very secure. I’ve had to retrace my steps to pick up dropped gloves every now and again. The zips are also pretty stiff, and I need to use two hands to do them up, which is a bit fiddly, but perhaps this is something that will ease over time.
In short, I love this jacket. I love the way it looks; I love the quality and the attention to detail. I even love the bright teal and yellow colour scheme. It just feels so good to wear – and as well as looking good, it does the job that’s required of it. Do Vaude do trousers in the same material? If so, I want some. Though maybe not in the same colour…
Vaude Women’s Croz 3L jacket. RRP £230, http://www.vaude.com