Dave Chick gives his Sprayway Men’s Palmer Jacket Review . . .
Sprayway are no stranger to the British weather having been established in the Peak District in the 1970s. After originally making sailing clothing their location in Manchester and its typically inclement weather saw a natural move to waterproof fabrics for the general outdoors. A 2017 re-brand has seen Sprayway significantly re-develop their range of clothing and the Sprayway Men’s Palmer Jacket comes from their summer 2018 collection.
Lightweight, weatherproof TecWEAVE™ hooded jacket, perfect for long walks in unpredictable conditions
How’s the Appearance?
The Sprayway Men’s Palmer Jacket is a nice looking jacket, available in two fairly modest, UK friendly colours; blazer (a very dark blue) and slate (a dark grey, which is the colour of our piece). I’m normally drawn, like a moth to a flame, to the eye-popping greens and yellows so this colour is not quite to my personal taste though that’s not to say I dislike it.
I have fairly broad shoulders and a stocky build. The jacket fits well across the shoulders and chest while the arms are a good length, however, the cut of the lower half of the jacket is a bit boxy with a lot of excess fabric around the waist. This is a shame as I was hoping for something with a slightly trimmer cut given Sprayways links to the Outdoor and Sports Company and Mountain Equipment (who are renowned for the excellent cut of their jackets).
What are the main features?
As this jacket leans towards spring and summer use, the fabric and features are pretty minimal. For your money you get a grown on hood with three adjustment points, a sizeable chest pocket, an adjustable hem and a curious little tab on the chest, tucked away behind the main zip – more on that in a moment.
The hood performs well and is sized for a bare head rather than a helmet so you may want to consider something else if you’re after a jacket for climbing. That said, I did feel the hood pulled a little on the top of my head so perhaps it could be a little bit larger. Or maybe I have a big head. Either way, the hood adjusters allow you to seal out drafts and a small wired peak keeps the brim in check.
The chest pocket is a nice addition and is a useful size, unlike on some jackets. That said, it’s not quite big enough to fit an OS map in which would have been perfect. The mesh backing allows it to be opened for venting if you’re working hard. Sprayway have done away with any side pockets for your hands which I initially thought wouldn’t both me, however, after standing around at a chilly lunch stop I thought how useful they may have been.
The small tab behind the main zip is designed so you can open the zip without the jacket flapping about. I’ve never seen this feature on a jacket before and can’t say it’s something I’ve ever thought a jacket needs. However, it does its job and, in hindsight, is a neat touch.
Is it comfortable?
Despite my initial thoughts on the boxy fit of the Sprayway Men’s Palmer Jacket, it is very comfortable to wear and once you have your pack strapped around it the excess fabric is not really an issue. My test piece was a size medium (my go-to size) so it is possible a small would be a better fit for me. Definitely a try before you buy.
The TecWEAVE fabric has a lovely soft feel to it with just a hint stretch to prevent it ever feeling tight, particularly if you end up making some more adventurous moves. The fabric is laminated to a PU layer meaning that it is very wind resistant (it seems Sprayway are hesitant to call it windproof but I bet you would never notice).
How did it perform?
I took this jacket out on a breezy, changeable early Autumn day – the ideal conditions for testing a softshell jacket. The DWR coating on the fabric held up well to some sustained drizzle, keeping me dry until I switched to a waterproof.
When worn over just a t-shirt, I never felt overly hot or cold on a day which shifted from overcast to sunny. In fact, I can commend the wind resistant properties of this jacket which kept out a stiff breeze all day, keeping me comfortable.
I have a confession. Straight out of the packet during its initial try on I took against this jacket – largely due to the cut of the body. I thought ‘this is not something I would buy’. However, a few outings on the Yorkshire fells has convinced me that the eternal saying ‘never judge a book by its cover’ is entirely true. This jacket is comfortable and performs well across a range of typical UK weather. While not waterproof it will keep out a light shower and the wind resistance is superb. You can probably pick up the Sprayway Men’s Palmer Jacket for less than £100 and I reckon it performs as well as any model twice its price. In my mind, that makes this jacket great value for money.
Sprayway Men’s Palmer hooded jacket features and specifications:
- TecWEAVE™ Stretch PU laminated fabric with DWR
- Grown on, fully adjustable hood with a wired peak
- Zipped chest pocket
- Chest vent tab allows the jacket to open at front, without billowing
- Adjustable cuffs
- Drawcord adjustable hem