At Wiggle we love to get out there in testing conditions, so a troupe of four of us summated Snowdon on one of the wettest and windiest days of the year in mid November. Here is how we got on!
Wiggle staff testers
When not out on his bike, you'll find Ben hunting down and competing in the wildest events possible! Not satisfied with your 'road 10k's or your road bike sportive's, its something different he's after. A regular competitor in the OMM (Original Mountain Marathon) and 24hour off road runs throughout the year.
Mr 'never say no', Dan isn't the type to turn getting outside down. Long rides on his Cinelli Hobootleg on and off-road are the order of the day. A new convert to running and always looking for the next thrill!
Dan's the go to man when it comes to the latest trends. Well known for his love of coffee and bikes in the office, usually together at the same time! Bike wise you'll find him cruising Southsea on his old Raleigh or taking to an adventure out in the sticks.
'Mr Search' as he's known, John's new to mountain biking and always up for a challenge. With a history of football he's since learned the error of his ways and is now more likely to be found out on the trails!
Never looking for the easy way, we picked what's historically the wettest weekend for Snowdon so that we could put our great range of new outdoor jackets to the test! Luckily, it happened to be the windiest weekend of the year too, nothing gets us going like making the odds that bit more unfair!
As soon as we packed in work for the day on Friday, it was straight into the motorhome and off to Wales. A short stop for supplies en-route and we were in Llanberis 6 hours later. Parking up for the night we nestled down for the night.
Up nice and early the next day we were ready for the mountain. The weather had taken a turn for the worse which was gratefully received by the crew! Knocked up a bit of brekkie in the camper, cup of tea and we were off, all waterproofed up and ready for the elements.
Up we climbed, taking in the views along the way as the wind steadily got stronger as we went up. Bar a little section of insane wind, we made it to the top with no incidents. Snow was waiting for us. Whilst there wasn't much of a view, the snow sure made it worth it!
Once we'd had our fill of the top, it was down again. On the way we were quizzed by a lot of fellow hikers, turned out we were the first group that had made it to the top in that weather! With everyone else turning back! Made it a little more of an achievement.
Back at the camper, kettle on, feet up and time for dinner. We stayed an extra night to take in all rural Wales has to offer. Visiting waterfalls and local pubs, chatting to regulars and generally having a well earned night. Next morning was homeward bound!
Mountain Hardwear Quasar™ Lite Jacket
Ben Gray: One of the lightest jackets I've ever worn, this Mountain Hardwear Quasar™ Lite Jacket was simply brilliant. Totally waterproof and with the event tech, surprisingly breathable. With a sensible layering system underneath it kept me warm, dry and comfortable all the way up. It looks snazzy too!
If I had one criticism, its that the neck closure is fleecy. This is great when its dry, but in the rain it got a little damp. In the end I put my buff up over my neck to keep the dampness off my skin. This aside though, this jacket is fantastic!
OMM Kamleika Race Smock II
Dan Jones: The OMM Kamleika Race Smock II ticked all the boxes for me, it's super lightweight, stretchy and breathable which meant I could 'layer up' underneath without overheating.
The waist and neck draw cords kept all the warm air locked in, something I appreciated more, the closer we got to the summit.
For me, this is a good looking, functional jacket that I can rely on.
The North Face FuseForm Dot Matrix Jacket
John Bradford: The North Face FuseForm Dot Matrix Jacket was a fantastic bit of kit (thanks), it kept me warm and dry in freezing conditions whilst climbing Snowden in the bitter cold with strong winds and hailstone/snow. The coat definitely exceeded my expectations for keeping me warm, so much so that I had to take off some base layers when climbing which the lady climbers and sheep walking past would have enjoyed.
Equally this coat is a great day to day coat for Autumn and Winter. After the 5 hour walk up and down I was cold an uncomfortable everywhere apart from under my coat. The coat is very light, not bulky and very comfortable. The under arm flaps were really useful to unzip when I got hot from climbing.
A great bit of kit and probably the best coat I have used for climbing a mountain.
Daniel Oakshott: Considering we had seen forecasts of rain, hailstone, snow and 90mph gusts for the day we’d chosen to summit Snowdon, I was a little concerned about getting very cold and very wet.
My cheap waterproof trousers did an awful job, my Fuseform jacket kept my body very dry and comfortable all the way back to the motorhome!
In terms of features, I love the fact that when the weather was awful, you could pull in the hood nice and tight to your face to keep the rain/wind out and the peak keeps the water from dripping down your face. The jacket packs down suprisingly small for an insulated jacket which is always useful for when you’ve got such tempermental weather as we have in the UK most of the time – you can just chuck it in your rucksack when the rain stops and the sun comes out.
The Fuseform Technology means less stitching and less seams which helps keep the weight of the jacket down. This is definitely a much lighter jacket than any of my previous outdoors jackets. During the lower sections of the mountain where the temperatures were higher and the wind/rain wasn’t so brutal, it was really useful to be able to open up the under arm ventilation and feel the warm, stuffy air leave the jacket and a light breeze be able to flow through. I thought I would be struggling with being too cold, but it turned out it was the opposite with this jacket! Also worth noting, the pockets are huge – great for storing lots of snacks for when heading up a mountain or on any adventure!
I’m really trying to find a negative with the jacket but struggling. If you are looking for a jacket which you can take on any adventure where the weather is likely to be less than friendly, I would 100% recommend this.