Review: Haglöfs V series Raw AnorakGear
ITEM: Haglöfs V series Raw Anorak
STYLE: Waterproof smock
WEIGHT: 485g (men’s large)
ACTIVITY: Mountaineering, climbing, ski touring
WHAT THEY SAY: With the V series Raw Anorak, we set the bar high, pushed the limits and aimed for the most futuristic, long-lasting and high-performance product ever made.
The forecast read like a weather warning: ‘A stormy day across all mountains – upland gales continuing to strengthen through daylight. Bursts of heavy rain, in places, setting in for many hours. Around 8˚C. Due to wind chill, feeling close to -5˚C.’
It was, in short, the perfect day to test out the Haglöfs V series Raw Anorak, an outdoors garment of the like I’ve never seen. And that’s not a comment I remember writing too often.
The push for innovation comes from many different areas. It depends on company dynamics and outlook, it depends on the designers’ passions, and it depends on mission. Some innovation is dictated by specific needs – making down water resistant or improving water filtration – while some of it, the less attractive component, is driven by the constant need to introduce new products to market. But the best of it is usually driven by sustainability.
Sustainability is the driving force behind the Haglöfs V series Raw Anorak: sustainable in the processes and material used, but also sustainable in the length of time a garment will last. If you’ve ever covered a hole in your down jacket with duct tape, read this.
As you can see from the pictures, the Raw Anorak is wildly different from most garments we’ve ever seen. The most similar are the smocks from Páramo, popular with mountain rescue teams and mountain leaders. The main advantage of the smock is the elimination of a principal weak point in the jacket: the main zip. Smocks fend off the rain brilliantly.
Putting on the Haglöfs V series Raw Anorak in torrential rain on the British mountains cut out the wind and rain immediately. Apart from the colour – left white to eliminate ‘an incredible amount of water’ – the fabric is most eye-catching. It’s a three-layer, fully taped PROOF ECO material that is not dyed and made from 94 per cent recycled polyamide. It feels soft and supple, without crinkling or making much noise. Noticeable is the ripstop grid that is formed from Vectran, an uncommonly strong fibre spun from a liquid-crystal polymer – apparently five times stronger than steel and found in cables used on deep-sea expeditions. As well as being able to descend the Mariana Trench on a wayward thread, it will make this jacket particularly durable. It is treated with a fluorocarbon-free DWR so water beads off.
The construction is also eye-catching. It is very long, reaching down to my thighs. With waterproof trousers and boots, no rain is going to get in, even if it is coming horizontally as it seemed to on our test day.
Zips, in fact, have been largely eliminated, the exception being a long one on the right-hand side and a zipped map pocket at the front. It is surprisingly easy to get on and off in the wind. There’s a small side slit to allow movement.
There are press-stud buttons on each side to offer a snug fit. The sleeves too are adjusted with buttons. The collar is also buttoned and tightened by folding over a gusset; it was a bit fiddly to start with but soon overcome. It covers just above the chin. The hood too has buttoned adjustments – not, frankly, enough to really draw it in tight around the head. Haglöfs jackets often use a neat exterior drawcord, and this would have benefitted from a similar system. Finally, in front of the anorak is a kangaroo pocket.
The price tag of £700 could be something to baulk at until we remember that innovation costs, and always has done. The technology and know-how that filter down to cheaper products are led with this kind of garment.
So, innovative in materials for sure, and innovative in functionality. Against what turned out to be 70mph gusts and unhesitating rain, it performed. It’s a material that I’m looking forward to seeing in more garments, ones that can be worn for a very long time to come.