Chris Townsend reviews a warm insulated smock with impeccable environmental credentials.

Circular designed products are ones made from recycled or renewable materials that can be recycled and is also biodegradable.  Finisterre’s Biosmock is one of the first outdoor products made using this zero waste, closed loop system. Hopefully, there will be many more of them in the future.

The Biosmock has a shell made from Primaloft Bio Yarn recycled polyester and an unusual fill of 75% HD Wool, which is traceable via a scannable tag and comes from four farms in South West England, and 25% Ingeo PLA, which is made from greenhouse gases and is compostable and recyclable.  To ensure the whole garment can be recycled the poppers are made from biodegradable recycled plastic and organic cotton is used for the stitching.

The design of this windproof, warm and comfortable insulated smock is basic. There’s a short neck opening, a short lower side opening, a big pouch style handwarmer pocket, and adjustable cuffs. The garment has a slightly stiff feel, but this isn’t really noticeable when wearing it. Warmth is roughly equivalent to a heavyweight fleece or a thin synthetic insulated top. The wool/synthetic wadding fill feels denser than 100% synthetic or down fills

The fit is on the small side, the large fitting me fairly closely over just a base layer. The side opening is needed for ease of getting it on and off.  I can only just do up the collar too and the sleeves are only just long enough – they ride up when I reach out.  As a substitute for a fleece this fit is fine. If I wanted to wear it over a fleece I’d need a bigger size. It would have to be very cold for me to need to do that whilst walking, however. Indeed, the temperature has to be down to freezing or below with a breeze blowing for me to walk far without overheating anyway as a disadvantage of the design is that you can only ventilate it at the neck. A fully opening front would make a big difference. Breathability is good as long as it’s cold enough. Wind resistance is excellent.

The pouch pocket sits above a hipbelt and is great for your hands. It can’t be closed though so isn’t suitable for storage unless you’re careful.

The Biosmock is slightly bulky when packed and it’s not that light, though neither of these are significant for most uses. The cost is a little high too, but it is quite a unique garment.

As a garment for winter walking and as warmwear for stops and in camp when it’s not too cold the Biosmock works okay. The environmental credentials are excellent, and Finisterre deserves praise. It would be nice to see the same principles used in a more versatile design.

RECOMMENDED: This product has been awarded our ‘Recommended’ endorsement, meaning our reviewer believes it is a strong product which works well for its intended purpose.