Return of an old favourite with a modern update

Back in the 1990s the Sprayway Torridon was a popular waterproof jacket. Now Sprayway has relaunched an updated version that looks very similar to the original – with the same rather garish colour scheme – but uses modern materials.

The new Torridon is made from the latest 3-layer Classic Gore-Tex with a recycled polyester face fabric that has a PFCec free (PFCs of Environmental Concern) DWR. The fabric feels substantial and has a matt finish. It is slightly noisy but less so than many waterproof jackets.

The design mixes old and new features. It’s longer than most modern waterproofs – 78cms at the front – and has a double Velcro-closed flap over the main zip rather than an exposed watertight zip. There are two huge chest pockets that stretch almost the whole length of the jacket. These do have watertight zips, with stiff flaps over them. The two-way underarm zips are also watertight ones, without flaps this time. There are two stretch inner pockets, one zipped, one open topped. The hood has front drawcords, a rear volume adjuster, and a stiff wired peak. There are drawcords at the waist and hem and adjustable cuffs.

This then is a fully specified waterproof jacket. It weighs 635 grams, which puts it in the year-round or winter jacket categories. Back in the 1990s a waterproof jacket that weight would have been quite light. Not today. This is a winter weight jacket with the features and robustness needed for blizzards.

The material and design look good. But how does it perform? Pretty well, overall. The extra length is welcome, and I like the double-flap over the zip. No danger of leakage here. Breathability is fine. The fit is traditional too. I can comfortably wear the Medium size over a thick fleece. With ‘athletic’ or ‘slim’ modern jackets I need to go up at least a size.

The hood is very roomy. Given that this is a hillwalking jacket and unlikely to be worn with a helmet I can’t see why this is. The hood does cinch down well around the head and face but, as with similar massive hoods, this leaves layers of bunched fabric. Once tightened protection is excellent and the hood moves with your head. The hood can be rolled down to make a thick collar. I can never see the point of this as such a big collar is both uncomfortable and sweaty.

The external pockets are the biggest I’ve ever seen on a waterproof jacket. Unsurprisingly the lower part is cut-off by a hipbelt. This doesn’t really matter though as there’s still plenty of room. To prevent maps slipping down and getting trapped under a hipbelt there are angled pockets of fabric for them to slip into .

My biggest objection to the Men’s Torridon is aesthetic. I didn’t like the colour scheme thirty years ago and I don’t like it now. It would be good if Sprayway offered a less startling colour combination or even a single colour version. The Women’s version is much more subdued. I have no objection to it.

The Torridon isn’t lightweight and the price is quite high. It should last well though and it’s suitable for the worst winter weather.