Wandering around the UK’s largest outdoor industry trade show this year we happened across the Sub Zero stand, and since we’ve reviewed a few of their products before the chap warmly shook our hands before announcing that he was glad we’d come along because he really needed a wee. With that he took off, leaving us alone with his gear, which we had a good poke through.
Both Muz and I immediately took to the Windproof Softshell Jacket, which is the type of thing we’d wear under motorbike jackets, to the pub or even when camping. It looks smart, but functional.
We decided against stuffing a couple of them into our bags whilst we weren’t being watched, but upon his return we begged and pleaded for a couple of jackets to try out. I’m glad to say that Sub Zero were forthcoming and I’ve been wearing my version now for a couple of weeks.
It’s a really good-looking jacket – fitted design and very flattering. It really is the sort of thing that you could wear on any occasion, be it social or summit. And it feels great on too.
The outer shell material is a densely woven shell of polyester which is totally windproof. You can tighten up the velcro wristbands and bungee waist and feel completely shut off from the elements. Also, because it’s a tight-weave softshell the jacket is waterproof enough to protect you from a sudden shower. It’s not sold as waterproof, but I’d describe it as showerproof.
The windproof nature of the jacket continues to the main zipper, which is a sturdy YKK number with a stiff , almost suede leatherette feeling wind-baffle behind it. You won’t get that dreaded cold stripe down your chest.
The soft fleecy feel of the baffle continues up and around the neck, where a thin microfleece means no chafing and a snuggly warm feeling. It’s not a tight-fitting neck, there’s room for a Buff in there, but it is close-enough fitting to keep out a breeze.
There are two large hand-pockets on the jacket which have mesh inners. These are good for keeping chilly hands next to your warm baselayers, and conversely for ventilation on slightly warmer days. A third pocket on the left sleeve is perfect for carrying a phone where it won’t swing around and bash things.
The jacket moves with you as you engage in activities. It has a built-in stretch which comes from a small elastane content in the material. You can feel this most when you stretch to put on a backpack or really bend your arm.
At £99 it’s at the more expensive end of windproof jackets, but in the flesh you can see why. Quality of manufacture and detailing is great, and it feels like a hard-wearing and top notch piece of kit.
5/5 Gear We Are – November 2011