I’ve been looking to replace my softshell jacket for a little while now, as my Mountain Equipment G2 Alpine jacket just wasn’t cutting it (pilling and bobbling from pack wear after only a couple of days, and black – I’m not a fan of black on the hills!), so when Sport Pursuit offered a flash sale of Ternua gear, it piqued my interest!
Ternua, as a brand, is not one I’d heard of before, but the jacket I was interested in was using known fabrics (in this case, Gore’s Windstopper Soft Shell fabric) which I knew and trusted, so I figured I would investigate further.
After a few fruitless searches (as they’re a Spanish company, and not generally distributed in the UK, information in English was sparse), I eventually found this post on Scottish Mountaineer, regarding a couple of their other products. Michael suggested that the build quality of the products were of a high quality, so although he’d not reviewed the specific jacket I was looking at, I decided to give it a punt – after all, it was still a Windstopper Soft Shell jacket, for less than £100. You just can’t argue that!
As is always the way with Sport Pursuit, I had to wait about a month before the jacket arrived (due to the way they do business – they only offer items for sale for a week, and don’t order from the manufacturers until the sale has ended. They clearly don’t ship to customers until they receive it!), which happened a few weeks ago.
OK, to get this bit out of the way… I know some people are not fans of Soft Shell, and prefer fleece, and I know a lot of people don’t like Windstopper, as they don’t find it good for the Scottish climate. (better for cold & dry, as opposed to cold & wet, they say). I quite like only needing one layer (besides the baselayer!) and as I tend to be a fair weather hiker in the colder months, the other complaints about Windstopper don’t really apply. Now, on to the jacket itself.
Here’s the blurb from the Ternua website: Gore-tex® Windstopper® Soft Shell technical jacket with hood, three zipped pockets, armpit ventilation, toggle adjustable bottoms and Velcro adjustable cuffs. Comfortable windstopping, transpirable, waterproof that stays comfortable and offers the necessary freedom of movements to maximise performance while you carry out different activities in all types of climates. Very useful, ideal for trekking, hiking, classic climbing, ice climbing and mountain ski.
The interesting part from that is the bit where it mentions armpit ventilation. I had automatically assumed that would mean either pit zips or a different fabric mix under the arms. That isn’t the case for this jacket. In the photographs on the website, I saw the little hexagon shapes on either side of the torso. I’d assumed those were purely aesthetic. It turns out they’re not. They’re actually cutaways from the main fabric. I can only assume that these are the advertised ventilation. I have to admit, the jacket does seem to breath a little better than the Mountain Equipment one (with the core venting zips closed), but I’ll definitely need to give it more time to see how well these work in the long term, and more importantly, how resistant they are to the elements – I have a couple of concerns about having vents that can’t be closed, but we’ll see how it goes.
I’ve worn the jacket a few times now, and I can confirm that the face fabric is definitely harder wearing than that of my old jacket. That’s a big plus for me, and I’m definitely more confident about using it.
So far, it’s been plenty warm enough when I’m walking, though definitely not warm enough for any prolonged stops, but that’s what down jackets are for. Another big plus.
I have to admit, I love the colours of it. Another plus
So far, nothing but plus sides, and one thing I’m not sure about.
There is, however, one negative about the jacket. The hood. There simply isn’t enough material for forward and back head motion. If you look down (which you’re gonna do!), don’t expect the hood to stay in place. It’s fine when looking side to side, and does a good job, but there’s not enough fabric at the rear of the hood to cope with any forward motion. For me, that’s really not a deal breaker. I tend to wear a hat on the hills, so will probably not be using the hood, anyway. If the weather turns bad, I’ll have thrown my waterproof jacket on, and that’ll be the hood of choice, anyway.
I guess we’ll see how it goes. I definitely prefer it to my Mountain Equipment soft shell, as it feels much harder wearing and more breathable. If the current cold spell continues, I suspect I’ll be wearing it more than I’d originally planned over the next few weeks (I’d expected to retire it to the wardrobe when daytime temps got to double figures!)