The Cristallo is a new model for winter 2012/13 and is a hooded softshell made from Gore’s Windstopper. First thing I noticed was the length of the jacket, which is a real move away from the fashionable short length Alpine jacket to a more traditional length bum-warmer! Some climbers might whinge about the length of it, complaining that it isn’t compatible with a climbing harness but I must admit I like it, especially for winter use.

Make no mistake, this isn’t a jacket for the balmy days of summer (did we get any of those?) but is a full-on winter mountaineering jacket as its 745gms weight would suggest. I’ve found it too warm for general backpacking, even in the colder days of autumn, but I reckon it will come completely into its own once we get some anti-cyclonic spells when the temperatures really plummet.

Other features include a fixed, adjustable mountain hood, two raised front pockets, one chest pocket, pit zips, articulated sleeves, and adjustment at the cuffs and hem. The sleeves have an inner stretch cuff with thumb loops, which I didn’t particularly like, although you can shove them out of the way if, like me, you don’t use thumb loops. Unfortunately I found them to be a bit of a pest when putting the jacket on and when removing it.

The Gore Windstopper material used on the Cristallo has a smooth face fabric for great water shedding and a lofty micro fleece check backer, providing very effective insulation and comfort. The jacket is claimed to be 100% windproof, a bold claim but one I wouldn’t argue with. No fancy Alpine colours here, the Cristallo comes in either a traditional black or blue.