Designed in the Dolomites, this lightweight but extremely weatherproof two-layer outer shell jacket from Salewa is every bit as stylish as you’d expect from the Italian mountain specialists. It’s not just good looking, though; this versatile and well-designed Gore-Tex Paclite jacket provides excellent protection in alpine environments in a wide range of conditions.
Comfortable and quiet to wear
Excellent zips and features
Recycled materials used
Sensible price (especially for a Gore-Tex Paclite product)
No underarm vents
Not much stretch
Only two pockets
Lacks the thermal protection of a three-layer jacket
US version uses Pertex instead of Gore-Tex and has a lower HH rating
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Salewa Puez Gore-Tex Paclite Jacket: first impressions
I’ve been testing the Autumnal Orange version of this two-layer Salewa Puez Gore-Tex Paclite Jacket, and I must admit, the look and feel of it knocked my socks off as soon as I put it on. Everything from the fit to the finish of the Italian brand’s slick hardshell is super stylish, even down to the subtle reminder on the forearm of the right sleeve that it has been “engineered in the Dolomites”.
• List price: $140 (not GTX) (US) / £200 (UK) / €230 (EU)
• Gender specification: Men’s / Women’s
• Sizes: Men’s: S-XXL; Women’s: XS-XL
• Waterproof rating: HH 28,000mm (lower for US version)
• Breathability rating: RET <6 m2Pa/W
• Materials: Two-layer Gore-Tex, 100% recycled polyester, PFC-free DWR finish
• Weight (Men’s large): 373g / 13.2oz
• Colors: Men’s: Black / Blue Electric / Golden Brown / Dark Olive / Autumnal Orange / Yellow Gold; Women’s: Beige Oatmeal / Black / Golden Brown / Pink Mauvemood / Pink Zephyr / Red Syrah
• Compatibility: Alpine trekking, mountaineering, backpacking, hiking, climbing, snow sports
But it’s not enough to simply look ace; apparel that claims to protect you in proper alpine scenarios needs to perform brilliantly too. This jacket certainly has all the right ingredients to do that as well, but I’ve been hill-testing it to see whether it measures up with the best waterproof jackets on the market.
Made with Gore-Tex Paclite, the Puez might is a two-layer shell, as opposed to a three-layer jacket, but it has highly impressive figures when it comes to breathability (rating of over RET 6) and levels of waterproof protection (the hydrostatic head / water column rating is a massive 28,000mm). The seams are all diligently welded and even the pockets are designed to keep the elements out.
The level of weather protection offered is even more impressive when you consider the price tag, which is very reasonable for a technical piece of alpine trail and peak-ready apparel such as this. And it’s made with 100% recycled polyester, with a PFC-free durable water repellant (DWR) finish, so its environmental creds are excellent too.
Salewa Puez Gore-Tex Paclite Jacket: in the mountains
Over the last 12 months, during outdoor adventures through all four seasons, I have been putting the Salewa Puez Gore-Tex Paclite Jacket to the test in a variety of landscapes, amid a massive range of conditions, including atop the fells of the Lake District, along the jagged peaks of Snowdonia and amongst the exposed wilds of Dartmoor and Exmoor. And right from the get go, it has impressed.
This is a two-layer jacket, so it’s not quite as warm as three-layer shell, but the trade-off is that it’s very light and easy to stash in a hiking backpack or daypack, ready for when you need to deploy it in wet or windy weather. This makes it an extremely versatile jacket, because you can use it all year round – or at least pack it, just in case it’s required if you’re out longer than expected, or conditions unexpectedly take a turn for the worse, both regular occurrences in my experience.
Its ability to protect you from the elements is excellent, from the first layer of defense – the DWR treatment that sees light rain bead on the surface of the material before rolling right off – through to the windproof main shell and reliably waterproof and genuinely breathable Gore-Tex membrane.
It’s worth noting that the fit is quite snug (in true Euro style), and there isn’t a massive amount of room for wearing a bulky mid layer beneath this jacket. So if you’re intending to use it at higher altitudes and/or in colder climes when you might need a puffer layer to up the thermal protection, you may need to consider going up a size.
Somewhat surprisingly, for a two-layer Gore-Tex jacket, it’s pretty quiet to wear too, with very little crinkling and crunching going on when you’re moving through the mountains. On the downside, there isn’t much stretch in the material, and this, combined with the snug fit, meant I found it a tad restrictive while scrambling on technical routes on Snowdonia’s Tryfan, when I often had to reach for high hand holds.
In terms of design, Salewa have kept things relatively simple while still supplying everything you need (except, perhaps, underarm vents, which I think would have been a good addition, but have probably been ruled out to keep weight down). There are two hand pockets, both large enough to take a map and more, and they close with decent weatherproof zips.
The hem is easily adjustable, and the cuffs have large Velcro-equipped fastening flaps to prevent the wind getting in, and to enable you to secure them tightly around gloves.
The insulated hood has a peak to keep the rain off, and a small material band on the inside to make it comfortable next to your forehead. The good-quality main zip extends right up to your nose, and the hood can quickly and easily be pulled in tight and secured with a single toggle to provide fantastic face protection when the elements are proper angry.
Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and instagram here.