Red Original reckon their Active jacket is “light, packable and waterproof”, and we’d (mostly) agree – it’s an easy outer layer to pack for watersports adventures, but seemed more splash-proof than fully waterproof on test.
Easy to layer under
Not very warm
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Red Original Active Jacket: first impressions
The Red Original Active Jacket comes from a brand best known for their paddleboards and changing robes, but their first foray into waterproof jackets proves they know their way around wet situations.
They market their Active Jacket as “lightweight, packable and waterproof”, which is a fairly accurate description. It’s reasonably dainty at 360g, and it is easy to pack away and to pull on and off quickly, thanks to four-way stretch.
But how did it fare under test conditions for our best women’s waterproof jackets buying guide? Read on…
• RRP: $172.53 (US) / £129.95 (UK)
• Waterproofing: 5,000mm HH
• Weight: 360g / 12.7oz
• Sizes: XS / S / M / L / XL
• Colors: Gray
• Compatibility: Ideal for paddleboarders and watersports lovers as well as hiking
Red Original Active Jacket: on the trails
Despite the fabric feeling somewhat on the flimsy side when compared to some of the heavier-duty waterproofs we tested out, this jacket did prove water resistant (if not completely waterproof).
It's very light, and is easy to wear unzipped, so it doesn't overheat you when you’re exerting lots of energy. Being more water-resistant than fully waterproof, it does breathe better than proper waterproofs.
And although it doesn’t trap in much warmth to speak of, and doesn’t fully block wind, it’s roomy enough to pop fleeces or insulated layers underneath for chilly days by the water (because, of course, layering is important) and velcro cuffs do help keep wind at bay.
We tested the Active Jacket out in rainy hikes as well as using it as an outer layer when paddleboarding – we reckon it’s best for light rain and for keeping you dry when paddling or kayaking rather than for heading out in a storm in, when it might eventually wet out (here are are some alternative handy tips on how to stay dry when hiking). For mixed weather, though, it’s a great external shell.
We also liked cycling in it, as it’s highly breathable, so you won’t need to keep shedding layers when you’re tackling climbs. The hood was one of our favorites on test, with a firm visor to keep water (or sun) out of your face. Great for watersports adventures on changeable weather days while hiking.
An award-winning travel and outdoors journalist, presenter and blogger, Sian regularly writes for The Independent, Evening Standard, BBC Countryfile, Coast, Outdoor Enthusiast and Sunday Times Travel. Life as a hiking, camping, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken her around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia, climbing mountains in Africa and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. Her blog, thegirloutdoors.co.uk, champions accessible adventures.