I think being contacted by Mountain Warehouse to review a couple of items of their clothing is a good omen. Since the email and offer of waterproofs, it has been conspicuously dry in the rainy Northwest. I hope this good fortune extends to my three-day backpack in Scotland next week.
Mountain Warehouse has gained some prominence on the high street but, it’s fair to say, is not the first port of call for the function or fashion conscious outdoor enthusiast.
The company supplies own-brand product at very competitive prices. You won’t find much, if any, evidence of GoreTex of eVent swing tickets in its shops, and you may have to dig around for a more technical garment amid the cags-in-bags and clockwork torches. That said, and based on my extended use of the company’s ‘Shimano Merino top’, its more purposeful gear is well designed and durability is on a par with more recognisable manufacturers.
In common with many Mountain Warehouse shells, the Adrenaline is manufactured from IsoDry – this grade featuring a hydrostatic head of 3000mm and a moisture vapour transfer (MVT) rate of 3000g/24hrs/m2. The numbers don’t really register with me to be honest, suffice to say that the jacket is waterproof enough but breathability is not great when you consider the MVT of the better eVent waterproofs out there is 22,000g/24hr/m2 of . The jacket is relatively heavy, too, my size large pulling the kitchen scales down to 600g.
The killer statistic though is the price – the Adrenaline costs just shy of £35.
As for features, the shell has a waterproof zip, a zip chest pocket, zipped rear bumbag pocket, taped seams, adjustable cuffs, side zip vents, microfleece inner collar and zip garage, draw cords at the waist and neck and reflective detailing. An internal mesh liner helps with moisture management.
The jacket is made in China and finish is good.
As for fit, the jacket features reassuringly long arms, important on a shell designed for cycling. However, for me, the size large sent to me is far too big in the body, preferring a more athletic cut to my cycling gear.
A fortnight ago I eventually had a day worthy of testing the Adrenaline. The temperature was cool – 17 deg C – and rain persistent. I pedalled in the shell for three hours over a range of terrain including of couple of Pennine hills cloaked in clag.
In this poor visibility I was grateful of the reflective detailing, which showed up well in car headlights. The jacket resisted the rain admirably too. As always, I had my suspicions about the front zip, which lacks full double storm flap protection, but this kept the elements at bay even on a speedy and lengthy downhill section. More expensive jackets have yielded in these conditions.
Breathability was not so good. By the end of the ride, I had considerable moisture build up inside the jacket on the shoulders and sleeves even in these relatively cool conditions. The mesh liner makes way for a thin, solid material at the arms that may, in part, explain this. I had the vent zips open at all times during the ride and without them things might have become uncomfortable.
The Adrenaline performs pretty much as expected. In my view, this is a jacket for short commutes and leisure rides. For more demanding activity, the wearer will have to be mindful of venting the jacket to manage moisture and dress sensibly underneath. I wore a merino base with a merino perform cycling top and these helped overall comfort.
This shell will be more useful for commuting in winter when the loose fit will permit more layers underneath, even a synthetic insulated vest, and moisture management will be less of an issue. I’ll let you know how it performs.