Product Review: Lolë Softshell Glowing Jacket
Brand: Lolë (Montreal-based Women’s recreational outdoor brand)
Where To Buy: http://www.lolewomen.com/ca/en/stores/location/map/
MSRP: $250 CAD
I’m a sucker for performance gear. Short of the Iron Man suit, I will rarely spare an expense on something that is useful.
I’m talking scientifically-proven, lab-created, performance-driven apparel that keeps you warm or cool, dry or damp. All backed up with vigorous field testing (and the entertaining photos to prove it).
I came across the Lolë brand during my first visit to the Sail Outdoors superstore in Vaughan, ON, in May of 2012. Lolë began as a yoga brand, but quickly grew to become a recreational outdoors brand, designed for women who move. Having never heard of this brand, I was a little taken aback at the price tag of $299. This was, after all, only a rain jacket. Or so I thought.
I bought the jacket on sale at the end of the summer, and decided to field test it to see if it was really worth the price. The first test was a day of fishing in 10C, miserable, windy, drizzly weather. The jacket was a snug-but-secure fit, and the hood fit nicely and protected my face from the wet wind. It didn’t restrict my movement and the hood didn’t limit my visibility. I was able to cast and reel perfectly. The water beaded and dropped right off the jacket and didn’t leak through the seams. Now, because the jacket is breathable, it didn’t provide much insulation, but the brand doesn’t make that claim. I wore a wool sweater underneath, and I was comfortable (except for my fingers and toes!).
The second field test was doing some light construction on a windy and rainy evening, at about 7C. Okay, truth? We were building a haunted house on the eve of Halloween during the Canadian leg of the Hurricane Sandy tour. Again, not much for insulation, but the breathable fabric provided relief from the dampness that was in the air. Again, I was dry and comfortable, and moving in it was no problem at all.
The only complaint that I have with this jacket is that it is quite a chore to launder. Because of the complex make up of the jacket, it needs to be washed and dried carefully, followed by a quick spin in the dryer on low to reactivate the water-repellancy.
What makes this jacket unique? According to Lolë, “This 3-layer fabric has a 94% polyester/6% elastane, 100 Denier outer face, a hydrophilic laminated membrane, and a 100% polyester brushed fleece inner face. Its membrane makes it waterproof with a rate of 8 000 mm and breathable at a rate of 7 000 gr/m2/24 hrs*. It is also treated at an ECO durable water-repellent finish.”
Basically, this means that this 3 layer fabric has the thickness of 100 Denier (a fancy way of measuring thickness), an outer layer made of a water-repellant membrane, and a light fleece interior. It’s not quite as thick as fleece, as regular fleece is not as breathable as brushed fleece. And it’s all ECO-friendly; yet another stand-out proclamation from Lolë.
Now THAT’S science!