Monday, 14 January 2013

Edelrid McLane Softshell Jacket

A softshell jacket from Edelrids clothing line, I think it is safe to say it is aimed at the climbing fraternity. It's quite techy as softshells go, a lot of features for the vertically inclined. I have had this a while and I've used it at every opportunity as a mid and outer layer. When I was in Chamonix it was never off my back when I was acclimatising and on summit day. 
It does well in windy situations although the stretch panel under the arms is permeable to a bit of a breeze. I wouldn't change them though, the dexterity offered by the black panels gives the jacket extra freedom of movement which I think climbers will appreciate. As well as that the venting in the clammy armpit area is a huge bonus. The main fabric of the jacket does fend off heavy gusts of wind comfortably.

The cuffs are interesting, they are not elastic but as the main sleeve finishes there is an inner cuff which seals it around the wrist. It's effective I think, as the arm length suits me the cuff sits nicely and is unrestrictive when outdoors and also when putting it on and taking off. Inside is a little loop for a thumb to prevent the sleeve riding up when over stretching. I haven't felt the need to use it and its not for keeping the seal for gloves in tact as there's too much material to get gloves over. 
As you would expect the pockets sit high for harness use. The zips are long so getting a folded up map will fit in nicely. The sizes of the pockets differ slightly as the main zip runs off at a small tangent as it gets to the top. I have a hardshell that does this and when fully zipped it stops the zip end irritating the chin, which is a good idea and works quite well. I think it looks cool too. What it does also do though, is when its not quite fully zipped it leaves one large flap which tends to flap around more than two even sides when the wind blows.

The inner backing to the face material is a fixed mesh mesh which encourages the wicking process really well and I haven't had a real issue with the material getting overly damp even on hard working days out. 

The hood isn't big enough to go over a helmet but will obviously go underneath if required. The peak has a thin wire which is handy but isn't significant enough to sculpt the hood like some hardshells I know. Not a bad thing. The hood has one adjustment point which is a clinch drawcord at the back of the head. Its position is a little awkward for helmets but it can be negotiated into a nook so its not pressed into the back of the head. The cord runs from the back of the head around the middle to the front of the hood then down to the top of the zip. So when it's pulled in it forces the outside edge of the opening back around the head. For me this doesn't work, it looses the effectiveness of the hood when it's pulled back uncovering my ears. I understand why it's been designed like this to eliminate the need for pullcords flapping about around the face but I don't think it has been a good idea. What it means is I don't have the hood snugly fitted making it baggy and it doesn't move with my head. 
It is an otherwise comfortable and well fitted jacket. The branding on the arm and the general style of the jacket is pretty cool, it raises my street cred from non existent to minuscule and for that to happen it would need to have extra cool points. 
I will continue to use this jacket on hill days and climbing adventures. The hood thing is a bit of a niggle but the fit of the jacket suits me and is well cut.
Picture courtesy of Richard Flint
The jacket retails at £130 which is probably the high end of the scale but it is a contender in the softshell market. The Mclane and I will see a lot more mountains in the future.