Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Henri Lloyd Shockwave: Gear Review

Tired of bumps and bruises? Have you been wearing multiple layers to get the protection you need? Look no further than the latest from Henri Lloyd - Shockwave.

This stuff takes foul weather gear to the next level by incorporating actual shock protection in hard-hit areas. Optional, Shock-Absorbing Deck Armor Pads can be inserted into hiking, seat, and knee pockets give you a little help where you need it.
Henri Lloyd's new Shockwave line is fully waterproof and breathable. It replaces their popular TP2 Shadow line and includes a jacket, hooded smock, dinghy smock, and salopettes (and shorts for those summer days where you still want some added seat protection). With new features and redesigns, Shockwave is sure to perform well in buoy or offshore racing.

All pieces are made of a new redesign of the TP2 Alpha Fabric. Durable, waterproof and highly breathable, it is an improved version of the previous TP2 fabric. Technical Description: Interior -A 3D abrasion-resistant, microbead finish lining with a hydrophilic laminate microporous coating. Exterior - Durable Water Repellent finish that is salt water abrasion-resistant and sheds water. Non-technical Description: Improved feel on the inside to reduce that clammy feeling thanks to increased breathability. The outside is more durable and better prepared to stand up against both salt and fresh water.

Overall, the Shockwave looks and feels good. It seems to be a good weight, but it does take some getting used to. After trying on the pieces myself, as well as coercing a few of my colleges to do the same, I’ve looked at the positives and negatives of each.

Shockwave Jacket

The Good

With changes made to the sleeves, hood, and zipper, the jacket appears to be an improvement on its predecessor. The zipper now has a full Velcro storm flap, which better equips you to go offshore. It has an Optivision watch system. Looks like Henri Lloyd has been checking out the Aegis by Atlantis, but we like the fact they're expanding on ideas, literally. With a larger area, you won't struggle to find and read your watch. Even if your watch has a big face (think Ronstan Clear Start), you'll be able to see all the numbers.

The Optivision hood is a great feature. I have a TP2 Shadow jacket, and every time I wear it, I find myself wishing the hood was a little bigger as to cover the sides of my face. The Optivision, the larger size, and three adjustment points quell any complaints I may have had with the former version.

The Bad

It seems the sizing on the jackets has changed. Some of the APS male models tried on a size smaller than they had worn in the TP2 Shadow jacket. I wasn’t able to try on an XS (No women's sizing) because it is unavailable at present. We'll see, but at 5'9'' - I’m concerned it won't work for me as the previous version did. This means smaller women might have trouble fitting into the jacket. Also, the deck armor pads make the jacket fit and feel a bit funny. As you sit down in the jacket, the front flattens and tends to ride up a bit. I’m sure if you were in full hike, you wouldn’t notice, but for the rest of the time, it's a bit bulky. I think I would stick to putting Deck Armor pads in the Shockwave salopettes instead.

Overall

I would say Henri Lloyd's Shockwave Jacket is improvement over the TP2. With the new watch window and revised hood, this jacket is good for buoy or offshore racing. The Velcro storm flap will help when conditions deteriorate. As far the Deck Armor pads are concerned, I would leave those securely in your salopettes.

Shockwave Smocks: Hooded and Dinghy

The Good

The hooded smock has the same Optivision hood as the jacket, making it easy to see while still protecting you from spray and rain. An Optivision watch window makes life easier. I can’t say it will get you to the line on time, but it certainly will help the process when you don't have to struggle to see what the time really is. The neoprene bottom, without feeling too sticky, stays in place when you lift or cross your arms. The overall feel is nice, and the inside fabric doesn't feel clammy against your skin. I think even in hot temperatures (it was about 80° when I was trying it on,) these Shockwave foul weather smocks will breathe well.

The Bad

I found the front pocket to be a bit cumbersome. If you're wearing a life jacket, you won't be able to access the pocket. If you're not wearing a life jacket, you'll still need two hands to open the pocket. The smock neck seems to be tighter than previous versions. Our storefront manager Mike proclaims, “I don’t have a fat neck,” but found that while he needed a smaller size (small rather than a medium), the neck didn't fit the way he wanted it to.

That being said, our product manager James tried on a medium and found the neck to fit well. He added the sleeves were not as long as he would like. In general, I would say the fit is a little on the short side for taller people.

Overall

I would recommend both smocks. If the worst thing I can say is I don’t like the pocket, I consider them to be a good piece of gear. As with everything, fit changes from one person to the next - but the inside has a nice feel and both smocks are lightweight.

Shockwave Salopettes

The Good

The high back was one of the most mentioned features during the fashion show at APS. The new neoprene shoulders with adjustments were also a popular topic. With a Velcro strap, you can adjust the height of the strap to meet your needs. It appears Henri Lloyd has been taking a look at Aegis again - I notice some resemblance to the Aegis alligator straps. These only have one adjustment point so I would consider this an improvement. With that said, there is still work that could be done.


Deck armor pads will protect against impacts on your seat, knees, and waist while you hike. There is a significant difference when trying out the gear with the Deck Armor Pads in or leaving them out. I think each type of Deck Armor Pad would serve you in a certain time and place. For example, I'm thinking the seat pads and hiking pads would be really helpful on long distance races. If I were headed to the bow, the knee pads would make things a lot easier. There would be no bulk of knee pads on the outside of foul weather gear, my knees would be protected, and I wouldn't have to worry about knee pads falling off or sliding around.

The Bad

While the protection factor is great and the fact Henri Lloyd added shock absorption to the interior everything stay in the right place, the Deck Armor pads increase bulk. You definitely need to get used to having all three of them in. Matt from Customer Service decided he would probably sacrifice the seat pads for the knee pads, but he spends a lot of time in the bow.

The pads must be inserted while the pants are off, which forces you to do a little planning ahead of time. Chances are, the first few times out, you might have to make a second run below to insert the pads. Also, women beware: I found the Deck Armor pads didn’t quite fit right. The seams were a little too far apart, and I found myself sitting on the edge of one of them, which ultimately didn’t provide the protection I wanted.

Overall

With a little adjustment, I think you'll find the Shockwave salopettes provide the protection you want on longer races. Perhaps, you'll skip the Deck Armor pads when you're racing around the buoys. This will give you ease of motion. The addition of the adjustment on the neoprene will help provide the right fit, and the high back will make them useful even without a jacket.

Conclusion

Henri Lloyd's Shockwave is a pretty cool and extremely functional advancement in foul weather gear. With lots of new features, it is a great line of gear for anyone who mostly races around the buoys and does occasional offshore races. Versatility is a big plus. The fact Shockwave is equipped with shock absorbing pads makes it great for just about any sailor. Also, don't forget to try out the Shockwave Shorts, great for those hot days where you still want seat pads.

Still don't believe us? Learn a little more about the science behind these pads - Check out this intense video from Henri Lloyd:



1 comment:

  1. I like cool jackets - a nice fall or winter coat. You can get a lot of use out of it, and you'll wear it frequently, so it can really set the tone of your uniform for the season.

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