Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hands On: Henri Lloyd Vapour Jacket

New from Henri Lloyd this year is the Vapour Jacket - basically a lightweight, windproof and very water resistant soft shell jacket for those in between kind of days. And they spelled vapour with a totally unnecessary "u" because they're Brits so it's got that going for it too.

The Vapour Jacket is made from Henri Lloyd's Soft Shell AC fabric, so it's definitely windproof and it has a decent DWR coating to shed water. The seams are not taped though so it wouldn't be fair to call it waterproof, but it should shed light to moderate rain and spray as long as you're not getting drenched.

We have three soft shells from Henri Lloyd this year and the Vapour is somewhere in the middle from an insulation perspective. The Transition soft shell has a heavier fleece lining while the Octane Light jacket doesn't really have any fleece. The Vapour has a soft waffle-knit facing on the inside and should provide just enough warmth for those cool spring or fall days.

The Vapour is definitely made with active sailing in mind - it has an active cut (read slim) and is very stretchy especially across the shoulders, you can really feel the stretch when you reach forward and bend your elbows.

Unfortunately this jacket has the same stiff rubber Velcro closures at the wrist as the Shadow jacket I reviewed a while ago - they're less of a concern here since you won't be wearing this jacket in super wet conditions but it still would have been nice to see a more flexible fabric closure used.

The Henri Lloyd Vapour jacket is a pretty nice piece - I think it would be great for trimmers or drivers on a keelboat when you need some warmth but it's not freezing outside. The 2-way stretch fabric makes it easy to move around in which is a definite plus. I don't think it's the thing for the bowman on a wet and windy day - the lack of taped seams means if you're getting any substantial water thrown at you it'll find it's way through eventually. It's certainly a great jacket to wear around on shore - and it's definitely worth more cred at the yacht club than that North Face jacket you've been wearing.

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