Part of Jack Wolfskin’s pack-and-go range, the JWP Shell jacket is designed to keep you dry and comfortable wherever you happen to be today – on the way to a meeting, heading out to lunch with friends, or exploring a new city. A significant upgrade to the old pac-a-mac, this is less of a cagoule and more classic hardshell jacket, but still in a lightweight package.
The main pull of the JWP Shell in these times of being more and more conscious of what we buy, especially when it comes to often-plastic-heavy outdoor gear, is that it’s made from recycled fabric. To be precise, this jacket, along with a full range of Jack Wolfskin gear, is made from something called “Texapore Ecosphere”, which consists of 100% recycled polyester. The company have used millions of PET bottles to make clothing, and currently 75 products in the Jack Wolfskin range utilise this material. It’s important that we make good choices, and I’m very pleased to see outdoors companies working hard at sustainability.
This really is a simple and straight forward jacket. It has a classic cut with a hood and two hand pockets, nothing fancy in the detail. I like that about it – it’s plain, uncomplicated and unpretentious. It is lightweight, soft to touch, has a mesh lining which helps with the breathability, and is stretchy enough to be comfortable when you’re rushing around and want ease of movement. There is a loop to hang it on a peg, but it’s on the outside of the jacket but that means you can dry it off very easily. And as someone who likes to have a waterproof jacket with her at all times, the fact that you can stash the jacket into one of the pockets (which also has a little hanging loop) and easily fit it in a bag means this jacket has already found its space on my wear-this-one coat rack by the front door.
It’s actually a very nice cut, I love the way it looks on, feminine but still practical. I went for the size medium because I hate feeling restricted in coats – it’ll do up over my fleece or my puffy coat when I need a warm layer, but doesn’t look oversized when I’ve just got it on with just a tee underneath. The dark colour (mine is the “night blue”), flat zips, and smart cut mean it’s a great waterproof for work or other times when something less-than-scruffy is the required dress code.
It might be unassuming to look at, but that recycled fabric doesn’t mess around when it comes to function. On paper it’s more waterproof than any other jacket I am fortunate enough to have in my gear cupboard, even the Gore-Tex ones, and I’ve given it a good test in some horrendous rain and did not end up shrivelled like a prune (phew!). The hood is a decent shape too, with the necessary elastic cord to keep it up when it’s windy. It’s advertised as being incredibly breathable, and I have found it to perform reasonably well in this regard; I don’t think I’ve ever tried a fully waterproof coat that I don’t want to remove as soon as I start climbing a hill, but at least I got away with just unzipping this one so I’ll take that as a win.
Having worn this on a couple of day hikes over twixtmas I would suggest this isn’t a jacket made for hiking. The positioning of the two hand pockets is not quite right for that, as they are exactly where the hip belt on my hiking pack falls. Basically, I can’t wear my pack properly and use the pockets successfully. And with no chest pocket as an alternative place to stow my snacks (or phone, it’s normally my phone), that’s a no from me when it comes to the trail.
In all fairness, Jack Wolfskin do not market the JWP Shell as a hiking jacket, so perhaps it’s a little remiss of me to point out the issue with pocket positioning. But as I often talk about clothing that is good for the trail, I felt I should at least acknowledge that if you’re looking for a shell for your next long-distance hike, this isn’t the one. What it is designed for –commuting on a rainy or unsure day, urban wandering when you need something just in case of a downpour, or when you’re on a city break and don’t want to spend all your time in the museums – it does incredibly well.
£130 sounds like a lot but when you compare this to other waterproof shell jackets on the market, and consider the functionality of this everyday jacket, it’s comparably reasonable for the technology you’re getting. If you are looking for a new jacket for day to day, something that will be good for work as well as for weekend wanders around castles and between shops, then this is a very decent option. I genuinely think the design is spot on, and when you add that to the technical ability and recycled fabric, it’s up there as one of my favourites. High praise.
You’ll find the Jack Wolfskin JWP Shell over on the Jack Wolfskin website for £130. Mine is the Night Blue, which I think is the best colour currently on sale, but it’s also available in black, cream and a bluer blue. There’s also a men’s cut if you prefer.
Jack Wolfskin kindly gifted me one of their JWP Shell jackets to test out and review here on Splodz Blogz. As always my reviews are based on my own experience and I will not recommend something that I don’t think does the job it is designed for well.