The Alpkit Fortitude is an easy jacket to wear and like which is why it features in our guide to the best waterproof jackets. The fabric feels durable whilst still being quite soft and flexible (for a winter waterproof). Waterproofing and breathability are good, even in hard and sustained rain, and the fabric is very windproof, too. The jacket is fully seam-sealed.
Price: $290 / £219 | Weight: 474g | Materials: 3-layer 70D polyester (outer); bi-component (78% polyester/22% nylon); wicking knit backer (inner) | Hood: wired, 1 adjuster | Front closure: 2-way zip, inner and outer storm flap, stud, Velcro | Underarm/side zips: no | Pockets: 3 | Hem: Y, elastic | Cuffs: Velcro | Sizes: UK 6-20 | Men’s version: yes
Alpkit has added a 100% PFC-free DWR treatment that works adequately but not faultlessly. Some rain droplets roll off the jacket, but some stay and wet out a bit.
There is a wicking mesh backer that could be comfortably worn against the skin – and although it’s unlikely you will be wearing just a T-shirt in winter, it’s a useful feature should you want to wear the jacket year-round. Breathability is similarly adequate, rather than stellar. The addition of underarm zips would enable better temperature control.
The fit is a little on the neat side if you want to add winter layers underneath and the length is the shortest on test. I’d recommend going up a size.
The hood could also be better. It’s small – and I don’t have a big head! – and the peak is too short to properly keep the rain off my face and specs. The two-way front zip and features offer great waterproofing, with an inner and outer storm flap, plus press stud and Velcro fastenings. The OS map-sized chest pocket and side pockets sit clear of rucksack hipbelts.
The Fortitude ticks some environmental boxes with a 100% recycled polyester outer fabric layer and PFC-free DWR, and there are several colour choices, which is a bonus. Alpkit products are hard to beat on price and the Fortitude is less than half the cost of others on test.
How we tested
Fiona normally wears a size Small or UK10. She tested the Alpkit Fortitude on a range of hill and mountain hikes, mostly in the Scottish Highlands and in a variety of conditions from cold and windy to very wet. She used her home digital scales to weigh the jackets.