Phil Hall reviews a key piece of clothing for outdoor photographers

Jack-Wolfskin-jacket

Jack Wolfskin Zenon Basic Snap-In down jacket at a glance:

  • Windproof
  • Breathable
  • Warm down/synthetic loose fibrefill insulation
  • Lightweight
  • Easily packed away
  • Price: £130
  • Website: www.jack-wolfskin.co.uk

A decent technical jacket can make all the difference out in the field, keeping you warm while getting those vital shots or when trudging back to the car or a café.

German outdoor-clothing company Jack Wolfskin has a heritage dating back 35 years and offers a broad range of apparel for those who love to be outside whatever the conditions. The Zenon Basic Snap-In down jacket sits towards the lower end of the firm’s down-jacket range, but don’t discount it because of that. Available in a choice of three colours and in both men’s and ladies’ fits (although colour choice is reduced to two), styling is understated and uncluttered, while it sports a shorter length than some.

Although lightweight at only 400g, the number of pockets is limited to three. Both the shell and lining are 100% polyamide that is both water-repellent and windproof. If you need something a little more resilient to the elements, the presence of snap fasteners means it can be integrated into a matching weatherproof jacket. The arms and shoulders are filled with 100% polyester (called Fibercloud), but the core is insulated with a mixture of 90% white duck down and 10% feather.

Jack Wolfskin Zenon Basic Snap-In down jacket – key features

Weight

Tipping the scales at a lightweight 400g, you hardly know you’re wearing it.

Jack-Wolfskin-Zenon-basic-snap-in-down-jacket-packed

Two side pockets

With two side pockets, the jacket can be rolled up easily and packed away in the left-hand pocket should conditions warm up.

Insulation

Filled with 90% duck down and 10% feather, the Zenon has a 700-cubic-inch down fill power, while the shoulders and sleeves have Fibercloud insulation.

Jack Wolfskin Zenon Basic Snap-In down jacket – our verdict

There are no doubt warmer and more technical jackets on the market for when conditions get really bad, but having worn this jacket over the winter months there’s very little, if anything, to complain about. Worn as part of a layer system for extra warmth, I never had an issue with getting cold, especially when paired with a decent hat and pair of gloves, and never felt restricted wearing it.

The icing on the cake is the weight – it’s rather like wearing a warm cloud.

SCORE: 5 out of 5

Also in the range

Jack-Wolfskin-Texapore-downshell-jacket

Jack Wolfskin Texapore downshell jacket

Price: £550

Filled with goose down for excellent heat retention, this jacket is waterproof and windproof. Breathable material promotes air circulation while still keeping you very warm.

Jack-Wolfskin-Terrenceville-down-jacket

Jack Wolfskin Terrenceville down jacket

Price: £190

Complete with a hood and fleece cuffs, this jacket is both warm and windproof. It features two side pockets for you to keep pieces of kit in, as well as an internal pocket for other bits.

Jack-Wolfskin-Lhotse-vest

Jack Wolfskin Lhotse vest

Price: £95

Ideal for when you just need to keep your core warm, this gilet provides a warm down filling, while being lightweight enough to pack down easily into your rucksack or camera bag.