Product: Cross Penine II Hybrid Men’s Jacket
Price: currently £69.95 in the sale. RRP: £100
Regardless of the time of year here in the UK, a good, robust waterproof jacket is an outdoor essential. There’s simply no getting away from our climate. The combination of the good old Gulf Stream and our small island composition has resulted in weather that’s often described as ‘maritime’. On November days like today you don’t have to stretch your imagination too far to see why! So, with our historic propensity for rain, you’ll need something that will stand up to the rigours of the British lowland countryside and our glorious mountain ranges. One such jacket is the brilliant Regatta Cross Penine II Hybrid.
Coming from the Point 214 range of technical Regatta clothing, the Cross Penine II Hybrid has been specifically designed with the great outdoors in mind. Being a shell, the least you’d expect is for it to deliver on waterproofness. After all, the sole purpose of a shell jacket is to withstand whatever elements are thrown at us, thus enabling the layers underneath to concentrate on keeping us warm. Fortunately, the Cross Penine II does this and more.
With a hydrostatic value of 15000mm, the Isotex fabric will withstand even the heaviest of mountain downpours. To give you an idea, the MoD (military) rate a garment being waterproof if it has a hydrostatic value of 800mm. As you can see, this has more than got you covered! The fabric is also windproof so it will minimise the effects of wind-chill on your upper body. I can certainly vouch for these attributes as, during testing, I hiked through four solid hours of Snowdonia rain. Miserable as this may have been, I remained comfortable and dry throughout – oh, the lengths I’ll go to, hey!
To top it off nicely, the fabric has been treated with a DWR finish to further enhance its water-shedding characteristics. This will minimise the collection and saturation of water during first contact, further supporting the ability of the Isotex 15000 to do its job. The fabric may be the star of the show but it’s ably supported by an accompanying cast of characteristics. Taped seams reinforce that classic of weak points, while the inner stormflap blocks anything that tries to penetrate the water repellent zip. Finally, the addition of shock cord at the hem enables you to hunker down during swirling wind and sideways rain, locking out potential threats easily, even with gloves on.
However, a great hydrostatic head value is pretty meaningless if you can’t breathe. You see, droplets of rain are planetary compared to moisture vapour. The difficult bit is allowing that miniscule, molecular-sized vapour out before you overheat. If a jacket isn’t breathable, it’s like wrapping yourself in cling film and spending the afternoon in the sauna. It isn’t pleasant!
Thankfully, the Cross Penine II is highly breathable. I’ve fast-hiked carrying my large lump of a toddler wearing an active midlayer underneath and didn’t ever feel like I was about to combust. Similarly, carrying less weight and moving at a slower pace, I’ve also worn an insulated jacket under the Cross Penine II. Returning to base and removing the shell I might have expected to find a certain clamminess to the insulating layer, but no. All was good and I stayed comfortable throughout. I hadn’t even had to resort to using the 2-way underarm zips to further ventilate myself. I’m sure these will come in handy during the spring, however, when the mercury begins to rise again.
Also helping you to remain comfortable are the strategically placed stretch panels. Located around your shoulders and lower arms, the extra elasticity really keeps you moving with ease. The best way I can describe this fabric is that I don’t notice it. By that I mean I have never been consciously aware of any restriction of movement, which is exactly what I’m after when I’m busy navigating or chatting about forest dinosaurs with my carrier-laden toddler.
Being an outdoor dad, I regularly put my hands in my pockets to discover items I didn’t even know were there. On occasion, I struggle to adequately identify what some of the objects even are. Thankfully, the Regatta comes loaded with storage so you’ll never be without a place to store baby’s dummy or a snotty tissue. Each of the pockets are accessed via a water repellent zip, so you can be safe in the knowledge that your phone or other prized accessory will stay secure and protected. Furthermore, the internal map pocket will ensure your precious OS Explorer always has a home.
I’ve purposely left talking about price until the end of the review. With family budgets traditionally tight, affordable brands that offer great quality should not be overlooked. You see, far too often in life we become side-tracked by multinational advertising campaigns designed to delude us into thinking their jacket would help us survive the outer reaches of space. However, if hillwalking/hiking is your particular outdoor vice, you don’t have to look much further than the Regatta Cross Penine II. It’s an exceptionally good jacket and, at just £100, its exceptionally good value. Stick another label on this and you’d easily pay twice the price. Furthermore, if you act quickly and get it while the sale is on, it’ll set you back a paltry £69.95! We’re big fans and so should you be!