Back in November the lovely people at Blacks (I say lovely and mean it, they’re always so helpful in there, not in a pushy “I must make a sale” kind of way, but rather in a knowledgeable “love to get outside” kind of way), sent me a new waterproof jacket with one simple request – wear it. Knowing that I love to get outside in my normal everyday life; that is, from my own front door, in my lunch break, and a bit further afield at the weekends, they recommended The North Face Sangro DryVent Jacket because it’s a great option for those wanting something for the trails and in the city.
Everyday life outdoors in my new coat.
I filmed a vlog at the time, which was going to make this post really cool (in my opinion anyway!). I had a whole week off work in-between jobs and therefore had an opportunity I don’t normally get make the most of my new jacket and take it out for some brilliant days out. It was the perfect start to my November #OneHourOutside challenge, and meant I was able to completely switch off from one job before starting my now current employment. I started editing the vlog that week, but for lots of reasons never finished it; and then when I realised so much time had passed and I still hadn’t told you about my fab new coat, I went to finish the edit and found I’d actually deleted most of the footage by accident. Oh bother. I’m afraid you’re therefore getting words and photographs instead of moving pictures; sometimes things just don’t go quite to plan.
A bit of contemplation.
The North Face Sangro DryVent Jacket
My Sangro jacket is one of The North Face’s more entry level products, priced at an RRP of £110 (but currently on sale so less than £100), but it does boast some great on-the-trail features that mean it lives up to the brand label. It might not be GoreTex (not for that price!), but has excellent DryVent waterproofing, has a classic waterproof coat shape, has pockets with zips, Velcro closure over the main zip and at the cuff. It fits nicely (mine is the medium), is good for layering, has a lovely shape, a hood that stays where it’s supposed to, and I think, looks great. I bought the Resolve years ago, which is still going strong, and I would say this is a definite upgrade to that; it is more tailored (if a waterproof jacket can be tailored!), and has a nicer material finish.
Pretending I know how to model. I clearly don’t.
But this isn’t a review, it’s supposed to inspire you to grab your coat and go outside, so onto the all-important wearing…
Where I Wear My Coat
As I mentioned, I made the most of my week in-between jobs (felt very odd saying that at the time, like I was on no-ones time and could just do whatever I wanted!), by spending lots of time outdoors. I didn’t have the car every day to travel away from my local area, but you know me, spending time on the trails from my own front door is a great way to spend a few hours. Let me take each day in turn…
Monday| The Viking Way, Lincoln
Whenever I receive something new to test out the chances are I will head up onto the Viking Way close to home to give it an initial once over. I love walking on my local trails and know I’m a bit of a stuck record about this, but it is so true that we are generally very poor at getting to know where we live. I put on a pair of walking shoes (these Hi-Tec ones, actually) and this coat with just some comfy jeans and a bobble hat (always a hat!), and walked around five or six miles in a loop I’ve probably walked, well, maybe not quite 100 times. I stopped in a coppice (complete with “danger” sign…”) to take a few photographs so you could see what the coat looks like. First impressions were very good; it didn’t rain (hooray!) but it was cold and windy and the Sangro was proving to be an excellent choice. I know it shouldn’t matter, but it’s nice to feel you look okay in what you’re wearing, even when out on the trails.
Tuesday | Visiting the Seals at Donna Nook
The once-a-year seal pupping spectacle over at Donna Nook on the Lincolnshire coast is something I am sure to make an effort to see, and even though I’ve been loads of times I am always left awestruck by it. I just love watching animals do their thing in their own home (I really want to see hippos and penguins in the wild, but for now the seals will do fine!). If you’re not aware, the Donna Nook National Nature Reserve hosts thousands of seal families every winter, and the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust have provided the public with a superb place to view the seals from. This winter just gone, 1,957 pups were born – I was so lucky that the day I went, quite early in the season, I saw four pups born really close to the viewing area. What a sight! Here are some piccies.
Grey seal pup at Donna Nook.
It wasn’t due to rain but the weather was super cold; we had a frost, it was foggy, and the temperature gauge on the car didn’t go about three degrees until nearly lunch time. Brrr! Rather than reaching for my ski coat, which was a temptation, I layered up my Sangro jacket with my Thermoball (also The North Face). I was worried the Thermoball would not fit underneath but it did, and the two jackets together did a superb job at keeping me warm for the couple of hours I spent outside by the sea in those temperatures. Layering is definitely key; most waterproof jackets are like this one in that they are just a shell – you have to use them with other items of clothing.
