Mountain Hardwear Seraction Jacket
A Sidetracked Review | Written by Kieran Creevy
Photography by Claire Burge
ITEM: Mens Seraction Jacket
STYLE: Waterproof Hardshell
WEIGHT: 462g (1lb 0oz)
ACTIVITY: Alpine / Climbing / Mountaineering
WHAT THEY SAY: ‘Elite-level performance in a mixed rock and ice-climbing jacket. Designed in collaboration with alpinist and ice climber Tim Emmett, the Seraction Jacket’s Dry.Q™ Elite waterproof technology starts expelling excess heat and vapor immediately for instant breathability during rigorous climbs. Stretch panels across the back and hood allow maximum mobility.’
Zipping jackets closed against the early morning cold we shoulder our packs and start up the face above us. Two hours later, and with faint streaks of dawn lighting the tips of nearby peaks we take a breather, and a chance for a brew. Yet sitting here, with coffee in hand I can’t feel any sign of sweat build-up inside my hard-shell, the Mountain Hardwear Seraction jacket. We’ve climbed hard for almost a thousand metres through early morning fog, so this level of comfort is surprising and very welcome. The airy breathability comes courtesy of Mountain Hardwear’s in-house developed DryQ elite fabric, which doesn’t need a head of steam – as it were – to push water vapour through the membrane.
Stowing damp liner gloves and grabbing some on-the-move nibbles, I was glad for the two cavernous inside pockets on the Seraction – easily big enough to accommodate mitts, ski skins, flexible water bottles, food, or as a place to dry wet gloves – important if you’re ski touring, ice climbing or winter mountaineering.
Scrambling onto the summit ridge in full sunlight we encounter a lone gendarme blocking our progress. Surmounting this obstacle takes some time and in my case a mantle-shelf morphs into a full on grovel. Descending the far side and once back on ridge, I check my shell, fully expecting to see some nicks or tears from the quartz studded granite block. Yet only a minor scuff mark shows on the surface of the Seraction.
Given the jackets extremely soft handle, and my close rock encounters, I would have expected some more serious abrasion, but Mountain Hardwear have managed to combine the diametrically opposed elements of the ‘Suit of Armour’ ethic that dominated hard-shell jackets in the 80s and 90s, with an almost balletic flexibility. While a lot of current hardshells have an impressive range of motion, in the Seraction you could conceivably pitch the idea of performing an outdoor version of a Cirque de Soleil performance without worrying about impeded movement. Perhaps not that surprising, considering a massive amount of design input came from two of Mountain Hardwear’s elite athletes – Tim Emmet and Dawn Glanc, both of whom manage to climb hard ice and mixed routes with extraordinary fluidity and grace.
In addition to testing the Seraction on trip to the French Alps, I’ve been using it for the last 9 months, on the Irish and Scottish mountains, ski touring in Northern Finland, for instruction work and on personal trips, rock climbing, mountaineering and hunkering down during rain soaked waits at bus stops.
In over 120 days of use, the Seraction has yet to put a foot wrong, and though it’s primarily marketed as an climbing jacket, of you’re looking for an top level, all-round hardshell then your search stops here.
Later in that week, while showing friends the basics of avalanche searches and snow shelter building, the Seraction’s cornerstone features of top notch flexibility, waterproofing, breathability and cut are readily apparent.