Mountain Equipment Supercell – An Update

Well, I’ve had the Supercell for a few weeks now, and as my First Look was quite favourable, I figured I’d give an update on how I’m feeling about it now, and how it has performed so far.

I’m still quite chuffed with it, and the design is good.  I’ve taken it out a few times, but believe it or not, I’ve managed to avoid the rain in all but one of the occasions! (and that one was deliberately to test the jacket in the wet!)

Breathability in the Dry.

Well, I’ve had a good few chances to compare it to my other Gore-Tex jackets in the dry, and the difference is astounding! There’s very little in the way of clamminess, even when working up a bit of a sweat.

Does it make you sweat less? No… I still sweat as much as I would when I’m not wearing a jacket, but this stops me feeling as clammy

Do you get hot inside it? Yes, to a certain extent, you do feel warmer with the jacket on than you would if you were just wearing a baselayer. It definitely feels better than any other jacket I’ve had before.

Clearly, in the dry, the jacket performs significantly better than any other Gore-tex jacket (at least it does to me – remember, everyone is different, and what works for me may not work for everyone else!)

Wet Weather Performance

I took myself and the jacket up into the Lomond Hills of Fife for a few hours last Saturday, to give it a wet weather test. The weather was persistent heavy rain, though reasonably calm conditions. There were a few exposed sections when the wind was driving the rain, too, but those were in total about 30 minutes of the trip.

Robin over at Blogpackinglight has recently been commenting on water-resistant zips and how they can fail to keep the rain out, particularly in driving rain. I can safely say that the side pockets of the Supercell performed admirably, and let in no rain (as far as I could tell). However, I think it’s only fair to mention that although they had to endure close to 3 hours of persistent heavy rain, they only had to endure approx 30 mins of driving rain, which might just be the factor.

The hood performed perfectly, keeping the rain off my face with absolutely no problems at all (see pic below).

Supercell Hood

Once again, apologies for the gormless model!

I’ve always found the hoods on Mountain Equipment jackets to be very good at keeping the rain off, as well as turning with your head really well. A big thumbs up for this one!

The DWR works a treat (as shown below), but in honesty, you’d expect that in a brand new jacket. A longer test to see how well this lasts will be required, methinks!

DWR

Now, for the breathability… is it any better in the wet than Paclite?

Well, yes it is! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect, but it is a significant improvement. You still feel clammy at the high sweat areas, and areas where it’s in direct contact with the rucksack are understandably clammy (hard for the moisture to escape when there’s something against the outer face!), but it’s leagues apart from Paclite in terms of breathability. It’s a significantly nicer experience.

Overall Thoughts

I still really like the jacket, but I still have the same concerns as I did when I first got it… how durable is it going to be? In wearing it, there’s already a mark at the base of my back, where the backpack is touching the pack – I’ve tested it, and it’s still well and truly waterproof, but for how long?

Luckily, that’s at one of the reinforced areas, designed to take the rubbing from the pack, so I’d hope it will be just fine… but I don’t know.

It’s purely down to my concerns for the durability of the jacket that I’ve not yet retired my Montane Lite-Speed as my windshirt. The Supercell breathes at least as well, if not more so, but I’m still not sure I want to be wearing it all day, every day… I just don’t know if it could cope with that. Strangely, this looks like the summer where it might just be getting tested, though!

I’ll report back on any issues I have with the jacket in the long term, as there’s still little to no information out there about how well Gore-tex Active Shell survives – it’s only been out since this time last year, though, so I’d hope that there aren’t any horror stories to report yet!

I do feel a little weird, being an ‘early adopter’ in something to do with the outdoors. I reckon I’ve spent the past 3 or 4 years replacing gear simply just to catch up, and now I find I’m out there in the forefront – normally, I’d reserve my early adoptions for technology! (more on that subject in a future blog post – I have a new tablet arriving in a week or two!)

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8 thoughts on “Mountain Equipment Supercell – An Update”

    1. Although it has the storm flap on the main zip, the pocket zips are of the water resistant type. They haven’t let water in yet, though!

  1. Hi Grahame,

    Thanks for your review and follow-up post, useful to hear about. Among the Active Shell jackets, the Supercell looks to have the best features for backpacking, with the reinforced areas and flap covering the zip.

    I was wondering how the Supercell is holding up to wear, around 8 months later?

    Thanks,
    Jaya John

    1. So far so good… though I’ve never really had to wear it for more than an hour or two of a day. Despite all the awful weather we had last year, I seem to have got lucky and got mostly showery weather.
      Even the few trips I’ve had it with me this year have involved little use.

      This year will definitely be the test of it, though, as I plan on doing several trips (assuming my thigh/hip issues can be resolved) and I’ll definitely be doing an update post in a few months.

      As it stands, the factory DWR is still doing the job, so I’ve clearly not used it enough to require any real maintenance!

  2. Thank you for the nearly instantaneous reply. Hope all goes well and that you’re able to get into the hills as you plan! Look forward to hearing more in due course.

  3. Thanks for your review and update just ordered one of these at £103.94 from webtogs, and I hope it will perform better than my lightweight Berghaus Paclite

    1. I’m glad it was helpful!.

      I have to admit, the Supercell is still my go to jacket for backpacking. It really is the perfect mix of weight and features.

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