Wednesday | Trig Bagging in the Rain
I think it is fair to say that the rain on Wednesday was torrential. It poured from the moment I got up to the moment I went to bed. Part of me thought this was great as it meant I could demonstrate that the whole point of having a waterproof coat on the hook by the front door is so you can go out in all weathers without worrying, but the other half of me sighed a little inside when I realised I promised myself I’d go out whatever the sky was doing. Ah well. I waited a bit and thought I’d picked a time when the weather had calmed down a little, but no such luck. So yea, I can confirm that the Sangro is completely waterproof, but my waterproof over-trousers leak; they are now in the bin and I’m on the hunt for some new ones!
Bagging a trig point in the rain.
My local trig point might only be 86 metres above sea level (I know, a little pathetic), but it is always good to say you’re on top, so I headed out to bag it. If you’re not sure what “trig bagging” is, be warned it’s a little addictive – basically you head out on a walk with the intention of touching one of the hundreds of trig points that are dotted around the country. It’s fun! I was only out an hour but sometimes that’s enough; I wandered along the trail to the trig point, took a photo or two, and headed back home.
Thursday | Getting Outside is Better than Waiting
Sometimes errands simply cannot wait, and I needed to head to the garage to get new tyres fitted to the car. Rather than getting a lift home and back, or sitting in the waiting room for the hour-or-more it would take, I grabbed my waterproof coat and beanie hat, and took myself for a walk to explore the area. If you’re looking to be inspired by this blog post then this is the place to find it; there is nothing more boring than sitting in a garage waiting room with commercial radio on in the background waiting for someone to sort your car out. Use the time to get some fresh air instead; have a look at the area ahead of time so you know which way is good to head, and tell the guy on reception you’ll be back in an hour.
The lake at Millennium Green, Lincoln.
For my walk I started by wandering around Millennium Green, a small reserve in Lincoln featuring a reasonably large lake with a well-kept and accessible path around it. I featured this walk in my Natures Spaces in Lincoln blog post, if you are local you should definitely check that out. It was a bit mizzly but it was still a lovely walk, I watched ducks and geese and other birds enjoy the water, and lots of other humans making the most of the area too. From there I headed up to the sailing club, and basically saw how far I could get before 45 minutes was up and I knew I needed to turn around. Much nicer than being stuck inside waiting.
Friday | Fossil Hunting at Runswick Bay
Jenni and I were supposed to go fossil hunting on Wednesday but we postponed it thanks to the rain – good job really. Thankfully when we woke up on Friday morning it was an absolutely glorious blue sky November day. Perfect! I had to drive a really long way for this bucket list tick, but it was definitely worth it. As had become the habit of the week, I made sure I had my new jacket and some good footwear, and headed up to Yorkshire to meet Jenni and to put myself in her capable hands for the day.
Fossil hunting at Runswick Bay
Jenni commented (without prompting!) that my coat looked great and was a good colour – it really is a good colour actually, it’s so nice to have something super neutral but that is still a bit feminine. As I did on Tuesday, I layered it up with my Thermoball and some old walking trousers. I won’t go into loads of detail about our day at Runswick Bay because I only just blogged about it, but I can certainly say that it was a good day, probably the best of my week (with the seals coming a very close second!).
Where Do YOU Wear Your Coat?
A good waterproof coat is an absolute must if you want to spend any time outdoors in the UK or, to be honest, anywhere. My present from Blacks has become an absolute staple for me; anyone who follows me on twitter or instagram will have seen it loads of times, it really is a great go-to jacket. And while I received mine from Blacks, I would consider the £110 price tag reasonable value for the product and would happily recommend this coat to anyone looking for an easy to wear waterproof for everyday adventures and life outdoors.
Walking in the Wolds.
But the actual coat aside, I want to know… where do you wear your coat? Is your waterproof jacket somewhere super accessible so you never have a weather based excuse? What I would really love to know is where your favourite place to wear your waterproof coat is!
Thank you so much to Blacks for gifting me this jacket and giving me an opportunity to write a blog about a week spent outdoors. You can find lots of The North Face and Women’s Jackets on the Blacks website (and in store), and can follow Blacks on twitter and instagram.